Every Home's Most Overlooked (Free!) Heating and Cooling Devices Who doesn't love learning about a money-saving tactic or investment that results in a net savings of thousands of dollars a year? I sure do! And I can count on maybe two fingers how many of those I've managed to deploy in my home in the past decade.… …Read more. Improve Your Life: Join a Group Every night my friend Mary Ann does the unthinkable. She sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m. because every morning she gets up and walks three miles while the rest of the world sleeps. How has Mary Ann managed to stick with this early morning fitness …Read more. Holiday Head Start During these lazy days of summer, Christmas is probably the farthest thing from your mind! With thoughts of vacation, finding ways to keep cool and big family get-togethers filling these summer days, the sounds of jingle bells and carolers out in …Read more. How to Make Ugly Soap Scum, Mildew and Water Marks Disappear Like Magic When all three messages landed in my inbox on the same day, the problem of soap scum, moldy mildew and hard-water buildup grabbed my attention. If three people wrote, I'm pretty sure they represent thousands of others who share the same problems but …Read more.more articles
How to Help Mom From Overspending
Dear Mary: My mother is a widow who lives on a tight budget. The last few Christmases, she's been blowing a lot of money on gifts for my husband, me and the kids. By February, she'll usually ask me for a little help to cover her bills. I know she feels Christmas is the one time she can really spoil us, but I'm worried she may be digging herself into a money pit. What can I do? — Janice, California
Dear Janice: I think your mom and I have something in common. We are people-pleasers. It's easy for us to go overboard trying to get approval. Take her out to lunch, and tell her you understand that things are tight since your dad is gone and it makes you uncomfortable when she spends a lot on you.
Gently turn the conversation to the coming holidays. Ask her to help you teach the kids that sometimes the best gifts aren't wrapped up in a box. Years from now, they won't remember the gifts she gave as much as the time she spent with them. One idea might be for her to give them individual gift certificates for "My Special Day with Grandma" doing just what they love to do with you.
As for you and your husband, if she has a possession that you love dearly, suggest she give that to you for Christmas. She'll have many years of watching you enjoy owning something that is also precious to her.
Dear Mary: Our beloved dog, Bella, is getting older, and we're concerned about safeguarding her health. She recently had surgery that cost us $3,000.
Dear Pat: Plan ahead, stashing money into a Bella Account. Call to learn your vet's policy regarding emergency services, for things like hours, fees and discounts for cash payments. Find out what constitutes a true emergency and what can wait until the office opens.
Look into alternatives such as the humane society or university vet clinics that offer thriftier alternatives for shots and routine care. For Bella's wellness checks, keep an eye out for reduced veterinary-service clinics sponsored by government agencies or pet stores.
Should Bella face another serious situation, I hope you will have time to get a second opinion. You might want to look into pet health insurance with a company like Embrace Pet Insurance (www.EmbracePetInsurance.com). I've recommended Embrace in the past, just keep in mind that most pet health insurance policies exclude pre-existing conditions. And they have high deductibles and copays, too. I wish you many more wonderful years with Bella!
Do you have a question for Mary? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Your Christmas: Celebrating the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank," her 2012 holiday release. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM