Tag Archives: Penny-Wise And Pound-Foolish


Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish
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Charlie was a wonderful man, but Charlie could squeeze a nickel ’til the buffalo pooped. — Betty White as Rose Nylund in an episode of, The Golden Girls

Yes, it’s wise to be conservative when it comes to one’s finances — the old proverb, ‘Take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves’ is sound advice, unless it’s taken in the wrong direction.

Here’s a true story I was told that illustrates what I mean.

It seems there was a self-made millionaire who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps in the family manufacturing business. In furtherance of this wish, he sent his son to college and in due course the young man earned an MBA.

It was decided that the son would run his own separate division of his father’s company. The millionaire’s son was anxious to make his father proud of him and in particular, he wanted his father to know that he knew the true value of a dollar — he wanted to avoid even the whiff of being thought of as a spoiled heir to a fortune.

Everything the son did was designed to drive home this point, including his purchase of a modest bungalow in which he and his new bride lived.

One night, as the son lay asleep in his bed, a tremendous thunderstorm blew in and soon rain was pouring. That’s when the first drops of water started hitting his face. The roof was leaking.

The next morning the air was clear, the sky was bright blue, and the day was warm and sunny. The young man decided to take the day off and save money on roof repairs by fixing the leaks himself.

Up on the roof, stripped to the waist, tools in hand, the young man felt downright virtuous.

It was a bigger job than the young man first realized, and one day off from work became two days off from work, and two days off from work became three days off from work. Still, the young man was determined to save the money he would have spent hiring professional roofers.

On the third day the young man’s wife called up to him that his dad was on the phone and wanted to speak to him immediately. He thought, “Great! Wait until Dad hears what I’ve been doing — he’s going to admire my thriftiness!”

Holding the receiver to his ear the young man was dumbstruck at his father’s reaction. “You idiot! You’re risking botched orders and lost accounts to play hooky and get a deeper tan? Get yourself showered and changed and back to work where you belong! There’s no telling what money we’ve potentially lost because of your short-sighted, cheap-assed foolishness!”

To put it another way, the buffalo pooped! And that is why it’s a bad idea to squeeze a nickel too hard.

 I’d love to hear your reaction to this story. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature