We may exercise an influence over the growth of our own wants, in such a way that a great real satisfaction may flow from a comparatively small expenditure. Thus, (1) we should cultivate enjoyment or consumption that is inclusive or inex-clusive rather than exclusive in its nature. It is evident that if a community can cultivate such a love for art that its satisfaction will consist in viewing beautiful pictures or statues rather than in owning them individually, it will be possible to secure such satisfaction by joint purchase most economically. Again, (2) we should cultivate harmonious consumption. We all know, to take a homely example, that bread and butter together give a greater enjoyment than would result from the consumption of the two separately. But harmony of consumption is by no means limited to such simple cases as this. Whenever a group of commodities produces in combination a greater satisfaction than results from the consumption of the same commodities separately, the consumption of the group is harmonious consumption, and is most economical. Finally, (3) we should cultivate variety in consumption. The greater the variety of goods consumed, the higher will be the marginal utility of the goods, and hence the keener the satisfaction in their consumption. Moreover, the wider is the range of one's likings, the more certain is one to find satisfaction under widely varying conditions, as when travelling among strangers. To take a simple instance, a family with little variety of taste or desire in the matter of food is at the mercy of price changes within that limited range of food purchase, while those who have cultivated varied tastes are able to give up the consumption of any one form of food, when it becomes expensive, without great loss of enjoyment. If the American people would cultivate a taste for other kinds of bread than that made from wheat flour, they could get their satisfaction from the other kinds of bread as well as from the wheat bread itself more cheaply than they now do.

(B) The Economy of Right Use. Hitherto, we have been speaking of a lack of economy due to the failure to appropriate objects and services to their most advantageous uses. But even when they are so applied, there is generally some waste in the method of using them. It is even probable that more waste arises in this way than in the other, though the harm to character is, of course, incalculably less.

The Economic Importance of Housekeeping. It is here that the great influence of the wife and mother can be seen. Probably not less than three-fourths of the income of the average family depends, for the economy of its expenditure, upon the woman to whom the affairs of the household are intrusted. The importance of this consideration has often been overlooked. Americans, in particular, have incurred the reproach of wasteful methods of providing food for the family. Such waste may result (1) from the choice of foods that contain relatively little nutriment; (2) from the choice of foods not well suited to the particular needs of the consumers; (3) from failure to utilize all the material that is purchased and that would supply nutriment; (4) from bad preparation of the food; (5) from failure to utilize to the full the fuel devoted to cooking. Similar wastes are repeated in the matter of clothing. It has been calculated by careful investigators, that through these channels there is a waste in the ordinary family income of over one-tenth of the total. If the calculation be correct, we may conclude that a stoppage of these wastes would enable the average family to secure the same enjoyments with a working day one hour or more shorter for the workers of the family, or to increase the sum of their enjoyments by more than a tenth without any increase in the amount of work required.


1.Economy in consumption requires an economical balancing of expenditures between the present and the future, and an economical ordering of present expenditure : the one is the economy of " saving "; the other, the economy of spending.
2.Saving, unless it is merely hoarding, is really spending for the future. Therefore, a wise balancing of present and future is secured by the mean between prodigality and parsimony. The prodigal is not a public benefactor.
3.Economy in present consumption requires right choices and right uses of the things chosen.
4.Luxury and harmful consumption both violate the rule of right choices. Inclusive, harmonious, and varied consumption is most economical.
5.The economy of right uses depends largely upon the home maker.


1.Discuss the fallacy: "Spending money makes trade good." Why and how does the man who saves spend ? Through what agency is this spending usually done in modern society ?
2.What two general principles must be observed in economizing on present expenditure?
3.What is luxury? What are its economic effects? How does it differ from harmful consumption ?
4.Explain by illustrations the economy of variety in consumption. Of harmonious consumption. Of inclusive consumption.


See preceding chapters. Also : —

Atkinson, E.: The Science of Nutrition.

Atwater, W. O.: " Food Waste in American Households " (article in

Forum for September, 1893). Devine, E. T.: Economics, Ch. VI, pp. 97-99. Hamilton, J. H.: Savings and Savings Institutions, pp. 31-38. Fatten, S. N.: Dynamic Economics, pp. 39-4y.