Author Topic: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts  (Read 2398 times)

simple money

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Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« on: December 10, 2021, 12:46:47 PM »
Sorry to ask and vent about this topic which has been brought up before but I need some moustachian words of wisdom. 

My brother is very well off and expects my sister and I to ďgo in onĒ family gifts or heíll make a reservation at an expensive restaurant for someoneís birthday and after drinks, meals etc. it is much more money than I would ever pay for a dinner out (even though I hardly ever go out to dinner anymore.)
If I opt out, my brother will say heíll pay extra ďsince Iím so cheapĒ or something like that which is not what I want either.

Anyway, he asked us to not only to do dinner at an expensive restaurant for my Dadís 75th birthday but also wants to invite 25 additional guests (and have us pay for.) I talked to my sister and said I would rather host the birthday dinner (minus the additional 25 guests) at my home, she is on the same page. My brother does not think this is ďspecialĒ enough but reluctantly agreed since it is what ďthe majorityĒ wanted.

How can I avoid this situation moving forward?

How should I respond when he comes up with these extravagant gift ideas or dinners out?

simple money

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2021, 12:48:41 PM »
Also, if anyone has links to past replies on this topic I'd appreciate...sorry I couldn't find them.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2021, 12:54:26 PM »
Too bad he doesn't recognize the disparity and be more flexible...in my own family, there is a massive wealth disparity, and everyone does what they can afford. The Warren Buffet contingent hosts us middle class folks in high style when they're of a mind, and we host them in low style, and everybody just enjoys each other in whatever setting they find themselves in.

If it were my brother, I'd suggest that he take over the catering or the booze or something at my home. It's possible to have a pretty fancy home party. Or I'd contribute in some way that wasn't monetary, like organizing and then having him sign the checks. But at some point, seems like you'd have to have a convo about it. The key would be to have confidence in your own deal and not feel shame/resentment. You can do what you can do. If his reaction is to push your boundaries, that's what adulthood is for--you don't have to worry about other people getting pissed off at your reasonable requests.


sonofsven

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2021, 01:01:26 PM »
Develop a thicker skin? Don't care what your brother thinks (or says)?
It's tough, my sister just did this (but she doesn't have a history of it).
We're all going as a family to Maui, so already $$.
Sis wanted to take mom out to the most expensive restaurant on the island (Mama's). She offered that we leave all the kids behind since it's so expensive.
I offered the alternative of a less expensive place or we make mom a fabulous meal, something we can all do, even the kids.
"Well, if you are too cheap then you don't have to go". Ok, I said. Have fun.
She couldn't get reservations.
I'm ok being the "bad guy" sometimes.

yachi

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2021, 01:03:43 PM »
Thankfully DW and I find ourselves to be the well off ones, which lends itself nicely to being mustachian as well since we enjoy the lower cost, but easier to navigate at-someone's-home get togethers. 
I'd say you know your brother best, but some high-income folks would rather throw money at get togethers than time and planning.  So the solution to take everyone out to a banquet at a restaurant seems to the be the better option to them (time, instead of money being in short supply for these folks).  If it's your brother wanting to show off how well dad's kids have done, then it really does need to be a unanimous decision.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2021, 01:16:11 PM »
How can I avoid this situation moving forward?

How should I respond when he comes up with these extravagant gift ideas or dinners out?

Agree on a family policy that the siblings will agree on any joint ideas before firm plans are made. It seems like two of you are on the same page more or less so you should get your way most of the time.

If he wants to host a fancy dinner for your dad and invite 25 people let him pay for it. It's his money and if it means that much to him I wouldn't say no. I just wouldn't contribute beyond paying for my own meal. I'd agree to this sort of thing say once a year so he got some traction on his ideas occasionally.

In return you could host a different family gathering and cover the costs. The fact your gather is more cost efficient/less spendy is neither here or there. You are both doing stuff for the family in your own way and they are having a good time at both styles of events.


Runrooster

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2021, 02:17:44 PM »
Does anyone in the family have special food requirements that make restaurants difficult?  We brought in someone to be a personal chef for my Mom's 80th and I'd say it was more special than eating out at a restaurant as well as allowing us to tailor meals for my Mom's salt allergy and general pickiness.  Still, not cheap.

Honestly, I don't know how big the income disparity is, but I'd just let him pay.  My most well-off sibling pays for anything she attends, and the next-well-off siblings pay when she is not there. 

My issue is generally that the food at restaurants isn't even that special. My niece wanted to go to this Mexican restaurant for Father's Day - we've been there a few times and almost everyone gets the $22 order of chicken fajitas - 5 orders of the exact same dish.  I can make just as good fajitas in half an hour, for less than $20 for all 5 servings.  Most of us won't drink, and the drinks are huge, $15 deals.  Plus there's a line a mile long to get in, esp on a holiday.  So I drove there, there was a 45 minute wait, Dad - this is Father's Day - said he didn't want to hang around for overpriced food.  For $110 I could buy some really nice cuts of fish and bake it.  Or beef if you eat that.

reeshau

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2021, 02:33:41 PM »
What's missing for me, in this specific case, is what does your Dad want?  Does he really enjoy these special occasions?  Does he quickly get tired at large, active social occasions?  If you and your brother fight about what to do together, that's one thing.  But fighting over your parents, without your parent's viewpoint on the subject, is a red flag on both sides.

This is a boundary, just like any other with families and there particular issues.  While your brother should grow up and figure out a new definition for "equal," you can't control what he does, only what you do.  You can either decline to participate in his ideas, and proceed with your own, or sit down and have a heart-to-heart about your feelings around this.  Waiting for him to pick up signals or figure out clues you are giving him just assumes he thinks exactly like you do, which is clearly wrong--or you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

Metalcat

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2021, 02:38:29 PM »
Have you talked to your brother?

Villanelle

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2021, 02:42:24 PM »
If he *chooses* to pay when you say you aren't interested, that's on him.  You have to let go of trying to control that.  You control your choices, which means saying you don't want to buy dinner for 25 people (or an expensive gift, or whatever).  What he does after that has nothing to do with you.  If he calls you cheap, "that's very unkind" can be a fairly non-confrontational response to start with.  But don't try to stop him from buying the gift or dinner or whatever on his own.  He gets to make that choice, just like you get to choose not to participate. 

K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2021, 04:24:19 PM »
If he *chooses* to pay when you say you aren't interested, that's on him.  You have to let go of trying to control that.  You control your choices, which means saying you don't want to buy dinner for 25 people (or an expensive gift, or whatever).  What he does after that has nothing to do with you.  If he calls you cheap, "that's very unkind" can be a fairly non-confrontational response to start with.  But don't try to stop him from buying the gift or dinner or whatever on his own.  He gets to make that choice, just like you get to choose not to participate.
This is exactly right.  I would add that in addition to saying that it's unkind to call you cheap, I would tell him it's unacceptable.  He doesn't know your finances, and unless it's something you could afford but choose not to, it's a low blow.  Actually, it's a low blow either way, but I know that most people are understanding if someone truly can't afford something.  But they get pissy if they think you are holding out on them.

As for the birthday plans, it sounds like your brother feels the need for the celebration to be special and memorable in a manner that makes sense to him.  But he backed down when you and your sister were unwilling to help pay for the restaurant dinner.  You have different ideas as to what makes something special, and that's okay.  In this case he didn't offer to pay for the entire thing.  His dig about "what the majority wanted" says more about him than it does about anyone else.

Going forward, I think an honest conversation is in order.  Explain to your siblings that you don't want to participate in joint gifts, period.  Tell your brother you don't value eating at expensive restaurants and don't want to participate anymore.  Basically let him know that you aren't going to let him spend your money for you.

We are the better off couple in our families.  I've learned to deflect expensive ideas with honesty, while remaining as kind as possible.  When invited to join several siblings on a planned trip to fly to Michigan to see Green Bay play football, I responded that we appreciated the invitation but that it didn't align with our financial goals.  I didn't say we couldn't afford it because it wouldn't have been true.  I also didn't say that I think football is stupid.  I didn't point out that the people who were planning to go were all deeply in debt and planning to put the trip on credit cards.  And when the trip fell through because they couldn't afford it, I didn't say a word.

I don't know how old you are.  The older I get, the less bullshit I'm willing to put up with from siblings.  On the flip side, I find myself emboldened to be honest with them.  I just told a sibling that I'm concerned about gathering at Christmas and I'm not sure we'll be able to make it, or if we do, we'll remain masked.  I've finally bowed out of family gifts and gift exchanges, expensive meals out, and family trips (that mostly don't materialize).  It took time to get to this place, and I wish I'd had the guts to stand up for myself 30+ years ago instead of always worrying that I was disappointing them.

Also, if we go to a restaurant with family we expect to pick up the bill.  I'd rather host people at my house (pre-covid anyway), but sometimes it doesn't work for everyone or they just don't want to do it.  If it's just family members we always pay.  The others make motions like they are going to contribute, but they always back off and at this point I think they know we'll pay.  And we don't choose crazy expensive restaurants.  I think the last meal we covered was at an Indian restaurant, with seven of us present.  Some had the buffet, some ordered off the menu, everyone one had some sort of beverage, and I the bill was under $200 with a generous tip.  Not small change, but we could afford to do it.  Would I do it every month?  No.  But neither would I ask others to chip in and them call them cheap if they didn't.

(Also, we have one sibling who always orders whatever their heart desires -- expensive entree, appetizers, dessert, and a special beverage -- and in the past never had the money to cover their portion of the bill.  They still don't, but now I don't get upset because I go into it knowing we'll pay.  But there was a time when it was a hardship because we were all trying to make ends meet and this sibling just couldn't do the math in their head, I guess.)

simple money

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2021, 08:19:48 PM »
I don't know how big the income disparity is, but I'd just let him pay.

Heís fire with income from many properties. We are not fire and working hard to achieve it.  We would not go into debt and actually can afford itÖbut since I started on this MMM journey each month I check my numbers and see the progress itís hard to spend that kind of money when (for me) a dinner at home is just as special without the high price.

What's missing for me, in this specific case, is what does your Dad want?  Does he really enjoy these special occasions?  
Right! Itís really about him and he doesnít care where as long as we are all together. My brother does mean well and just wants to pamper him because he has done so much for us and does deserve the best.

Have you talked to your brother?
Yes, we actually get along great and this is pretty much the only thing Iím having trouble with. He means well and wants the best for our parents and family on holidays and birthdays. Itís a fairly recent problem now that I am tracking our finances.
Iím sure many of you feel the same as I about spending on restaurant dinnersÖit sucks! Paying restaurant prices for wine/drinks and a meal that most times isnít as good as our home cooked meals is just the worst!

Metalcat

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2021, 09:00:51 PM »
I don't know how big the income disparity is, but I'd just let him pay.

Heís fire with income from many properties. We are not fire and working hard to achieve it.  We would not go into debt and actually can afford itÖbut since I started on this MMM journey each month I check my numbers and see the progress itís hard to spend that kind of money when (for me) a dinner at home is just as special without the high price.

What's missing for me, in this specific case, is what does your Dad want?  Does he really enjoy these special occasions?
Right! Itís really about him and he doesnít care where as long as we are all together. My brother does mean well and just wants to pamper him because he has done so much for us and does deserve the best.

Have you talked to your brother?
Yes, we actually get along great and this is pretty much the only thing Iím having trouble with. He means well and wants the best for our parents and family on holidays and birthdays. Itís a fairly recent problem now that I am tracking our finances.
Iím sure many of you feel the same as I about spending on restaurant dinnersÖit sucks! Paying restaurant prices for wine/drinks and a meal that most times isnít as good as our home cooked meals is just the worst!

Okay, feelings about paying for restaurants aside, that's not really relevant to the question at hand.

You've talked to your brother, and what is his response to you u feeling uncomfortable? What is his solution?

LightStache

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2021, 08:11:13 AM »
I don't know how big the income disparity is, but I'd just let him pay.

Heís fire with income from many properties. We are not fire and working hard to achieve it.  We would not go into debt and actually can afford itÖbut since I started on this MMM journey each month I check my numbers and see the progress itís hard to spend that kind of money when (for me) a dinner at home is just as special without the high price.

What's missing for me, in this specific case, is what does your Dad want?  Does he really enjoy these special occasions?
Right! Itís really about him and he doesnít care where as long as we are all together. My brother does mean well and just wants to pamper him because he has done so much for us and does deserve the best.

Have you talked to your brother?
Yes, we actually get along great and this is pretty much the only thing Iím having trouble with. He means well and wants the best for our parents and family on holidays and birthdays. Itís a fairly recent problem now that I am tracking our finances.
Iím sure many of you feel the same as I about spending on restaurant dinnersÖit sucks! Paying restaurant prices for wine/drinks and a meal that most times isnít as good as our home cooked meals is just the worst!

Okay, feelings about paying for restaurants aside, that's not really relevant to the question at hand.

You've talked to your brother, and what is his response to you u feeling uncomfortable? What is his solution?

It shouldn't be incumbent upon OP's brother to come up with solutions. Why shouldn't the OP come up with one? Maybe host a dinner party at 1/3 the cost of the restaurant option.

If you want to be mustachian and still stay engaged with family/friends, you need to put in extra effort to plan events like this because your shouldn't expect them to adopt your values.

In this case I'd expect OP to offer to host the birthday party, send invites, plan menus, cook, clean, and cover their share of the costs. That'll save $$$ compared to hosting 25 at a fancy restaurant.

I'm surprised by the suggestions here to let the brother cover all the costs. If the OP can pay their share but would rather not, isn't that the exact definition of cheap?

Captain FIRE

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2021, 10:22:29 AM »
1) Proactively propose ideas for any traditional celebrations or let them know you are doing something on your own.

2)a Reach out and say "I wanted to raise an uncomfortable topic.  A lot of the ideas you propose for family celebrations sound great, but they are often out of the budget of my family.  It's uncomfortable for me to say this each time.  I'm wondering if we can either agree on a lower budget for these types events or plan to do separate celebrations going forward."
ETA: Or 2)b Just say "That doesn't work for us.  How about X?" in response to gifts that are out of budget/values for you.  (There's no need to provide a reason)

3) If he offers to pay for something, feel free to accept if you want to go.  If he offers in a snarky way, respond, "Why would you say that?"

4) Do not assume he will offer to pay for anything.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 11:52:17 AM by Captain FIRE »

Metalcat

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2021, 10:25:35 AM »
I don't know how big the income disparity is, but I'd just let him pay.

Heís fire with income from many properties. We are not fire and working hard to achieve it.  We would not go into debt and actually can afford itÖbut since I started on this MMM journey each month I check my numbers and see the progress itís hard to spend that kind of money when (for me) a dinner at home is just as special without the high price.

What's missing for me, in this specific case, is what does your Dad want?  Does he really enjoy these special occasions?
Right! Itís really about him and he doesnít care where as long as we are all together. My brother does mean well and just wants to pamper him because he has done so much for us and does deserve the best.

Have you talked to your brother?
Yes, we actually get along great and this is pretty much the only thing Iím having trouble with. He means well and wants the best for our parents and family on holidays and birthdays. Itís a fairly recent problem now that I am tracking our finances.
Iím sure many of you feel the same as I about spending on restaurant dinnersÖit sucks! Paying restaurant prices for wine/drinks and a meal that most times isnít as good as our home cooked meals is just the worst!

Okay, feelings about paying for restaurants aside, that's not really relevant to the question at hand.

You've talked to your brother, and what is his response to you u feeling uncomfortable? What is his solution?

It shouldn't be incumbent upon OP's brother to come up with solutions. Why shouldn't the OP come up with one? Maybe host a dinner party at 1/3 the cost of the restaurant option.

If you want to be mustachian and still stay engaged with family/friends, you need to put in extra effort to plan events like this because your shouldn't expect them to adopt your values.

In this case I'd expect OP to offer to host the birthday party, send invites, plan menus, cook, clean, and cover their share of the costs. That'll save $$$ compared to hosting 25 at a fancy restaurant.

I'm surprised by the suggestions here to let the brother cover all the costs. If the OP can pay their share but would rather not, isn't that the exact definition of cheap?

Dude, I was just asking if OP had even spoken directly with the brother and if the brother held a position on possible solutions.

That's it.

I didn't state an opinion because I can't until I know if there has been conversation with the brother and how it went.

Villanelle

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2021, 11:32:33 AM »
I don't know how big the income disparity is, but I'd just let him pay.

Heís fire with income from many properties. We are not fire and working hard to achieve it.  We would not go into debt and actually can afford itÖbut since I started on this MMM journey each month I check my numbers and see the progress itís hard to spend that kind of money when (for me) a dinner at home is just as special without the high price.

What's missing for me, in this specific case, is what does your Dad want?  Does he really enjoy these special occasions?
Right! Itís really about him and he doesnít care where as long as we are all together. My brother does mean well and just wants to pamper him because he has done so much for us and does deserve the best.

Have you talked to your brother?
Yes, we actually get along great and this is pretty much the only thing Iím having trouble with. He means well and wants the best for our parents and family on holidays and birthdays. Itís a fairly recent problem now that I am tracking our finances.
Iím sure many of you feel the same as I about spending on restaurant dinnersÖit sucks! Paying restaurant prices for wine/drinks and a meal that most times isnít as good as our home cooked meals is just the worst!

Okay, feelings about paying for restaurants aside, that's not really relevant to the question at hand.

You've talked to your brother, and what is his response to you u feeling uncomfortable? What is his solution?

It shouldn't be incumbent upon OP's brother to come up with solutions. Why shouldn't the OP come up with one? Maybe host a dinner party at 1/3 the cost of the restaurant option.

If you want to be mustachian and still stay engaged with family/friends, you need to put in extra effort to plan events like this because your shouldn't expect them to adopt your values.

In this case I'd expect OP to offer to host the birthday party, send invites, plan menus, cook, clean, and cover their share of the costs. That'll save $$$ compared to hosting 25 at a fancy restaurant.

I'm surprised by the suggestions here to let the brother cover all the costs. If the OP can pay their share but would rather not, isn't that the exact definition of cheap?

The brother choose the gift.  SO of course he should cover all costs.  He doesn't get to spend other people's money.  If you are okay with that, then great!  I'll buy a new car and you can pay half!   Are you okay with that?  If you aren't are you obligated to provide w different, cheaper car?  Of course not.  Because the decision to buy a car is mine, and the decision to have a 25 person dinner party is the brother's, not OP's.

Not wanting to pay for something you have no interest in buying and is entirely optional isn't "cheap".  If my sibling called and said she was buying our parents a $2000 cruise for their anniversary, and I don't like that gift idea or that price point, why on earth would I be obligate to pay for half of her idea?  I'd find a gift concept I liked at a price I wanted to pay, and do my own gift, and she can do her own gift.  If my decision not to participate in her gift idea means she no longer wants to pay for it because it was worth $1000 to her, not $2000, that is her decision to make. 

The OP doesn't need to host a different dinner for it to be fair.  He just needs to not take credit for the dinner his brother hosts, and not attend if his brother decides OP shouldn't be included if he isn't paying part of the cost. 

Yes, it isn't incumbent on the brother to come up with solutions.  He can either throw his massive dinner party alone, or not. Or if he'd rather do something with his siblings, he can try to work with them to come up with a plan everyone supports, but he's not obligated to do so.  But it isn't incumbent on the OP to pay for a gift someone else thinks is a good idea, either. 

No one gets to spend someone else's money.  That's what the brother is trying to do.  He has an idea, and he wants everyone to find it, but they like neither the idea nor the price point.  So they don't want to share in the gift.  Nothing wrong with that.

LightStache

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2021, 01:03:53 PM »
I'm not saying that OP should agree to pay for a fancy dinner for 25 people. But they are obligated to put in some effort with respect to the celebration.

If you just sit back and let others plan family events and pay for them, that's mooching. And if you're able to pay for a share but instead chose to build your wealth, that's cheap. OP's brother would be right to say that.

So in situations like this, OP needs to step up and put in some effort to plan something else that's going to be more affordable, not just let their brother take the reigns and then complain that the cost is too high.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 01:08:00 PM by LightStache »

sonofsven

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2021, 01:13:41 PM »
I'm not saying that OP should agree to pay for a fancy dinner for 25 people. But they are obligated to put in some effort with respect to the celebration.

If you just sit back and let others plan family events and pay for them, that's mooching. And if you're able to pay for a share but instead chose to build your wealth, that's cheap. OP's brother would be right to say that.

So in situations like this, OP needs to step up and put in some effort to plan something else that's going to be more affordable, not just let their brother take the reigns and then complain that the cost is too high.

Huh, if you read the OP that's exactly what they did, come up with an alternative.

Villanelle

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2021, 01:33:09 PM »
I'm not saying that OP should agree to pay for a fancy dinner for 25 people. But they are obligated to put in some effort with respect to the celebration.

If you just sit back and let others plan family events and pay for them, that's mooching. And if you're able to pay for a share but instead chose to build your wealth, that's cheap. OP's brother would be right to say that.

So in situations like this, OP needs to step up and put in some effort to plan something else that's going to be more affordable, not just let their brother take the reigns and then complain that the cost is too high.

Did you read the OP?  It says they offered to host a small dinner at their home, but the brother doesn't think that is special enough.

But frankly, I don't think they were eve nobligated to do that.  "Ive decided to send dad a nice bottle of Bourbon and the new fishing pole he's been eyeing, and that's how I'll mark the occasion" is just fine.  A family party isn't a requirement for birthdays.  And not paying for one isn't cheap or mooching. 

lhamo

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2021, 01:43:01 PM »
We have a family dynamic that is similar to this in some respects, but there is absolutely no conflict about it. I have two siblings.  My sister and I are both FIRED and tend to be more frugal -- we have plenty of resources but are careful in how we allocate them. My brother is still working, is highly compensated and much more spendy.  Several years ago he started offering to host Thanksgiving dinner at fancy restaurants.  My sister and I both tried to contribute for the first few years, but he always refused.  So now we just graciously accept and enjoy the invitation and the company.  If he ever decides to stop hosting, we would be fine with that. 

youngwildandfree

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2021, 02:06:34 PM »
We have a lot of siblings, and we make more money than any of them.

When I offer to pay for something it's because I want to share the experience with my siblings. I would never say I'm paying "because you're so cheap". Is that something he actually said or is it just something you are assuming he feels?

I have also come at this from the other side too (I hope in a kinder way). Sometimes I will spend a good deal of time organizing a trip/dinner/etc and then one of my siblings will be shocked to learn the price after having agreed to split costs beforehand. I've learned to communicate more clearly as I am planning.

Even with clear communication, sometimes people can't pay what they agreed to up front or they forget to bring the drinks, or they find another gift and no longer want to split costs. This is super frustrating because of the lack of communication, not the cost. It's happening less now because we are all getting better at communicating.

I can't envision a world where the solution for dinners and gifts isn't case by case. If you are prioritizing saving money for FIRE right now it's ok to say that the trips and gifts don't align with your current goals so you won't be able to attend and/or pay for the next couple of years.

If you don't ever want to split party/restaurant bills because you find them a ridiculous waste, it's ok to set that boundary as long as you communicate clearly that you won't be attending these events ever or that you will but you won't pay. This is less likely to be seen as reasonable, but one of my sisters feels this way and she just stays home when we go out to eat.

As long as everyone is communicating and comfortable with the arrangement there are many things that can work. The key is to be clear on your boundaries and goals are for the relationship.

LightStache

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2021, 04:07:30 PM »
I'm not saying that OP should agree to pay for a fancy dinner for 25 people. But they are obligated to put in some effort with respect to the celebration.

If you just sit back and let others plan family events and pay for them, that's mooching. And if you're able to pay for a share but instead chose to build your wealth, that's cheap. OP's brother would be right to say that.

So in situations like this, OP needs to step up and put in some effort to plan something else that's going to be more affordable, not just let their brother take the reigns and then complain that the cost is too high.

Did you read the OP?  It says they offered to host a small dinner at their home, but the brother doesn't think that is special enough.

But frankly, I don't think they were eve nobligated to do that.  "Ive decided to send dad a nice bottle of Bourbon and the new fishing pole he's been eyeing, and that's how I'll mark the occasion" is just fine.  A family party isn't a requirement for birthdays.  And not paying for one isn't cheap or mooching.

Yes my bad, I forgot about that with my second post.

ETA: I don't know why I'm so triggered by some of the advice on this thread but it's somethin'.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 04:12:57 PM by LightStache »

Cassie

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2021, 02:19:40 AM »
All the siblings need to have a private conversation separate from parents about how special events will be handled in the future.  The brother is trying to spend other peopleís money. This will continue to be a source of conflict until it gets resolved.

kite

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2021, 08:04:27 AM »
There will be many occasions in life to use this phrase:

ďSounds lovely, but itís not in the budget.Ē

This is an essential phrase to have in your repertoire.  It works for these kinds of gift/dinner situations, it works for purchases, trips, home renovations. Get a budget. Your budget. Put yourself and your budget in charge of spending your money.  To be wishy-washy or need a line/excuse to turn down commitments that other people are trying to make for your own money is to leave an essential part of your responsibility for your own life in the hands of someone else. Donít do it. 

Using ďThe BudgetĒ as the arbiter makes it clear this isnít personal, itís not a reflection of your feelings for any family member.  Itís entirely neutral.  And it absolves you of having a conversation where you must negotiate or come to an agreement about what you will spend.  This is a vital life skill to have for yourself and to teach your children.

Thereís an income/wealth disparity in my family, too.  Curiously, though, it is the lower paid, less wealthy family members who have a budget for restaurant meals and things like Starbucks coffees.  Those of us who are mortgage free homeowners with ample savings are too frugal.  Itís not a question of ĎI canít afford ití but a simple ĎItís not in the budgetí that determines how much Iím going to spend on meals, entertainment, gifts, etc. 


« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 08:31:17 AM by kite »

Cassie

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Re: Help me opt out of expensive family dinners and pricey gifts
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2021, 01:29:21 PM »
My 2 siblings have much more money as I worked in human services and they were in much more lucrative careers, didnít have kids and had way more money then me.  When my mom died she had most of her funeral expenses paid for but she told us to sell her car to pay to take everyone that came out for a nice lunch. Her car was older and my sister mentioned that if she didnít get enough to cover it the 3 of us would need to split the difference.  I remember thinking that her and my brother should just cover it.  I wasnít involved in any of the decisions as to where they took everyone, etc.  It turns out that there was enough money. During both my parentís long illnesses I provided much more care than either of them.