Budget – The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella


From The Wife Desired by Fr. Leo Kinsella, 1950’s

While no system of caring for family finances will work unless husband and wife unselfishly are looking out for each other’s welfare and that of the whole family, yet some sensible method of handling money is necessary. Thus, the subject of a family budget must be considered. No matter how high the husband’s income may be, some attention must be given to a budget, lest their finances end in chaos.

An individual may live a happy-go-lucky existence and get away with it, but not a husband and wife with responsibilities to each other and to their children.

There are all sorts of methods of keeping a budget. No hard and fast rules can be given. Personalities differ. What has been found successful for one couple might bring disaster to another.

In all cases it is essential that there exist between husband and wife absolute trust and confidence in each other. How many couples live with little or no trust and no habit of sitting down and frankly and intimately discussing their finances has been one of the greatest revelations to me.

The first requisite is that husband and wife come to frank understanding and mutual agreement as to what they are going to do with their income.

For the vast majority a high percentage will have to go for current household expenses. Because they are no longer children, they will want to save some for the future, for their own home, the children’s education, contingencies of sickness, and so on.

Their earnestness in this direction will be indicated, if they remove a pre-determined amount from the weekly check and bank it before they begin spending for their current need and expenses.

Incidentally, it is interesting to observe what are considered needs and what are thought to be luxuries by different couples. Those who confuse luxuries for needs usually are drumming along no farther ahead economically years after their marriage.

Foolishly some parents will squander amazing amounts of money on, for example, toys for their little children. As often as not a big spoon would keep a little child as contented as some intricate and expensive toy. It lasts longer, too.

A doting parent accedes to the myriad requests of his little children. Besides spoiling them this weak-kneed and misdirected affection looks not to the future.

Money kept from them, when they could not possibly appreciate it, is saved by intelligent parents for them for the time when they will be able to understand the advantages of a fine home, an education, and vacations.

In this difficult task of saving for the future, it is a great help to a couple to have a definite goal, such as a new home of their own. I do not know whether or not there are any statistics on the percentage of divorced couples who rented or owned their own homes. I have a strong suspicion, though, which way the wind blows.

Once the couple understands what they want to do with their money, another question comes up as to who will handle the finances. Since the husband is the breadwinner and head of the family, the ultimate responsibility would seem to rest ordinarily with him.

Of course, if he is wise, he will work out with his wife a weekly or monthly budget for the daily household expenses.

The big item here will be the purchase of the food. The wife is by far the more competent to do the ordinary shopping. She should have a set and agreed upon amount of cash for this purpose. From time to time adjustments as to the amount will have to be made to keep at the level or standard of living upon which they have agreed.

The husband does the banking. He takes care of the other expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, phone bills, and the like.

This system of caring for family finances seems in theory to be the most sensible. In actual practice the procedure seems to be the one most successfully followed by the great majority of happy couples.

Some husbands with little background of true sportsmanship will expect, apparently, in their own peculiar, dumb way that the wife should be able to take care of her personal expenses out of a limited budget for food. It would be just as unreasonable for her to expect him to be able to take his personal expenses out of the phone bill or the rent money.

She should have some leeway in her budget, so that she does not have to skimp on food or does not have to come to him and beg him for a dollar for some personal item or other. Within their income, of course, both should have a little personal expense account as part of their over-all budget.

Another method of caring for family finances is for the husband to hand over his check to his wife. She returns him an amount necessary for his daily expenses such as carfare, lunch money, and cigarettes. She does the banking and takes care of all the family expenses and sees to the regular saving of some money.

This system has many successful adherents. However, it has several latent dangers which must be pointed out.

Even though they have come to an accord on the above mentioned system, too many husbands lose a big part of their responsibility.

They develop a lazy sort of “let the little lady take care of it” attitude. Also, some husbands who are met at the door on pay day with an out stretched hand of an efficient wife begin to feel just a little henpecked.

There is another weakness in this method which has caused all sorts of mischief. Many husbands who hand over their checks and then do not bother their heads over the family finances have a tendency to think that their wives are spendthrifts or at least rather wasteful. Otherwise, why does she not have any money saved up at the end of the month? Where did it all go?

All sorts of wild ideas enter their minds. Is she buying groceries for that no good brother of hers? In some cases they even become pantry detectives. They keep secret count on the canned goods.

The wise wife will begin her married life by keeping an itemized account of absolutely every purchase, even if she is taking care of expenses only for food. If she spends five cents, she lists it. After several months of this it becomes obvious where the money is going. A good deal of it is going right down his gullet.


As Advent approaches, and if you are using my Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal (if you are not, this tidbit is still a good reminder), you will want to peek at the following page. It will help you to get the things together you will need to do the Advent Traditions in the book. If there are some activities you are not doing then check or cross them off this list. We do them all but you need to decide for your own family…


You can also purchase the St. Andrew/Christmas Novena Chaplet here. We have limited quantities of this.


🌸💞I want to be able to lay my head down at night knowing I have connected with those things that matter most…..
So that when my life is at its close it can be said, “You have run the race, you have fought the good fight.” and I will be remembered, not for what I have accomplished, but for HAVING LOVED WELL….. -Finer Femininity


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