In last weeks Facebook Live show during the finance with attitude segment, I discussed lessons from the original Godfather of personal finance – Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin was more than just a statesman and inventor he provided fantastic personal finance advice: live within your means, don’t keep up with the Joneses, and save every penny. Over two hundred years later the majority of Americans have not learned from Franklin’s words of wisdom.
Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt
Benjamin Franklin was obviously not telling people to go hungry every night that would be foolish. The meaning of Benjamin’s quote is to live within your means, but American’s still do not live with their means. U.S. consumer households carry on average $16,425 in credit card debt, and that’s not adding student loan debt. Don’t go shopping for items you know you cannot afford, stop buying expensive coffee, and please stop with the avocado sandwiches for lunch. There is nothing wrong with making your coffee, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, and not shopping for items you want.
It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow
There should be no reason to keep up with others appearances. Years ago a group of colleagues decided to go out for drinks after a busy work week. One of the colleagues bought shots for all of us in the group. Another colleague from the group was upset because he told me he was the one who bought shots for everyone. My colleague was upset and had to show everyone he was the man and decided to buy shots for everyone regardless of the fact that he was in financial limbo. I told my colleague there is no way you can compete against the guy because he is way much wealthier than you are at the moment. The moral of the story is don’t compete with others when it comes to money. If someone buys drinks for the entire group, let them it's not your money wasted on drinks.
A penny saved is a penny earned
Saving a penny or two is not easy especially when television commercials are telling us to spend, spend, and spend some more. However, saving a penny or two can go a long way. Whenever I buy products or services in cash, I deposit the change into a savings piggy bank and at the end of six months it can add up to at least $20. Every penny counts no matter how small or little. I advise you to wait for your penny change whenever you go shopping. If the cashier waits for you to hand over every penny you owe in the transaction why can’t you get your penny that you are owed?
There is no need to get into financial debt if you don’t have so make sure you live within your means, don’t compete against the Joneses, and save every penny.
Mr. J Real Talk
Business educator and blogger. Follow Mr. J on social media @MrJRealTalk