CNN Money Matters
(MONEY Magazine) -- After three years of belt-tightening, Tom Van De Water, 41, a customer information systems manager in Stratham, N.H., has finally loosened the family budget. This year he and his wife, Alyson, 41, celebrated their 10th anniversary in St. Lucia, and she bought him a pricey watch for his birthday.
Are these signs of a return to the free-spending good old days, when the couple wouldn't have hesitated to buy the best stuff and top off one of their frequent dinners out with an expensive bottle of wine? Not by a long shot.