A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned"?

The term "a penny saved is a penny earned" means by not spending money, you are saving money.

The original form of this proverb was "a penny saved is a penny got," which later changed to "a penny saved is a penny gained." Nowadays, the most common version is "a penny saved is a penny earned." (evidence)
  • "This I did to prevent expences, for a penny sav'd, is a penny got." (Edward Ravenscroft's Canterbury Guests, 1695)
The term asserts that, from a mathematical perspective, saving money is no different to earning money in terms of building your own wealth. Essentially, it is advice to save as well as to earn because saving is likely to be easier.

The phrase is often attributed to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin because of Franklin's image on the heads side of the cent coin issued in the USA around 1863. The tails side of the coin reads "A penny saved is a penny earned." Even though the term was in common use before 1863, the Franklin coin is attributed with the "earned" version becoming the most popular.
A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned (Origin)

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