Dear Dr. Wallace:
I am 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 got a good job that pays me fairly well. I struck a deal with my father whereby I’ll pay him 125 dollars a week for rent and food expenses since I’m still living in their home and I’m working. I feel this is fair as I only eat a few meals at home anyway because I am out of the house most of the time.
My father is chill and likes this arrangement, and once a month I’ll give him a hand mowing our front and back lawns, which grow pretty fast here in the summertime. However, my mother loves to give out household chores and she has both of my younger sisters very busy with cleaning, laundry and washing dishes and so forth. Recently she has started asking me to do some household chores as well, like cleaning out the sinks and showers every weekend plus sweeping out our large garage, which is always loaded with dog hair. I already currently help my father by mowing the lawns for free and I pay him rent every week, too. I don’t feel my mother should be allowed to make me do unpaid chores on top of all of this. What’s your opinion?
— A Busy Guy, via email
Dear A Busy Guy: First, you are living under your parents’ roof, so my first instinct is to say that they set the rules for their home. Since you are living there under a present agreement that I feel is more than fair to you, I’d encourage you to accept and complete mom’s requests.
A weekly payment of $125 for rent and food in these days of very high national inflation sounds like a deal to me. Yes, I agree you are a busy guy, but helping out around the house will help ensure harmony in your household. If you were to move out on your own at some point in the near future, I feel you’d soon experience “sticker shock” at the high rental and food prices you’d have to shoulder completely on your own.
And if you find yourself sometimes a bit too busy to complete all of your assigned household “mom chores,” maybe you could “hire” your two sisters to help you out for a reasonable direct payment to them. In my experience, most teenage girls can never have enough spending money, so they may be able to provide an outlet to delegate your chores to.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m 20 years old and 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 excellent pay I’m receiving these days. Our office requires business casual attire, meaning not formal attire but definitely not casual wear either.
I took some money from my first couple of paychecks and quickly expanded my wardrobe so that I have plenty of outfits I can wear to work. I have enough so that I can rotate them and mix and match some of the pieces to give me fresh and different looks.
Now that I have this job plus some disposable income, I find that even though I know I have enough clothes for work right now, I’ll often browse through some of the department stores when they have big sales, and I’ve even gotten used to visiting the discount outlet stores that have some 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 treasure 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 that I’ll constantly buy more clothes than I really need, especially if they are greatly discounted and I feel like I’m getting a great deal. Why do I impulse buy when something is on sale or appears to be a great value because it’s at an outlet store?
— Constant Shopper,
Dear Constant Shopper: Part of it is human nature! We all enjoy getting great deals and super values when we spend our hard-earned money on products, food, travel and life experiences. These days many of us keep an eye out for the best gasoline prices and we feel good if we’re filling up at a station we know has the lowest prices in our area. Well, maybe we don’t feel “good” about today’s gas prices, but we feel good that we keep the expense down as much as we can by being aware of where the best prices are.
Making value purchases for some individuals can trigger pleasure sensors in their mind. I’ve spoken to people who tell me what a great rush it is to purchase a garment that’s worth well over $100 for prices as low as $12 to $20! There’s nothing wrong with being frugal and shopping often to get great values, as long as it does not become an obsession that causes an imbalance in any other part of your life.
Some people like to shop and browse as a hobby, and that’s totally fine. The other element to be aware of is to notice how much total money you’re spending overall on these purchases, even if they are coming at great individual garment values. Purchasing too many items can still blow up your budget and leave you with far more clothing than you really need.