Hey, Big Spender

Time for a family meeting to get holiday expenditures under control

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.

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?

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. OK. What we have here is failure to communicate. Her holiday expectations and yours are obviously out of sync. 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 knew that!

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

This is so hilarious I had to share it with you. See, my wife is turning 40, and I’ve been planning a surprise birthday party for her for six months. Everything is going according to plan, and she’s about to get the biggest surprise of her life. The funny part is that she thinks I’m having an affair! All the secret phone calls, hang ups, turning off the computer when she comes in the room, whispers, long disappearances and so forth. She even found a receipt from Victoria’s Secret and burst into tears. She’s really depressed and has lost a lot of weight. I admit: I play it up, too. I’m getting such a kick out of this misunderstanding that I almost hate for it to end!

Several of her friends have threatened to spill the beans because she’s so convinced I’m seeing someone on the side. They think what I’m doing is cruel and say she’s suffering.

I can’t figure out why they would accuse me of being mean when I’m doing something so fantastic.

What do you think? How do I get those old biddies off my back?


Dear Chris,

They said “cruel,” not “mean.” Big diff. You appear to enjoy her suffering. End this charade now. And while you are at it, get some help — the real kind where a professional in a white coat can explain the difference between a fun surprise and six months of sadism.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

I have always struggled with road rage. Like most truck drivers, the things I see on our highways make me afraid for my own life. However, the huge increase in texting and driving is the scariest trend I’ve seen in my 35 years and million safe miles of driving. I’d take a drunk teenage male driver over a middle-aged woman texting and passing my truck at the same time. I know you can’t do anything about it, but I thought I’d get this off my chest.


Dear Frank,

I agree with you on this one. I think we should all be very afraid out there. I just, ya know, wish you had emailed me your complaint instead of texting it. (Though I do get the irony.)

I’m just say’n.

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