Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Housekeeper's Budget

Library of Congress: Husband and Wife going over House Account in 1941 Minnesota

As another month draws to an end, it is time to reflect on the household budget. I am ready to close out this month's account.  This is where I add up all the bills that were paid, the money I spent, and the money I gave away.  Every dollar and dime are accounted for because I write it in a book. This helps me see what I am doing wrong, or how I can fix things for the coming months.  It also keeps a record (or a history) of our home expenses.

A good housekeeper must be a good manager. One of the biggest goals she should have is to live on a budget.  She must learn to live within the income the house is provided with. This takes time and effort. It even takes a great deal of wisdom and logic to avoid the traps and temptations of the advertising world around us.

We are taught, in our modern world, to save money by spending it.  This is a genius advertising method to get us to spend as much money as possible.   There are many ways to save money and we must learn to be creative and find what works in our own situation. For instance, I can tell you how to save money on winter heat here in Vermont. But it will not help someone living in Florida. We can share ideas on how to save, but we must take only the advice which works for our own family.

We had a couple of high bills outside of our budget recently. A car repair bill (which I consider to be part of a yearly expense) was more than I expected.  There were also a few emergency trips which cost extra money in gas and charity.  This put me over my spending.  Since we live on a fixed income, I had to take the extra money out of a small savings account to make up the difference.  This is not good because that savings cannot be replaced.  So next month I have readjusted my expenses to keep my spending low.  One of the biggest ways I did this was to cut my gas and grocery money.  This means I will have to work much harder in making homemade meals and to stay home as much as possible.  These are not difficult things to do, but they do take time and effort. They also require some sacrifice on my part. I am willing to do this because it will help our family and home for the long term.

I could either be wasteful and foolish or I can be frugal and careful. I choose to work here at home, doing my part, to keep us out of the poor house. Every housekeeper ought to have that same attitude.  The lady of the house can spend her family into poverty or she can manage the money well and bring peace and security into her home for many years. The stability of a home depends on how well the household funds are managed.

Does it matter if you are poor or rich?  In other words, is it okay to be careless and carefree and wasteful in our management of money just because we have plenty?  Being frugal and a good manager of one's income is something every single household should practice.  No business will last long if they spend more than they make.  No household will stay out of the poor house if they spend more than they make. One should not make a habit of spending out of the savings account or of getting into debt to get through the month.  All of us have to live within our income.

 I want to explain the importance of little savings.  We can earn a few pennies in a savings account.  We may look at our bank statement and think it is a paltry, insignificant income.  However, if you think about that interest earned in a new way - you may be more likely to appreciate every little dime.

1. I have been paying my electric bill over the phone with a check (or debit card) for over a year.  There is no fee. There is no cost.  This has saved me one stamp per month.  That is like earning 48 cents in interest for the month.

2. I just learned that I can also do this with my phone bill.  This will save me another stamp and earn me another 48 cents.

In these two items I have earned almost a dollar by doing something different. That is 12 dollars a year which could buy a gift for someone's birthday.  It is by being creative and by being careful with money that we can be successful managers.  Can we face most all things in our financial life in a similar way? Could we try to spend less in every aspect of our household without really changing our quality of life?

The housekeeper's budget is just a simple notebook listing all the fixed expenses like the rent or mortgage. It includes the electric bill, the phone bill, and the cost of insurance.  There is an amount for groceries and gas and any other expense that is required to run one's home.

Another book could be the "house account" book where all the money that is spent is recorded as they happen throughout the month.  This is where we see the truth of how the budget is working.  We can see any mistakes we make or any changes that are necessary. It takes a bit of thought and time to keep household financial books, but they are an important part of managing a home with care and wisdom.

Mrs. White

For details on keeping track of spending - House Account - A Prudent Homemaker.

From the Archives -

A 12 Week Challenge for saving and giving - My Book - Economy for the Christian Home.

Simple Living - Retirement Planning for the Poor.

The precious joy of Grandchildren - I hear Angels Crying.

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Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:
Paperback, 200 pages. 


TheLoriA said...

Thank you for this post. How true and timely that I read this. I have gotten a bit sloppy with the weekly money I have to keep us in groceries, clothes, haircuts and the like. This was a great reminder and a wonderful uplifting message. Best blessings, Lori

Lana said...

We are also on a fixed disability income and our saving for retirement was cut short by 7 1/2 years due to the disability. I am the same as you about the savings account as it will need to be there for a true emergency for perhaps decades and I cannot fund it to replace what is spent. I am planning a consultation with a friend who can advise me on how to earn more interest on my savings than just letting it sit in the bank passbook savings. This will grow the account slowly. God has been so good to us and we lack for nothing. I think stamps are up to 52 cents now so even more savings!

LeighSabey said...

Thank you for the reminder to balance my accounts today. This is one of my favorite parts of being a homemaker. Seeing the numbers fit together as planned helps to justify all of those day spent baking, hanging up laundry to dry, and otherwise doing frugal things.

Deanna said...

Thank you for sharing your tips. I know it is helpful to read how others make ends meet.

Amelia said...

This is very good information here, many seem to have no value of money. This is also very encouraging because it helps wives staying home to know they can make it with wise spending habits and saving.

Thank you for taking the time to share!


Suzanne said...

Thank you for your wisdom and every little bit does help😉

Rhonda said...

This is so true that small things do add up.

Anonymous said...

Ei ! Este é meu primeiro comentario aqui, então eu só queria dar um alô
rápido e dizer que eu realmente gosto de acompanhar seus posts do blog .
Você pode sugerir algum outro blog/site/fórum que fale os mesmos tópicos?
Obrigado pelo seu tempo .

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

After fifteen months of cancer treatment, it's about time that I start being more careful with money. My husband has taken care of things during my illness and treatment. I'm done with all my chemo treatments and am able to do more about the house. I've got a long way to go to be a busy bee, but I'll do what I can.
Bless you!
You're an inspiration.
Laura Lane
Carthage, Missouri

Anonymous said...

Thank you for another highly anticipated post!!
My husband is the sole financial manager of the household. He gives me money each week on payday for anything I want. I choose to use it very carefully, as well. THis helps everyone in the home, and it works for us. When I used to manage the money, it got to be too stressful for me.....I'm not a very good bill payer, I guess!! Now, this system takes a huge load off my mind over worries about how the bills will all get paid. He worries for me. We women are truly blessed financially who can stay home and learn to take care of our families from our home, though. I wouldnt trade it for anything. I really really really enjoy all of your posts, and everyday I come here to find peace, relaxation and good advice... you are a blessing. Keep up the great work. I would miss you if you stopped writing. I miss Crowned With Silver, as well!!! Long gone are those days!!
God bless you!

Glenda said...

Thank you for this post. This very subject has been on my mind for days. You are a blessing, Mrs. White, for sure.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your letter to us today. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello Dear, I read this post a few days back and I have done a lot of thinking on it and I wanted to say it has reminded me of how I really need to be more responsible in using the finances the Lord has provided for us! Praying for an extra gift for your home!
Hugs, Roxy

Kathy T. said...

Such a good post, Mrs White! I keep my budget on a computer spreadsheet and I am constantly adjusting it to account for unexpected expenses or windfalls. It’s fun to see where to save money. One of the biggest things for me was realizing I don’t have to go anywhere every day. I used to feel cooped up if I couldn’t go out somewhere, but I realized that if I went out, I usually spent money that I really didn’t need to. It wa a big shift for me. Now I love being home and finding things to do around the house!
God Bless you and I thank you for your wise words.


Anonymous said...

when I feel like giving up, and this old world pulls homemakers down more and more, this blog picks me up and helps me to keep on going, no matter what the world says... I wish homemakers were valued once again. thanks for making life make sense being a stay at home home schooling housewife bearable at times...

Kim said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I am always amazed and thankfull how other stay at home wives stretch the household budget.
Please share more of your wisdom. I get weary at times and you are an encouraging light in my day. We live in Ohio and our winters are terrible. I am always looking for ways to cut heat, electric and gasoline. As well as staying home more to save and stay within our budget.
Because of Grace,