What About Ben Franklin?
by Doris Dobkins
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 himself 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
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
Doris S. Dobkins, is a money saving expert and the author of the
book Financial Freedom from A-Z. Visit her web site today at
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