Ask Amy: Wife worries about husband’s overspending
By Amy Dickinson,
DEAR AMY: I am concerned that my husband of four years may have a psychological disorder related to spending.
He has two motorcycles, five trucks, three boats and two wood stoves. He now wants to buy a smart car (energy-efficient electric) on the basis that it is so much less expensive to operate than a gas car. Every week I pick up three to five boxes of new purchases from the post office.
He works at a community college in an information technology position and has used this position to justify buying himself the latest-model laptops. But when we needed to purchase a freezer recently, he didn’t have money to contribute. Whenever I try to talk to him about it, he uses rational-sounding arguments to justify the expense, especially when it comes to energy use (that is his specialty).
I am drained and depressed by his actions, and I am considering moving out, in part so I can find somewhere to park. Any ideas? -- Depleted
DEAR DEPLETED: Your husband’s arguments may sound rational, but the roundup of vehicles, toys and appliances in your household reveals the reality that he has a spending/buying problem. You don’t reveal other sources of income for the two of you, but it is hard to imagine that he could afford these purchases on a typical college staff salary.
Even if he could afford this (wasteful) abundance, this is creating a problem in your marriage, so you two must sit down with a financial planning professional, lay every single bill on the table and negotiate a solution. If he has plunged himself into debt, you will be liable because you are married to him. So this is very much your business, as well as his.
Personal finance guru Suze Orman would give your husband a no-nonsense wake-up call. Orman’s newest book is “The Money Class: How to Stand in Your Truth and Create the Future You Deserve” (2012, Spiegel & Grau).
DEAR AMY: I told my friend that I would attend her bachelorette party after I was told that it would be held in a certain location — a location that I can drive to from my home. After I committed to going, she let us know that she is planning to change the location to a city that about 90 percent of attendees would have to fly to.
If she does choose the more expensive city, I won’t be able to attend, and I know other bridesmaids are in the same boat. How can I politely express that I cannot afford the expensive city without totally hijacking her planning process? -- Bashful Bridesmaid
DEAR BASHFUL: Being a bridesmaid should not shackle you to bridal plans you cannot afford to commit to. The bride (or the maid of honor) has the duty to design her various celebrations so that they are in the realm of affordable for the majority of other participants.
Don’t speak for or represent the other invitee’s points of view. Be honest and be honest quickly. Tell her, “I can’t afford to make the trip, but I know it’s going to be great, I’m sure you’ll have a blast, and I’ll save up for the wedding!” If your inability to make it to the bachelorette celebration knocks you out of the bridal party, consider yourself spared.
You should try to have a bottle of bubbly delivered to your friend at her bachelorette party venue.
DEAR AMY: You asked for readers’ stories about being “called out” for being odorous. One day many years ago, my boss stopped abruptly at my desk and blurted out, “Lady, I hate to say this, but you’ve got bad breath!”
Needless to say, I was embarrassed to the core of my being. I had no idea. My husband hadn’t mentioned it. Nor had my friends. But I thanked my boss for the heads-up. It had been several years since I’d seen a dentist, and sure enough, there were some issues that needed tending to. -- Still Have My Teeth
DEAR STILL: Wow. It seems to me that your boss could have been more judicious, but I’m happy this worked out for you.
Write to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
2012 by the Chicago Tribune
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