Friday, December 31, 2010

The History of our Financial Lives

[Actress Joan Fontaine Doing the Household Bookkeeping]

When I was a young teenager, I was intrigued by the cash books in my local store. I bought one and brought it home. From that day forward, I did my best to keep track of my income and spending. I started earning money when I was 11 years old. I did a variety of things like sales, cleaning and babysitting. When I was 15, I had my first real job in a clothing distribution center. I continued to keep track of my spending in my little book, even after I married just a few years later. At that point, I no longer worked. I started to keep a household account.  Because of this, I can now see my budget from when I had one or two children. I can see what I was buying and how much things cost. It is an amazing history!

My Cash book - circa 1980

Many years later, when my oldest child was around 10 years old, I bought her a cash book. I taught her how to write down her income and expenses. I still have her book and love to read it over. I can sense the excitement in her entries. I enjoyed seeing how she wrote down what she bought or the income she received. She was thrilled when she would find money while cleaning. She would promptly write this down, even if it was 25 cents.   Here is her book:

My oldest Daughter's Cash book when she was 10. (1998)

As my children became of age (around 10 years old), I bought each one their own book. They enjoyed writing things down, but as they got older, the practice fell away. I intend to buy each one  a new book this coming year and encourage them to keep track of their financial histories.

Right now, I am having trouble finding old fashioned cash books in the local stores. People seem to prefer computer spreadsheets and such. Sadly, my current cash book is more expensive. Even though I'd rather the old cash book of yesteryear, this one does serve its purpose.  Here is my current ledger book:

It is harder to keep track of all the things I buy. There are just so many needs and expenses. I am looking for ways to cut back. This coming year, I plan to consume less. I want to spend less. I want the items I do buy to be worth writing about.

Mrs. White

You can find more about this in "House Account - A Prudent Homemaker"

Two books are also available from Mrs. White:

For more details, you can find a lesson on keeping a house account in my book, "Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."


For old time encouragement in living simply on a limited income, order Mrs. White's book:

"An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian Housewife"

 77 pages, paperback.


From the Archives -

Loving Home-life - Cleaning the Museum

The blessing of Rising While it is Yet Night

This is a good time to start an old fashioned Bible Study- Here's one from Mrs. White!

 - To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


Lisa Grace said...

I love the thought of the things I spend money on being worth writing about; thanks for that nugget. It is making its way into my goals for this new year! I have been saying we will consume less, but I like the idea of a tangible record of this. I truly enjoy your posts and feel like they help me on my journey as a wife, mom, and homemaker who loves God. Be blessed!

Catherine said...

Thank you for your blog, Mrs. White. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

The Gloverteam is with you on this one. This year our goal is to reduce our consumption of "stuff", to reduce our spending on things of no signifigance.

We purchased the yearly journal from Marma Dear for me to keep track of our extra expenses. Not the month by month bills, that my husband pays, but the things that seem to sneak up and catch us off gaurd, and often times unprepared. I plan to incorporate my entries into the little book as part of my devotions each morning.

Kimberly said...

That is cool! What a discipline to keep track of every penny....

Anonymous said...

I love our writings. Thank you so much. I keep our budget in a spiral notebook. Three pages for each month. Down the side of page one I list every category of things we spend money on that month...except for the things I list on page 2 and 3. The last thing on page one I put all the miscellaneous. There I list anything we bought that month that are seldom bought so they have no category. Depending on how much space is needed for each item I leave a space of one line up to three between each category. When I make a purchase I list the total amount with the days date number above it and maybe the initials of where bought then a slash after it . Next time I just add the next amount bought etc. and a slash again. Second page is the page for utilities and all every month expenses like that and the bottom of that same page any yearly or 6 month bills for that month Third page is for doctor, dentist, over the counter or prescription pills. I may not be able to see how much money I have each day using this but I can sure see what I spend in a week or a month on each thing and can total the month easily. This has sure helped to figure out if we will be able to live on our savings once we retire. I have done this for years and it has worked well for us. I had bought ledgers before that but they were too expensive and hard to find so I went to this method. Sarah

Unknown said...

Can you tell me what categories you use for your entries? (Date, description, amount, balance, etc). Not sure how to get mine started.

Jennifer said...

Hello Mrs. White.
I am living at home because I am disabled.
I get a small disability check every month.
I found your book An Old Fashioned Budget and left a review on Amazon.
I have tried different budgets through the years and this one is my favorite.
I wish I found this book years ago.

I want to make sure I understand one thing in the book.
When using money from one of the savings accounts, do not record it in the money diary?
Thank you,

Mrs. White said...

Dear Jennifer,

I am thankful to hear you like my book, "An Old Fashioned Budget." It is good to hear you find it helpful.

To answer your question, all spending is recorded in the money diary, regardless of where the money came from- income or savings. We record all spending.

Thank you for leaving a review. I appreciate it very much!

Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

I have been doing this for years. I bought your book and enjoyed it! It is so true we have so many more expenses that we never had in the past like cell phones,internet,etc. I use a simple school type of 8 x 11.5 notebook which you can get at the dollar store even or during after the back to school sales you can get it for very cheap. I also staple any bills (utility, credit card,etc) onto that month's entries to keep track. I pay the credit card bill in full every month (but make maybe weekly or every other week payments and never owe or pay interest).