Friday, October 21, 2011

Despairing over the Household Allowance

We are living in very tough times. It takes great ingenuity to make our household budgets work. I read about the Great Depression, and how professors were paid monthly. Their wives would make that money last as long as they could. But by the last few days of the month, they had no money left and ate very little. However, because everyone was  in the same situation, it was considered normal. They had a positive attitude and enjoyed their days, despite the end-of-the- month poverty.

We all have our good and bad months, and even our good and bad years, financially speaking.  Yet this is nothing new to our country or to our world.  In History, we read about the very plain and seemingly boring foods families ate. They had things like porridge, bread and milk and a little meat. Nothing like the feasting we modern Americans enjoy today. This indulgence can get out of control. When money is always tight, and we expect to have cookies and cakes and meat and potatoes on a daily basis, we may suffer from a self-perceived misery.

One of the hardest things a housewife has to do, is create interesting, nutritious foods that cost very little. She needs to make sure the family has that feeling of "plenty" or "enough," and keep their spirits up. There are two ways that might help motivate her in this:

1. Remember that God has the power to give and withhold wealth. He has good reasons for this. We must have faith that as long as we are doing our part, he will provide for our needs. (For a housewife, this does not necessarily mean she has to earn money. - It means she has to faithfully do her household tasks, and be careful with the funds she is given.)

2.  Look like a million! What I mean is to dress up in nice clothes when you are out shopping. Historically, when a housewife went into town for her marketing or errands, she would put on her gloves, hat, heels and jewelry. She would do her best to look nice.   During the late 1930's and 1940's, while this country was suffering from an epidemic of poverty, the majority of women still looked nice on a daily basis. They made the effort and this helped provide a happy mood for them, and for those around them.

Can you smile throughout the day, despite financial worries? Can you spend several hours a day, cleaning, cooking and "slaving" to make sure your home and kitchen run smoothly, so money is not wasted? 

When payday comes, instead of despairing over your household allowance, look at it as your weekly challenge! Dress up for the job and get to work making everything last! This is your adventure. Make it look like fun, just like Mark Twain painting that old fence.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

What do you think? - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

How Precious - The Old Sunday Dinner.

The example of Ruth Bell Graham  - I want to be Like the Mothers Before Me.

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





Anonymous said...

Very encouraging thoughts. One thing I have always told my daughter to do, to prepare her own children for hard financial times, is to get them accustomed to simple foods and to teach them to be content with just 2 or 3 items for a meal, or maybe some foods that we wouldn't normally fix together, but they're available and plentiful. Not to say that things can never be elaborate, but if they are taught when young that a simple meal is good and satisfying, they'll be content as adults when that type of diet is necessary.

Deanna said...

Sweet Autumn Blessings to you!
Hi Mrs. White.

I like what you say about smiling. If the house is tidy and clean, the Mrs. wearing a smile and a happy disposition, the whole household will take notice. Setting a mood for the whole family can make it or break it.

God bless,
d from homehaven

Heather Lynn said...

My biggest challenge is in looking "nice". I can make the budget stretch, but I do not like to do my hair and make up. I do not like to dress up. I know my attitude is better when I do, but it is SO MUCH effort.

April's Homemaking said...

Thanks for this post, we are on a very tight budget, and sometimes I let a bad attitude creep in, instead of looking around for things I can do, and all of the blessing that are in my life. Very good reminder about the women of the past, like my dear old grandma, and great grandma, who looked lovely, and worked so hard to keep things nice during the depression. This was just the post I needed to read this morning, I always appreciate reading your posts! Thank You~April

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such encouraging words ;- ) It is a blessing to know that I can come to your blog and leave feeling encouraged as a housewife/mama.

Many blessings to you and yours!

Matthew 6:33

Noelle the dreamer said...

A great post Mrs. White and so very true! Thank you for reminding us how very blessed we are as women. We have the power to do so much even if we have very little!
There is a sense of wholeness to your comments which once read by other bloggers is sure to reflect on them and their view of life. The power of communication!
Keep on with the inspiration and God bless,

Sally@threeblondeboyz said...

What a lovely blog! I am now your newest follower =) I totally agree with this post. Times are especially hard for us at the moment but the lessons we have learned are priceless! We never leave the house as a family without my boys all dressed nicely. People always comment positively. My 5 year old didn't want to yesterday. "I want to look 'cool' Mom, not 'Cute " he said! I had to smile. Yes, give thanks in advance and everything you need will be provided. This is a lesson I learn't. Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog , Sally xx

Unknown said...

This is great...thanks for the encouragement!

busymomof10 said...

I really loved this post! It was a great reminder to be content with what we have and to find joy in the simple things of life! I loved thinking about how homemakers in times past used to dress up to go to town! Now you see people most often in jeans, sweats, or even their pajamas!!! Yes, I'm seeing more and more people in the pajama pants and even in slippers!!! Sometimes I wish I lived in a previous generation when hard work and traditional values prevailed!

Harshika said...

Mrs White, I am a long time lurker and this post has made me delurk :)
I am from a considerably poor nation-India although I personaly grew up with reasonable wealth of my parents by Asian standards. I now live in Dubai, the land of oil and construction rich sheikhs. The average household income here is three to five thousand dollars a month. Everybody is pretty well off. My own husband is doing exceedingly well earning way above the national average of this country. I am not bragging here, we have been blessed by God and I am grateful for the wealth and material comforts. However, just as you say in your post, I and my husband live very simple and way below our means. Inspite of having plenty of savings and assets, my husband enjoys a simple lifestyle and believes in blessing others. And even though I have enough money on any given day to walk in to a high end store and pick up anything I fancy, I dont. I even dont like wasting too much money on extra food. Whetever is nutritious, is fine. And I feel we are like that because we come from a poor nation. in India we are taught to be frugal and considerate, so it comes easily to most Indians. I may be generalising a bit but a large majority of us are indeed frugal and mindful of our spending habits. Personaly i am convinced that times like the Great Depression or even the recent recession are a great lessons for families worldwide. Nothing tests our faith like a crisis!
While I have never been in need and have infact had excess of wealth and possesions, but just being from India makes me super concious of wants and need in the world around me. I cannot escape it. So which is why I enjoyed your post...I shall share it with my husband too. God bless you for the insight.
In His love,

Gabrielle said...

I wonder if that is where the saying "Too much month at the end of the money" comes from, since they were paid monthly instead of weekly.

Growing up we definitely had more lean times than not, but I never felt it. And I never had more than a dollar or two, given to me for something specific such as a lunch at school.

When I got married and our older children were little, I taught myself to stay home more often than not. I taught myself to refrain from going out and from spending. It was out of necessity but also because I saw the wisdom in doing so. It was hard but I am so glad I did that!

Then, as my children began to notice things and ask for them, I taught them to never waste their money on junk. And to keep an eye out for something special instead.

Still, we rarely go out shopping. We all enjoy going to the thrift store or an auction, and that is also a treat for us and we will not spend just for the sake of it.

There is definitely another way of living, and many wouldn't desire it, but it does help to build character in those who live by it. It also gives one a better sense of reality and that just feels good to the soul!