I noticed that though my webpage is called A Thrifty Homemaker, so far I haven't written much about money management, so here it comes - the discussion of the wife's budget.
In many homes the wife manages all the financial issues, pays the bills, deals with mortgages and insurances etc etc. However, the more old-fashioned way to deal with the family finances is to let the husband manage the money, while providing the wife with a household budget, and that's how the things work in our family.
Here again I'd like to quote "Fascinating Womanhood": "...the man has the responsibility to provide the living. Since he is also the leader, it falls to him to manage the money...it is not the wife's responsibility to earn the living, manage the money or worry about it. She should be given a household budget..." (F.W. p146, ed. 1992 Bantam Books).
Further in the chapter, Mrs Andelin explains the meaning of the household budget in more detail. According to her, it must cover "...food, clothing, household goods, personal items, or anything in regular demand..." (p. 147) but not things like furniture or household appliances. This budget is given to the wife monthly or weekly, and should be generous enough so that something is left over, which the wife is allowed to keep and spend as she desires.
The husband then manages the rest of the money, and pays all the bills, such as electricity, or mortgage. He also deals with things like taxes and insurances. In such an arrangement, both husband and wife have their own spheres of financial responsibility. The wife is encouraged to practise thrift and to contribute to family comfort by managing her own budget wisely, and if she is successful, she gets a monetary reward and she is entitled to keep this money for herself.
The husband, on the other hand, manages overall family finances, and should he do it well and have an excess, according to Helen: "he should have the major jurisdiction and final say..." (p. 147) which will give him an incensitive "...to be diligent in his work and increase his income." (idem).
Helen warns her readers that the blurring of roles in marriage such as women contributing to earning an income, or managing overall family finances can cause many problems and increases the level of stress for the wife, which can lead to depression and even a serious illness. I can personally attest to the fact, that Helen's suggestions on separating the financial roles within a marriage work well and if as a homemaker you have to deal with all the family finances and as a result feel overwhelmed, you should probably give the traditional system a try. Next time I'd like to talk about managing your money as in keeping household accounts. Stay tuned!