Don’t Be Patty The Milkmaid

A great reminder today from Mr. Aesop :)

Patty the Milkmaid was going to market carrying her milk in a pail on her head.

As she went along, she began calculating what she would do with the money she would get for the milk.

“I’ll buy some fowls from Farmer Brown,” said she, “and they will lay eggs each morning, which I will sell to the parson’s wife. With the money that I get from the sale of these eggs I’ll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won’t all the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that jealous; but I don’t care. I shall just look at her and toss my head like this.”

As she spoke she tossed her head back, the pail fell off it, and all the milk was spilt.

Moral of the story (according to Aesop): Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

Moral of the story (according to J$): Don’t use money to impress others! Use it to impress yourself and build a happy life for your family. (And then when you’re financially free, buy all the dimity frocks you’d like! ;))

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, everyone. Thanks for still being here after all these years 🙏

j. money signature

// Other great reminders as we head into the holiday season:

*This post was originally shared in 2017, but had to get those dimity frocks trending again ;)

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47 Comments

  1. Ms99to1percent November 22, 2017 at 5:52 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too J!

    And yes, no need to “Use money you haven’t earned to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.”-Unknown

    Reply
  2. Accidental Fire November 22, 2017 at 6:37 AM

    Awesome…. yes, I had to look up dimity frock. Patty’s also looking to trade that horse-drawn carriage in for a BMW M3, but let’s try to talk some sense into her :)

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 9:14 AM

      That Patty is always up to something!

      Reply
  3. Leo T. Ly November 22, 2017 at 6:46 AM

    Happy thanksgiving everyone. Just have your turkey and enjoy it. Don’t need to compare your stuffing with the Jones’ stuffing.

    Reply
  4. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance November 22, 2017 at 7:29 AM

    What a great story! Succinct yet powerful!

    Morale of the story (according to Ms. FAF): Take good care of your assets!

    Reply
  5. [HCF] November 22, 2017 at 8:07 AM

    Great story and like your point.

    Moral of the story (according to [HCF]): Use your head for the right tasks!

    Reply
  6. Lisa O November 22, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy what you have been given.

    Moral of the story (according to Lisa O) ~ Jealousy is just plain ugly when it rears its head!

    Reply
  7. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 9:15 AM

    haha y’all are too much :)

    Reply
  8. Joe November 22, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Hilarious. I’ve never heard this one before.
    Have a terrific Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    1. Dads Dollars Debts November 22, 2017 at 9:40 AM

      That one gets my vote….clever, witty…clever and witty.

      Now I am going to go have some milk.

      Reply
      1. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 3:17 PM

        Get some from chocolate cows if you really want to go crazy! ;)

        Reply
  9. Mike @ Balanced Dividends November 22, 2017 at 10:47 AM

    Good points. We’ve done this before with year-end bonuses or base salary increases…we weren’t trying to impress others, but we’d think “let’s travel here or invest in that!”

    And then some years there was no bonus or base increase. Or you have an unexpected emergency. Or any number of things!

    Other moral of the story: be thankful for what you do have now in your life.

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 3:19 PM

      Very good point too… Can’t count on anything until it’s sealed and delivered! I was reminded of this myself just the other day when a large deal I was working on fell through at the last minute, womp womp…

      Reply
  10. Nick November 22, 2017 at 11:03 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Short, sweet, and too the point. Gotta love Aesop’s Fables

    Reply
  11. Miguel (The Rich Miser) November 22, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    Today she might not even try to sell the milk, and just buy the frock and hat with her credit card. (And over time fall into a debt spiral). Great lesson!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 3:22 PM

      Hah! Probably would have Ubered to the market too ;)

      Reply
  12. Mrs. Picky Pincher November 22, 2017 at 11:13 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for all the milk in my buckets!

    Reply
  13. Cody @ Dollar Habits November 22, 2017 at 11:30 AM

    Great message! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    Reply
  14. David November 22, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    I laughed out loud at your moral…this is a funny frocking post!

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 3:23 PM

      (Ahh I see what you did there!)

      Reply
  15. Dave November 22, 2017 at 12:15 PM

    Happy thanksgiving. Thanks for putting me in the right frame of mind. I hope everyone enjoys themselves and has a safe holiday.

    Reply
  16. Lily @ The Frugal Gene November 22, 2017 at 12:26 PM

    I have no idea how Aesop came up with that conclusion. I think they may have confused it with another story. Your conclusion makes a lotttt more sense than the original one.

    My take is just stop day dreaming about goals but actually make them happen. Aww I love it when a story has more than one lesson. Thank you for sharing happy early turkey day!

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 22, 2017 at 3:24 PM

      She was trying to make them happen! She was literally on her way to hustling stuff! Haha…

      Reply
  17. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance November 22, 2017 at 12:33 PM

    I though the lesson here was to better protect your milk (or money). Instead of carrying that bucket on her head, maybe she should have had it in an armored car.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  18. Jeff @ Maximum Cents November 22, 2017 at 1:30 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing. Too bad Patty didn’t have plastic jugs back in those days! we have so much to be thankful for including living in a society where we can specialize in something and don’t have to barter for our food.

    Reply
  19. Sara @ Gathering Dreams November 22, 2017 at 4:34 PM

    What a great story! I completely agree we should never try to impress others!

    It reminded me of something my grandma used to say – only because it has milk in it I suppose :)

    “Don’t cry over spilled milk”

    If you make a mistake that you can’t fix, forget about it instead of getting depressed and complain. Move on, and get on with life!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Reply
  20. Mr. Tako November 22, 2017 at 5:44 PM

    Funny story J$. Why would she be carrying milk on her head? Strange place to put it.

    Moral Of The Story (to me): Don’t daydream, focus on the present and protect your assets.

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 27, 2017 at 11:41 AM

      Hey – I like daydreaming! If you can’t do that you woudn’t have many exciting goals :)

      Reply
  21. Mrs. Groovy November 22, 2017 at 9:40 PM

    If Patty’s head wasn’t in the clouds she wouldn’t have dropped the pail.

    Moral of the story according to Mrs. Groovy: Pay attention to the path you’re on. And don’t covet things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like. After all, that Polly was a real head case.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 24, 2017 at 9:06 AM

      It would be nice to hear Polly’s side of things :)

      Reply
  22. Emma Anne November 23, 2017 at 4:25 PM

    J Money, I love your articles! Your sound advice, honest delivery, creativity and humor are much appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 24, 2017 at 9:06 AM

      Thanks Emma – very kind of you to say :)

      Reply
  23. alex wilson November 24, 2017 at 1:32 AM

    A really meaningful story, we should not calculate the results until we get it. Now polly must be happy.

    Reply
  24. Danielia November 25, 2017 at 1:36 AM

    That was awesome and a great cautionary tale!

    Reply
  25. ZJ Thorne November 25, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope the milkmaid at least refrained from crying over her pail.

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 27, 2017 at 11:35 AM

      I think we all know she did not ;)

      Reply
  26. Aparna @ Elementum Money November 27, 2017 at 2:49 AM

    Interesting take on an age-old tale. My take: Unrealised gains are just that – unrealised. Don’t jump up in excitement when the market goes up because it might just come crashing down the next instant.

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 27, 2017 at 11:35 AM

      Amen to that, too!

      Reply
  27. Ann Elizabeth Byrne November 30, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    Damn, how I love a nice dimity frock.

    Reply
    1. J. Money December 6, 2017 at 3:16 PM

      (bow chicka wha wha!)

      Reply
  28. Investmentsoup November 24, 2022 at 12:17 PM

    I love dimity frocks, especially the tie dye ones! Happy TG to you and your family J! Thanks for the great bit of perspective!

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 25, 2022 at 12:33 PM

      HAH! Polly Shaw would be mighty jealous of you too! 😂

      Reply
  29. Rita November 24, 2022 at 3:20 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks, as always for your great articles. I’m so glad that you’re Budgets Are Sexy again.

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 25, 2022 at 12:33 PM

      Thank you Rita, you are sweet :)

      Reply
  30. Greenback Magnet November 25, 2022 at 5:55 PM

    Short, sweet and straight to the point! But hey, inspiration can come from anywhere. I wrote a post about how Supergirl inspired me to buy real estate using my Roth IRA so anything is possible!

    xoxo, Greenbacks Magnet

    Reply
    1. J. Money November 28, 2022 at 9:46 AM

      hah – of course you did!!

      Reply

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