Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

By Benjamin Franklin

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got together to this sale of fineries
and nick-nacks. You call them goods; but, if you do not take care, they
will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap,
and, perhaps, they may for less than they cost; but, if you have no
occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what poor Richard
says, "Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell
thy necessaries." And again, "At a great pennyworth pause a while:"
he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real;
or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more
harm than good. For, in another place, he says, "Many have been ruined
by buying good pennyworths." Again, "It is foolish to lay out money
in a purchase of repentance;" and yet this folly is practised every
day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanack. Many a one, for the
sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half
starved their families; "Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out
the kitchen fire," as Poor Richard says. These are not the necessaries
of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences: and yet only
because they look pretty, how many want to have them?--By these, and
other extravagancies, the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to
borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who, through industry
and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case it appears
plainly, that "A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on
his knees," as Poor Richard says. Perhaps they have had a small estate
left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think "it is day,
and will never be night:" that a little to be spent out of so much is
not worth minding; but "Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never
putting in, soon comes to the bottom," as Poor Richard says; and then,
"When the well is dry, they know the worth of water." But this they
might have known before, if they had taken his advice. "If you would
know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes
a borrowing, goes a sorrowing," as Poor Richard says; and, indeed, so
does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again.
Poor Dick farther advises, and says,

"Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse,
Ere fancy you

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Text Comparison with A Book of Gems Choice selections from the writings of Benjamin Franklin

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