I recently read The American Frugal Housewife written by Lydia Maria Child.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t read the whole book because I can’t relate to the majority of it. But with the ones I can relate with, I can say that the book is a treasure trove of wisdom.
Here are the points I can connect with and some of my thoughts about it:
1. It is wise to keep an exact account of all you expend—even of a paper of pins. This answers two purposes; it makes you more careful in spending money, and it enables your husband to judge precisely whether his family live within his income.
I used to log everything, but I grew weary of it. I see the value in the above point, but it doesn’t work for me. Instead, I work with percentages. With the money my husband gives me, 10% of it goes to tithing, 15% of it goes to our investment, and the rest is for expenses. This way I know that I am still living within (or below) my means.
2. Do not let the beauty of this thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles.
Even though I’m a minimalist, I still find myself justifying why I should buy something even though I don’t need it. Just recently, I typed in Google search “minimalist bag Philippines”. I have a bag that is still functional and is far from worn out, so what was I thinking? I thought that with the word “minimalist” thrown in my Google search, my action was justified. (I didn’t buy it, thank goodness.)
3. Young ladies should be taught that usefulness is happiness, and that all other things are but incidental.
The thought of having to work again is still nagging me from time to time. I’m only human after all. I feel inadequate at times, forgetting that homemaking (aka usefulness) is also work. It may not directly cause our income to increase, but I have developed simple ways how I contribute to our finances.
4. True wisdom lies in finding out all the advantages of a situation in which we are placed, instead of imagining the enjoyments of one in which we are not placed.
This strikes a chord with me. I was typing the other day a blog post entitled “What If?” that would tackle what my life would be if I am single or a mom without a husband. As I typed, the blog post started to feel that I was being ungrateful of the situation I am in. I didn’t like the vibe it may send to anyone who would read it, so I deleted the draft without second thoughts. For me, having a spouse sans kids is a great blessing from God.
5. Every man and woman should lay up some portion of their income, whether that income be great or small.
Couldn’t agree more. I, for one, don’t have an income. But I still make sure that I have money saved up.