What You Are Wearing To-day. - Did you ever realize how many dollars' worth of clothing you wear to school every day? Girls often do not think about their clothing in just this way. Such was the case with the girl who wanted a new dress and was told by her mother that they could not afford it. She was disappointed and very cross, because it seemed to her that always when she wanted something new, her mother said, "We cannot afford it." She tried to explain to her mother what a bargain the new dress would be and how little it would cost. In answer, her mother asked her if she knew how much the clothes cost that she wore to school that day. So she started to add the cost of all the different pieces of clothing that she was wearing. Her shoes cost $5.00, her dress, $3.00, her hat, $3.00, her underwear, $2.00, her stockings, 55 cents, and her coat, $10.00, making a total of $23.55. This surprised her very much. Then she remembered that her brother and two sisters were also wearing clothing that cost money. She found that more than $100 worth of clothing was worn to school by the children in her family every day. She thought of all the other things that required money and decided, after all, it was not fair for her to have a new dress unless her old one was worn out and she really needed it.
Can you estimate how much the clothing cost that you are wearing to school to-day?
What is a Budget? - There are very few families in the world that have a large enough income to provide everything that everyone in the family would like to have. Most people have a limited income and have to plan how to spend their money so as to get the most for it. The plan for spending an income is called a budget and includes apportioning certain amounts of money to be spent for certain things. Some people feel that a budget limits them in buying things. As a matter of fact, it is the amount of money one has to spend that limits the buying. The budget is a plan that helps one to get the most possible value for the amount of money one has. It is a business-like way of spending money and big, successful business firms manage their business in this way. Whether the income is $1.00 or $5.00 or $500.00 a month, one should have a plan for spending it. The budget sometimes makes it possible to have more things because the money is spent wisely. It is easy to spend too much money for one thing and then have nothing left for other things that one wants. Did you ever spend money for something and then regret it, wishing that you had spent it differently? A budget would have made you think a little more carefully before making a foolish purchase.
The Clothing Budget for the Family. - The family income must pay for all the things that it is necessary for a family to have, including food, clothing, house rent and other things. Experts who have made a study of what many families spend for these various things, tell us that about fifteen or twenty per cent, is generally spent for clothing. This means that a family with an income of $1500 a year would spend from $275 to $300 a year on clothing. If there were only three members in the family this amount would be divided among them. However, if there are five members in the family each member can not have as large a share.
Every member of the family must cooperate in spending the family income. Good sportsmanship is just as important here as in playing a game. It would not be fair for you to insist upon having a new dress if you have already spent your share for clothing. When you are working out the problem of how much you should spend for clothing you might ask yourself these questions: Have I had more new clothes than my mother this past year? Has more money been spent for my clothing than for my sister's? Is it fair for me to spend as much money for my clothing as my mother spends for hers?
In a family of five people with an income of $1500 a year, twenty per cent. of the income may be spent for clothing. This means that $300 a year is spent on clothing the family. Suppose $75 each goes to the father and to the mother, $60 to the older girl and $45 each to the younger brother and sister. Do you think this is a fair way to distribute the money among the five members of this family? The younger children do not require as much money for their clothing because their clothing is not so expensive nor should any of the children spend as much money for clothing as the father or the mother. In some families the mother and father are so unselfish that they take only a small portion of money for their own clothing. What is the responsibility of the children in such a family?
A Girl's Clothing Budget. - The class will find it an interesting problem to work out a clothing budget for the girl who has $60 a year to spend. At first it seems impossible to buy all the clothing a girl needs for $60. If you stop to think you will realize that all the articles do not have to be purchased every year. A coat, for example, is bought every two or three years. This is also true of underwear, dresses and other articles. Do you think it would be practicable to plan on the basis of two or three years? Whichever you choose, decide what should be purchased with the $60 each year. In order to work out the budget scheme satisfactorily it will be necessary to get prices. You can get these prices by consulting with your mother and at the stores.
Make a list of the articles of clothing that the girl would buy each year and the average cost of each article. It is your problem to decide just what portion of the $60 should be spent for hats, shoes and other articles of clothing.
Inventory of Your Clothing. - People who have considered the matter are coming to agree that it is every girl's responsibility to work out a clothing budget for herself. The best way to make a good start at a clothing budget for yourself is by first taking an inventory of all the clothing you have at present.