Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Bored Woman Overspends on Home Shopping Channels

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom lives in an assisted-living community, and they are all shut down now. We can’t visit, and my mom says she’s bored out of her mind. I get that. My family and I feel the same way. What I learned, though, is that my mom has been going to town buying all kinds of unnecessary stuff on QVC and HSN. I pay her bills, and I just got an alert that she had spent beyond her credit limit. I am mortified. On top of everything else, now I have a huge bill to pay for stuff she doesn’t need. How can I get my mom to stop shopping? -- Daily Fix

DEAR DAILY FIX: You need to have a heart-to-heart with your mother. Tell her the truth: She has been overspending on her TV purchases, and you do not have the money to pay for the things she has bought. Tell her that the credit card company has called to alert you of her purchases. Ask her to stop.

More important, though, is for you to call the credit card company and have her spending frozen for now. You can request the freeze without damaging your credit. What will happen when your mother tries to make a purchase next is that she will be denied. This will be disappointing to her but important for you to manage your budget.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been living it up since we have been quarantined, and I think it’s getting out of control. Starting early in the morning, he sits around sipping a beer and eating junk food. Just about every day I join him for a couple -- or more -- drinks. It’s not smart. I can see that we have gained weight, but more than that, it’s awful to be filling our bodies with so much bad stuff. It’s like party central for us, even though I’m still working. My husband got laid off, and he seems to have let himself go.

I am worried about us. If we are home too much longer, who knows what’s going to happen to us? I feel like we really have to stop. How can we break this habit? It has become a routine. -- Cold Turkey

DEAR COLD TURKEY: Invite your husband to quit drinking and eating poorly with you. Point out the patterns that you two have been falling into over the past few weeks. Tell him you are worried about your health and well-being. Ask him to join you in cleaning up your act.

Regardless of whether or not he joins you, you can decide to stop drinking and make smarter choices. And you don’t have to do it alone; Alcoholics Anonymous offers free online meetings for people who want support as they get sober. To find a meeting, go to aa-intergroup.org.

(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.)