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Answer Angel: Is it OK to talk about cost?

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel: My fiancee is a passionate bargain shopper who loves to brag about her thrift store fashion finds at “amazingly low prices.” It’s her hobby and she’s really good it!

Here is the problem: She also loves to mention the price she paid for everything she is wearing. If someone compliments her on her shoes, for instance, she’s immediately telling them how much they cost, where she bought them and what they would cost full price in a retail store. I find this to be Too Much Information! And, she is not shy about complimenting people on their clothes, jewelry, whatever, then asking quite cheerfully how much they cost -- even if she has just met the people or we’re visiting their home for the first time.

I think that is borderline rude. She even volunteers how much her engagement ring cost! I’ve told her that all this talk of what she paid, what they paid, makes me uncomfortable. Am I overreacting? How to make her understand that this habit is embarrassing me?

--Charlie B.

Dear Charlie: Any visitor to my house knows about the brand new, never-used queen-size sleeper sofa I found at a church thrift store that I like to brag about. (I paid $350 and it usually sells for $2,400!) So, I understand your fiancée’s passion for thrifting and pride in her bargains. I’m on her side about sharing her enthusiasm about her shopping scores -- and her passion for pointing them out.

However, I do draw the line about asking anyone but the closest of friends or family how much they paid for something. I agree that’s intrusive. Show her this column and here’s hoping that she will understand your embarrassment when she grills people on how much their stuff costs and put up with her bragging about her own great deals. Seems like a fair compromise.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Your reader Bella’s question about replacing a missing broken zipper pull brought back fond memories of my father. He would wear pants where he replaced the missing pull with a paper clip. I was surprised you didn’t mention that tip, which is even less expensive than the frugal ones you came up with.

--Paul J.


Dear Paul: You are absolutely right. That is the first thing I should have recommended. You were the earliest of many, many readers who rightly pointed out that nearly everyone has a paper clip or around the house that could serve double duty!

Angelic Readers 1

Deb L. writes: “Adding a perspective to the issue raised of seeing men wearing shorts in frigid weather: Way back in Chicago 2006, my then-high school son made it his personal statement ‘thing’ to wear shorts every single day to school during his senior year. Whether anyone remembered him for it or not, it was a goal he proudly achieved for himself with nary a ‘sick day’ taken. No harm. No foul. Let him be.”

Angelic Readers 2

From Gail T.: "For Pamela who complained of cold feet in bed: Heat a beanbag in the microwave, then put it in your bed while getting ready. Sheets will be toasty warm.” Mary Beth R. has similar advice: “I wanted to suggest a simple rice bag that you warm in microwave and can use over and over again.” Lore says, “Any socks keep my feet warm. Cotton, wool, merino, it really doesn’t matter. I use athletic cotton anklets or low cuts so I don’t get an elastic mark on my shins. With cotton I use moisturizing cream. My feet are soft and hydrated and I’m warm all night.”

Marianne F.: “I used to wear wool socks to bed. I then found fleece socks. A friend also gave me a pair of fleece-lined slipper socks, which are super cozy. No more cold feet at night." Steve L. has the same idea, recommending YSense Fuzzy Socks Winter Slipper Fleece Socks (, 5 for $13.99): “The best part is you don’t feel like you’re wearing socks. They are lighter and more nonrestrictive than a normal sock. I don’t feel the sock at night, just the fact that my feet are warm. Look for ones that don’t have plastic treads on the bottom. Those are heavier.”

Ann R. says, “Electric heated mattress pads exist, and are pretty affordable. Turn it on to ‘prewarm’ your bed at night, and then adjust the temperature as needed at bedtime. Queen-sized also have dual controls, so you and your sleeping partner can set your own favorite levels." From Lidia M.: “Years ago while living in California my podiatrist gave me a great hint: Put Vaseline on your feet at night and cover with a sock. The Vaseline not only softens your feet but acts as insulation and your feet stay toasty warm. Great way to keep winter dry feet warm and soft!!”

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