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The Victorian Household: Living on a Budget

By the 1880's and 1890's, women's magazines were recognizing that even the most well-bred Victorian gentlewoman was not necessarily well-to-do. The Girl's Own Paper ran many articles on how to keep house on a limited budget -- articles which are a gold-mine to the social researcher today, as they often included detailed lists of costs and expenses.


BUDGET TIPS FOR THE VICTORIAN GIRL

Economy, by Elizabeth Dawes (GOP 1899)
Economy: The Right Sort and the Wrong (GOP 1892)
Every Girl a Business Woman, by James Mason (GOP 1887)
Subtitled "A Practical Guide to the World of Industry and Thrift."
A Few Words on Money Matters (GOP 1883)
A Few Words on Thrift, by the Dowager Marchioness of Hertford (GOP 1893)
Girls' Allowances, and How to Manage Them, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1884, 1885)
This primarily involves how to budget for clothing, and includes detailed lists of prices and costs for the period.
Girls and Their Pocket Money (GOP 1897)
How to Be Poor (GOP 1902)
Or rather, how a gentlewoman may live, and what changes she must make to her lifestyle, if she has been "brought low."
Savings Banks and Clothing Clubs, by Dora Hope (GOP 1881)
A method of teaching thrift and money-handling at a girl's school.
What to Do With Your Savings (GOP 1892)
"A Paper for Working Girls."
A Word to Girls on Thrift (GOP 1896)

HOW TO LIVE ON...

An Independent Gentlewoman, by Maud Morrison (GOP 1893)
A peek into the life of a self-supporting country gentlewoman.
Country vs. Town Life for Small Incomes, by Mary G. Dallington (GOP 1896)
How I Kept House on 250 a Year, by Mary Pocock (GOP 1885)
A multi-part article that covers just about every imaginable aspect of housekeeping, including menus and recipes.
Housekeeping in London, by Lucy Yates (GOP 1898)
How to Live on 100 a Year (GOP 1886)
How Two Sisters Live in the Country on a Pound a Week, by Barbara Marsh (GOP 1894)
How We Furnished Our First Home for 150, by E.H. Pitcairn (GOP 1898)
by now the magazine is publishing photos, so this article is well-illustrated and contains detailed budgets.
How We Live in London on a Pound a Week, by Lloyd Lester (GOP 1895)
Our Life in a Flat (GOP 1885)
Passing Rich with 40 Pounds a Year (GOP 1890)
Sixty Pounds Per Annum, and How I Live Upon It, by a Young Gentlewoman (GOP 1888)

AT THE MARKET

The Art of Shopping, by Mary Selwood (GOP 1881)
A look at three types of shoppers - the stingy, the snobbish, and the wise.
Cheeses, English and Foreign, and How to Recognize Them While Shopping, by An Old Lady (GOP 1896)
Types of cheeses available to the Victorian cook.
When Going to Market, by Mary Pocock (GOP 1888)
An article that gives prices for a number of grocery items, along with diagrams of cuts of meat.
Copyright © 2017 by
Moira Allen.
All rights reserved.

Magazine Abbreviations:
CFM = Cassell's Family Magazine GOP = Girl's Own Paper ILA = Illustrated London Almanack S = The Strand
AM = Atlantic Monthly C = Century Magazine D = Demorest's Monthly Magazine G = Godey's Lady's Book H = Harper's Monthly
Find out more about the magazines used on this site!
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