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!
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