In celebration of Independence Day, I’ve gathered some personal finance advice from Benjamin Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers. Franklin was witty, wise, and eminently practical. He was a master of thrift and frugality. Nearly three hundred years later, his advice is still worth heeding.

  • “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
  • “Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.”
  • “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
  • “Fools make feasts and wise men eat them.”
  • “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
  • “He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.”
  • “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
  • “Fond pride of dress is, sure, a very curse;
    Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.”
  • “‘Tis easier to surpress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.”
  • “The second vice is lying, the first is debt.”
  • “Lying rides upon debt’s back.”
  • “Creditors have better memories than debtors.”
  • “The borrower is slave to the lender and the debtor to the creditor.”
  • “Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.”
  • “Women and wine, game and deceit,
    Make the wealth small and the wants great.”
  • “Many estates are spent int he getting,
    Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
    And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.”
  • “A fat kitchen makes a lean will.”
  • “Learning is to the studious and riches to the careful.”
  • “Have you somewhat to do tomorrow? Do it today.”
  • “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
  • “Industry pays debts, while despair increases them.”
  • “There are no pains without gains.”
  • “Industry need not wish.”
  • “Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.”
  • “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
  • “Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all things easy.”
  • “But doest thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
  • “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
  • “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”
  • “For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”
  • “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

I’ll share three longer pieces later today. If you’re interested in more of what Franklin has to say about thrift, please read his thoughts on “The Way to Wealth”, which are too extensive to reprint here.

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