Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: A Penny Saved is Long Gone

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I need advice on how to stop my wife from continually digging us into a financial hole. She makes half my salary and spends like Donald Trump. She pays her car loan, personal credit cards, groceries and the phone bill. I pay for the rest. If I didn't, we'd have no heat, air conditioning or roof over our heads.

I just learned that my wife neglected some credit card bills, so late fees were added. Her life insurance is about to be cancelled because she took out a loan on it and hasn't paid it back, and now the amount she owes exceeds the value of the policy.

I have told my wife how unfair it is that she is ruining MY credit along with hers, and she agreed, but nothing has changed. I can't save any money for the kids' college or general home repairs, because I am forced to spend my paychecks to keep her out of debt.

Annie, I am tired of feeling like a meal ticket. Worse, one of our daughters is beginning to behave just like Mom. Counseling has done absolutely nothing for us because she doesn't see the problem, saying, "It's only $5 or $10. What's the big deal?" An extra $10 a week adds up to plenty by the end of the year.

On top of all this, my parents are facing financial hardship due to my father's medical problems, in spite of their savings. I look at them and see my family in the future, and it terrifies me. Even my wife's sisters have asked why I don't divorce her before she forces us into bankruptcy. Any advice? -- A Penny Saved is Long Gone

Dear Penny: Your wife is a compulsive spender, and since she is unwilling to work on it, you will have to remove the temptation. Have her arrange for her payroll check to be direct-deposited into your joint account so you can pay all the bills. Cut up those credit cards and put her on an allowance, so she knows how much she can spend on those "$5 and $10" extras. Then contact Debtors Anonymous (, P.O. Box 920888, Needham, Massachusetts 02492-0009.

Dear Annie: I have a boss who always wants to know where I get my clothes. Yesterday, I wore a new pair of pants, and she asked, "Are those new? Where did you get them?" This happens with every new thing I buy. She hounds me about it, sometimes even asking the price.

She does this to every female in the office and always in front of others. I don't want to give her the information, because it's none of her business and I don't want her buying the same clothes. How do I tactfully ignore her? -- Worker Bee


Dear Worker: Has it occurred to you that your boss is not sure about her taste in clothes and is looking for advice and assistance? You could distract her with suggestions ("I saw a terrific blouse at the mall that would look great on you"), or you can laugh charmingly and say, "This? I can't remember." Repeat as needed.

Dear Annie: My husband and I enjoy entertaining all year, which entails everything from large football parties to small intimate dinners.

We have a fairly new friend who attends many of these gatherings and insists on cleaning up throughout the night. I have to admit, she is a whirlwind at it, and part of me likes the help, but I'd rather have her enjoying the conversation.

Should I let her do her thing, or should I tell her I'd prefer that she enjoy the party? -- Like to Relax

Dear Relax: Some people cannot help themselves and would have a hard time sitting down, but as the hostess, you are required to make a genuine effort to get your friend to join in the conversation. She shouldn't believe you invite her only because she washes the dishes.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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