DR. WALLACE: I’m a 20-year-old guy who lives at home with my parents and my two younger sisters who are 16 and 13. About a year ago I found a good job that pays me quite well. I made a deal with my dad where I will pay him $125 a week for rent and food since I still live with them and work. I think it’s fair because I only eat a few meals at home anyway because I’m out of the house most of the time.
My dad is cool and likes this arrangement, and once a month I go to help him mow our front and back lawns, which grow pretty fast here in the summer. However, my mother loves to hand over household chores and my two younger sisters are very busy with cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. Recently, she also started asking me to do a few household chores, like cleaning the sinks and showers every weekend and sweeping our big garage, which was always full of dog hair. I am already currently helping my father by mowing the lawns for free and I also pay him rent every week. I don’t think my mom should be allowed to make me do unpaid chores on top of all that. What is your opinion? — A busy guy, via e-mail
OCCASIONED GUY: First of all, you live under your parents’ roof, so my first instinct is to say that they make the rules of their house. Since you live there under a current agreement that I consider more than fair to you, I encourage you to accept and comply with Mom’s requests.
A weekly payment of $125 for rent and food in these days of very high national inflation seems like a bargain to me. Yes, I agree that you are a busy guy, but helping around the house will help bring harmony to your home. If you were to move on your own at some point in the near future, I suspect you would soon experience “sticker shock” from the high rental and food prices that you would have to bear entirely on your own- same.
And if you sometimes find yourself a little too busy to do all the “mommy duties” assigned to you, you might be able to “hire” your two sisters to help out for a reasonable direct payment. In my experience, most teenage girls never have enough pocket money, so they may be able to provide an outlet to delegate your tasks.
DR. WALLACE: I’m 20 and I have a good job for the first time in my life. I work in an office in my hometown and enjoy my job and the great pay I get these days. Our office requires business casual dress, which is not formal dress, but certainly not business casual either.
I took some cash from my first paychecks and quickly expanded my wardrobe so I had lots of outfits I could wear to work. I have enough to be able to rotate them and mix and match certain pieces to give me a fresh and different look.
Now that I have this job plus disposable income, I find that even though I know I have enough clothes for work right now, I will often browse some of the big stores when they have big sales, and I I even got used to visiting discount outlet stores that offer great deals on various types of clothing. Some of these discounters actually provide different inventory every week or two, so it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt to go through them and see what they may have in terms of new inventory.
The reason I’m writing to you is that I find I’m constantly buying more clothes than I really need, especially if they’re heavily discounted and I feel like I’m getting a bargain. Why do I buy on impulse when something is on sale or seems like good value because it’s at an outlet? — Constant buyer, by e-mail
CONSTANT SHOPPER: Part of that is human nature! We all like to take advantage of great deals and great values when we spend our hard-earned money on products, food, travel and life experiences. Many of us keep an eye out for the best gas prices these days, and it feels good if we fill up at a station that we know has the lowest prices in our area. Well, maybe we don’t feel “good” about today’s gas prices, but we do feel good that we’re cutting expenses as much as possible by knowing where the best prices are. .
Making valuable purchases for some people can trigger pleasure sensors in their minds. I have spoken to people who have told me what a great rush it was to buy an item of clothing that is worth well over $100 for prices as low as $12-$20! There’s nothing wrong with being thrifty and shopping often for great values, as long as it doesn’t become an obsession that causes imbalance in every other part of your life.
Some people enjoy shopping and browsing as a hobby, and that’s absolutely fine. The other thing to consider is to note the total amount you spend on these purchases overall, even if they have a high individual garment value. Buying too many items can still blow your budget and leave you with way more clothes than you really need. So try to get your deals on and keep things in moderation so your budget and your fashion sense both flourish!