Saturday, January 14, 2012

Household Expense Book 1978 Pt. 1

Household Expense Book 1978 Pt. 1

This will be a bit of an ongoing series.

I was thrifting (shopping at thrift stores) last fall and found a budget book. One that you record expenses in each day and total up for the week/month/year. I knew it was old but thought it was blank. It was 25 cents. So I got it. I like to do a money flow check up once or twice a year so figured the 25 cent budget book would get me through about 6 years. Seemed like a good deal.

When I got home and was putting my purchases away (the budget book and a puzzle of a Cezanne still life, 25 cents) I flipped through the book a bit more thoroughly and found that a few pages were filled out.

It was done in September and October 1978. Quite interesting. I noted that I pay less in rent now than the book's owners (we'll call them "they") paid on their rent/mortgage in 1978. So, I thought I'd put the expenses in the blog and think them through in writing rather than just in my head.

Here goes:

Totals for the week beginning 9.11:
Meats 34.00
Groceries 72.05
Dairy Products 4.50
School Expenses 67.00
Church-Charity 10.00
Drugs-Medical Care
Beauty Care 2.50
Household Help
Entertainment 17.00
Cigarettes-Tobacco 10.50
Household Purchases 3.00
Wearing Apparel 32.00
Gifts 5.00
Gas 43.00
Rent Or Mortgage
Auto Expense 38.09

Total for the Week: 341.14

It appears that the "Gas" is being used to record "gasoline" rather than furnace fuel as it has a daily entry.

The fact that Meats accounts for 34.00 of the total 110.55 for food for the week surprises me. I guess it is much cheaper to eat vegetables, even dairy.
Dairy Products are a series of 3 entries of 1.50. I wonder if that was the price of milk.

I'm also a bit taken aback by the Entertainment cost of 17.00. Perhaps this was a special night out. Or there are kids involved.

The Cigarettes-Tobacco is 1.50 per day. That must have been the price of one pack.

To me, this seems like a pretty steep budget for a week in 1978. Perhaps there are children involved here and perhaps these folks did not live in a 30 year old trailer. On the other hand, the expenses for several lines are empty that would be pretty serious expenses for most Americans these days. E.g. Beverages. Many of our citizens spend a great deal on pop, alcohol and bottle water among other things. I myself recently had a 3.00 a week kombucha habit (then I got kombucha starter and have been producing my own with mixed, but thrifty, results).

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