Since the Industrial Revolution, the question has been, “Is it really useful or necessary to stay at home?” Many people choose the two-income household over the traditional stay-at-home approach because more money means better living, right? Wrong. A two-income household presents two problems: first, people tend to live barely within their means so the quality of living may be higher but the savings are not, and second, someone somewhere must take care of the house, the grounds, the food and the children. The money spent on having this stuff done for you may far exceed the extra income.
Living within your means. When someone, traditionally the woman, stays at home and takes care of the household, quite a bit of money is saved. She keeps track of the pantries, the cabinets, the fridge and the freezer. She knows what should be thrown out, what to buy and how far to stretch the money. When non-traditional methods are employed, frequently shopping trips are made without any knowledge of food that is running low and necessities, such as laundry detergent and shampoo. This lack of consideration for the welfare of the household is made up by buying cheap, bulk, snack items, less filling and lesser quality of food, and spending money on buying too much of necessities which you may have plenty of. Rather than having the ingredients for meals, you have boxes and boxes of television snack foods. Rather than having enough of one thing, you have too much of something else.
Less spending. When you have a clean house the cost of maintenance drops to nearly zero. If vacuums are regularly used and emptied, dishes are kept washed and rotated, old food is thrown out and laundry is kept up, then the supplies for all of that is not used up as quickly as you would think. The “poor” mentality takes over when money, food or cleanliness is low, and people trick themselves into thinking that they have more by leaving the clothes piled up in the rooms, leaving the old food filling up the fridge, keep the dishes out where everyone can see them and allow the dust to accumulate. This is a comfort mechanism initiated to make the place not look so sparse or, well, poor. However, the grime, the mess and the stench all bespeak poverty and waste of resources, not to mention some bad eggs. Even if you do not have much left over, keeping what you do have in spectacular shape makes you look responsible, efficient and resourceful. And like your household is under control.
Meals. Meal planning is one of the hallmarks of the thrifty homemaker. Nobody thinks of this as anything but extra money on extra food, but this thought process is incorrect. Rather than haphazardly spending money on various items, none of which can be put together to make a decent meal, save your money and buy specifically for the meals of the week. Have a few snack items on hand, but if the meals are filling and well-rounded, snacking will drop considerably low. Nutrition is retained in the body because better quality of food was bought, safety is retained because of careful, unhurried cooking and the family meal table will be so much happier due to the clean, organized home, the stress-free environment and the family resources being well-preserved.
Homemaking may seem like a waste of time, or at least a waste of money. However, the precious resources brought in by the breadwinner are put to their best and most efficient use when organized, used with discretion and arranged with love.