Channeling June Cleaver

A segment on Monday’s Today show caught my attention. It was about how moms are cutting back to save money. Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, talked about a study her firm conducted on how America shops in crisis. What did they find? Moms are cutting back on eating out, salon services, and home services. (Now before you say “duh!” Let me finish.)

To save money, we’re eating more leftovers and baking rather than buying desserts. She went on to coin it as we’re “channeling June Cleaver.”

This struck me as funny, because lately I’ve felt a little like June Cleaver. Well, almost. Like Susan’s family, we made a new year’s resolution to get into better financial shape. We set up a new budget to pay down some debt and put more into savings, and then… My husband’s employer cut salary by 20 percent. There goes that budget! Now, we’re trying to cut back even more.

What have I found so far? Saving money takes a lot of June Cleaverish work! This mostly involves cooking and baking more. For instance, instead of buying cookies at the store, I’ve been baking from scratch. Baking is definitely not my forte. Every Christmas I do manage to bake some cookies that turn out fairly edible. But after the holidays, it’s goodbye hand mixer. Hello, Keebler elves. Needless to say, the elves haven’t been around, and I’m developing the shakes from my cheapo hand mixer.

Because eating out isn’t an option, I’ve been cooking every night and making good use of leftovers. All in all, I’ve been proud of my domesticated side so far. But, here’s the catch… In today’s world June Cleaver has to work!

Sure, you can save by cutting out little conveniences in life. But when does it get to be too much work than its worth? Since business has been slow, I’ve had the extra time to cook and bake more. But, I’m interested to see what happens when business starts picking up again. I hope I can keep up on my June Cleaverish ways. It’s something I’ll have to do to keep us within our shrinking budget.

What ways are you trying to save around the house? Are you channeling June Cleaver? Or Peggy Bundy, by doing nothing and blaming Al? 🙂

7 thoughts on “Channeling June Cleaver

  1. That’s an interesting dilemma, because when you’re a working mom, time is also money – especially when you have your own business. The Saturday afternoon I spend cleaning the house and baking snacks could be used working on client stuff or on my next novel (or just playing with my daughter).

    But hey! When I’m done with this big stressful project thingy, let’s have you and the fam come over for dinner. Let ME (or rather my husband) do the cooking and baking for the change.

  2. Elaine at Lipstickdaily says:

    I’m a working mom with tight time, like everyone else, but I regularly find it helps to refocus toward the home. Instead of spending $50 at the movies, we play boardgames. Instead of going out or buying frozen, cook – – the crock pot is sooo awesome – – throw in a $1.50 hamhock and a $1.50 bag of beans and you have a great healthy meal for the whole family! ‘Course, the whole June Cleaver thing usually lasts about 2 days.

  3. How about I have totally been aspiring to bake cookies, too? In reality, I baked a batch of snickerdoodles that turned into rocks and decided cookies are bad for us.

    We’ve been tightening budget out of necessity, as well–and we have some big changes on the horizon. I make meal lists and stick to them (relatively–we might switch what we have on what days, but always make what’s on the list) budget for the grocery, and focusing on just keeping our heads above water.

    I try to clean a little bit on Saturday, but do the bulk of it after he’s in bed. I try to straighten a room a day–and if I don’t get to it, no big deal.

    Such an exciting life I lead!

  4. Allison Nazarian says:

    I am a full-time working mom with two businesses. I try to be as organized at home, in the kitchen and with my kids as the next mom.

    But I am not sure I want to be compared to June Cleaver. June Cleaver had no choices and little freedom outside of the house. June Cleaver was not expected to ask her husband or kids to help out. She had no “down time” and defintely couldn’t ask a friend for support via e-mail!

    I know I am taking a light comparison a bit seriously, but I think we’re so much more than a caricature. I’m curious if anyone else agrees?

    Allison Nazarian

  5. Good point, Allison. Of course, we’re so much more than a caricature!

    I think the main point behind June Cleaver comparison is that families are being forced to cut out modern-day conveniences because of hard economic times. Instead of eating out or buying pre-cooked convenience foods, some of us have to cook from scratch to save a buck, etc.

    I could say my husband is channeling a “June Cleaverish” time as well. He’s been cooking, and doing things like changing our oil rather than taking our cars to Jiffy Lube.

    The point I wanted to make is to save a buck, sometimes you have to revert back to simpler times. Instead of buying broccoli in the convenient steamer bag, get the head of broccoli and do the prep work yourself, etc.

  6. I can totally relate to the whole idea of channeling “June Cleaver”! I am the mother of 1 two year old and two senior dogs and in addition to working full time outside of the home, I keep up with all the normal housework, laundry, shopping and cooking. I coupon. I maintain an Excel spreadsheet Price Book so I know I’m getting the best deal. I freezer cook. I make and freeze my own chicken stock from the bones of chickens I’ve roasted.

    I can fruits seasonally too – pie apples and cherries, jams, applesauce, etc. Late nights and early weekend mornings…nap times…It is crazy to fit it all in, but somehow it all works out.

    We are doing the Dave Ramsey plan right now so we are on a tight budget, trying to pay down our debt. There is no room in the budget for pay anyone extra for anything. I’ve taken over tracking the bills, making the payments, forecasting our expenses and balancing everything.

    I spend my evenings listening to TV programs my husband is watching while I work on hand crafted gifts for birthdays and Christmas this year. I hand sew, I knit, I crochet, I make cards and ornaments – you name it! I heart my glue gun! I love to craft so that is more stress release and fun for me!

    Now that it is summer I’m trying to hang my wash on the line to save running the dryer, which is difficult to do unless it is the weekend. But I tell myself every little bit helps.

    Most nights we have a home cooked meal that is NOT preprocessed or a convenience food that was presliced, prefrozen etc. I do the precooking and slicing and freezing and then pull everything together. Don’t get me wrong, we have nights of hotdogs and macaroni and cheese. Or frozen pizzas. Just not more than a couple nights a week. Usually. 🙂

    I also love to bake but rarely do since my husbands dietary restrictions make it a bad idea. And his restrictions are numerous, almost to the point where it is impossible to plan a meal that doesn’t include something he really shouldn’t have. Then there is my toddler who will only eat 5 foods. And myself trying to lose weight. Makes meal planning real interesting, let me tell you!

    I do bake for Christmas – some for us as a treat and for giving to others. A month or so ahead I stock the freezer with frozen cookie dough and pre-baked disposable pans (from the $ store!) full of Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls…

    I struggle to get to the gym at least twice a week. I’ve lost 30lbs since the beginning of this year and have about 20 more to go to get to my goal weight.

    Do more with less. Eat it up, use it up, make do or do without! Stretch that dollar a little farther…all of this is constantly running through my mind!

    I wasn’t taught to bake or sew or craft or cook, I had to learn it all through trial and error. I’ve learned tons from online communities where others have shared tips and tricks and slowly all of this info begins to accumulate and become part of my knowledge base. It becomes natural to remember to roll the lemon on the counter before you cut and juice it so that it is easier to get more juice from the darn thing – just for example! 🙂

    Before my son was born I kept a garden, next year I plan to keep one again. Not sure how THAT is going to fit it but I’ll make it work somehow.

    I’m exhausted just typing this. My husband does help some. He works more hours at his job than I do and he works side jobs as well as taking care of the yard and the contact needs for upkeep on our older home. Life is just crazy!

    One of my dreams is to pay off our debt so I can hire someone to help with cleaning the house!!!! Wouldn’t that be nice?

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