Sunday, August 8, 2010

8 August 1956 “Budget: Your Paycheck and Your Marriage Article Continued and a Homemaker’s Poem”

womanatdesk I am continuing today with the article of yesterday “Your Paycheck and your Marriage”. This is a rather long article, so here is the next section, but I will conclude it on tomorrow’s post. There are some interesting bits in this article.
I think I will repost yesterday’s beginning of the article, in case you are just joining us now. You can click on each section to read or download full size. budgetarticle
budgetarticle2 budgetarticle3 budgetarticle4 budgetarticle5 budgetarticle6
This article is full of common sense, something I think sometimes is lacking in the 21st century. And, contrary to many conceptions of the 50’s Housewife, we can see presented here a very real ‘shared’ aspect of money and responsibility. I still get a little upset when I hear the accepted idea of the cowering 1950’s housewife doing her husbands bidding. Many homemakers were very much the financial backbone of a family. They did not feel the money being earned was ‘HIS’ and that her role was valuable and necessary and therefore had no problem spending and saving the money as a collective of two people. The concept of marriage as both a partnership of mind and body is equally balanced with one of shared financial goal and purpose.
Some might balk at the mention of the wife ‘wanting to live beyond her husbands means’ as a sort of bondage. “Why not have two incomes and then you don’t have to answer to your husband” I can almost hear modern women speak. Yet, they miss the very point. First off, there were working wives in the 1950’s but if a wife was a ‘stay at home’ it is silly to think of it as bondage. In many ways it is rather freeing and can require much more financial skill. The ability to budget and balance all that needs to be provided by she is tantamount to a good relationship as much as if both members of the couple like the same music or want the same number of children. It also forces one to pay more attention to spending when only one income is available.
It is also interesting that they mention a working wife should not feel that ‘His money’ is theirs and Hers only for herself. Equality is laid out here and though it is easy to put a blanket of oppression over the wives of old, I am always finding the contrary in my research.
The bit about the ‘no money down’ was very relevant. Though we here in 1956 do not have the potholes and trappings of easy credit cards and expected debt, the increase in ‘pay on credit’ could be a mine-field for the Homemaker. We can still feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. And our increasing advertising on television as well as the homes of TV homemakers and what we see in magazines can be a siren song to ill-spending. Yet, we do try here to address it from a very tactful matter of fact way.
I think one thing I have come to realize about the 1950’s (at least what I can garner from my research at least) is the emotions did not rule one as greatly as it seems to today. Though there may be jokes of martini’s and ‘we don’t talk about things or share our emotions’ from those times, in many ways it decreases over all drama and also prepares children for a realistic adulthood. One was not expected to have every whim met or to be the center of attention at all times. Of course, we do see that their own lavishing on their offspring made their Baby Boomer children have a more skewed idea of their own rights and privileges. (not all baby boomers mind, but just in a general sense). So, who can say, maybe their own hardships should have been passed down more. Perhaps given the children a little less and work a little harder, we can’t really change the past. But, we can learn from it, I think. At least I am now basing my entire life upon it!
I think the more we can divorce unnecessary emotions from things where they are not helpful, such as money and our budget, the better off we shall be. This idea of “Well, I deserve it” seems to permeate 21st century. Certainly we should spend on joy and fun, but I think it will be better spent and enjoyed if we do so within the framework of a budget that works for us. I love my vintage items and to buy something new can give one a lift, as long as we don’t use it to quell other suffering or as an excuse to be irresponsible. Spend, certainly, but as a team (if we are married) and with a budget.
So, we can continue this article tomorrow, as it is a long one. I am also always impressed with the length and thoroughness of articles in my old magazines. I picked up a modern magazine the other day and was surprised to see more ads, mostly pictures and writing more catered to a 6th grade level. It was like a picture book or early reader for adults. I suppose we get used to what we get used to.
I am going to close with this sentimental but darling little poem from the same magazine as this article.stayathomepoem


  1. I'm not sure if anyone is actually interested in this article. If not, let me know, because I won't bother scanning the rest of it if there is no interest. Again, I know not all like to comment, but I am not sure who likes or dislikes it as I am getting no feedback. I guess I just miss our old conversations here. We used to have such good discussions on the various articles I would share with you. So, anyone out there, let me know. I just need to throw a stone in the pond now and again to make sure there is a bottom, if you know what I mean.
    I have also been working a lot on redoing the website so it is easier to use and allow me to realistically and more easily update it every day. But, again, if no one is out there, I don't want to feel I am just wasting my time. Even a 'hey' would be fine. Thanks

  2. I am finding this article very interesting and I think very much needed today as it was back then. It's funny (again I'm going to refer to my grandma who was a 30-ish wife and mother at this time)-she and my grandpa would NEVER have a credit card. She had a credit card in her 70's and 80's and she always told me that "Your Grandpa would roll over in his grave if he knew I had this and used it." LOL I don't think they ever bought anything on credit. She was a working mother and they saved everything they could. We wives have much more influence over our husbands than we could ever imagine. What we think of them matters so much. After many years of marriage I'm finally getting that!

  3. Yes 50sgal we're here, reading and enjoying all you write. Thanks for your effort and I'm very interested in the topic - encourages me to do even better. Linda

  4. Please share the rest of the article, 50's Gal, it has commonsense about it that is elusive in today's articles found in magazines.

    When I was pregnant with my oldest back in 2001, my mother gave me a Baby book from Better Homes and Gardens, complete with pictures from the fifties and sixties, although the book copyright was I think 1969.

    It's practical advice helped me to become the mother I am today, I wish i could share it with you, as you would enjoy looking just at the black and white photos (yes I still have the book :) ).......

    I do try my upmost to live within my means, I even have what I call an allowance (pin money), I have always worked within my hubby's income, as my full time working days were limited (more gravy in the bank than anything else).........

    What is commonsense in the old days no longer seems viable today........

    I've always said to my boys when pointing out those huge McMansions on our drive along the river that a home is not a home if it's not filled with love.......when we married I talked to my hubby about staying home for my children and that I would rather live in the smallest house and see them grow up, as opposed to living in the biggest home and spending my entire life working to afford it.

    As you already know I work very part-time as a cashier now, but it helps out my family and does not interfere with my primary role as housewife and mother.

    My children come first and no amount of dollars and cents is worth anytime away from them.

    I am most interested in reading the rest of this article, please scan it ,,

    Much thanks,
    Mom in Canada

  5. Yes, please finish this article. This is one area, budgeting, that my hubby and I have been lucky in that even though we don't discuss it as much as we should we agree on the big stuff- no credit card debt, no big home we can't afford on his salary alone. But now that times are leaner we could use some old fashioned real advice.

    Sarah H

  6. Hello 50'gal,

    I'm back from beeing off line for a while.
    I'm verry interested in that article to...
    Budgetting is one of my weak points. I do not realy have to stick to a budget to "get around" a month, and I suppose that's why I always protract making a budget. Not that I pour monney down the drain, but I suppose - No I do not suppose, I know, that if I tracked exactely my expenses, I could spend monney on a better way and save more.

    In any case I'll read the article wth a lot of intrest and one of my september challenges will be tracking expenses.

    Have a very nice day!


  7. Just finished reading the article, very interesting indeed.
    As the articles tells earning and spending money is a partnership, where women and husband are involved. In fact it’s a question of common sense. We have to consider the family above the individual (I do not know if what I’m trying to tell is understandable) and that’s where in my mind a lot of people go wrong.
    If you think as an individual, you try to meet your own needs at first and only after that you think at your family, according to this article (which I agree with) this leads to spending money a wrong way, and no money left for family purposes or even saving for later.
    I also think that a lot of the divorces are the result of putting the individual above the family.
    Pay attention, I’m not telling that one should repress his own desires to make the family happy. No, not at all, in my mind a happy homemaker makes (as she is the base of the family) a happy family, but a happy homemaker is also happy when her family is happy and therefore she has to make compromises.
    I do need some deeper reflexion about all this, but I think, a smart managed budget leads to a vintage life style :
    -Buying cleverly (local an season bounded)
    -Looking after the house and the home – and all the little things making a home (avoids useless expenses caused by a lack of taking care)
    -Having a vegetable garden and a fruit orchard (canning and freezing products)
    -Avoid useless buying’s
    -... the list is too long to name them all

    In any case, 50’s gall, if you have other articles about budgeting, or spending money the right way, I would be very interested in them. I now you’ve already written about those subjects, I think I should perhaps go through the archives of the blog.

    Wow, happy to be on track again, I missed those reflexions!


  8. Been on vacation. That was a very good article, like you said, in depth. Very practical. I remember my father refusing to have credit cards. People used lay-away a lot more, and my husband and I both remember "Christmas Clubs" that banks offered -- you put in $1 a week (or more -- my husband was just a kid and put in $1) and at the end of the year, by Christmas time, you had money for presents.

    My father did charge groceries at the local grocery store when I was a young teen, because he was out of work, but then paid it back.

    There just did not seem to be as MUCH stuff to buy back then, or stores to buy it in, as there is now. There is seemingly no end to stores and goods, and now we can buy anything we can possibly imagine online, too.

    And, as you know, lots of stuff we "need" today didn't even exist back then, like microwaves, DVD players, or computers. Not as much stuff TO spend your money on.

    If you missed seeing a movie, you waited 2 years until it came on tv, and if you missed it then, too bad. Now, we can buy them.

    Parents back then did not want their children to scrounge like they had to. My father was born in 1915 and went through the depression, and did not want us to be cold or hungry. We were allowed to raid the refrigerator any time we wanted to, even if it spoiled our dinner. I used to like to eat the stale Italian bread and dunk it in my tea (still do -- tastes great), and that made him furious, "Eat the fresh loaf, don't eat the stale stuff!" Those people went through misery that we can't even imagine. He remembered when he HAD to eat stale bread.

    Middle class people were swayed by Dr. Spock, who proclaimed permissive parenting. They lost confidence in their own common sense because of this. The children of these people went to college and were influenced by people who taught them to use drugs and riot. Us working class kids got married young and went to work or in the military.

  9. Just discovered your blog ... this is all great stuff! I so remember my mother telling about her job in the credit office of a furniture store. "Just because people have things doesn't mean they can afford things," she would say. "You never know how far overdue they're running, and when their things are going to be repossessed." Or, in the more direct words of a friend: "God has supplied all your needs ... so if God hasn't supplied, you don't need it!"


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