While Franklin did not become a bricklayer or carpenter, this experience did inspire the DIY spirit within him: It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools.
And it has been often useful to me, to have learned so much by it, as to be able to do some trifling jobs in the house, when a workman was not at hand, and to construct little machines for my experiments, at the moment when the intention of making these was warm in my mind.
But his satisfaction was cut short when his brothers and sisters, finding out how much he had paid for it, informed him that he had forked over four times as much money as it was worth.
“The reflection gave me more chagrin,” Franklin recalled, “than the whistle gave me pleasure.” But Franklin took an invaluable lesson away from his youthful mistake: This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don’t give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.
He also used this story as a parable by which he led his life.
If he ever saw anybody whom he considered to be wasteful or giving too much of themselves he would tell himself that they were paying too much for their whistle.Franklin invested in himself by becoming a voracious reader; all of his spare money and time went to accumulating as much knowledge about the world as possible; by wisely managing his expenditures in these vital departments of life, Franklin created a future for himself where it was possible for a man who had only a few years of formal education to become a world-renowned writer, scientist, and diplomat.For myself, I immediately got into work at Palmer’s, a famous printing-house in Bartholomew Close, where I continued near a year.-From a letter from BF to Madame Brillon, 1779 Franklin’s father at first wanted him to go into the ministry, but then decided that the boy would follow in his own footsteps and become a candlemaker.But Franklin did not enjoy that trade, and his father, worried he’d go off to sea, took him around to observe other craftsmen at work, hoping that another trade might spark the young man’s interest.He did not just apply this principle to material things but also to how people behaved or what they tolerated.For example, he observed a young woman who was married to a brute, and he thought that she had paid too much for her whistle, because what she had got was definitely not worth the price.Benjamin Franklin learned one of his first, and most important, personal finance lessons as a boy.When he was seven, he saw another boy blowing a whistle and was so charmed by its sound that he offered the boy all the money in his pockets for it. Young Franklin was delighted with his new possession and blew the whistle happily all over the house.Benjamin Franklin never forgot this episode in his life and used it as point of reference on many occasions.If he was ever tempted to buy something that was not necessary he would tell himself, "Don't give too much for the whistle" and in that way he saved money.