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Dear Aunt Bingo,
I have enjoyed reading your column as well as the rest of the Bingo Bugle newspaper for many years. The columns and puzzles are enjoyable and the game listings are invaluable—especially since I retired last year and have increased my Bingo playing.
Which brings me to my problem. When I was working at my job as an office manager, I mostly limited my Bingo playing to one evening a week. Now that I am retired and have more free time, I play Bingo at least twice a week and sometimes three times…and occasionally as much as four times a week.
I rotate to different games and have many Bingo friends I see when I am out who make Bingo even more fun. I keep a record so I know how much I am spending on Bingo. If my spending gets too high, I cut back. When I win a jackpot, I include that in my budgeting and may play a little more. The bottom line is that Bingo is great fun for me and I am certainly not squandering my retirement income in order to play.
Unfortunately, my husband sees it differently. He is convinced that Bingo is a big waste of time and money and that I am throwing money away. I’ve tried more than once to show him my Bingo account book to prove to him that I keep track of every penny, but he brushes it aside. I also reminded him that part of my former job was tracking office inventories and expenditures and that I was quite good at it. He said that didn’t matter and that all my Bingo playing is going to take us to the poor house.
At this point I am at a loss as to how to reason with him. Do you have any ideas? —Budget Conscious in Colorado

Dear Budget Conscious,
I suspect that there is a little more going on here than just your spending at Bingo.
Assuming your husband is retired as well, I can’t help but wonder if part of his issue is that you are off enjoying an activity for hours at a time, multiple times a week—without him.
I remember when my parents first retired. Mom immediately got more involved with her church, joined a community chorus, and began making and selling baked goods through a local farmers market. Dad mostly just puttered, determined not to do anything that even remotely resembled work.
Needless to say, for a while they really got on each other’s nerves. Whenever Mom was home, Dad was always underfoot, hovering and sticking his nose into whatever she was doing, and talking her ear off. This made her spend more time outside the house, which made him resentful. It took years before Dad finally developed his own interests and activities—to my Mom’s great relief.
Does any of this sound like your situation? While you are off playing Bingo, is your husband home alone, roaming through an empty house and blaming your interest in Bingo for his boredom? If so, it seems to me that the only remedy is to help your husband find constructive ways to occupy himself and stop resenting your personal interests.
Now, about that Bingo spending…
It sounds like you are doing a good job of keeping a written record of your gaming expenses—but be sure you are tracking it ALL. Wear and tear on your vehicle as well as the cost of gas, gaming supplies, beverages, meals, and more, all add to the real cost of playing Bingo. If you are playing three or four days a week, depending on how many packs you play, this could easily come to $100 or more a week, which comes to $5,000-plus a year. (Of course, this is based on zero wins; a couple of good jackpots will slash that total considerably.)
I, for one, see nothing wrong with spending $100 a week on something I enjoy—as long as I have the means to pay for it without creating financial hardship in other areas. If this is true for you, then your husband really has no right to be criticizing your Bingo play, especially since he has refused to even look at your accounting.
All I can suggest is that the next time he starts in, stand your ground and tell him you have budgeted for it, you can afford it, you have the paperwork to prove it, and it’s time for him to get off your back. Good luck! —Aunt Bingo

Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.

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