A child of the heartland, Iva Beatrice Core (1903-1987) grew up and lived most of her life in Richland Center, Wisconsin. As a young woman of 26 in 1929, Iva was determined to collect and write down the quaint sayings of her Uncle Jeff for posterity's sake.
What I spent, I had.
What I saved, I lost.
What I gave, I have.
— Iva B. Core
While Iva collected her uncle's quaint sayings, Good Reads lists this particular quote as a German motto. The saying is also similar to a quote by English Composer Thomas Ravenscroft. Wikiquote has a page of quotes dedicated to beneficence and likens Uncle Jeff's quote to one by Charles Spurgeon as reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert's Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers from 1895. A version of the quote has also been attributed to Ethel Percy Andrus.
It seems unlikely that Iva would have come across the variations of the quote that she recorded for posterity from anyone but her Uncle Jeff in 1929.
We grow up believing in sayings told to us by our loved ones. It is how we learn. Nevertheless, it always comes as a shock to us when we discover that some of the quotes we learn as children are not original to our family and date to another time or to another family.
Uncle Jeff ruminated on thoughts and themes from sorrow to happiness and Iva noted nine such sayings. We will visit Iva and Uncle Jeff from time to time and recall a simpler time.