Save money, earn stress? (1912)

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Folly of “wasteful saving”

“Isn’t It a pity about Martha?” sighed Carolyn as the girls chatted over their lunches. “I met her sister on the car this morning, and she says that the doctor won’t hear of Martha working for at least three months.”

“What did she break down from?”

“Overwork, I guess. Isn’t it lucky Martha has a good bank account to draw on for a while?”

“Well, Martha’s a fine saver.””How did she manage to save anything?” asked Rosalind a little enviously. “Her salary wasn’t large.”

“I think she is the most extravagant girl I ever knew,” commented Fanny.

The girls broke in indignantly, “How can you say that? She made all her own clothes. And sometimes trimmed her hats. And always spent her vacations at home.”

“I know all that,” answered Fanny.

“That is why I called her extravagant. She was what my mother used to call a ‘wasteful saver.’ She saved her money, but never thought of saving either her time or her nervous energy. She thought it was economy to save 10 cents on her laundry bill by puttering over some washing every other evening when a glance at one of the new books or a short brisk walk would have made a new woman out of her for the evening and sent her to bed ready for a good night’s sleep.

“She sometimes sat up until midnight to finish a shirtwaist, and then wondered why she had a headache the next day. She brought a lunch from home that must have tasted dry and unappetizing by noon time, and bragged that she saved nearly $2 a week on her lunches.

“She spent her two weeks’ vacation at home this summer, and told me when she came back that she had saved over $23 this year by staying in the city.

“I’ve heard that the nerve specialist she had to consult last week charges that much for an examination. And the money she saved on lunches and laundry and dress makers will have to pay her doctor’s bill and support her, while she is unable to work.”

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“I guess she didn’t know how to save,” confessed Carolyn.

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