Thursday, January 3, 2013
My old fashioned ledger book is for my "House Account." This year, as I started the 2013 entries, I gave the book a title. It is to be called "My Husband's Money."
Each evening, as I write down any money I spent that day, I will see the title. I will know I have been given a great privilege and honor to be put in charge of the management of Mr. White's finances.
The last few weeks, in the bitter Vermont cold, I realized I needed a new pair of house slippers. It was dreadful coming in the house and taking off my winter boots and just feeling so cold. After some time, I stopped into a store and found a suitable pair for $6.00. I also bought a special welcome mat to put in the front entry way. This cost $3.00 and is quite necessary since it helps get some of the snow off the shoes of the guests as they enter our home. I was pleased with the practicality of buying both of these items. The total will be handwritten in my book, along with an explanation of what I bought and why. This is the recording of the history of my spending for the household of my husband.
At any moment, as I sit near the fireplace and hand-write entries in my financial journal, I would be proud to have my husband look over my shoulder and know I have done well with his hard earned money. He will be content and at peace with his household affairs, being carefully tended by his trusted wife.
This accountability, of calling this year's Ledger book, "My Husband's Money," will give me a constant remembrance of the honor in which I have been given to take care of his funds. It will stop me cold when I am tempted to spend frivolously and foolishly. It will help me to keep a long-term perspective - of the future history we are making with our spending and saving, and prevent me from causing harm or waste in this materialistic culture.
A few years ago when I first mentioned my House Account, it was picked up by well-known blogger, Frugal Dad. He and his wife decided to try a handwritten journal for their own home. My House Account has brought me a tremendous amount of questions. The following are a couple of links to help answer some of these questions:
1. The House Account (An introduction. This was originally designed as a monthly check-in, but I have given up on blogging continuously about it.)
2. The History of our Financial Lives (includes photographs of my ledger book.)
Some have asked what I recorded, or how I separate things into categories. This is for each family to decide for themselves, but I will share my own method. I do not put things into categories. I don't particularly care how much was spent on transportation, grocery or insurance. That is not my intention when writing out my ledger book. I am simply keeping a financial journal of what I buy, or how I am spending. This can be looked over, in a similar way as a personal journal, but we are seeing numbers and spending, rather than an abundance of words.
The simplest way I can explain this is to share the three items at the top of each page of my ledger:
1. The Date.
That's all there is to my ledger book.
My ledger book is not a budget. (I have a separate notebook for my weekly bills and planned expenses.) It is a financial journal. I can look back through the pages and see how much I spent each month and each year. I can also see the carefulness, the love, the attention, and the reason behind the spending (there are notes in the entries) and look back to see the financial lives of the White Family Home.
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