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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Strives to Put Money Only Where His Mouth Is

DEAR ABBY: I consider myself to be a "free spirit." I bike and hike to get around, do not own a car and pretty much try to live "off the grid."

My recently married sister and new in-laws are my favorite people in the world. But they constantly arrange weekend events -- movie nights, shopping trips and coffee bar-hopping. The objective, of course, is the joy of sharing good company.

As a vehement anti-consumerist and anti-materialist, I find it deeply upsetting to be asked to spend money on things I consider to be exploitive industries and endeavors. On the other hand, there's nothing I enjoy more than being in the presence of these kind, loving, nurturing people.

So, just as I can't stand the way they spend their money, I don't want to spoil their good time by being some kind of "psycho naturalist in-law." What can I do? -- PRINCIPLED BROTHER-IN-LAW

DEAR BROTHER-IN-LAW: Limit the movie dates, refuse the expensive coffee dates and do not buy anything you don't need. This doesn't mean you can't accompany your sister and the in-laws on their shopping trips. Reciprocate by inviting them to your home for an evening of board games, conversation or rented movies. Many people have begun to see the wisdom of your philosophy of frugality, so consider yourself in the forefront of a new wave.