Do Women Waste 10% of their Husbands’ Incomes?

Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1911)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (December, 1911)

In general I enjoy looking at the world of a hundred-years-ago through rose-colored glasses – but sometimes I cringe and am glad I live now. Today is one of those times. Here’s what I recently read in a hundred-old-magazine:

Women, as controllers of at least seventy-five percent of the incomes of the men of the nation, must look to our habits and whether they need to be altered.

It has been said that there are three ways of producing prosperity, namely: by better production, by better choice, and by better consumption. One sees at a glance that the first lies within the diction of the men of the country, while the second and third are at the command of the women.

Statistics have proven that women waste ten percent of their husbands’ incomes! But those statistics are of the past, for the wide-awake women of today are giving time and thought to the study of the various interests of the home with a view of bettering conditions as well as economically as possible. Thrift has become a slogan. . .

Good Housekeeping (March, 1917)

27 thoughts on “Do Women Waste 10% of their Husbands’ Incomes?

  1. As if the husband’s income was his alone! What was considered wasting? A new hat? A little bit of high end food? I am glad I live now also.

  2. Like you I’m thankful to be where I am,but I also believe that the article got a little happy with drama.;) yes, I’m sure that some women weren’t careful with their hubby’s money as today.. there were also many thrifty women before 1917 ,and continue to be. Interesting read though, better than…. we are here to report live that two men were murder after a …… 😊

  3. Can you see me rolling my eyes? I love that “statistics have proven” line . . . Show me a position, any position, and I’ll find you some statistics to prove it.

  4. I remember my grandmother talking about saving soap chips and darning socks. Talk about being thrifty! Who does that anymore?

      1. I do, too! I darn, mend, patch, scrape, save. Rather be goods stewards of what the good Lord gives us then a spend-thrift (like my grandmom used to say).

  5. There’s some truth in the midst of the article, though: “It has been said that there are three ways of producing prosperity, namely: by better production, by better choice, and by better consumption.” That still holds true, and not just economically. For example, you could apply the same guidelines to health and nutrition: better production, better choice, and better consumption certainly would make us a healthier nation.

  6. It is upsetting, and just the tip of the iceberg. We all should be grateful to the women who sacrificed so much to change that and made it possible for us to live freely. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  7. The writer of that article did not consider wives who were misers. I pinch every penny several times now, and I’m sure I would have done that 100 years ago.

  8. A turning point was right around the corner. As the men went to war, thousands of women went into factories and got their own income. Anyhow, American women were traditionally more independent than European ones, and they had been adding themselves to the workforce long before that. This article is directed to the housewives, I think, those who still stayed at home.

  9. I loved the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when the Mom says: “The man is the head of the family, but the woman is the neck. She controls what he looks at…” lol
    Perhaps this was written by a man?

  10. My first reaction is like yours, but honestly, there is truth in every aspect of what they are saying for the time period. Very few people can’t find better ways of budgeting and being frugal. BUT WHO WANTS TO? hahaha

  11. What spending is considered wasteful is very subjective. A bouquet of flowers on the dining room table may seem like a waste of money to some, but essential for a pleasant evening meal to others. Likewise for a round of golf. If we try to be objective, all of us spend money on pleasures that others, regardless of sexual inclination, find to be a ridiculous waste of time and/or money.

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