The variation in value-for-cost in the Clothing budget is evidently the greatest among the budget items. And since the right or the pleasing clothing makes a great difference in the comfort of most people, the question merits much careful study.
Care of House. The subheads provided for this item are rarely all needed. "Outside" is necessary only where there are grounds enough about the house to mean a possibility of considerable expenditure. Sidewalks to be cleaned, flowers to be planted and weeded, shrubs to be trimmed - if this is all or most of it done by members of the family or regular employees, the heading is not needed. If the house is owned, the painting, shingling and other outside repairs to the house itself are of course part of Rent. If "Outside" is not used, "Inside" can be omitted, and the charges for general cleaning materials set down to Care of House generally, without subheading.
Care of House-Furnishings, without the distinguishing subheads, is usually sufficient, but when a house is being furnished or refurnished the subheads may prove valuable. This subdivision of Care of the House is one that is often called on to contribute to some other item of the budget that demands an excess. After all, a new dining table can wait until next year, slip-covers of cretonne made at home can cover worn upholstery, and the hall rug can be mended or even dispensed with altogether. Furnishings are a sort of lasting luxury, and the acquisition of a longed-for bit probably gives the family a greater feeling of luxury than any other single expenditure - unless they buy a motor-car. On the other hand, it is easy to spend a goodly sum in a year on what some call doo-dads, little trifles that are amusing when one sees them for sale, amuse the family when they are taken home, clutter up the house, and give no lasting pleasure.
If fire insurance and burglar insurance on furnishings are charged here, that will show up more clearly the full cost of expensive equipment.
Flowers. This subhead is needed only when keeping fresh flowers or growing plants as part of the adornment of the home is a habit leading to an unexpected amount of outgo. A quarter at a time means many dollars a year if it is spent often enough. If this budget item is regularly cut down every year, there is something wrong with the planning, but if it is hit hard sometimes, that is only in the course of nature in family life.