Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Family Economy

1911 family working together to earn $3 a week (Library of Congress Archives)

I have been spending a lot of money lately. Each day, it seems, I smile to my husband and say, "Honey, I am broke." He then gives me a little extra cash to get through the day.   I had been so careful for so long, but many things have come up to cause money to disappear.  Either someone has a birthday, event, or a need for special clothes. Or there are extra expenses. Or maybe I forgot how to be creative?

I was thinking about hard working Immigrant families from the early 1900's. Almost everyone in the family worked together (often at home) to earn enough cash to feed, house and clothe each other.  Money was not something to be squandered!  What I would like to do today is consider how they would handle special events where gifts were required.

 - If someone needed special clothes for a church event, wedding, or graduation. I am sure the pride of that family would kick in and all would work extra hard to earn enough to buy the clothes.  Contrast this with today's thinking. We would spend our bill money, savings, or charge the clothes, rather than find ways to earn all that extra money.

- If there was a birthday, they would not go to the local mall to buy all kinds of presents for each other. I am not sure what they would do, but I can guess they would make something, or pitch in together to buy one thing that was greatly wanted or needed.  Gifts were also much more rare than they are today, making them far more appreciated.

It also seems to me that money was earned for more basic purposes in the old days.   I don't understand why, even in my own mind, I have to fight against the constant supposed need for money that I tend to use and waste for my own convenience.

One of the greatest things we can do as a family, is to work together to keep expenses down. We can work together (with our own hands and talents) to cook and to bake and to create, to bless each other. 

In this rough economy, how can any of us dare to be frivolous? Sadly, I don't think I will ever shake this constant fight against wasting something so essential to basic living.

Mrs. White

Today is - A Lovely Day for Cleaning.

The Heartbreak - Trouble with Teenagers.

A Blessing - The Gentle Art of Homekeeping.

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busymomof10 said...

Great post, as always!

Illinois Lori said...

I couldn't agree more :-) With my two sons, I always felt it was important that they learn a marketable skill of some sort as part of their homeschool education. At the age of 15, we travelled to Ohio (we're in Chicagoland) so my oldest could train with a master sharpener. The next summer, he opened his knife sharpening booth at our local farmers market, and he's served our community in great numbers for the last 5 years. He's also trained his younger brother, who handles most of the work now that Bryan is in New York apprenticing on a sheep farm. Bryan will always sharpen as part of his income; Nathan leaves for college in the fall to study electrical engineering...he plans to get his PhD and do research in nanotechnology, but I am so grateful that he has a skill he can fall back on to earn money for himself and his family if things don't work out the way he hopes. I have served as their "front desk girl" in the business all these years, at home and at the markets, and I've LOVED having this family cottage industry! My dh has a great and steady job as an architect, and we are blessed that he provides for us so well. But he is not at home much, so there is always a trade-off. It is a blessing to possess the industrial wherewithall to take your skills, no matter how great or how small, and use them to serve the community and make money for the family.

Thanks for your wonderful posts, as always!


Laura Lane said...

You are so right about money going quickly. There are times that I am quite frugal. Other times, I seem to throw money at a problem. Oh for frugal consistency.
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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