Author Topic: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)  (Read 18940 times)

MillenialMustache

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Ok - my DH comes from a low income family (got reduced lunch in school, pell grants, etc). We are 27 now, have paid off our home (foreclosure, fixer-upper), and are about to close on our first rental property. We save a lot of money, and have recently tried to cut back more thanks to MMM - making food from scratch, line drying our clothes, biking more, etc.

The point - my DH's family has always asked us a lot of money questions. For whatever reason, my DH thinks this is fine and answers them. I didn't really care, until yesterday.  Yesterday they asked things like - how much are you expecting to make on the home? What is your mortgage? Are you going to put extra on the home? How much? I didn't mind answering the questions, but when they found out how much extra income we were planning to put on the home, you could tell they were shocked.

A couple hours later, they asked us if we could buy them a flat screen TV as a joint Christmas present. In my head, I was screaming, but I tried to remain calm. I just said I wasn't sure, I thought they were pretty pricey still. My MIL then talked about how they have come down in price, and I said that maybe my sister-in-law could chip in and we could do it. Then I got even more upset inside, when my MIL said that they couldn't afford to help us, they were going to buy them an antenna for Christmas anyway (around $30, as a joint gift). Now, I don't care about my SIL's life choices - she is not working and taking care of her 1 year old son, and my BIL is a pilot (regional airline, not a captain = pretty low salary). But, it is very much upsetting me that my MIL is expecting/asking for such a nice gift from us "because we have the money". My DH has tried to tell her that the SIL's choices are her own, and I choose to work so we are dual-income (no kids now), we are saving our money, etc. But, I know she thinks the $150 or so for the TV is a small amount compared to how much "extra" money we have.

We normally spend no more than $25 or so per gift, so this is a huge additional outlay. I am also afraid we opened a can of worms because my MIL asked us to go in on a grill for my FIL a few months ago for his 65th birthday/father's day. She gave $100, we gave $100 and built it, my SIL gave $40. I told my DH that was a one-time outlay for a special occasion, and I didn't want to do it all the time. Now, here we are at the next event, basically being asked to do it again.

Have any of you had a situation like this? How do you handle it? How much do you normally spend on gifts? I know my in-laws don't have a lot of money, but we work hard for ours and are trying to save it.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 09:28:10 AM »
Oh yeah, multiple times.

My experience is this: If you're generous, it will never be enough. If you're not, they'll fault you for being a miser. Either way, you're never generous enough.

It's a no-win - so better to be the miser.

Stop discussing the specifics of your finances with family members. It's better if they have zero perspective on how much wealth you have.

LibrarIan

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 09:29:11 AM »
I have some relatives (immediate and otherwise) who are not good with money. The money topic has come up before and the same thing you described happened to me. "Help us with that vacation - you have the money." "Can you help me buy a car? Mine died."

With very few exceptions, my answer has been no. My solution has been to politely decline and then offer to help them with their finances. "I know times are tough and also that - yeah - the TV [or whatever] isn't super expensive, but I've found some good tricks to build up my money and I'd be more than happy to show you how." In my experience, either they'll feel like listening to money talk is too much work and give up or they'll want to hear you out. If they're persistent about you buying crap for them, tell them you're not buying them [whatever] just because you have the money. They probably will avoid asking you in the future, even if they decide that they think you're cheap.

CommonCents

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2014, 09:43:56 AM »
In addition to the suggestion to help them with finances, I'd also suggest keeping it simple, "I'm sorry, but that's not in the budget right now."  Or, "[X] are pretty expensive.  I'll talk to my husband about whether he would like to combine all of your birthday and Christmas presents together for this year and next year to do one big gift this year."  Or, "DH already has a present in mind for you this year, but we'll keep it in mind for next year."  Basically, give a non-committal answer if you don't feel comfortable saying no.

I'd also stop answering questioning about your finances.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 09:46:52 AM »
Have any of you had a situation like this? How do you handle it? How much do you normally spend on gifts? I know my in-laws don't have a lot of money, but we work hard for ours and are trying to save it.

I haven't had to deal with a similar situation, but have had other family/money situations where it has been uncomfortable. I am pretty honest and don't hold back if I don't want to spend money, but I also don't provide more details than necessary (in other words, you don't need a reason or justification for your choice). If you feel compelled to give a reason, state your disdain for television, or for unnecessary spending on consumer junk.

We normally spend somewhere in the same range as you on most gifts, maybe a bit more for really close family members, much more for weddings and bigger events like that.

My situations have been less uncomfortable than yours. Things like chipping in on a gift, committing to a $50 contribution, then hearing a much more expensive version of the gift was purchased and we should give what we are comfortable with. F-that! I will give what I told you in the first place. You chose to spend more, and it was unnecessary, so you will live with your choice.

rujancified

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 09:48:02 AM »
I have a friend whose family is like this and she's the sole high earner. She's always asked to buy the nephew a PS4 or her sister a new laptop. It's insane to me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing your husband is the one who is being so forthcoming w/details and information? Have you/can you ask him to stop providing anything beyond "we are buying a rental property" or "we bought a car/tv/pet tiger"? Can you backtrack from where you are now and say "we're going to be cash poor after buying this place for the next 2 years so we can't buy anything" or similar BS to buy yourself some time? Can you buy them a gift card to costco or best buy in the amount you're comfortable with and say "this can be used towards your TV?"

CPA cat has a great point - they're always going to think that you're being a miser, so you may as well be one.

Also: You guys are doing really well at a young age. Good for you!

Ynari

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 09:51:51 AM »
I'm a different sort of person - I'll over-talk anything I'm excited about.  A few minutes of jargon about my "financial plan", "ammortization, principle, interest", "investments in X accounts with Y types of funds", and how deviation is not an option, and most people would get the idea that my money is in some way tied up and not for their use. For good measure, I'd throw in an offer to look at their finances - "Oh man, you must be so excited about saving too, maybe I can help you look at your budget and we can work things out so you'd have enough money for that TV, not that you'd want one when you could see all the money you could save!"

This approach may not be a universally successful one, but I definitely have experience with people tuning me out/not wanting to talk about the topic with me again.

That's the goal here right?

CommonCents

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 09:53:52 AM »
I have a friend whose family is like this and she's the sole high earner. She's always asked to buy the nephew a PS4 or her sister a new laptop. It's insane to me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing your husband is the one who is being so forthcoming w/details and information? Have you/can you ask him to stop providing anything beyond "we are buying a rental property" or "we bought a car/tv/pet tiger"? Can you backtrack from where you are now and say "we're going to be cash poor after buying this place for the next 2 years so we can't buy anything" or similar BS to buy yourself some time? Can you buy them a gift card to costco or best buy in the amount you're comfortable with and say "this can be used towards your TV?"

CPA cat has a great point - they're always going to think that you're being a miser, so you may as well be one.

Also: You guys are doing really well at a young age. Good for you!

I like this.  Backpeddle on how much you have ("omg, the house was more expensive than you thought...").  And I like the idea of buying a gift card to a store instead.  They'll get the hint.  (btw, yuo can buy gift cards resold online for cheaper than face value.)

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2014, 10:01:25 AM »
Oh yeah, multiple times.

My experience is this: If you're generous, it will never be enough. If you're not, they'll fault you for being a miser. Either way, you're never generous enough.

It's a no-win - so better to be the miser.

Stop discussing the specifics of your finances with family members. It's better if they have zero perspective on how much wealth you have.
Agreed. Haven't been in this exact situation myself, but it sounds like this is going to be repeat behavior for them, so I'd say shut it down now. Frame your response in such a way that they won't ask you again (or if they do, you'll be able to reiterate your answer). To that end, don't make your response time-dependent (as in, "now's just not a good time") make it more final, such that it will never be a good time. I'm sorry you have to deal with this :(

Wess

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2014, 10:16:48 AM »
I'm a different sort, as well--I'd rather gab about and feel honest than have to hide certain information from family members. But I've also never been in this situation.

I like the combo of sincerely offering personal financial advice and also the gift card or some other contribution you're comfortable with.

But also! Realize that the reason they'll always think you're a miser is because you're telling them even this comparatively small chunk of your early retirement savings is more important to you than giving this gift (which they may see as a measure of your positive feelings toward the family). It's rude of them to ask right out, but would you consider temporarily cutting any spending somewhere else to make up the difference from your usual $25? This might also show them how much of a sacrifice it really is for you.


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msilenus

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2014, 10:17:22 AM »
A friend of mine got married a few years back.  His brother has been in-and-out of prison for years.  His (very new) father-in-law paid for a lawyer after his most recent offense, who was able to get him downgraded to a "wobbler" felony.  (I'd never heard the term before --if he doesn't reoffend for a certain number of years, the offense "wobbles" down to a misdemeanor.  This was really important at the time because California's three-strikes law hadn't been amended yet.)  When I met the father-in-law at the wedding, I told him how generous I thought that was of him, given that this man had been his son-in-law for so short a time, they probably barely knew each other.  His response: "marry the woman, marry the family."

I have very little experience with poverty, but I've read that families in it in the U.S. become much more closely knit financially than families out of it would consider appropriate.  The expectation is that if someone is in need, they'll get some help, and they'll help out in turn when they can.  Even if "can" is something we would still consider "can't" --ie: juggling bills around just to free up $20 for two weeks.  I suspect that what you're feeling right now is culture-shock.  Your in-laws would probably do a lot for you if you were in trouble, if that's any consolation.

Since you're oversharing anyway, you might consider going over your budget with them, including (especially) whatever is down for gifts.  Make them part of the decision not just for giving your money to relatives, but also for taking the money from your financial goals.  Of course, you'd have to stick with whatever you wound up at, but then you could do it in terms of what the budget says.  Maybe some small appreciation for what you're doing and how you're doing it would stick with them.  Or maybe they would refuse to see any legitimacy to what you're doing, and the whole exercise would become a disaster.  Hard to say.  You're in a tough spot.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 10:25:29 AM by msilenus »

cbr shadow

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2014, 10:24:27 AM »
In my opinion you're at the point where there's going to be some awkwardness and direct discussion about money with your in-laws.  There's no way to avoid that conversation.  I think you need to be firm in saying no, and explain that just because you have extra money doesn't mean you are going to buy larger gifts.
If you have that conversation and are firm about it, she'll find it way too awkward to bring up at the next event.  It's a difficult conversation to have, but once it's over you don't want it to ever come up again so just be very firm.

Wess

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2014, 10:33:47 AM »

I suspect that what you're feeling right now is culture-shock.  Your in-laws would probably do a lot for you if you were in trouble, if that's any consolation.

Since you're oversharing anyway, you might consider going over your budget with them, including (especially) whatever is down for gifts.  Make them part of the decision not just for giving your money to relatives, but for taking the money from your financial goals.  Of course, you'd have to stick with whatever you wound up at, but then you could do it in terms of what the budget says.  Maybe some small appreciation for what you're doing and how you're doing it would stick with them.

I like this! Sitting down and showing them what you're willing to cut and what you're not willing to cut sounds like a pretty honest way to do it. May also rub off :)


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Cpa Cat

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2014, 10:35:47 AM »
But also! Realize that the reason they'll always think you're a miser is because you're telling them even this comparatively small chunk of your early retirement savings is more important to you than giving this gift (which they may see as a measure of your positive feelings toward the family). It's rude of them to ask right out, but would you consider temporarily cutting any spending somewhere else to make up the difference from your usual $25? This might also show them how much of a sacrifice it really is for you.

My problem with this mentality is that it's always going to be a comparatively small chunk. There will always be more "gifts" to give. There will always be an expense you can cut (your savings rate, for example - why not cut that until it's 0?), so that you can give them more. There is no end. If a family member views gifts as a measure of your love, then that's a black hole. It will suck up as much love (AKA money) as it can.

I suppose I also have a negative reaction to the idea that someone should sacrifice in order to give their MIL a tv. This isn't, "Sacrifice a little now so that your mother doesn't have to live in a warzone" or "Sacrifice a little now so your sister doesn't go into foster care." It's a TV.

neo von retorch

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2014, 10:44:23 AM »
Personally, I feel much more excited about being generous when people are obviously doing their best to take care of themselves, be self-sufficient, and be happy with what they have. When people specifically ask for something, especially a luxury, it grates me and I have no taste for such requests.

jasonw223

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2014, 10:46:27 AM »
I'm going to respectfully disagree with everyone here and say that you should buy your parents a TV for Christmas and quit worrying about it so much.  And for an exercise in generosity, I'd suggest getting them a Netflix subscription as well.  Buying a few things for them in no way makes you obligated to buy them other things, and should not delay your FI significantly.  I am certain they sacrificed a lot more than that in raising your husband.

At the same time, perhaps teach them about saving and investing or talk them into cutting their cable. 

Grateful Stache

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2014, 10:58:42 AM »
I'm going to respectfully disagree with everyone here and say that you should buy your parents a TV for Christmas and quit worrying about it so much.

Agreed. I'm very mustachian, but I'm also very generous to family and friends on their birthday or other occasions (new baby). It feels good to give.

Cheers.

frugalnacho

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2014, 11:01:50 AM »
Yes.  I always have to explain to them why I have that money after I decline to give it to them. 

Oh you think I should buy everyone dinner because I have so much money? No thanks.  You know how I accumulated that much money? By not fucking buying everyone dinner!

Oh you think I should foot the family vacation because you are piss poor and I have a healthy savings accounts (even though they gross more than me!)?  No - I have a healthy savings account because I don't make poor choices with my money and I don't automatically spend any positive balance I accumulate.  Also because I don't foot the vacation bill for a bunch of irresponsible dead beats.

It's like they don't make the simple connection that not spending money helps you save.  And that saved money isn't meant for frivolous spending.  They are hopeless consumer whores that must spend any "excess" money they have.

When they say:

What?!?!?! You have 100k sitting in your retirement account?!?!?! You should totally (borrow against it, buy a new car, buy me something, loan me money, etc)!

I hear:

What?!?!?! you have all those unused bricks just sitting on the ground (being the foundation of your house)?!?! You should totally rip them out and (sell them, give them to me, trade them for an unnecessary car or other expense)!

CommonCents

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2014, 11:08:14 AM »
Since you're oversharing anyway, you might consider going over your budget with them, including (especially) whatever is down for gifts.  Make them part of the decision not just for giving your money to relatives, but also for taking the money from your financial goals.  Of course, you'd have to stick with whatever you wound up at, but then you could do it in terms of what the budget says. 

Few people save at mustachian levels so I suspect this would backfire, having proof they could give more but choose not to. 

Similarly, if they give a gift this once that is larger, they will set expectations they will give big gifts going forward that will be harder to reset than just saying no right now.

It's like a bandaid, better to rip off fast than slow.  If you are not going to change your spending amount on gifts, then better not to suggest you will or make a one-time exception, because then it'll be harder to go back later.

SnpKraklePhyz

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2014, 11:13:13 AM »
There was a time when we were a one salary family with me as a SAHM and I was scrimping and saving every penny - cooking from scratch, hanging laundry, no cable, normal frugal stuff.  My MIL and FIL always needed money for next months' bills and my DH would give them money.  But visiting their house - they had cable, they had 200 DVDs, went out to eat, etc.  It would burn me up to think that we are sending them money each month.  I mostly just had to deal with it (I probably wouldn't deal with it now - I'd speak up - but then I couldn't).  We did eventually start just paying the bill directly (ie. paying the electric bill each month rather than sending $60 each month).

Noodle

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2014, 11:26:51 AM »
I ran across this years ago when a friend asked me to donate to a child's school fundraiser. I reflexively gave my standard answer, that I was saving for my dream vacation and staying on a tight budget, and inadvertently really hurt her feelings. Now I never give details as to my finances or specifics about why I turn down requests--details just open a debate or upset people.

However, that horse has already left the barn. Honestly, my solution would be for you two to work out a budget for gifts to hubby's family and let him decide how to allocate it. If in-laws protest to you, refer them back to husband. Do not get put in the position of mean DIL denying the family.

Jack

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2014, 11:28:00 AM »
I was walking along the outside of a shopping center the other day when a panhandler asked me for money. I didn't even stop or turn to address him. I just said "NOPE" and kept walking. He said "damn, man, that's cold!" I replied (still as I was walking away) "I have a policy."

You need a policy. I suggest "NOPE."

kyanamerinas

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 11:34:19 AM »
I'm going to respectfully disagree with everyone here and say that you should buy your parents a TV for Christmas and quit worrying about it so much.

Agreed. I'm very mustachian, but I'm also very generous to family and friends on their birthday or other occasions (new baby). It feels good to give.

Cheers.

unfortunately, when it has been approached as this has, it doesn't feel like gift giving. it feels like funding a demanding wish list. if they had sat down of their own accord and decided a new tv was what their mother wanted and what they wanted to give, even if a more than their usual gifts, it would be fine.

gimp

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2014, 12:13:00 PM »
Who the fuck asks for a gift?

MillenialMustache

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2014, 12:26:37 PM »
Thanks so much everyone for the comments. They all make me feel better about the situation. I am going to show this to my DH tonight and we will come up with a plan. It might be a gift card they can put towards a flat screen TV. I also think we may back pedal a little bit - we are using most of our savings on this house.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 12:28:55 PM by Ashley57 »

Eric

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2014, 12:48:43 PM »
Oh you think I should buy everyone dinner because I have so much money? No thanks.  You know how I accumulated that much money? By not fucking buying everyone dinner!

Hahahhahaha!  This is great!

msilenus

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2014, 12:53:32 PM »
Thanks so much everyone for the comments. They all make me feel better about the situation. I am going to show this to my DH tonight and we will come up with a plan. It might be a gift card they can put towards a flat screen TV. I also think we may back pedal a little bit - we are using most of our savings on this house.

NP.  I, for one, would be curious to learn how this turns out, if you don't mind updating the thread from time to time.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2014, 12:56:53 PM »
Sure, I will try to post some updates. Thanks for you willingness to listen and help.

marty998

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2014, 03:44:48 AM »
Why don't you start asking them intrusive questions? See how they react?

erae

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2014, 05:39:43 AM »
This isn't about gift giving, but is related to balancing a desire to help with a need for establishing financial boundaries with extended family.  My husband and I earned a similar reputation within his family as the Family Foundation.  The difference in our case was that the requests weren't for such frivolous things (flat screen tv's, etc.) but for a close family friend's college tuition, car repairs, covering rent shortages, plane tickets to visit sick relatives, etc.  We hated feeling like we were judging each request for its place along the needs and wants spectrum, and all requests were for "loans" everyone knows aren't going to get repaid (uncomfortable for loaner and loanee).  Plus, all the urgency was stressful; the money was usually needed within a day or two.  What we do now is send his mother money on the 15th of every month - same amount every month.  She has better context on the family situation and handles all requests, working with known amount of money each month. YMMV, but since we switched to this system, we give out far less money (less than half) but are more respected by the family and considered more generous.  It was a great move - both financially and politically. 

MillenialMustache

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2014, 06:54:19 AM »
Erae - thank you for sharing your story. I will keep this in mind, as I feel things may start to move in that direction as we gain more wealth, and that is a good idea.

In regards to asking intrusive questions, we basically know all of their financial information - they are very forthcoming with the information, so I think they just expect the same from us.

pipercat

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2014, 07:26:43 AM »
I'm curious about your husband's response to the request.  Did he sort of shrug it off or was he startled as well? 

Clarion

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2014, 07:34:24 AM »
Personally, I feel much more excited about being generous when people are obviously doing their best to take care of themselves, be self-sufficient, and be happy with what they have. When people specifically ask for something, especially a luxury, it grates me and I have no taste for such requests.

I totally agree with this quote. 

I feel your pain. It's a tough situation and an awkward one to be in.

Jack

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2014, 07:41:04 AM »
This isn't about gift giving, but is related to balancing a desire to help with a need for establishing financial boundaries with extended family.  My husband and I earned a similar reputation within his family as the Family Foundation.  The difference in our case was that the requests weren't for such frivolous things (flat screen tv's, etc.) but for a close family friend's college tuition, car repairs, covering rent shortages, plane tickets to visit sick relatives, etc.

Do any of the people asking for help with tuition, rent, etc. also own frivolous things like flat screen TVs? If so, then the money was just as much for the frivolous things as it was for the important things.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2014, 08:35:18 AM »
I'm curious about your husband's response to the request.  Did he sort of shrug it off or was he startled as well?

Originally, I do not think he was as startled as me and he was considering doing it. But, then I said if we are going to continuously spend more than normal on his parents, I feel we should do the same for my parents - especially since they are not asking us for anything. I don't want to hide things from my parents, nor do I want them to feel bad because we are spending so much less on them. When I presented it that way, he changed his tune. Before I posted this thread, he also suggested making the TV an entire year's worth of gifts - no birthday, no mother's day, no father's day, etc. I sort of agree with him on that, and I guess that is still possible. After talking more last night, I think we may just do a gift card. We are also going to share more about our desire to retire early and raise our child, which they currently do not know. I am hoping they will get behind that, once they understand what we are doing with the money.

Trudie

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2014, 08:39:27 AM »
Regardless of your income level (real, or how it's perceived by others) it's perfectly all-right to say, "Sorry, but we have other obligations right now and aren't in a position to do that."

It's all about priorities.  I can think of similar (albeit involving lesser amounts of money) "hints" about what I should give college age nephews for birthdays, Christmases, etcetera.  I finally decided that it's okay to observe their birthdays with cards and modest gifts and not give into the expectation.  I also think teaching them to save for big things they want on their own is a healthy lesson.

I also tease my nephews sometimes, but there's a grain of truth in telling them:  "Well, since we don't have kids any money we save now is helping us to have choices in our old age about where we and how we live, so we won't be a burden on you:-)"

My husband and I make a combined income of $140K and have no kids, so it's easy for us to max retirement accounts and build our investments.  Quite honestly, though, after we factor our up front investment and 401K contributions each month, we aren't flush with cash.  So, it's not exactly a fib to say, "Sorry, we can't swing it..." 

Blany

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2014, 08:55:36 AM »
As I am just starting out on my journey this hasnít been a problem for me.  I plan to take a proactive approach and incorporate some the ideas here (i.e. not talk to openly about my plans/ wealth, not give big gifts) I am also a creative DIY gift giver so most people know to expect something homemade.  This Christmas I am trying to get the whole family (extended as well) involved in giving DIY gifts.  I also would like to make it known to my family that I donít want gifts.  I would accept homemade gift like food or something similar but I donít want pointless consumer goods that I would have to store in my apartment.  I donít know how to tell my family this because I know they like giving me things.  Grandma also likes to give the kid some cash.  How do I tell her no?  Should I even bother?  The standard response has been a grateful thank you and a hug.

MicroRN

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2014, 09:19:30 AM »
I haven't had the issue with the gift demanding, but I do have to deal with families wanting to know details of our finances.  My husband has a very close knit family and will tell them all our bank balances and what we pay for everything.  My in-laws are great folks, but I don't like the oversharing.  I prefer "we're doing fine, thanks" or "we're comfortable with where we are financially" or "we've got it under control, thanks." 

I strongly suggest that you set firm limits about how much of your finances you discuss with them.  Come up with a few phrases that make it clear you aren't going to give them any details, and then immediately redirect the conversation.  Explaining tells them it's up for discussion.  I like the idea of a gift card in the amount you would have gotten them anyway, and tell them it's toward the TV. 

dandarc

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2014, 09:29:31 AM »
As I am just starting out on my journey this hasnít been a problem for me.  I plan to take a proactive approach and incorporate some the ideas here (i.e. not talk to openly about my plans/ wealth, not give big gifts) I am also a creative DIY gift giver so most people know to expect something homemade.  This Christmas I am trying to get the whole family (extended as well) involved in giving DIY gifts.  I also would like to make it known to my family that I donít want gifts.  I would accept homemade gift like food or something similar but I donít want pointless consumer goods that I would have to store in my apartment.  I donít know how to tell my family this because I know they like giving me things.  Grandma also likes to give the kid some cash.  How do I tell her no?  Should I even bother?  The standard response has been a grateful thank you and a hug.

I think you have to just decide what you're gonna do regarding giving gifts and do it.  Feel free to tell people in advance, and try to get others on board, but don't expect anything to change.  Be gracious and accept any gifts you are given, but get over any guilt you may feel for not reciprocating at the same level as anyone else.

For years, I've been told not to do anything for Christmas gifts on one side of my family, because half of the people of my generation on that side are broke (drug addiction, having kids, having not very good jobs - really it all stems from the drugs for the people in question here) and dragging the parents down with them.  I actually did it for 2 or 3 years - only brought small gifts for the little kids (this was supposedly part of the agreement), only to be given what I felt were much too extravagant gifts by the most broke people in the room.  Now I do what I would have preferred all along - give modest gifts to everyone and don't really care much one way or the other on the receiving end.  Life's too short to try to predict what other people are going to do and then come up with a measured response.

concrete_jungle

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2014, 11:03:42 AM »
This is as good a post as any to use my first communication.

I would suggest that you bring up the idea that "We were already considering speaking with the family about gift giving. The little kids are the important people that should get nice Christmas, Birthday, etc. gifts so we are only going to be giving gifts to the kids in the family going forward and we are also asking that everyone in the family do the same."

Just my .02 since we have already begun doing this with our family.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2014, 11:07:58 AM »
This is as good a post as any to use my first communication.

I would suggest that you bring up the idea that "We were already considering speaking with the family about gift giving. The little kids are the important people that should get nice Christmas, Birthday, etc. gifts so we are only going to be giving gifts to the kids in the family going forward and we are also asking that everyone in the family do the same."

Just my .02 since we have already begun doing this with our family.

Welcome to the forum concrete_jungle

Jack

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2014, 11:32:44 AM »
Welcome to the forum concrete_jungle

Welcome to the jungle, concrete_forum!

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2014, 11:35:36 AM »
Welcome to the forum concrete_jungle

Welcome to the jungle, concrete_forum!

We've got fun and games!

Cpa Cat

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2014, 12:02:22 PM »
Once upon a time, we were helping an unemployed in-law through tight times and they announced they were having a third child. When my husband privately asked how they were going to afford this, the in-law revealed that the baby was planned and they had factored our future contributions into the decision.

-.-


msilenus

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2014, 12:09:17 PM »
Once upon a time, we were helping an unemployed in-law through tight times and they announced they were having a third child. When my husband privately asked how they were going to afford this, the in-law revealed that the baby was planned and they had factored our future contributions into the decision.

-.-
Holy shit.

starbuck

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2014, 12:14:54 PM »
Once upon a time, we were helping an unemployed in-law through tight times and they announced they were having a third child. When my husband privately asked how they were going to afford this, the in-law revealed that the baby was planned and they had factored our future contributions into the decision.

Holy shitsnacks... I can't even.... Whaaaat?!

Cpa Cat

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2014, 12:24:07 PM »
Once upon a time, we were helping an unemployed in-law through tight times and they announced they were having a third child. When my husband privately asked how they were going to afford this, the in-law revealed that the baby was planned and they had factored our future contributions into the decision.

Holy shitsnacks... I can't even.... Whaaaat?!

Hahahaha. My husband went with, "I think you may have miscalculated..."

Seriously though... We tread carefully now with our generosity within the family.

msilenus

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #47 on: July 22, 2014, 12:27:28 PM »
Hahahaha. My husband went with, "I think you may have miscalculated..."

Seriously though... We tread carefully now with our generosity within the family.

Indeed.  How exactly did that play out, if you don't mind my asking?

AH013

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #48 on: July 22, 2014, 12:28:04 PM »
Once upon a time, we were helping an unemployed in-law through tight times and they announced they were having a third child. When my husband privately asked how they were going to afford this, the in-law revealed that the baby was planned and they had factored our future contributions into the decision.

-.-

Haha.  I would have literally bent down, grabbed the rug he was standing on, and pulled on it with everything I had.  Then when he asked what gives, I'd tell him I wanted to literally pull the rug out from under him in addition to doing it figuratively, and best of luck feeding another mouth without any more help from me.

Exflyboy

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Re: Has This Happened to You? (Small Vent, In-Laws and Gift Giving)
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2014, 12:44:44 PM »
OK another anecdote.. My MIL is on the phone with my Wife and I hear repeated "ooh the car threw a rod through the engine block eh".. uh huh huh huh... Clearly the hand was coming out.

I wrote a note.. "ASK HER IF SHE CHECKED THE OIL IN THE ENGINE?"

So Mom, ever check the oil?.. You don't .. thats the dealer's job to do that?... Well that was her answer right there.. NFW!

Thats when a few weeks later MIL bought a new car on credit then illegally registered it at our house in Oregon to avoid colorado sales tax... Didn't tell us us of course.. just used our house to commit fraud.

I then turned her into the DMV and had to listen to "How could my SIL do that to me".. through floods of tears of course.

Needless to say I pointed out HER fraud could have cost me MY house.. and BTW don't ever mess with me again...:)

Frank