Hey, big spender

Dear Carolyn, 

It begins. I’ve been on the road for two weeks and just now got a chance to go over the family bank account. I shouldn’t be shocked but I can’t believe my wife has already started her holiday shopping. The rest of the year she does a good job with our budget, pays bills on time and even got a little raise at work. We have a fairly comfortable life that we both work hard for. Somehow, all that good sense goes flying out the window when the holidays roll around. She overspends on the stupidest things. I’m looking at a bill for outdoor lights, a new artificial tree and expensive bikes for our two sons. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas and enjoy coming home to a nicely decorated holiday home. But, I mean, a new artificial tree? Really? Did the old fake one die or something? The outdoor lights just need bulb replacements. I should know since I am the one who puts them up, takes them down and puts them back up. Our sons both have perfectly decent bikes they never ride.

Any suggestions on how to put a lid on holiday overspending?


Dear Ted,

My goodness, you have an old fake tree? That’s disgusting. You definitely need an updated one. Think of all the money you save not buying a fresh tree every year. Oh wait, you want me to agree with you, right? Slaps head with hand. Okay. What we have here is failure to communicate. Her holiday expectations and yours are obviously out of synch. Here’s a step-by-step way to avoid holiday over-spending. 1. Call a meeting of everyone tied to your bank account.

 2. Allocate expenditures for categories of holiday spending, (food, travel, gifts, decorations, wrapping paper, parties)

3. Agree on allocations.

4. Only spend allocated money.

See? I can give perfectly logical holiday spending advice. The problem is; nobody ever takes it. Actually, that is not my problem.

But, you already know that!

  I’m just say’n,


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