My Mom is too cheap.

Mary BartI have tried several times to take my Mom (she is 86) shopping for some new cloths.  She wears the same old thing all the time.  Mom is not short of money yet when we look at things, she gasps at the price tags and keeps walking.  Because of the prices, she won’t even try things on.  She needs new clothes and she would enjoy new clothes, but how do I get her to buy anything?

Hi Heather:

My mother was very much like what you are describing about your Mom. My mother lived through the Depression and was always very frugal with her money. She liked new clothes and especially new sheets and towels but never wanted to pay much for them. We often went to our local major department stores and she would say, “if only I could afford that” or “if only it were on sale”. Well, in reality she could afford to buy nice things, but would never want to spend too much money.

Here are a couple of ideas that I used to make sure she had new clothes, towels and sheets without her feeling guilty.

I bought things on my own and would take the price tags off before giving them to her. If she did not see the prices, then she accepted the new clothes more easily.

I created a program called: “Sales and Specials at the cashier’s desk”.  I would tell her that there were special sales at the casher’s desk only and that the prices on the items that we were looking at, did not yet reflect the discounts. She accepted the idea of getting things cheaper at the check-out. Here is one real example.

We were out shopping and she found a very comfortable pair of shoes. They were $95.00 (and not on sale). She asked me the price of the shoes and I said that they were on sale for $5.00. “Good, let’s get them, I know I have $5.00”. We went to the cashier and I looked her straight in the eyes and made a “sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhh” motion with my lips. The cashier looked back at me and knew I was up to something. She only said, “may I have your credit card please?” I handed her my card and gave her a wink. Then I said to my Mom, “Yes, they are only $5.00 and you can pay me back when we get home”. The cashier raised her eyebrows and gave me a small smile. Mom was very pleased with her new shoes and wore them a lot. She was also pleased to get such a great deal.

Yes, these are all “little white lies” but quite harmless. I used many tricks in order to keep my Mom well dressed, clean and feeling good about herself.

My suggestion to you, is to get creative on what you tell your Mom about the cost of things, so that she actually does have new clothes to wear. Not only will she love her new clothes but you will have great fun with this whole process.

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