Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Chintzy Mom Won't Split Check Down The Middle

DEAR ABBY: I am in my mid-20s and have a close relationship with my mother. She always struggled to make ends meet, but has recently come into greater financial security.

For some time I have been embarrassed about her stingy habits when it comes to splitting the check in group situations. She'll often divide costs unfairly and rely on the generosity of her fellow diners to cover her share. I don't want to embarrass her at the table, but I'm uncomfortable apologizing for her after the fact.

Now that I'm older, I feel responsible in these situations, but I know money is a sensitive topic for her. I don't want to be critical or make her self-conscious. How can I talk Mom into correcting her behavior so we can salvage relationships that are important to both of us? -- KELLY IN NEW YORK

DEAR KELLY: You shouldn't embarrass your mother in front of others. But you should have a private talk with her and express your feelings.

The frugal habits of a lifetime can be hard to break, even if there is a windfall later in life. But if you feel relationships are being destroyed because of what she is doing, then you should tell her and give her some examples. That's the only hope you have of convincing her to change.

Read more in: Money | Family & Parenting