Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Mother Changes Personality in New Marriage

DEAR HARRIETTE: My father is so embarrassingly cheap, I don't want to be with him in a restaurant. I have seen him dissect every part of a bill and attempt to get a quarter off the check because he asked for no pickles. He is fairly wealthy, but he believes that he must be frugal to preserve his wealth. Is there any way to show him how embarrassing his behavior is? I've seen him order hot coffee with a cup of ice cubes because iced coffee was slightly more expensive. -- Save and Spend, Shreveport, Louisiana

DEAR SAVE AND SPEND: Your father may be living at the extreme of his thinking, but it is true that the person who saves money has money. Try a unique approach. When you are not in a compromising situation, like paying a bill at a restaurant, talk to your father about money. Ask him to teach you how he built his wealth. Listen to him tell you about his financial pursuits. Do your best to get his ear by being a good student.

Over time, change the conversation a bit. Ask him to tell you why he argues about bills all the time, and other such things. Tell him that you respect his desire to be respectful of money, but you fear that in his frugality, he is being rude to others. Give him examples of behaviors that make you uncomfortable. Ask him if there is a way that he can teach you to be mindful of money without being unkind or cheap with others. This may create space for an eye-opener for him.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)