In preparation for the division of one's income it is helpful to study the budgets of other families or individuals. Mrs. Richards in her book on "The Cost of Living" gives a theoretical division of incomes, which is shown in the accompanying table headed Suggested Budgets. It is interesting to study this account and then those of families who have worked out their problems (either with or without the preparation of definite budgets in advance) as shown in the table of Typical Budgets.
In New York City it has been estimated by those studying the problems of the cost of living of to-day that it is impossible for the average family of mother, father, and three children under 14 years to get food enough to keep the body in good condition with clothing and shelter to meet the most urgent demands of decency for less than $900.
This amount in other localities would probably buy more. This means that in New York City for $900 a family of five can have a very bare existence, and that with $1000 this family can begin to maintain a decent standard of living unless there is long sickness or other catastrophe. At $1200 a normal family standard can be maintained so as to preserve health, and so that the family will have opportunities to develop in a self-respecting manner. When one considers that many families subsist on $500 or $600 a year, it is necessarily under conditions of shelter and with limitations of food and clothing, not conducive to the best development.