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Manners Matter: Dec. 23, 2015

Dear Mary Pat,

My girlfriend is really cheap. She hates to spend money. Her car has 289,000 miles on it and she will drive it till the wheels fall off. She bought the least expensive house she could find which needed a lot of repairs and will only work on the essentials. For the other things, she waits for me to come around with my tools. She has the first dollar she’s ever made and has a lot of money saved, which is good I guess, but I just think she takes things to an extreme to not spend.

This will be the second Christmas with her and I’m a little apprehensive about what is going to be under the tree for me. Normally I wouldn’t rate presents or anything like that. It’s just that last year I went all out for her gifts and I spent a significant amount of money. She in turn got me a $20 gas card and some hiking socks that she knew I liked. I know you’re going to say it’s not about the money, and I would totally agree. If she couldn’t afford anything and made me a handmade card I would be happy. But she can afford nice things, just doesn’t want to part with her dollars. I just feel like I would do anything for her yet she’s not willing to splurge on me.

Signed,

Worth the Dough

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

 

Dear Worth the Dough,

I have often thought of extreme frugality as an incurable disease. This disease often leads to poor manners, such as people not ponying up for a round or paying their fair share for a group or not offering to kick in for expenses on a shared trip. But then there are those who are wise with their money and that’s actually a good thing.

In every relationship, it seems as though one is more of a “giver” than the other. That’s just how it usually works out. Ask yourself though if she is generous in other ways. Is she generous with her time? Does she give you her undivided attention and want the best for you?

Don’t be apprehensive about Christmas. Pick out the gifts that you want to give to her and give them freely without any expectations of what might be coming back to you. If she is this way now with her spending, chances are high that she will be like this forever. If she’s good to you in other ways, then I’m sure you’ll begin to understand and accept her ways with money. If her stinginess goes beyond her pocketbook, then that’s a whole separate issue that you’ll have to look at. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the old adage, “It’s better to give than to receive.” It really is true.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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