THE ART OF MONEY GETTING - WORDS TO THE VERY WISE BY P.T. BARNUM
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"Golden Rules for Making Money - P. T. Barnum!"
Making The Income Exceed The OutGo
In the United States, where we have more land than people, it is not at all
difficult for persons in good health to make money. In this comparatively new
field there are so many avenues of success open, so many vocations which are
not crowded, that any person of either sex who is willing, at least for the time
being, to engage in any respectable occupation that offers, may find lucrative
Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only to set their
minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other
object which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done.
But however easy it may be found to make money, I have no doubt many of
my hearers will agree it is the most difficult thing in the world to keep it. The
road to wealth is, as Dr. Franklin truly says, “as plain as the road to the mill.”
It consists simply in expending less than we earn; that seems to be a very
simple problem. Mr. Micawber, one of those happy creations of the genial
Dickens, puts the case in a strong light when he says that to have annual
income of twenty pounds per annum, and spend twenty pounds and sixpence,
is to be the most miserable of men; whereas, to have an income of only twenty
pounds, and spend but nineteen pounds and sixpence is to be the happiest of
Many of my readers may say, “we understand this: this is economy, and we
know economy is wealth; we know we can’t eat our cake and keep it also.” Yet
I beg to say that perhaps more cases of failure arise from mistakes on this
point than almost any other. The fact is, many people think they understand
economy when they really do not.
True economy is misapprehended, and people go through life without properly
comprehending what that principle is. One says, “I have an income of so
much, and here is my neighbor who has the same; yet every year he gets
something ahead and I fall short; why is it? I know all about economy.”
He thinks he does, but he does not. There are men who think that economy
consists in saving cheeseparings and candleends, 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 in
only one direction. They fancy they are so wonderfully economical in saving a
where they ought to spend twopence, that they think they can
afford to squander in other directions.
A few years ago, before kerosene oil was discovered or thought of, one might
stop overnight at almost any farmer’s house in the agricultural districts and
get a very good supper, but after supper he might attempt to read in the
and would find it impossible with the inefficient light of one
The hostess, seeing his dilemma, would say: “It is rather difficult to read here
evenings; the proverb says ‘you must have a ship at sea in order to be able to
burn two candles at once; we never have an extra candle except on extra
These extra occasions occur, perhaps, twice a year. In this way the good
woman saves five, six, or ten dollars in that time: but the information which
might be derived from having the extra light would, of course, far outweigh a
ton of candles.
But the trouble does not end here. Feeling that she is so economical in tallow
candies, she thinks she can afford to go frequently to the village and spend
twenty or thirty dollars for ribbons and furbelows, many of which are not
This false connote may frequently be seen in men of business, and in those
instances it often runs to writingpaper.
You find good businessmen who save
all the old envelopes and scraps, and would not tear a new sheet of paper, if
they could avoid it, for the world.
This is all very well; they may in this way save five or ten dollars a year, but
being so economical (only in note paper), they think they can afford to waste
time; to have expensive parties, and to drive their carriages. This is an
illustration of’ Dr. Franklin’s “saving at the spigot and wasting at the bunghole;”
“penny wise and pound foolish.”
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