Don’t be penny-wise but pound-foolish

Personal finance

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For Father’s Day this coming Sunday, I celebrate my dad by remembering something he taught my brother and me early on. He told us that people who thought they were thrifty sometimes had a habit of focusing on saving small, everyday amounts (clipping coupons, saving cents on gas) while not doing much to and electronics items. They were being penny-wise but pound-foolish.

From The Dictionary of Cliches, by James Rogers:

“Overcareful about trivial things and undercareful about important ones. The literal image is of the person who fusses over small amounts of money to such an extent that he misses opportunities to save or make large amounts. But the figurative image goes way back; in ‘The Historie of Foure-footed Beastes’ (1607) Edward Topsell wrote: ‘If by covetousnesse or negligence, one withdraw from them their ordinary foode, he shall be penny wise, and pound foolish.”

I remember being told something else by my parents that seemed illogical when I was younger, that the people we saw who drove nondescript cars and dressed like average people were more likely to be wealthy than the ones who flaunted their cars and brand names, who tended to be debt-ridden. Guess Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are living proof of this!

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the dads out there, and thanks for teaching us about financial responsibility!

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