In the olden time, very little money was actually handled or used in the management of a household. The goods which were produced in excess were bartered for the few other goods needed. Labor was seldom paid for in money. This is true to some extent in a few communities today, but, on the whole, the system prevails of a money income to be expended as money payment for household supplies. There results, then, the new need of a system of accounts. Many bookkeeping devices for housekeepers have been proposed, but most of them are complex, mechanical, and fail completely to accomplish their purpose, which should be not merely to show for what the money has been spent, but how it might be more wisely spent.
Closely connected with this problem in management is that which has to do with the care of money resources, and especially with investments for future needs. Poets and prophets are seeing visions of a social order, when no man shall steal from the labor of another man, and when, in the spirit of Brotherhood, all who are able-bodied shall labor and the weak, the sick, the crippled, the defective, and the aged shall be the care of the strong and the young. But in spite of many signs of growing discontent with the present industrial and social order, a radical change is not in the near future, and, accordingly, a problem in the management of the household is how best to take care of those resources which the study of the family needs has shown can be set aside after the satisfaction of daily wants. The problem is one which cannot be answered in detail in this place. It hardly ever presents itself twice in the same form and the answers are correspondingly varied. The possibilities, such as insurance, savings-bank account, national securities, the family homestead, or the education of the children along special lines, may well be considered an important phase of management for the family to study.
1. What modern conditions especially affect household methods?
2. In what way and to what extent, if at all, should household management use modern business methods?
3. In order to decide whether the administration of a household is really economical, what points must be borne in mind?
4. What household interests and activities afford special opportunity for choice as against drift?
5. What tests will you apply to desired improvements before you decide that you should adopt them?
6. In what respects, if any, is the telephone an economical investment?
7. What are the arguments for and against the retention of "spring cleaning"?
8. Should a scientifically managed house have ornamental oil lamps?
9. What use can be made of your system of household accounts to bring about more scientific management?
10. Name some of the proposed new conditions which are expected to improve household and family life.
11. Why do they frequently fail in this result?
12. Make a list of incidental household expenses which are not likely to be provided for in advance.
13. What determines the real economy in the purchase and use of mechanical appliances?
14. What other expenses than that of plumbing repairs are due chiefly to neglect?
15. Make a list of items of waste and drudgery that might leave the house to advantage.
16. Have you determined the actual cost of having the laundry work done at home and compared it with the actual cost of sending it to a laundry? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
17. Have you calculated the actual cost of preparing food at home, such as baking bread and cake, making preserves and pickles, and canning corn and tomatoes, taking into account every factor in addition to actual money expenditure?
18. To what extent is it possible to reduce the amount of housework by adopting simplicity in furniture and ornaments without sacrificing beauty?
19. Before deciding on an elaborate table service, such as a bread and butter plate, another course, a daily change of table linen, do you estimate the added time and strength required of the maid?
20. In estimating whether the wages you pay a cook are high or low, do you take into account the food burned or wasted or stolen, or other evidence of her lack of skill, thrift, or honesty?
21. Do you know how long it should take your maid to do any given piece of work, such as cleaning the silver or washing the windows?
22. What investments should be made in a family with children?
23. What means can you devise for lowering the cost of living without the sacrifice either of real comfort or of efficiency?
24. What evidence does your household furnish that the prevailing high cost of living is due in part to extravagant standards?
25. Do you, with one girl doing "general housework," attempt to maintain the style of an establishment cared for by three maids?
26. What causes of friction, discomfort, or annoyance in your home can be removed?
Care of a House. T. M. Clark. New York: The Mac-millan Co.
Euthenics. Ellen H. Richards. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
Household Management. Bertha M. Terrill. Chicago: American School of Household Economics.
Housekeeping Notes. Mabel H. Kittredge. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
Fuels of the Household. Marian White. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning. Richards and Elliott. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
Cost of Living. Ellen H. Richards. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Household Administration. Ravenhill and Schiff. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.
Principles of Scientific Management. F. W. Taylor. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Household Management. M. L. Furst. New York: Teachers College.
Home Efficiency. M. B. and R. W. Bruere. New York: The Macmillan Co.