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Spending Advice from the 1960s

By Edited Oct 17, 2015 0 0

My grandfather told me, when I earned my first paycheck:

"You earn $1.30 per hour, and bring home $46 each week after taxes. After setting aside 10 percent ($5) for savings, your take-home pay is about a dollar an hour. Whenever you want to buy something, consider how many hours you will have to work for it, and then decide if it is really worth that much labor."

This advice set me on the path of living a thrifty life. Stuff that I wanted to buy no longer cost dollars, they cost real hours of labor. And savings came out of the pay envelope before anything else.

Yes, it was the 1960s - life was good. Companies paid workers in cash every Friday, in a small brown envelope with payroll deductions handwritten on the outside of the envelope. To keep the salary in perspective, executives earned $5 an hour, and it cost 10 cents to ride the trolley with 2 free transfers.

While some of this advice might sound sexist, it was passed from mothers and grandmothers to their daughters and granddaughters. It is sound advice for saving money and spending money, so enjoy a taste of what girls raised in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s were taught.

  • Keep your kitchen spotlessly clean. Not only is it a reflection on you as a hardworking woman, but you can save money by not stopping by the hoagie shop on the way home from work. Today that would translate to fast food and pizza.
  • Keep the  kitchen organized. Every night look in the refrigerator at what food is leftover, and plan a menu to use it up the following day. Throwing food in the trash is throwing money in the trash.
  • Keep your home and your husband organized. As far as your home, you won't waste money buying something that you already have but can't find. Keeping everything organized for your husband will help him to look better at work, and hopefully get a pay raise that will make both of you financially secure.
  • Make a list of what you need, and then check the ads to find the cheapest place to buy it. However, don't buy cheap quality. Buy good quality at a cheap price.
  • Never tell your husband that you don't need money. Take what he offers and set it aside for something special for the two of you, such as a weekend at the seashore.
  • Don't plan your budget around both paychecks. Live on your husband's pay, and use yours to furnish your home and save for a rainy day.
  • Run all of your errands in one shopping trip. After all, gas is up to 21 cents a gallon!


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