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Mom is on social security. I feel she should save her money and she does have some debts that she is paying off. She was completely unprepared to be dependent on others in her old age. She is starting to have some extra saved up. She seems to eat more when we go out to eat than when I cook at home. But I don’t like her spending the money. Plus, I have to spend my own money and I don’t want to spend my own money going out to eat more than a few times a week. My parents both made terrible financial decisions all of their lives, which is partly why she is now living with me. I worry that we are being irresponsible with her finances if she eats out as often as she wants to. But I worry when we are at home that she isn't getting enough calories. Am I just worrying too much?

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Yes, you are worrying too much, and yes, she should go out to eat often.

What would you have her save her money for? Her funeral expenses? It would be good to get that pre-paid. Most seniors take comfort in knowing that won't be a burden to her family. This would be something to save up money for and then spend it on a funeral plan.

What else should she save her money for? If she ever needs the professional care of a nursing home, she will no doubt need Medicaid. Having money saved up is not a particular advantage in that situation.

What else? You can help her be responsible enough to afford a winter jacket when the need arises, and a good pair of shoes, etc.

But with her "extra" money, why shouldn't she do something she considers fun? And if going out to eat also helps her to eat more and she needs that, so much the better.

The problem arises, in this case, that you can't afford to go out to eat as often as she'd like to. I don't blame you there! Unlike your mother, you do have reasons to be in savings mode. Could you sometimes eat at home before or after going out, and just keep your mother company with a cup of coffee? Do you watch for coupons and sign up for restaurant email clubs? My husband loves eating out and we almost always go on a two-for-one basis with some voucher or coupon. Does mother have a friend or other relative she could lunch with sometime?

I hope you can come up with some compromises that will allow mother the pleasure of eating out often but within the bounds you can afford for yourself.

Good luck!
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