micawbers principle“Annual income twenty pounds,
annual expenditure nineteen pounds & six,
result happiness.

Annual income twenty pounds,
annual expenditures twenty pounds ought & six,
result misery.”
— David Copperfield’s Wilkins Micawber

Micawber’s Principle is about more than mere thrift. It is about living a focused life, a life on purpose, a life with a plan and a goal. Every disciplined effort yields multiple results. Tthe ability to set and achieve a goal, to follow a plan, in one area of your life will spill over into other areas as well.

One way to motivate yourself is to think in terms of future dollars. Look at every single expenditure and not think about it in today’s dollars but in future dollars. If you are thinking of buying something today that costs a $100, that could eventually be $2,000 or $3,000 in your retirement account.

Having trouble saving money? Rigorously review your spending. Do all those little expenditures REALLY make you happier? Can you even remember them a week later? Remember, a bargain is not bargain unless it is something you need or will use.

Closing quotes

“Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.”  — Calvin Coolidge; 1872–1933, 30th U.S. President

“Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character.”  — S.W. Straus, author with Roland Kirby, “History of the Thrift Movement in America”

“By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest.”  — Agesilaus; 440–360 BC, king of Sparta

“Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?”  — Cicero; 106-43 BC

“He who does not economize will have to agonize.”  — Confucius; 551–479 BC

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”  — Benjamin Franklin; 1706–1790