Coupon Obsession

By Doug Mayberry

March 23, 2020 4 min read

Q: My wife and I looked forward to retirement for a long time. I devoted most of my time to a demanding job and am now taking my time and enjoying life. We made enough money to live comfortably for a long time to come.

We have no serious debts, and our mortgage is almost paid off. But you wouldn't know our financial situation based on my wife's habits. She's obsessed with coupons and deals!

Going to restaurants is embarrassing. She chooses restaurants based on their discounts and always orders the cheapest things on the menu. We don't go anywhere nice.

I don't know how to bring it up, but this habit is really getting on my nerves. We both delayed retirement for several years so we wouldn't have to worry about money again.

We don't have to find bargains for every little thing, and I don't know why she's so into it. I want to enjoy life.

How can I get us on the same page?

A: Saving is a good trait that, like anything else, can go overboard.

In any relationship, compromise is key. Many people find the transition to retirement abrupt, and you and your wife have different perspectives on spending.

Many retirees struggle to figure out what to do with all the new free time. Although the obvious motivation for finding deals is to save money, it can also act as a hobby.

Your task is to find a middle ground.

Instead of resenting your wife's habit, offer to alternate choosing restaurants for date night. She can find the best deal for your dinner one night, but then it's your turn. When you choose the restaurant, ask her not to look at the prices on the menu. It's your treat. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter


Q: My dad has always been a hoarder. Every room and surface in his home was always covered in junk, and he's just used to the mess.

Last year, he finally agreed to downsize after having struggled with the stairs for a long time.

My brother and I helped him move into a new house and got rid of almost all of his old junk. I thought it would be new home, new start! Sadly, that hasn't been the case. Ten months in, his new home is piled up with new junk.

Why is he doing this again, and what can we do?

A. Hoarding is a state of mind, not a habit. Look at it as a mental health matter first.

Seniors are more prone to hoarding and less able to deal with it. Hoarding can be especially dangerous to them, as it increases their risk of falling at home due to obstructed walkways. It also makes it much harder to clean, and related hygiene issues can cause health problems.

Hoarding is a coping mechanism to fill an extant emotional need. Hoarders come from a variety of backgrounds, and the disorder is still not completely understood. It is often associated with depression or other mental illnesses.

Clearing your dad's house out again for him won't fix it. Instead, try to open up the subject with him. Does he realize he has a problem? He may not know how his compulsive collecting is affecting himself and others.

You may want to consider finding professional help. Even if your dad isn't ready to address his problem, you can get some perspective on how best to help him. — Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: kconcha at Pixabay

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