PRODUCE ALL YOU CAN means : Do not loaf. Do not sponge, borrow, beg or steal. Do not live on the efforts of some body else. Do not consume without return. Do not fail to give for what you expect to get.
And SPEND WITH ECONOMY suggests to us : Do not waste. Do not buy uselessly. Do not buy foolishly. Do not desire what you can get along without. Do not think what good times you can have if the grocery bill is still unreceipted.
We know a great deal in these happy times. But we do not know everything. We do not know even a remnant of the ancient wisdom that made prosperous nations centuries before Columbus played as a boy with his little toy boats.
Suppose we should try this legend of the Chinese for one week, and work for six days, producing the best there is in 'us; then ac count, on the basis of actual reason and econ omy, for every penny we spend. One would be a new individual Hence, the fundamental principles are: (0 To know the value and importance of money.
(2) To account honestly and accurately for all one receives and expends.
This is appropriation.
Appropriation is the just distribution of money as dictated by the necessities of life. When the necessities of life (never omitting future protection as a fundamental item) have been paid for, we may begin to think of the luxuries, but not before. Even then, we should think twice about them before they ride over us, and seem to become, in their turn, necessities.
You earn a certain sum of money per an num. Write down the amount. You have certain absolutely necessary expenses. Write down each of them. Perhaps you have never kept an account so that you have an exact knowledge of your daily expenditures for these necessities. And it is quite as unlikely that you know accurately what other items of expense you have created that in the course of a year exhaust your resources.
Write down next the statement that you will forever cease to live this scrambled sort of financial life. And, furthermore, that you will henceforth avoid confusing the necessi ties of life with the dictates of your habits.
It is now required to determine what the necessities of your life are, and what they may cost on the basis of your income. To
determine this is to take the initial step in learning the art of appropriation.
At this point, explicit rules, in the pages of a book, applicable alike for all people, are impossible. Every human being is surrounded by conditions peculiarly his own. They must be recognized and reckoned with ; they must be made the point of departure. Rules that should logically govern a married man, with a family, receiving a moderate income, do not apply to a single man earning the same in come. This brings before us the question of the extent of responsibility. But, reverting to the statement of necessities in the first chapter, it is true for both of them that they must be sheltered, clothed, fed, and that they must, in one way or another, pay regularly for fu ture protection.
It has been generally accepted, as a safe rule to follow, that not more than from one fourth to one-fifth of a man's income should be paid for rent. This has been expressed in another way : A week's income should pay a month's rent. The amount necessary to ap propriate for food and clothing must depend on the number of people in the family who are dependent on the. wage earner. It must be left to good_ judgment and good manage ment that these two items be kept within rea sonable limits.
What are reasonable limits ? To answer this question brings us face to face with the entire question of household administration. If a man earns two dollars per day it is obvious that the family can save considerable money by not spending it un wisely. The domestic administration re quires that the husband or wife attend per sonally to the marketing, buying wholesome food as economically as possible. It is the duty of the wife to know how to make this food go as far as possible, to prepare it in a wholesome and appetizing manner, and to master the one fundamental lesson of wasting nothing. This throws the art of building a fortune back upon the skill in family manage ment. It shows that a fortune does not come alone from saving money but from an econ omy applied to spending for everything that costs money.