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Keeping Accounts

A man who is strictly honest with himself will not be afraid of an account book. On one page let him write the month's total of receipts. From this total there are to be paid fixed charges—rent, for instance. Then the total of fixed charges should be subtracted from the total income for the month. An itemized account of the balance will consti tute the detail of daily expenditure. Enter everything without fear, for at the end of the month the income and expense accounts should balance to a penny.

Certain expenditures are made in cash ; others are paid for at the end of the month. The smaller the income, the more necessary it is to reduce monthly bills to the smallest number; and to do a cash business. In this way, a man knows exactly where he stands every night. It is easy to charge a purchase when one has not the money to pay for it. Often such a purchase can just as well as not be deferred, and one who does business on a cash basis often will defer until he is prepared to pay.

It may be found unnecessary to continue a daily cash account of expenditures after the good of the practice has been accom plished. This happens when one has forever eliminated foolish expenditures and gets down to the basis of taking pride in the saving habit rather than in the spending habit.

A few months, or a year or two, will bring about this result. You will then be provided with a true history of your habits. Eliminate the useless and unwise. Make a list of the necessary and essential.

At the end of a year or so, you can de termine with a fair degree of accuracy how much you spend annually for fuel, taxes and clothing, for example. Set aside the pro rata amount monthly or weekly, and you will for ever after be forehanded when these payments are required.

It is an axiom that the less one has the more it demands to be husbanded.

In a letter addressed to a newspaper, a workingman's wife asks : "I should like to know how to build a for tune on a spasmodic income. How can I save for the future when, for five months of the year, my husband has no work ?" It is easy to save (if one knows how) on a steady income. On an income that is not steady, it is often impossible. But there are many ways by which good business methods can be applied to money that comes in now and then instead of regularly.

To begin with, no workingman's wife should be expected to pay twelve months' housekeeping out of seven months' pay. Even with the greatest economy these two ends can not be made to meet.

If it is right to consider a family and the wages that come in as a business that should be made to pay, some things are important before everything else: i. A fixed schedule of expense that has been worked out carefully.

2. No extravagances to-day that will weak en the business six months from now.

3. Everything possible must be done to im prove the business.

Thousands of women are carrying out the first two of these conditions successfully, and many of them get few thanks or no recog nition for it. They are first-class financiers who succeed in steering the business of the family safely when nothing but shipwreck seems possible.

The third condition is the most difficult to master.

What can be done to improve the business aspect of the family? That is, what steps can be taken to create more business? There is more appeal to the higher quali ties in human nature back of these questions than at first appears. If a man's work is of a kind that throws him into idleness five months of the year, what can he do about it? Work of this kind plunges a family into a life of uncertainty that must stimulate a lot of guessing. Should one pin his faith to such work, or try to put himself in shape to do another sort of work that is apt to last all the year round? Writers on social subjects have said a thou sand times that anyone can, in his leisure hours, prepare himself for a better job. Whether these writers ever tried it, or not, the statement does nevertheless seem reason able.

In a work day of eight hours, there ought to be enough time margin after all else is ac counted for, to permit a man to think an hour or two for himself. This extra hour or two that most all of us can find is the very back bone of all the Correspondence School Courses. These schools have made trained men out of the untrained, and put the pay envelope on a fifty-two weeks' basis.

But such schools are by no means all the opportunity a man has. In them, however, is the one great suggestion that appeals to every one of us : whether we are successful or not.

It is this : You can find some time every day for the improvement of yourself as a worker. You can get skill in something or other by using your thoughts about your own future.

Spare time is as good as money to many men. A man can look around, question, and learn something. Anyone on the move is pretty sure to find what he is looking for if persistence, intelligence and learning some thing every day are all they are said to be.

Hence, the seven months a year workers can only begin to build a fortune in money by first building it in skill in spare time. The ultimate value of spare time put in on some one definite thing is infinitely better than a part-time occupation.

But a part-time occupation is often a real thing. What is to be done while it lasts? Keep accounts. Manage every penny. Sys tematize expenditure. But all the while do everything possible to improve the working equipment. Five months of idleness out of twelve may be want and penury, or it may be opportunity.

It depends on how one looks at it.

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business, months, pay, income and time