“De poquito en poquito se llena el jarrito.”
“Little by little the jar is filled.”
“Quiere decir que, por ejemplo, una persona ahorrativa, puede llegar a tener mucho, porque antes la gente en lugar de tener banco, o sea, juntaban sus cosas en los jarritos. Los jarritos eran como los vasos para tomar el agua, y los que se rompían, esos se usaban como alcancía.”
“It means that, for example, a person who is thrifty, can end up having a lot, because in the old days people, instead of having a bank, basically put their savings in jars. These jars were like glasses to drink water out of, and those that broke were used as piggybanks.”
My mom, the informant for this proverb, was born and grew up in Mexico, living the first 30 years of her life in Mexico City. As a native Mexican, she knows a lot about the customs and culture of the country. Besides that, she also grew up in a family that, like most Mexican families, uses proverbs very frequently in everyday speech. She therefore learned most of the proverbs that she knows in a household setting, from family members and friends. She remembers most of the proverbs that she heard while growing up given the fact that they were constantly repeated, and also because of their very memorable format, often using rhymes, alliteration, and rhythm to convey their message. Today, many of them are part of her everyday vocabulary.
The sentiment expressed in this proverb is wise advice for any person, but especially for those belonging to the middle or working class. Though you may feel like you do not have a lot in the moment, that little bit, over a longer period of time, will accumulate into something greater. This saying stresses the benefits of saving money, relating it to a very literal object of the past, that of the jar being used as a piggybank. It is indeed a resourceful, and economical philosophy – instead of spending money as soon as you get it, save it up towards something bigger and better.