Dear Mary Pat,
I’m in Door County working for the summer and was really lucky to find a good job that came with housing. I figured I would have to share a room, however, I didn’t plan on having a roommate who was a total mooch! I’m a pretty generous guy, but feel like I’m being taken advantage of on a daily basis. My roommate doesn’t have a lot of money and he always expects me to treat when we go grocery shopping or out at night. He either leaves his wallet back at the cottage or says, “Sorry man, I’ve only got $5 left to my name.” Strangely, he always seems to have enough for beer and cigarettes. And probably the worst part of it is that he doesn’t say thank you – just asks as though he’s got it coming to him. Is there a polite way to cut him off? I’m trying to save for my last year in college and am on a budget just like everyone else.
Not an ATM
Fish Creek, Wis.
Dear Not an ATM,
There are people who are moochers and it appears that your roommate falls into this category. I wouldn’t worry too much about how polite to be – try just being firm and saying no. You are not doing this guy any favors by enabling this behavior nor are you doing your wallet any favors. It’s time he learns about how adulthood works. If he wants something, he’ll have to save his money and work for it. You’re not responsible for his groceries. He has a job. He’ll have to learn how to better manage his money so that the essentials are covered (groceries, utilities, car expenses) and the “wants” (beer, cigarettes, etc.) can be purchased only if there is money left over. If he doesn’t get the hint, stop going to the grocery store with him. It’s good to be generous with people who appreciate it, but it’s another story altogether to be someone’s doormat.