Author Topic: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?  (Read 4566 times)

Megatron

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How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« on: July 17, 2013, 11:50:49 AM »
I'm heading out this month to Europe for a destination wedding with my fiancee for her brother's wedding. He's marrying a Swiss girl and the girl's family has a summer home in the south of France and that's where the wedding is. We decided to take 2 and a half weeks off to make it a vacation also. Backpacking Spain, coastal France, costal Italy and maybe Switzerland. Her parents will also be flying out at the same time and her Dad has rented a BMW to drive for the 2 plus weeks we'll be there. My fiancee though it would be nice to just tag along with her mom and dad going from place to place. Her plan was that we can do our thing while her parents do their and just share the ride and the occasional meals if we meet up during the day. Her parents really likes me but I don't know how it's going to be like for 2 and a half weeks driving around with future in-laws or if they would drive me crazy. Anyone have experiences with that, feel free to share. Also, I tend to be a frugal traveler/ couchsurfer / hostel kind of guy all my life and don't really want to stay in hotels. Her parents are okay with AirBnB where people rent out their apartments / rooms but not couchsurfing or hostels. also how should I work the "going dutch" thing when it comes to paying for meals. We are probably going to have to share a lot of meals together. Her Mom and Dad got really excited when we said we would go with them in the car. and her Dad's been sending us emails of all these nice costal towns that we can see.

It's also a cultural differences thing for me because I'm Asian and my fiancee is White. Ever since I started working, I've always been paying for my parents whenever we go out to eat or whenever we do anything together as family that cost money. It's part filial piety and part because I like paying my parents back for all the sacrifices they did for my sister and I. My fiancee said it's fine that her parents pay for things but it just doesn't feel right with me. I don't want to mooch off her parents and being "cheap" but at the same time I don't want to be splurging my ass off either. any suggestions?



rollie

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 12:13:29 PM »
I am also Asian, and I have European in-laws. Originally I found myself faced by a similar dilemma--I am used to the idea of taking care of my parents as part of the social contract, because they raised me and sacrificed for me. However, in the European-based society (including the US), it's often okay to let the parents, even the in-laws, take care of you. In some way, it is a source of pride for them to be able to take care of you "kids". My guess is that they didn't have a great struggle, and perhaps they have enough cash to want to enjoy their vacation.

I would suggest trying to be frugal for yourself, but let them spend what they want. It doesn't mean you have to as well. Just make sure you order conservatively at restaurants and pick a conservative room as you travel. That way it doesn't look like "mooching". Many places you will be able to pay for your own food separately. In restaurants, offer to pay for yourself and your fiancee. They may take you up sometimes, and other times they may not. I'm guessing they won't likely have you to pay for the whole group. I doubt they plan to stick you with their big bill from the description you gave. They seem like nice people. And of course, most older people don't want to stay in a hostel. That is perfectly normal. Relax.

If they pick a place to stay out of your price range, simply say that you'd prefer to be more cost-conscious for your own budget, and you'll meet them in the morning. If this will create lots of extra driving for them, I suggest you stay in the same place as they are. And don't forget, you'll be saving a lot on the car, since they are driving. So don't try to be a complete cheapskate, it will simply create unnecessary tension. If they're going to be your in-laws, it's a good idea to try explain to them that you're trying to be financially responsible for your joint future together. I'm sure they'd understand that.

 

MissStache

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 12:18:07 PM »
Have you talked about this with your fiancee?  If not, you should definitely bring your concerns up with her.  It's pretty easy to say "Honey, I've put together a budget for our trip and I really want to stick to it.  Do you think it will fit in line with what your parents want to do?"  And, talk to her about the expectations you have "I'd love to be able to do some picnic lunches or dinners while we are there!  Imagine eating some local cheese and bread on a cliff overlooking the French Riviera!"

You could also get in on the planning with her dad, since he seems excited about it.  If he is sending you towns, find a few places to stay that are in your budget and send those links to him.  And I certainly wouldn't be afraid to let him know that you have a budget!  I think my parents would be really impressed by the financial acumen!  "Hey Mr. so-and-so!  As you know, fiancee and I are saving up for the wedding/downpayment on a house/retirement so I'd really like to work within a budget.  I'd like to see if we are on the same page about lodging/food/entertainment." 

As for the meals- that is tough for me because I am a somewhat spoiled only child with parents who are exremely frugal in everyday life, but bigtime splurgers when we travel.  I have NO problem with them paying for most of my meals, but I always, always offer to pick up one or two.  I think my parents would be offended if I didn't let them pay for most stuff, but the certainly appreciate that I am making a financial sacrifice if I splurge for one or two.

I think the most important thing is to set expectations early.  Nothing will be worse than them pulling up at a $500/nigh hotel and you having to either destroy your budget or tell them that isn't going to work.

Travelling with people you don't know really well or have experience with can be extremely difficult (ask me how I know...) and you certainly don't want any surprises.  It will either be amazing or you will learn a lot you don't like about your new family, but it will definitely be a learning experience either way.

But damn, have fun!  It sounds AWESOME!

swick

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 12:38:05 PM »
I definitely echo the suggestions to make sure you and your fiancee are on the same page and can present a united front when planning with her parents. Planning before you go relives a HUGE amount of stress. You might have different goals and priorities so as long as everyone is aware of what everyone else wants it is easier to determine what should be seen together and when you should split up.

Also, from personal expereince splitting up at an attraction with the idea to meet at an agreed upon time hours later doesn't usually work, someone will always finish first and get inpatient or feel like they are wasting their time.

Last year we went to Italy with my mom and fiancee's parents in Turkey. They weren't keen on couch surfing so we went together on an Air B&B that actually worked really well because we all had our own space.

The money issue cropped up a lot because we were dealing with different currencies and how bills were split or weren't, sometimes we used a credit card. With my mom we just kept a running tally in a notebook she paid for x we paid for y and made sure it all evened out in the end. With his parents  it still managed to work out, more often then not we would all just pool our money when the bill came and I would pay because I knew the language. Sometimes we would feel inspired to buy a treat for everyone, sometimes they would.

Most days we would sit down and make a plan in the morning or the night before, after identifying what everyone wanted to do we would discover that most times it was best to split up and meet back t go out for supper or spend the morning together and then split up.

Even if you love your in-laws it is really important to build some "alone" time where you can travel and see what you want. Traveling is a great way to discover new sides of your partner and to bond, but it is hard to do when you are with other people all the time.

Eric

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 12:42:47 PM »
Wow!  Sounds like a great trip.

I know you say that you'll be eating a lot of meals together, but I'd encourage you to picnic, especially for lunch.  Some of my favorite meals from my trip to Italy last year were when we picnic'd next to the mountain lake or near the shore or on at the overlook near the top of the city.  It has the following benefits:

1.  Cheaper
2.  Much faster (meals take over an hour or maybe even two, even lunch -- more time for exploring)
3.  Different experiences (shopping in foreign groceries or delis is FUN!)
4.  You can eat "in" the scenery (as mentioned above)

Here's a tip --  you order in grams, so 100 grams is about a 1/4 of a pound.  In Italy "un etto" (oon eh tow) is a short way to say it, so "un etto salame" and point to what you want.  Add some cheese, a fresh loaf, and a piece of fruit and you have a great lunch! (for two -- double it for four)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 12:46:45 PM by Eric »

GuitarStv

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 12:52:48 PM »
My wife is asian, and I'm white.  There are some pretty huge differences in how much family togetherness we are both comfortable with.  We've gone on vacations with her parents a couple times now, and it's had some ups and downs (seems to be getting better though).

It's vitally important that you talk often with your fiance about how things are going.  Your fiance needs to be on your side on this, because you will be the odd man out as the newcomer to the family.  If at all possible, plan in a way out just in case things go really south.  Find a place a week into the trip that you can rent a car or start to travel on your own just in case, and budget in the costs to your trip.

Also, work out sleeping arrangements.  Some people are cool with sleeping in the same room as their in-laws for a vacation . . . and some might not want to go two plus weeks without sex!

StarryC

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 02:26:07 PM »
I am 29, Caucasian, female and make more than my parents.  When we go out, they still always buy.  If I want to buy, I have to be sneaky about it and give my card to the waitress at some point.  My guess is that, unless your fiancÚ says otherwise, they will expect to pay for meals you have together and the car.   If this were my family, that is what I would expect. 

I might try to schedule days so you do your own thing during the day at your own pace and then meet up for dinner.  Then you'll have your own fun stories to tell at dinner. 

Also, to me, backpacking implies a certain amount of hiking/walking.  Maybe you set out at 7am to try to hike from Town A to Town B.  They spend the morning in Town A and head out after lunch and pick you up whenever they catch up with you? 

Eric

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 02:37:05 PM »
also how should I work the "going dutch" thing when it comes to paying for meals.

You'll offer to pay.  They'll decline.  You'll insist.  They'll still decline.  You thank them.  That's it.  That's how you'll handle it.

Don't sweat this part.  My parents haven't let me or my wife pay for anything since, well, forever.  Some people are just like that.  They're just used to paying for "the kids".

worms

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 03:41:02 PM »
2.  Much faster (meals take over an hour or maybe even two, even lunch -- more time for exploring)
Yes, but try the long lunch at least once - it is an important cultural aspect of the trip.  Village square, table in the shade, cool drinks, good local produce, impossibly slow service: just relax and go with the flow!

SunshineGirl

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 03:57:56 PM »
I suspect her parents are paying for the car and gas, and if that's the case, you can shift what you would have paid for that otherwise into your food/sleeping budget, and get away with spending a bit more.

What I might do is have your fiance say to her parents, "It's really important to us that we contribute our fair share for the trip. We'd like to give you XX in advance, and make up any difference later."

Megatron

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 10:49:45 AM »
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. I will definitely do the picnic thing. It's a great idea. I've talked about it with the fiancee and she just shrugs it off like it's no big deal. We have traveled extensively together and all those times, other than the plane tickets, we don't really keep track of who's paying for what. But we'll see how it's going to play out with her parents involve. just playing it by ear I guess. Our families definitely have different consumer habits. I was brought up by poor immigrants with very little education who came to America in the 90s and my fiancee had her own horses growing up and her dad would drive her to all these competitions all over the States. but she's quite mustachian now.

limeandpepper

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Re: How to stay frugal with future In-laws?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 09:20:28 PM »
I find this thead quite interesting and relevant as I have an Asian background and am seeing someone with a Caucasian background, and I see the parallels.

When we visited my parents (overseas) a couple years ago I told him we should pay for meals occasionally as that would be a nice sign of gratitude in return for staying with them, and leave a good impression with my family. My parents do enjoy looking after me, but they also like that I show my appreciation in return. Paying for things every now and then is a good way to do that (another good one is housework).

Now we've also visited his parents (interstate) and when his mum paid for a meal the other day, for example, I thought perhaps we should offer to chip in for our share, but he just shrugs it off. Then I suggested that we treat his parents to a meal in return, which he doesn't object to, but doesn't seem to think is necessary. I mean, we did already buy some groceries, and cooked for them once, etc., but I still thought we could do more to treat them.