Around the home: finance

How to be a Good Wife  (1933)

Advice on finance
  1. Don't waste hard earned money in the endeavour to keep up appearances.
  2. Do not be led into buying something that you do not want simply because it is cheap (!)
  3. Keep accounts.
  4. Don't neglect to pay your bills regularly.
  5. Do not rush into lavish expenditure that you really cannot afford.  
  6. Do try always to be economical but don't let it develop into unnecessary pinching and saving.
  7. Don't expect to begin where our parents left off.  Remember that their standard of comfort is the result of many years of labour and that a little hardship and struggle at the outset won't hurt you but make the easier time that comes later all the more pleasant.
  8. Claim your separate allowance and see that you don't exceed it.
Things haven't changed much since the 1930's when it comes to finances in the home. These are all still pretty relevant today as they were back then. Perhaps more so as people buy on credit cards and have much easier access to loans etc. A few rises in interest rates, as seen in the last week, can push a family to breaking point.

I have been trying to teach my son the importance of savings and making sure you have some for that "rainy day".  He is learning this one quite quickly now that he has moved out of home. Children as young as 16 are now in debt, caused through mobile phone bills and credit cards (I wasn't even aware that a child of 16 could get a credit card!).  Of the 21,900 Australians who declared bankrupt last year, 10% were aged between 15-24 and another 12% aged 25-29.  Some of these teenagers have debts around $4,000 or more (even up to $14,000 to $20,000). That is of great worry.  If teenagers are not being responsible with money, what will they be like when they get older?

I had to smile at number 2 as I fallen into this trap often, if it is on special then its worth buying, even if I don't really need it!!  However when it comes to groceries, I will buy up on items that are on special (eg hair shampoo) and have a stock in the cupboard as big savings can be made.

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  1. Jo,

    You are right, the advice given in this 1933 book regarding finances can still apply to today's times.

    I also had to smile at #2, because I think that I do that too often when I shop, which is why I choose to stay home to avoid the temptation. :)

    The statistics that you gave in regards to young people being in credit card debt is very alarming! Most young people, unfortunately, are not taught to be content with what they have. Also, why are the parents allowing them to have such high credit card bills? Yikes! This is truly a very sad phenomena.


    -Lady Rose

  2. Yikes, all that debt for young people :-( You do read some alarming stories of people running up huge phone and internet bills and wonder why they didn't find out what it was going to cost in the first place.
    I have just been doing a section on wants v needs with the boys and it reminds us that so much of our spending is actually on "treats".

  3. Ruby- I am always telling my sons about the " wants and needs" as is something they really struggle with. Most things we "need" we can live without if we really think about it. My eldest uses layby to buy bigger items, this requires waiting a bit longer for the item and it avoids creditcards.

  4. Great post...oh the stats are so eye opening. My four adult children have learned so much as they stepped out on their own...some hard lessons, but good ones and a lot of success. I had no idea anyone could get a credit card at age 16...we have taught ours not to use credit.
    Enjoyed...may have to send this on to my kids!

  5. My Grandma was always a sucker for a bargain. She'd buy things on sale and bring them home. When Grandpap protested she would say "But I saved so much money!!" His reply was always "The money wasn't saved when you bought something that wasn't really needed." How true!

    I also stock up when something I buy regularly is on special. The only problem, in my house, is finding somewhere to store it (if it is washing powder or shampoo) or somewhere to hide it (if it is some kind of tasty treat).

  6. Some things are just timeless - like this post. These are really good things to remember. I was brought up to not buy anything on credit, although that all changed when I married because he prefers credit cards. I'm trying to teach my children to value money and spend it wisely - I think it doesn't hurt to start really young on this as today's society is so bent on always getting exactly what you want. I think a lot of people don't even realise that some of the things they want are actually not necessary - those things just become a part of daily life and so are "needed"!!

  7. Clara - the danger of credit cards is when you need to "keep up with the Jones" and spend beyond your means to do it. And so many young people want to "begin where their parents left off" and of course they can't.

  8. After a living for a period where the credit card was always maxxed out, life is so much better where there is zero credit now. I have not used a credit card for over ten years! And interestingly, I have eaten every day a reasonable meal!!


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