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Seven Ways to Save Money According to Shakespeare

I have been writing poems and short stories for years, some of which I have published independantly. I also blog. Writing is a loved hobby.

Just because you can buy it, doesn't mean you should.

— Anonymous


Shakespeare Says

Many people would say definitely that William Shakespeare was a genius. Who can dispute this claim, when he was that person responsible for timeless classics such as the always relevant Romeo And Juliet, King Lear, The Merchant Of Venice and Macbeth, to name a few? I quite like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, myself.

Thus, for the simple fact that he wrote a lot of very interesting stories, many people tend to quote him in everyday life, since he was - it’s worth repeating - a genius.

Now, genius doesn’t always makes sense; genius could also mean - to use a rather crass word - “crazy”. Arguably, his wit is also timeless. Some of his quotes might make sense, others are quite ridiculous, some are controversial, but they are all very interesting. Certainly, after reading them, I find them quite fascinating and potentially the topic of many debates and arguments. Did you read his quotes about women and shrews, for example? Indeed. There are also the ones about foolish men.

Anyway, let’s get straight to the point. After all, time is money, and we’re here to save it. Here are seven ways to save money, according to William Shakespeare.


1 “Thrift, thrift, Horatio.” (Hamlet)

This quote is Hamlet’s sarcastic appraisal as to the reason his mother so hastily remarried after his father’s death: the funeral baked meats could be served cold at the wedding banquet. In other words, “Save cost, Horatio!”

Hamlet has always been one of my favorite works by Shakespeare. Sure it ends in tragedy (spoiler alert), but it is dang interesting, pardon my language. In the words of today’s younger generations, “Hamlet deserved better!” Plus, his sarcasm makes for a rather exciting read.

Now, then, let’s talk costs and meals.

I find that I am the main cook at my home now, obviously meaning that I do most of the cooking. Only, I get lazy and/or tired sometimes, while other times I’m simply uninspired. Those times, when there are left-overs from lunch, for example, I would just heat them up and serve them for dinner. I’d just whip up something fast and easy to add. So for me, it’s less about saving cost and more about minimum work-load for yours truly. I suppose though, in a way, it’s a thrift of another kind: saves energy and time.

Who says’ ‘save cost’ is all about saving money?

However, there are times when I do ‘thrift’ to save cost. We had a large lunch once, when most of our immediate family members were gathered together and a large meal was provided for everyone. There were some left-overs even with our huge appetite. That very night, we had to visit my ailing grandmother at her home. Several other relatives came over as well. We had decided earlier on to have a potluck dinner, each bringing some sort of dish from our respective homes. To save cost (and also because I was tired still after helping cooked a large lunch), I heated up the left-overs and brought them over to my grandmother’s house. The relatives didn’t know that my contribution to the dinner table were left-overs and I didn’t volunteer any info.

At the end of the visit, there were no more left-overs. Need I say that it was delicious? Well, the proof was in the eating.

Thrifting is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s about good strategies and wise planning. Why waste money when you can find ways to save it? This is especially true when no one complains but are rather benefiting from it. I mean, no one ever complain about free meal, at a funeral or a wedding, that I know of. I also know for a fact that many people at a funeral or wedding ‘thrift’ their way around the costs. It’s good planning as long as the ‘product’ being provided are of an acceptable quality.

So, thrift, thrift, Horatio, don’t let the baked meats go to waste.


2 “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” (Hamlet)

By this he means, do not borrow from or lend to friends; you’ll potentially lose your friends and your money.

This quote is true mostly because I think that a person is not to borrow from or lend money to anyone, ever. Hear me out, first. I know it sounds callous because we are people with needs and feelings. But for clarity’s sake, this particular point is about borrowing or lending in huge amounts; not ten dollars or even a hundred, but any amount above, say, five hundred dollars. For yourself, any amount which you might have trouble paying back if borrowing, or getting back if lending, can be considered a huge amount.

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Borrow: It all begins with spending your own money wisely. Live within your means. Buy what you need, all the basics of life you can’t live without. Manage your personal account; keep your record so you know what to spend on and what not to spend on. Keep some for rainy days; keep some for emergencies. If there are extras, then you can splurge. If you maintain a clean account, you can splurge more times then not. You can even save some in your bank account. So, at the end of the month you won’t have to borrow. Fact-check, I tested this in my own life. I didn’t have a huge paycheck. But I learned self-control, and I lived within my means. It took some getting used to, but I did it. As a result, I had extras to splurge on myself many times. Sure there were some tight times, money-wise, but I never had to borrow. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had to borrow money from anyone.

Lender : I have however lend money to a few friends who never paid me back. Those friends disappeared from my life years ago, along with my money. Well, their money now, since I let bygones be bygones and simply erased their debts. Also, it wasn’t a lot of money so I could afford to just forget it. However, I know of people who lend hundreds and even thousands to friends and even family members. Some of these ‘lenders’ have yet to get their money back, after weeks and months. Why lend then, you rightfully ask? Well, it’s a dilemma, isn’t it? You can’t really say “no” when they ask to borrow without you sounding like a miser or uncaring person. Then, it makes for a very awkward situation when you try to ask that they pay back what they owe you. It is especially awkward and straining on the relationship when the borrower gallivant around seemingly without a care that they still owe you money, as if they have no plans to pay you back. Then you approach them, remind them of their debt, and they go through several different facial expressions. You hasten to say, “But it’s okay, any time you have the money. I just…”

….indeed. Perhaps, Shakespeare has the right idea after all. His way would save you money and friends, at least at the ‘borrow’ part.


3 "If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not as to thy friends, for when did friendship take a breed for barren metal for his friend? But lend it rather to thin

Meaning: If you do lend, than it’s better to lend to an enemy than to a friend, if you’re going to charge interest or penalize default. It’s easier to treat enemies in such a way than with friends which will make for an awkward situation. Imagine trying to charge interest to a friend, or dragging him to court for not paying you back. But as to an enemy, I’d imagine one would generally not feel so beholden to him, rather the opposite, which is the whole point..

Not that you would think of charging interest to anyone, if you’re a nice person. But if you’re a nice person to begin with then you wouldn’t have enemies to lend money to, would you? Besides, what sane person would go to an enemy to borrow money from? A desperate person, yes I know. Thus, the story of The Merchant of Venice.

Getting back to the topic of borrowing: Don’t borrow from someone who you think might be a foe of yours. Nothing good would come from it.

For the sake of maintaining the integrity of our main topic though, you can quote Shakespeare on this: lend to your enemy, with interest. You might get those extra money yet.

Sidenote: This quote is quite controversial, I find. At our very root of conscience, if we’re a sympathetic person and prone to helping others, we might lend to friend and foe, without imposing interests of any kind or setting the terms or conditions for paybacks. We might lose money, still. Shakespeare’s a tough cookie to swallow.


4 “He is well paid that is well satisfied.” (The Merchant of Venice)

If doing someone a service gives you satisfaction, than that’s payment enough.

Or, dare I paraphrase, in keeping with our theme : if you are satisfied with someone’s service, than that is payment worth making. Surely it’s the same thing?

How do you save when you pay, you ask? Well, sometimes you do have to pay for services rendered or products procured. It is only fair. But if you do pay for a service or product, then make sure that the service and product are worth the payment. If not, change merchant and find another which gives you value for your money.

My brother-in-law recently had a friend of his built him a kitchen cabinet. He figured that he’d help his friend with his new and fledgling carpenter-y business. Plus, my brother-in-law thought that it would be easier to negotiate the intricacies and whatnot of the whole project with a friend. It’d be cheaper too, since there could possibly be a friend discount! Well, the pay was definitely below market price, but the product was found faulty within a week of using it, as my sister found. Lesson learned, again; the initial pay might be cheaper than most, but the product is a money-hole, it’ll keep on being repaired for one thing or another until they wised up. They had to hire a professional to rebuilt the whole thing, plus three times the pay. But as my brother-in-law said, “Worth the price. I only had to pay once, and the cabinet is still going on strong!”

You will definitely save a lot when you are well satisfied with the service or product you purchase. Money well-spend is money saved.


5 “Poor and content is rich, and rich enough; but riches fineless is as poor as winter to him that ever fears he shall be poor.” (Othello)

Your heart is where your treasure is. In other words, it’s all about how you think what poverty or wealth is. A little is enough if it satisfies you, but even a whole lot (boundless, fineless) is poor if you’re always afraid of losing it.

Need I say more? Okay, I will say more. If you think that you need a car, then buy one; may that car be the tool of transportation for your convenience. But if you buy a car because your neighbor has one and you have a competitive streak even though you don’t need a car, then you are just wasting your money. Do you know that it doesn’t stop with simply buying a car? You probably do. I might be a novice in owning a car (and I do have a car), but even I know the cost it takes to maintain its upkeep monthly, some parts even weekly, such as the fuel to keep it running. This is the minimum cost; the rest would have bought me a nice medium-sized house by now if I didn’t buy a car years ago.

Dissatisfaction, malcontent, competition, self-indulgence, whatever one calls it, it is Shakespeare’s ‘fineless’. If all you have is all that which you need, that it would be enough to give you contentment. Cast not your eyes on another man’s plane when all you need is a bicycle. You are rich because you have all you need, and all you need is not a burden to you but a source of satisfaction. See, I can do quotes too, Shakespeare.


6 "He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stol’n, let him not know’t and he’s not robb’d at all." (Othello)

Meaning, what you don’t know won’t hurt you.

You know, sometimes you could afford to not know that there’s a sale going on near you. Not if it means that you have an uncontrollable urge to buy everything in sight! Keep one word in mind: shopaholic.

Of course, a sale is a good time to get that much needed item at half-price. Some might have a price slash of an astounding ninety percent! Who wouldn’t want or need that, right? So, if you do have to take advantage of a sale, maybe steer clear away from that aisle you do not need to go to, to keep away from temptation?! If you can that is, because you will save a lot from not knowing about that particular item being sold at almost no price at all which you do not need to get! Another word to keep in mind: Hoarder.

If you do buy things at a sale, then take note of the products being sold. Some are not worth the price slash to their tags. A trinket might work, even some trifts or home decorations, clothes, and clearly-labeled used items.

There’s this couple who bought a brand-new vacuum cleaner at 70% price-slash. In hindsight, they should have wondered why an electronic household item was being sold at such drastically cheap price. They discovered the answer a mere week later: the vacuum cleaner broke down after just two times of use. What the sales person didn’t tell his customers was, the product had been part of a faulty but approved batch and kept in storage as a last resort for customers. The theory was it was actually part of a batch of used items, but kept in such pristine condition that it fooled bargain-hunters into buying it as a brand new one. The couple thought they were lucky, but they ended up losing money since they had to send it for repairs. Oh, and when the couple brought it back to the shop for repairs, the shop conveniently said that the nature of the repair was not part of the warranty. Go figure. Lack of integrity in business aside, as customers we should always wonder why a product is sold at such low prices. After all, it is in our best interest as customers to know what we buy. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is! So this couple thought they had an opportunity for a deal, a ‘steal’ as some say, but what happened was they were taken advantage of. Poor them.

So, avoid temptation, don’t put yourself in a literal aisle of which you should not and could have not been at in the first place.


7 “’Tis very pregnant, the jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t because we see it; but what we do not see we tread upon, and never think of it.” (Measure For

If you don’t see it, if you don’t know it, than you can’t be tempted by it. ‘Pregnant’ here means ‘obvious’, that which can be perceived.

It is a lot similar to point number 6, yes, but let’s expand more on this.

A woman I know of has this ‘radical’ idea of not looking at the local newspapers for as long as there’s a festive season going on. It’s ‘radical’ because the festive seasons could last for as long as a month, and the year-end festive season especially begins as early as two months in advance. Why wouldn’t she read the ‘papers during these times? Well, because there are Sales galore during every festive seasons such as Christmas, Lunar New Year, Harvest Festival or Ramadan. Naturally, all the local newspapers would be filled with ads for the Sales, each competing and promising half-price slash, some even at almost 90%! Anyone would be tempted with a 90% price reduction of any items, never mind that they absolutely do not need that item.

So this woman, a self-proclaimed shopaholic, decides to avoid temptation by not looking for it. Well, it works for her, so why not? Hopefully she doesn’t fall off the wagon. After all, she has enough temptations in the form of her shopaholic friends who keep informing her of this deal and that steal and those “cheap, you’re a fool to not buy some!” items.

…I think she should also avoid those friends during the festive seasons. Or she could learn self-control and not be easily tempted. Either way, if one is to save money, then one must avoid the temptation of spending the money on needless things.

So there you have it, 7 Ways To Save Money According To Shakespeare. Do you agree? Comment below.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Lynne Samuel

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