Monday, January 13, 2014

I THROUGHLY BELIEVE IN BUDGETS; 1920; by Louise G. Blankenship

During the seven years of our married partnership my husband and I have kept farm and household accounts. For the former we use a farm account book obtained from our Agricultural College at Fargo, North Dakota, at a cost of twenty-five cents. For the household accounts we use a fifteen-cent note book.

Our farm expenses and income are recorded in the farm account book. Our living and personal expenses we keep in the note book. We allow two pages of the note book for each month and have the pages ruled for the following headings: Food, house, doctor and dentist, clothing, postage and incidentals. Incidentals include church and lodge dues, stationery, newspapers and magazines, charity and everything not included under the other headings.

During the past few years hail, grasshoppers and drouth have shrunk our income and the high cost of living has made our expenses heavier. After consulting our account books, we know practically what our income will be and have made our budget to fit these conditions. So here was our


Beginning cash income               $1,600

Food -- $120
House -- $72
Doctor and Dentist -- $24
Clothing for two -- $96                   
Postage -- $12                              
Incidentals -- $72                          
Life Insurance --$130                      

SUB-TOTAL                                  $526

Farm expenses:

Taxes -- $270                                
Telephone --$12                            
Seed --$155
Feed and salt --$200                        
Labor --$20                                
Machinery & Equipment --$50            
Permanent improvements -- $200
Threshing -- $167

SUB-TOTAL                               $1,074


FINAL TOTAL                           $1,600


We live well on a cash outlay of less than $120 for food. We raise a large garden and we can 500 jars of vegetables, fruit and meats each year. We have our own sugar-cured hams, shoulders, bacon, lard, butter, cream, milk, chickens, turkeys, guineas, beef, eggs, potatoes, currants, gooseberries and rhubarb. The largest items we buy are: 200 pounds of sugar, 10 gallons of pure sorghum molasses, flour, cereals and fruits.

We dig our own coal and haul driftwood from the river for fuel. My husband does all of his own blacksmithing and repair and carpenter work. The allotment of $96 is not very much for clothing but I do all of my own sewing excepting my suits and coats and an occasional waist (blouse.) We always try to buy good things and they last several years. At present we have shoes, coats and suits and other essentials to last some time.

We have the dentist look over our teeth twice a year so our dental bills are not large.

Keeping ahead of our budget is a most exciting and interesting game. It restrains us from careless and unnecessary buying and keeps us constantly alert to find a substitute for an intended purchase and to increase our cash income. By using the budget we are playing safe if we have another bad year; however, if we have a good year we will be way ahead of the game.