(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)
(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves, so the saying goes.

It’s a mindset Prime Minister Anthony Albanese owned in opposition, saying that growing up in a poor, single-parent household taught him scrupulousness he’d apply to government finances. Now in government, Albanese has directed his ministers to find savings in their portfolios.

But kitchen-table folk wisdom -- or poverty-induced frugality -- rarely translates well to public policy. Indeed, if you do too much penny-pinching you can create problems that will take pounds to clean up later.