If you want to test a young man and ascertain whether nature

made him for a king or a subject, give him a thousand dollars

and see what he will do with it. If he is born to conquer and

command, he will put it quietly away till he is ready to use it

as opportunity offers. If he is born to serve, he will

immediately begin to spend it in gratifying his ruling



The man who builds, and lacks wherewith to pay,

Provides a home from which to run away.


Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou

shalt sell thy necessaries.

For age and want save while you may:

No morning sun lasts a whole day.


Whatever be your talents, whatever be your prospects, never

speculate away on a chance of a palace that which you may need

as a provision against the workhouse.


"What do you do with all these books?" "Oh, that library is my 'one

cigar a day,'" was the response. "What do you mean?" "Mean! Just this:

when you bothered me so about being a man, and learning to smoke, I'd

just been reading about a young fellow who bought books with money that

others would have spent in smoke, and I thought I'd try and do the

same. You remember, I said I should allow myself one cigar a day."

"Yes." "Well, I never smoked. I just put by the price of a five-cent

cigar every day, and as the money accumulated I bought books--the books

you see there." "Do you mean to say that those books cost no more than

that? Why there are dollars' worth of them." "Yes, I know there are. I

had six years more of my apprenticeship to serve when you persuaded me

to 'be a man.' I put by the money I have told you of, which of course at

five cents a day amounted to $18.25 a year or $109.50 in six years. I

keep those books by themselves, as a result of my apprenticeship

cigar-money; and if you'd done as I did, you would by this time have

saved many, many more dollars than that, and been in business besides."

If a man will begin at the age of twenty and lay by twenty-six cents

every working day, investing at 7 per cent. compound interest, he will

have thirty-two thousand dollars when he is seventy years old. Twenty

cents a day is no unusual expenditure for beer or cigars, yet in fifty

years it would easily amount to twenty thousand dollars. Even a saving

of one dollar a week from the date of one's majority would give him one

thousand dollars for each of the last ten of the allotted years of life.

"What maintains one vice would bring up two children."

Who does not feel honored by his relationship to Dr. Franklin, whether

as a townsman or a countryman, or even as belonging to the same race?

Who does not feel a sort of personal complacency in that frugality of

his youth which laid the foundation for so much competence and

generosity in his mature age; in that wise discrimination of his

outlays, which held the culture of the soul in absolute supremacy over

the pleasures of the sense; and in that consummate mastership of the

great art of living, which has carried his practical wisdom into every

cottage in Christendom, and made his name immortal? And yet, how few

there are among us who would not disparage, nay, ridicule and contemn a

young man who should follow Franklin's example.

Washington examined the minutest expenditures of his family, even when

President of the United States. He understood that without economy none

can be rich, and with it none need be poor.

Napoleon examined his domestic bills himself, detected overcharges and


Unfortunately Congress can pass no law that will remedy the vice of

living beyond one's means.

"We are ruined," says Colton, "not by what we really want, but by what

we think we do. Therefore never go abroad in search of your wants; if

they be real wants, they will come home in search of you; for he that

buys what he does not want will soon want what he cannot buy."

"I hope that there will not be another sale," exclaimed Horace Walpole,

"for I have not an inch of room nor a farthing left." A woman once

bought an old door-plate with "Thompson" on it because she thought it

might come in handy some time. The habit of buying what you don't need

because it is cheap encourages extravagance. "Many have been ruined by

buying good pennyworths."

Barnum tells the story of one of his acquaintances, whose wife would

have a new and elegant sofa, which in the end cost him thirty thousand

dollars. When the sofa reached the house it was found necessary to get

chairs "to match," then sideboards, carpets, and tables, "to correspond"

with them, and so on through the entire stock of furniture, when at last

it was found that the house itself was quite too small and old-fashioned

for the furniture, and a new one was built "to correspond" with the sofa

and _et ceteras_: "thus," added my friend, "running up an outlay of

$30,000 caused by that single sofa, and saddling on me in the shape of

servants, equipage, and the necessary expenses attendant on keeping up a

fine 'establishment' a yearly outlay of eleven thousand dollars, and a

habit of extravagance which was a constant menace to my prosperity."

Cicero said: "Not to have a mania for buying, is to possess a revenue."

Many are carried away by the habit of bargain-buying. "Here's something

wonderfully cheap; let's buy it." "Have you any use for it?" "No, not at

present; but it is sure to come in useful, some time."

"Annual income," says Macawber, "twenty pounds; annual expenditure,

nineteen six, result--happiness. Annual income, twenty pounds; annual

expenditure, twenty pounds ought and six, result--misery."

"Hunger, rags, cold, hard work, contempt, suspicion, unjust reproach,

are disagreeable," says Horace Greeley; "but debt is infinitely worse

than them all."

"If I had but fifty cents a week to live on," said Greeley, "I'd buy a

peck of corn and parch it before I'd owe any man a dollar."

To find out uses for the persons or things which are now wasted in life

is to be the glorious work of the men of the next generation, and that

which will contribute most to their enrichment.

Economizing "in spots" or by freaks is no economy at all; it must be

done by management.

Let us learn the meaning of economy. Economy is a high, humane office, a

sacrament, when its aim is great; when it is the prudence of simple

tastes, when it is practiced for freedom, or love or devotion. Much of

the economy we see in houses is of a base origin, and is best kept out

of sight. Parched corn eaten to-day that I may have roast fowl for my

dinner on Sunday, is a baseness, but parched corn and a house with one

apartment, that I may be free of all perturbations, that I may be serene

and docile to what the mind shall speak, and girt and road-ready for the

lowest mission of knowledge or good will, is frugality for gods and


Like many other boys P. T. Barnum picked up pennies driving oxen for his

father, but unlike many other boys he would invest these earnings in

knick-knacks which he would sell to others on every holiday, thus

increasing his pennies to dollars.

The eccentric John Randolph once sprang from his seat in the House of

Representatives, and exclaimed in his piercing voice, "Mr. Speaker, I

have found it." And then, in the stillness which followed this strange

outburst, he added, "I have found the Philosopher's stone: it is _Pay as

you go_."

In France, all classes, the men as well as the women, study the economy

of cookery and practice it; and there, as many travelers affirm, the

people live at one-third the expense of Englishmen or Americans. There

they know how to make savory messes out of remnants that others would

throw away. There they cook no more for each day than is required for

that day. With them the art ranks with the fine arts, and a great cook

is as much honored and respected as a sculptor or a painter. The

consequence is, as ex-Secretary McCullough thinks, a French village of

1000 inhabitants could be supported luxuriously on the waste of one of

our large American hotels, and he believes that the entire population of

France could be supported on the food which is literally wasted in the

United States. Professor Blot, who resided for some years in the United

States, remarks, pathetically, that here, "where the markets rival the

best markets of Europe, it is really a pity to live as many do live.

There are thousands of families in moderately good circumstances who

have never eaten a loaf of really good bread, nor tasted a well-cooked

steak, nor sat down to a properly prepared meal."

There are many who think that economy consists in saving cheese parings

and candle ends, in cutting off two pence from the laundress' bill, and

doing all sorts of little, mean, dirty things. Economy is not meanness.

The misfortune is also that this class of persons let their economy

apply only in one direction. They fancy they are so wonderfully

economical in saving a half-penny, where they ought to spend two-pence,

that they think they can afford to squander in other directions.

_Punch_, in speaking of this "one idea" class of people, says, "They are

like a man who bought a penny herring for his family's dinner, and then

hired a coach and four to take it home." I never knew a man to succeed

by practicing this kind of economy. True economy consists in always

making the income exceed the out-go. Wear the old clothes a little

longer, if necessary; dispense with the new pair of gloves, live on

plainer food if need be. So that under all circumstances, unless some

unforeseen accident occurs, there will be a margin in favor of the

income. A penny here and a dollar there placed at interest go on

accumulating, and in this way the desired result is obtained.

"I wish I could write all across the sky in letters of gold," says Rev.

William Marsh, "the one word, savings bank."

Boston savings banks have $130,000,000 on deposit, mostly saved in

driblets. Josiah Quincy used to say that the servant girls built most of

the palaces on Beacon street.

"Nature uses a grinding economy," says Emerson, "working up all that is

wasted to-day into to-morrow's creation; not a superfluous grain of sand

for all the ostentation she makes of expense and public works. She flung

us out in her plenty, but we cannot shed a hair or a paring of a nail

but instantly she snatches at the shred and appropriates it to her

general stock. Last summer's flowers and foliage decayed in autumn only

to enrich the earth this year for other forms of beauty. Nature will

not even wait for our friends to see us, unless we die at home. The

moment the breath has left the body she begins to take us to pieces,

that the parts may be used again for other creations."

"So apportion your wants that your means may exceed them," says Bulwer.

"With one hundred pounds a year I may need no man's help; I may at least

have 'my crust of bread and liberty.' But with L5000 a year I may dread

a ring at my bell; I may have my tyrannical master in servants whose

wages I cannot pay; my exile may be at the fiat of the first

long-suffering man who enters a judgment against me; for the flesh that

lies nearest my heart some Shylock may be dusting his scales and

whetting his knife. Every man is needy who spends more than he has; no

man is needy who spends less. I may so ill manage, that with L5000 a

year I purchase the worst evils of poverty--terror and shame; I may so

well manage my money, that with L100 a year I purchase the best

blessings of wealth: safety and respect."