There are people who live within their means and people who live beyond their means. Since my husband and I didn’t want to go broke buying lottery tickets as a means for becoming millionaires we drafted a household budget.

            We started watching our pennies and started watching each other. Big brother made our relationship a threesome.

At the ice cream store big brother had my husband demand, “Do you really need the double scoop cone?” my retort, “One scoop for Ben, one scoop for Jerry,” got the evil eye from big brother.

Big brother was in the room and prompted me to question my husbands judgment when he announced, “There’s an extension ladder on sale. I think I’ll buy it.” “Why?” “It’s a good price.” “Oh, so you’ve gotten over your fear of heights?” “No.” “So, you want to buy a ladder you’ll never use because you’re afraid of heights simply because it’s a good price.” “Just be quiet and eat your double scoop cone.”

When grocery shopping we watched each other drop items into the cart. As I watched my husband drop cookies into the cart I was surprised to hear big brothers voice come out of my mouth. “If we really don’t need those let’s put them back.” I couldn’t help but agree when he replied, “If we bought only the food we really needed we would put half the cart back.” I covered my mouth to squelch any additional objections by big brother.

Big brother really started to irk me the other day when my husband looked at me and asked, “New blouse?” “Yes. I got it when I went birthday shopping for Mary.” “Oh, what did you get her?” “This blouse.” “If the blouse is for Mary why are you wearing it?” “Because I decided it would look better on me. She doesn’t have the right coloring for it.” “Well, then what did you get her?” “Nothing, I have to go shopping again. She’s hard to shop for.” When he cast his judgmental look form my blouse to my shoes he inquired, “New shoes?” “Yes, I got them to go with the blouse.” “Keep living beyond our means and we’ll break the budget.”

Desperate to beat big brother at his own game I decided to fight dirty. “Hey, I have an idea. As an early birthday gift how would you like that extension ladder?”

“Great idea. When can I get it?”

“I’ll get it tomorrow when I go birthday shopping for Mary.”

Victory was mine waving goodbye to big brother whom I sent packing.