|Doris Dobkins is the publisher of $mart Money New$. You can subscribe by
visiting her web site at
I was reading a book to my kids this
week called "The Value of Saving". It was the story of
Benjamin Franklin. When Ben was a little boy of around 8 years old,
he was already thinking of things to invent that would save him time
and money so he would have more of both.
One day when he was walking along the
sidewalk he found a penny that a rich man had dropped. When he tried
to give it back to the man, the man said he was an honest boy and
could keep it. Do you know what young Ben did with that penny? He
decided to save it so that when he needed it for something
important, he would have it.
When Ben was ten, he began working as
an apprentice for his brother; he received no pay. This made him
feel so helpless when he didn't have any money. So one day he
convinced his brother to give him half the money he spent for his
food and he would buy it himself. Then what Ben did is took the
little bit of money he received from his brother and spent half of
it on the food he needed and saved the other half for himself. With
the money he saved, he would buy books, read them and then sell them
to someone else.
Eventually he came up with the idea
of a library where books could be checked out for free. Ben's family
was religious, frugal and self-reliant. Ben was taken out of school
at the age of ten and decided to pursue self-education since
his family couldn't afford to send him to school. When Ben was 17,
he ran away from his overbearing brother who he worked for as an
apprentice. He opened up a print shop in Philadelphia and worked day
and night to save enough money to pay back his debts. He couldn't
stand being in debt and felt that the only way to be released from
poverty was through hard work, thrift and honesty.
Ben then went on to found
institutions such as libraries, fire companies, American
Philosophical Society, a school for needy boys and America's first
medical center. He then went on to experiment with electricity,
invent the lightning rod, bifocals, static electric generator and
the Franklin stove.
A lot of this was possible because he
had the discipline to save when he had extra, allowing him to have
money when he really needed it.
This story was a real inspiration to
me about a thrifty and inventive person. I realized these are the
characteristics required to be debt free. Creativity is a big part
of the process in learning to make do with less, save a little here
and there and find creative solutions to the situations we are in.
Ben was very proud of himself and his
accomplishments. You should be too. Every time you save a dollar or
do something smart with your money, give yourself a pat on the back.
You deserve it.
P.S. You might even want to glue a
penny to a wall - just as a reminder.