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    ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’
    • #1
    • 13th Sep 18, 8:23 PM
    ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ 13th Sep 18 at 8:23 PM
    Hiya. Do you agree with the phrase ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’? If not, why? And if you do, how does that influence how you manage your finances/save money? For example, some people take part in moneysaving challenges, eg Ł1 challenge or the 52 weeks challenge or have unconventional ways of saving - eg saving all Ł2 coins or Ł5 notes. Do you do any of these or have your own unconventional ways of savings?
Page 1
    • Alistair31
    • By Alistair31 13th Sep 18, 8:43 PM
    • 94 Posts
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    • #2
    • 13th Sep 18, 8:43 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Sep 18, 8:43 PM
    My 92y/o grandmother uses that phrase. Worked for her TBH.
    • Stubod
    • By Stubod 13th Sep 18, 9:04 PM
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    • #3
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:04 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:04 PM
    ..complete cobblers IMHO. Probably correct thinking a few decades ago when "pennies" may have been worth something and most people did not see many "notes", but not really applicable now.

    We put all our "pennies" into a charity box, and some silver as well.

    Best to just "look after your money"...full stop.
    • takesyourchances
    • By takesyourchances 13th Sep 18, 9:11 PM
    • 751 Posts
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    • #4
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:11 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:11 PM
    ..complete cobblers IMHO. Probably correct thinking a few decades ago when "pennies" may have been worth something and most people did not see many "notes", but not really applicable now.

    We put all our "pennies" into a charity box, and some silver as well.

    Best to just "look after your money"...full stop.
    Originally posted by Stubod

    The basic principles are right I think, maybe for 2018 it needs updated to "look after the pounds and the hundreds look after themselves" and "look after the hundreds and the thousands look after themselves" too
    • ColdIron
    • By ColdIron 13th Sep 18, 9:35 PM
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    • #5
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:35 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:35 PM
    Penny wise, pound foolish
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 13th Sep 18, 9:39 PM
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    • #6
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:39 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Sep 18, 9:39 PM
    I still think it's correct, in the sense that if you look after the small amounts you don't need to worry about the large amounts (up to a point). I multiply by 10 - for example, a coffee and a sticky bun might cost Ł5, which might not seem much. But if you buy them every day (Monday to Friday) for 2 weeks, that's 10 times, which is Ł50. Which is a lot to spend on coffee and cake in a fortnight!

    But I also agree with the phrase 'penny wise and pound foolish' - meaning someone who watches every penny, but fails to see the bigger picture (for example that buying the cheapest might not be the best value in the long term).
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 13th Sep 18, 11:23 PM
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    • #7
    • 13th Sep 18, 11:23 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Sep 18, 11:23 PM
    I agree with the principle of watching every penny/pound you spend and seeing your savings mount up. I just take the view I don't like throwing money away and tend to think about purchases before making them to make sure I am getting good value.
    Early retired in December 2017

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to
    • Alexland
    • By Alexland 13th Sep 18, 11:28 PM
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    • #8
    • 13th Sep 18, 11:28 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Sep 18, 11:28 PM
    I think focusing on looking after money regardless of value reinforces good discipline. However I am not a fan of saving spare change or rounding up transactions as its a bit random and you should really make decisions on how much to save.

    One of my friends had a time saving policy of scanning his bank statements and only looking at high value transactions and then recently discovered he was still paying direct debits for a house he sold 10 years ago!

    • WobblyDog
    • By WobblyDog 14th Sep 18, 4:52 AM
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    • #9
    • 14th Sep 18, 4:52 AM
    • #9
    • 14th Sep 18, 4:52 AM
    To me, "looking after the pennies" means trying to minimise all the small and medium-size expenditures that happen in most months, and I think I'm quite good at that.

    On the other hand, that doesn't really seem to prepare me for dealing responsibly with occasional much larger purchases such as buying a house or new car. A bad decision in those cases can wipe out years of good decisions about "pennies".
    • Catsacor
    • By Catsacor 14th Sep 18, 5:28 AM
    • 134 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    I agree with that old saying, think it's accurate and think it speaks volumes.

    The bottom line is, if you fritter away your hard earned money on those small purchases then it will indeed eat into your pounds.

    Classic example - buying a cup of coffee to drink on-the-go.
    Why do it ?
    You have had the opportunity to have a drink in the place you last were at, and you will be able to have one in the place you're going onto.
    Okay, it might not be fancy, it might not even be coffee, but given that you've already paid for the coffee, milk, and sugar, in your weekly shop why buy it all over again at a high price you are now several pounds down on your daily/weekly spend and do this more than once a day and you now don't have that bit extra put aside that day/week.

    No doubt about it, those small purchases affect the larger picture.
    • thrifty_pete
    • By thrifty_pete 14th Sep 18, 7:57 AM
    • 258 Posts
    • 56 Thanks
    Penny wise, pound foolish
    Originally posted by ColdIron
    Yes, sometimes spending money can be an investment, like buying a newer car so that is is more reliable and costs less to repair over the long term. I have a friend with a Ł2000 laptop with the most crappy slow broadband because he is too tight to spend an extra fiver a month to go fibre. The laptop is effectively as slow as a 500 quid laptop because of the slow internet connection. He spends over a fiver a day on take away coffee to! Each to their own.
    I think good insurance is money well spent but I'm fairly risk-averse.
    Eating out is definately expensive, one meal for the price of a weely shop at Lidl!
    In the early days of MSE people were discusing whether to reduce hoovering to save electricity! That is too thrifty even for me!
    • triplea35
    • By triplea35 14th Sep 18, 8:12 AM
    • 242 Posts
    • 83 Thanks
    Yes always lived by it, meaning that if someone takes care not to waste small amounts of money, they will accumulate capital. The pounds still need attention!
    • Mee
    • By Mee 14th Sep 18, 8:49 AM
    • 1,174 Posts
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    I agree.
    I save all my loose change. Last time I put over Ł135 through HSBC's free coin counting machine.
    But save in other ways such as buying food reductions (lots of perfectly good fruit and veg. for 10p.); using free hot drink offers or taking or making my own hot drink; recycle tap water (cutting my water usage from 38m3 to 24m3 over the year); fixing my own washing machine (with the help of youtube); naturally dry my hair and laundry etc.
    pennies are never a 'minor irrelevance' for me but I suppose it depends on your base income.
    Last edited by Mee; 14-09-2018 at 10:42 AM.
    Free thinker.
    • Linton
    • By Linton 14th Sep 18, 10:36 AM
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    I disagree completely. If you properly monitor and manage the overall strategy the pennies are a minor irrelevence.
    • talexuser
    • By talexuser 14th Sep 18, 1:59 PM
    • 2,628 Posts
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    The sentiment might be worthwhile, but the language needs updating. Pennies (and twopees) are worthless now (I call them shrapnel) can't remember the last time I had any at home - paying everything with card now - they go straight into the nearest charity box. Nowadays it's look after the pounds and you'll be better off - just not as snappy as a phrase.
    • Alexland
    • By Alexland 14th Sep 18, 5:51 PM
    • 4,868 Posts
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    If the Treasury estimate 60% of copper coins are used in a single transaction before being stashed in a jar or being thrown away how come the ones I end up getting are usually pretty old and worn?

    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 14th Sep 18, 9:31 PM
    • 62,827 Posts
    • 55,805 Thanks
    Do you agree with the phrase ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’?
    Originally posted by Sweetcake
    Not a phrase it's a proverb. The majority of which still hold pearls of wisdom within.

    My personal favourite is an old Chinese one.

    A man who wishes to move a mountain starts by moving the smallest stones first.
    "The most dangerous thing is to buy something at the peak of its popularity. At that point, all favourable facts and opinions are already factored into its price and no new buyers are left to emerge.”" - Howard Marks
    • rosieraspberry
    • By rosieraspberry 15th Sep 18, 12:02 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    I agree and although I have enjoyed my money a bit more carelessly in the past I now live by this as I'm saving more than half of my wage each month to save up for a bigger house!
    I make pennies here and there online through swagbucks, receipt apps and QMee etc. and when the cash comes through I put it straight into my savings account.
    I sell things I no longer want on ebay even with as little profit as 50p after all fees if I would have otherwise thrown them out (and also I prefer to recycle).
    I know which supermarkets sell certain items the cheapest and stock up when I'm there.
    I rarely buy food or drink on the go and I don't have a mobile phone contract.
    I used to have a penny jar but hate it lying around and now I rarely use cash at all, only when there's a collection at work and I withdraw Ł10, put say Ł2 into the collection and then next time I'm at a self-service till I pay with every last penny in my purse to get rid of it and if the balance is more then I pay the rest with my card.
    When making larger purchases, for example a new fridge, I will find the one I want and shop around for where I can get it cheapest. If I'm spending a good few hundred pounds it's not like I can watch the 'pennies' as such, but there are still little things you can do like use cashback sites etc. and I don't think it's worth buying the cheapest fridge available anywhere if it is not what you want.
    • Apodemus
    • By Apodemus 15th Sep 18, 7:14 AM
    • 1,280 Posts
    • 1,071 Thanks
    Yes, still has meaning for me. Looking after the finances is all about the detail.

    In regard to the comments above about small purchases adding up over time, I also like the MoneyMustache approach of valuing that regular coffee purchase (or whatever) by multiplying its cost by 25 to give an estimate of the capital sum you would need to make that purchase once a year.
    • PuzzledDave
    • By PuzzledDave 15th Sep 18, 7:38 AM
    • 164 Posts
    • 749 Thanks
    Reminds me of British Cycling success at the Olympics. We didn't do so well due to one change, it was the aggregation of marginal gains.
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