DEAR HARRIETTE: The holidays are coming up, and I am in a bind. Usually, my family travels for Thanksgiving and Christmas to visit relatives. My husband recently lost his job, and I am a stay-at-home mom. We can’t afford the flights or even the road trip we normally take. We have to be frugal until we figure out how we will earn a living to take care of our family. We don’t really want to tell our extended family what’s going on. My husband is a proud man, and he doesn’t want to admit that he got laid off. I want to honor his wishes, but I don’t know what to tell the family. They will start worrying and wondering if we don’t tell them something. -- Dreading the Holidays, Pittsburgh
DEAR DREADING THE HOLIDAYS: You can tell your family you won’t be coming to visit them this year. With your husband’s permission, you can even say things are tight right now, and you need to save money, so you hope they understand. If they press you for details, you can remain vague. Many people are experiencing tight purse strings these days, so this shouldn’t be an unfamiliar idea. Your family will be surprised and saddened that you aren’t coming to visit, but if you are firm, they will have to understand. In terms of managing their concern, tell them you are OK. You have decided to make smart decisions for this lean moment in your lives.