Thursday, August 12, 2010

12 August 1956” Budget article concluded, My Financial Budget Recipe, and a New Dress”

budgetarticle10 budgetarticle11 budgetarticle12 budgetarticle13 Now, I know there is much in this article that one could protest, but honestly there is some sound advice as well. And as far as the husband, “Opening his wallet and laying down a 20” in our household and indeed in many if not most 1950’s household, the woman handed out the money. Managing it and budgeting the inflow of money was her job and one she took seriously.
I also think the image of the bad wife running about dress shops is funny to me, because I would say today it is both the husband and wife who are running about spending. And with no task master at all, we can sometimes be like great children with play money. The use of electronic money makes it even easier, as if it is some magic card that gives us what we want. The use of cash is really utmost in a proper homemaking budget duties. You cannot overspend what you do not have in your hand, the store won’t allow it. But, the credit cards and banks will and they even encourage it. When your 4 dollar latte costs 100 down the road with interest, you would have been glad to have to say, “Oh, I only have enough for a small coffee”. Something to think about anyway. So, how did any of you think of the article overall?
I thought we could discuss budget making a little. I often get letters from readers asking me about my own budget. Obviously each individual will need to cater their money situation to their own personal needs, but really I use a sort of ‘formula’ that came from my vintage books on housekeeping and trial and error.
For the overall budget of the household I break it down into three categories:
1. Set In Stone: This first bit is what we HAVE to pay each month or we get into trouble. These include
    • Mortgage/rent
    • Taxes
    • Utilities (phone, electric, fuel oil, internet services)
    • Car Payments (which I am lucky to be without)
    • Insurance costs (home, auto, health)
2. Elastic: This second set of items are NEEDED but can sometimes be tweaked if there are unforeseen circumstances that money needs to be shuffled about.
    • Savings-now savings ARE important and need to be addressed each month. I like to attempt to keep these in the above list, but really they belong here, because if one needs to for one particular month or week, this can be lessened. Perhaps with an attempt to make up the difference another month when there is a surplus. We should be saving at least one weeks salary a month. (If both couples work, yes that means both. With today’s housing market I know this is not always easy but it is a specific amount to work towards.
    • Groceries-Here I try to keep this budget down to the penny, but if something comes up, I will cut back in favor of savings. So, if an unexpected car cost or something arose, I would steal from groceries first and then allowances before Savings. Having one member of the couple home makes this aspect perfect. It is part of my job to economize here, so if this needs to be lessened one month, then soups and other things I may have prepared and froze come into play.
    • Allowances-I allot a weekly allowance in cash in hand for both hubby and myself. Hubby gets 10% roughly of his weekly pay. I take 5%. When tweaking needs to be done and the groceries have been done then allowances would come next affecting mine first. This is a decision I made as I feel it is important for my hubby to have a steady weekly cash flow, since all the money he earns comes straight to me. He is a marvelous saver and spends only from this allotment. He does not even have a Debit card from our main checking account.
    • Auto Fuel-This may seem odd to have this placed in elastic, but for us it is. Hubby needs to drive the same amount each month, but as we now only have one car, I do not need to take it as often. My having the car on a day he works involves double driving. This is an expense easily done away with. I use the car often when he works an odd day or when he is off. Careful planning of shopping trips avoids the need to say, “Oh, I forgot this I better hop down and get it” Before we went down to one car, I would often do this, but slowly learned how easy it was to make do. When it is there, you will use it, that is just human nature. And the reduction in gas cost, insurance and excise taxes means more savings or an increase in allowance.
3.Extraneous-This encompasses anything outside of the other listed items. Including clothing. I maintain and repair husbands clothes. I make my own clothes. My fabric and notions come out of my allowance/pin money. If hubby needs clothes, he informs me and I buy them for him. I am lucky as he never fluctuates in size so I can buy him shirts/trousers or shoes and know they will fit. Part of his last birthday gift from me was new shoes from my allowance.
    •   Entertainment-movies, theatre
    • Dining out-restaurants or even stopping at our local cafe whilst on our bikes
    • magazines/books etc (we get free magazines by checking them out of our local library. We often find great books for free at our local dump swap shop and hubby downloads endless free books for his nook (paid for out of his cash allowance).
    • clothing
So, I know this is a very large overview and one’s savings should be really broken down into weekly allotments ( I find saving that much easier when it is a smaller amount each week) but this gives a general guideline that I think most anyone could apply to their own budgets. And those of you who have children have to add much more, such as college savings, etc, but children's clothing could certainly go in the elastic section. The worst situation, of course (which I had before 1955) is to not have any budget at all. There really is no excuse and it is not hard to do . The less we consider our spending the easier it is to over spend.
Now, onto sewing. I do not have a photo of my latest dress (the blue and red and white dotted number I showed on my manikin a few posts ago) but I do have another dress I made. I had not documented it, as I became rather lazy in my posting after our satiation week.
This little number is definitely a summer and also spring dress. It is of seersucker.Junedress1 It looks lovely with a vintage lavender sweater I have with pearl beadwork. The colors are so close it is uncanny. I didn’t have the cardigan in mind when I bought the fabric, either.junedress2 My hat is vintage, of course and is of white straw with a grosgrain ribbon on back. I cut the bodice of the dress (which has a separate piece for the waistline) out of a sold blue seersucker and then embossed it with two fancy stitches using the ‘discs’ in my Singer Rocketeer. I also tripped the bodice top in bias tape to match the the blue midriff. It is a comfortable summer weight dress and seersucker is a dream for ‘carefree’ summer fabric.
I am really getting into changing and altering the style of the dress by using inlays of different fabric. I did this even more so in my latest dress that I will post about at some point. I have been good enough to stick to my ‘one dress a month’ so far. Now I need to schedule more ‘doll making’ into that sewing time. It’s lovely when your job is so elastic to encompass so much creativity and you pile more and more on. Yet, rather than feeling too overwhelmed (though I can sometimes) you feel mostly lucky and happy and almost never call it work (well, maybe cleaning the bathroom I call work!)
Well, until next time, Happy Homemaking!


  1. Great budget post! I agree with you 100% over and over that using cash makes a HUGE diff in the whole budget process. It's just not "real" money when a shopper pays by swiping a card. I do like the convenience of a debit card, because I am aware that the money is instantly taken out of the account. However, even with that my kids were having a hard time understanding the concept of "money". Using cash, I can literally open up my wallet and say "See? We don't have enough to buy that right now", or "See? We have this money, but tomorrow we need to run errands so we can't spend it today". It's there, it's real. And wow, it's so much easier to save money and not over spend when using cash. [Very cute dress!! As a side note, our local Hallmark store is now carrying a line of super cute aprons. And not just for costume/fun, but the real deal for kitchen use. More and more aprons are making a come back!]

  2. Oh - forgot to comment about the articles themselves. VERY interesting stuff!! Especially about homemakers not receiving a tangible (paycheck) "reward" for the work done around the house, etc. Quite a bit of what's in the articles is still an issue today in lots of households, whether the wife is a homemaker or not. Very interesting stuff; thanks for posting it.

  3. Love the dress and sweater. You look cute!

  4. You sound like a fabulous wife with a lot of financial talent - I hope your hubby is proud of you. And I also hope you inspire a lot of us to do the same. We have two incomes, but you have inspired me a lot not to buy things I don’t need, just because they are cheap and/or nice. When I have a “need” for spending money, DH and I go to a flea market, and most often find a lot of treasures for almost no money. You are a great source of inspiration - please keep you your good work on your lovely blog and your website. :)

    We have also broken our budget into pieces, but I would like to break it further down. I think saving for birthday and Christmas gifts would be a great idea. For us March and December are pretty expensive. We save for dentist bills right now. And son has got his own monthly allowance (approx 66 dollars) to buy clothes for himself. Besides these clothes money he also gets “pocket money” (approx 16 dollars a week, and only if his rooms are tidied up). The clothes money started about three years ago when he suddenly only could wear very expensive jeans and shirts, an since brands have never interested me, I said “Fine, son, here is some money for you, then you go figure out how to afford it!”. I had bought nice clothes from H&M for him previously, but suddenly it wasn’t good enough. About 6 months later he changed his mind and went back to H&M. Now he has a lot of really nice clothes to change from instead of one pair of very expensive jeans. I told DH beforehand that this would happen, a mum can only laugh quietly. But this teaches him to be economic and watch his spending. He also has an after-school job and earns about 166 dollars a month, which he uses for gasoline and spare parts for his moped - and parties, he is a teenager.

    Your June dress is FABULOUS!!! I truly love it, and I truly understand why people stare at you – you look like a star! :) I am tempted to say this is your best dress, although I also liked your other dresses. Congratulations on it. And the matching lilac cardigan is so nice. :) Lots of Danish compliments.

    Wishing you both a nice weekend. :)

    I'm attending the annual Opel GT club meeting this weekend, and cannot wait to meet my GT friends and walking around lots of vintage cars.

  5. Well, I’m glad you shared this article with us!
    Indeed there are a lot of things I would contest in it. But the main idea, is right, earning and spending money is a partnership, it requests the attention of both of the partners and they both should be aware to not spend the money unnecessarily.
    In my case, and since I live with DH (so since I’m 19) we do have one only bank account and both of our salaries are paid on it. I used to earn more than DH when I worked full time, but since I now work half time I earn less, but that never ever has been even a matter of discussion between us. We both consider we have to earn money for the wellness of our family, but DH also considers my halftime as a housekeeper as a job.
    We also save the same amount every single month, this comforts me, because I’m a scared one, I mean I always think that there could be a possibility of us having back luck with the car or something, this also allowed us to buy our own house and to do the necessary work in it.
    A lot of friends of us are amazed when we tell them we have one single account for both of us, mostly they each have one and one in common on which they pay a certain amount each month, the rest is “pocket-money”, I can’t say if this system is right or wrong when both are working, but it is a quite selfish system that wouldn’t work if one of them had to stay at home.
    Anyway, even if we manage our money quite well, we could do better: I don’t compare prices enough and I don’t watch for bargains.
    One thing we don’t work with is weekly allowances, I can’t see the need in it, when I or hubby need something we always discuss it together, even if it’s a pair of shoes... no, none of us is brought to heel to the other, it’s just normal for us to discuss. I also have to admit hubby rarely knows how much money there is on our account... We both consider budget managing part of my home keeper’s job. If I plan to go to have lunch outside with my sister or so, I go to the bank first, take a certain amount of money (so I won’t spend more), the “money leftovers” stay in my wallet in case of need.

    This is quite a self inspired post isn’t it? But, just as when I decided to start cleaning routines or thing like that reading other testimonials helped me a lot.

    Anyway, Donna, each time I see your sewing’s I’m impressed by the progress you made in sewing, all the more we know that you learned sewing on your own, and that you don’t sew since a long time.

    Have a nice day!


  6. you look so pretty in your new dress, and all the accessories look perfect! I know you will enjoy wearing it.

  7. I think this may be my favorite dress so far. Very pretty!

  8. cute dress...i was expecting the blue dots dress...almost??

  9. I just found your blog. It's great! You should have a warning for new guests, because I've got so caught up in reading past posts that I've got nothing else done. I found your blog after I saw another one she is trying to live simply and it inspired me to look for other blogs that might be of a like mind. I'm so glad I found yours. Thank you for letting me in on your 1950's journey.

  10. Thanks 50sgal for the details with your budget. It's so helpful and inspiring as always.

    Your dress looks pretty, fresh and summery, just lovely. Linda

  11. Thank you all,I am home late, as hubby and I were out sailing all day with our family. It was lovely. I will share some photos tomorrow.

  12. LOVE the new dress! The cardigan is just perfect with it. I adore seersucker.


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