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Paying my way - advice please!

(27 Posts)
vegasmags Fri 27-Jul-12 21:06:02

I would really welcome GNs views on my situation, which I'm sure isn't unique. I have been married twice, but for most of my adult life was a single parent (ie skint). I am now retired, on a modest income which does not meet my expenditure, but I do have savings on which I draw to supplement my income. I own my own house, which I anticipate selling in the fullness of time, so that I can downshift.

I am 64, and I have decided (rightly or wrongly) to enjoy life while I can, and choose to live modestly nay frugally so that I can travel and enjoy hobbies whilst I still have my health and strength.

My problem is that some of my family and friends seem to think I am much more well off than I am. For instance, I had a holiday to India last year with my beloved daughter. We did it on the cheap apart from a posh hotel to which she treated us. My son then thought this meant I could afford to lend him £8000 interest free to buy a new car for his wife.

I am tired of going out for meals eg with the family of my daughter's boyfriend to be met with that phrase - shall we split the bill? To which I feel like saying NO - there are 4 of you and 2 of us.

When I was working, I enjoyed being generous, but now that I am retired and wanting to spend money on myself, I feel there is some resentment about this. I hate to plead poverty and have always prided myself on paying my way. Any ideas on how to deal with this? I really would be most grateful

Greatnan Fri 27-Jul-12 21:22:58

The only way that I can see to deal with it is by being totally honest. Make it clear before you go out for a meal that you will only be paying your own share. They will soon get used to it. As long as you go on forking out, they will let you.

vegasmags Fri 27-Jul-12 21:43:43

I'm sure you're right Greatnan and that the key is to be prepared before I go out, rather than being flustered when the bill comes. I hate to sound such a wimp, but by golly your family, much as you love them, have a way of reducing you to a nervous wreck. I do think that my son still has a chip on his shoulder about being part of a single parent family and thinks that I should go on compensating for this - possibly I encourage this by my own behaviour.

specki4eyes Fri 27-Jul-12 21:57:15

My dear Dad used to have a standard response when the bill arrived - 'so do they do special rates for pensioners?' Always worked.

vampirequeen Fri 27-Jul-12 22:29:12

I think you just have to say 'no'. I have a friend who has been drained financially by her son. She should be enjoying life but she's got nothing left. In fact she's in debt. Now she's trying to sell her bungalow to move into a cheaper house to have some money in the bank but he'll drain her of that too.

gracesmum Sat 28-Jul-12 01:48:40

I feel I am in the same boat as you *vegasmags" and it is so ingrained to offer to pay for lunches etc I find it hard to keep my hand on my purse! I don't want to start that OAP moaning that I sometimes hear from (even older) people I meet, it gets so boring, but trying to exercise economy on the quiet is hard. DH's family also are quite bad at assuming we are as well off as they are - one sis-IL is a retired GP and the other is a lecturer as is B-in-L so they are very comfortable, yet I always seem to be the one to host family lunches , as we have done today (because I enjoy entertaining) which set me back 3 figures while they bring the elderflower cordial and a salad or two.
I still remember many years ago DH got his wallet out to pay for lunch for about 10 of us at the National Gallery when he had been made redundant and they were all in (well paid) employment. Under normal circs, i.e. in a job, he would have thought nothing of it- but I was furious that they let him do it!!

Greatnan Sat 28-Jul-12 07:36:49

I think families get used to seeing people in certain roles and they find it hard to adjust when the roles change. When I was working I had a well paid job and always paid absolutely all expenses to take my sister, who has never worked, on holiday every year. Some years she did not even bring enough spending money to buy postcards. Now my income is about half, but it has taken me several years to find the courage to tell her that I am happy to pay for her flights, for car hire, petrol, accommodation, tolls, etc. but I would like her to pay for some lunches out. She was not in the least upset and now offers to contribute. She simply had not realised that I was no longer the 'rich' sister.
I think you just have to be honest and say that you are not in a position to pay for everybody.
In some ways, our relationship has improved because it is now on more equal terms - I don't suppose my sister liked aways being in the position of poor relation, even though she enjoyed her annual holiday with me.

vegasmags Sat 28-Jul-12 10:03:47

I know what you mean, gracesmum, about exercising economy on the quiet - I do this all the time as I too hate to plead poverty, but I think greatnan is probably right about being honest and tougher. I just wish I was better at it!

I do sometimes feel quite cross with people who just expect that you will pick up the tab - if I'm invited somewhere and can't afford to pay my way, then I decline the invite. I have been more assertive with a friend who has no car and is constantly wanting lifts, by asking her for petrol and parking money. The first time this happened she rather reluctantly produced a fiver as her contribution towards a 60 mile trip.

I think I have always had problems with spending money on myself, although always generous with others and this attitude does filter through to other people. I can see I have some work to do to change this.

gracesmum Sat 28-Jul-12 10:44:51

It's pride thing isn't it? When you have (enough) money there's no shame in saying you are hard up, but when when the belt needs tightening,mthe last thing I want to do is admit it. Part of me also thinks, we could drop dead tomorrow, so enjoy life while we can rather than saving for a rainy day which we might never see. Hard one. Some people can be very obtuse about fair shares but I also get embarrassed when it is the other way, e.g.when a particular (working) friend, won't take any money if I have asked her to pick up something while shopping as I do want to pay my way.

merlotgran Sat 28-Jul-12 10:53:48

I just tell family that we've now joined the ranks of the Newly Retired Poor. We will always pay our way but we can't splash the cash any more. I'm sure they don't expect us to but I wouldn't want anyone to think we're mean.

Annika Sat 28-Jul-12 11:48:44

My wonderful dad had the right idea about paying bills..... once a month all the bills to be paid went into a hat, you then pull out one and paid that one, if any one complains they don't go in the hat . wink

GillieB Sat 28-Jul-12 12:47:22

When we go out to eat with our two children and their families we always make it quite clear what we expect, so sometimes we will say, "Do you fancy going to, and we'll pay" and other times it will just be "shall we meet for lunch". This works very well for us. When we were both working and the children were younger and starting to make their way we paid for them more often, but now we're retired and they are more affluent we all pay per family.

We are actually out for Sunday lunch tomorrow as it is our Ruby Wedding Anniversary, so we are treating them all (although my son did comment to me that it didn't seem right that we should be doing this).

gracesmum Sat 28-Jul-12 15:14:54

Conggratulations gillieB! Ours was 2 years ago and Sis-in laws offered to host a party as they were my bridesmaids but quite late on couldn't cope so DD1 and SIL offered to have it at theirs with caterers as GS1 was a matter of weeks old which was lovely.

GillieB Sat 28-Jul-12 15:21:25

Thank you, Gracesmum. We are having a very extended celebration: we went to New York in May and sailed back on QM. As I said, lunch out tomorrow, then we are hosting afternoon tea at our house on Monday. In October we have rented a large house in the Derby Dales when my children and their families will join us, together with my sister, her husband and their children and families. What a lovely year we are having.

greenmossgiel Sat 28-Jul-12 15:30:35

Happy anniversary, GillieB! It sounds like you'll have a really lovely day. wineflowers

GillieB Sat 28-Jul-12 15:46:09

Thank you green. We are going on from lunch to St. James's Park to watch a couple of the Olympic football matches, so a full day.

soop Sat 28-Jul-12 16:20:26

vegasmags Honesty [about your financial position] is definitely the best policy.
GillieB Enjoy your celebrations flowers wine sunshine smile

vegasmags Sat 28-Jul-12 17:16:08

I am going to really try to take all your wise words to heart. I think some family members will be a little bit peeved, but perhaps it's about time.

Some of my friends and family members are the soul of generosity, but they are outweighed by more parasitic types. It's really funny, this money thing, as it's about so much more than the dosh itself. It's about what you yourself feel loved/valued for. I hate this modern, materialistic world sometimes. All my parents left me - I say all, but I mean everything - were memories and the knowledge of having been loved and loving, but I think there can be a feeling around that your children have a right to inherit something. Fortunately, not all children feel like this, but I do feel that my son resents what I spend on myself, instead of supplementing his lifestyle.

glammanana Sat 28-Jul-12 18:10:32

When we decided to sell the family home after DS2 moved out and we moved abroad we made a tidy sum as we sold at the height of the market in 2000 we spoke to the DD and 2DSs and gave them all a nice sum in lieu of what we where not going to leave them in a will,they know that we have a decent amount of savings after the sale of our business and Spanish property but they never take advantage as they know they will be refused (emergencies not counted)when we go for meals we pay our own way and they pay theirs but when we take the DGCs we always treat them and also pick up the bills for holidays when we take them abroad with us,I will go out of my way to make sure my bank account is empty when I fall off my perch as the tax man is not getting a thing.

jeni Sat 28-Jul-12 18:16:55

I have the same end in sight!

Greatnan Sat 28-Jul-12 18:21:59

Some of the tales on the expat forums would make your hair curl - in-laws who invite themselves to stay in France, expect their hosts to drop everything to entertain them, drive them around, cook meals for them - and then they present them with a bottle if cheap wine when they leave!
It is different for me because I have nothing else to do ,my guests come by invitation only,and I love having company.

granjura Sat 28-Jul-12 19:05:12

Well yes, but the taxman does need money to run hospitals, schools, and other very useful institutions - so ..... 'HE' does not normally keep it for caviar and champagne - generally speaking smile

We are very very lucky with our family and friends who always bend over backwards to pay their share, fill the tank with diesel, but the odd meal out and help with cooking, etc, when they come over. And always say a BIG thank you- so I can't grumble. Mind you, when we moved over here, we told everybody they would be welcome on a 1 - 2 - 3 basis, just so it was clear from the start. We always cook on day of arrival, usually go out for simple meal day 2, and they are expected to cook day 3, and repeat. Clear and simple and it works.

Mind you, I was annoyed the other day. We lend our big field to a neighbour farmer and she puts her 2 horses there on and off. One of them died sadly, and she asked a young lady in the village to put her horse with the remaining one- but I never met her. The other day I was there when they arrived, and helped them fill the big water trough from our hose (water is expensive here!)- and she was quite chatty. But she never ever said something like 'oh thanks for letting my horse graze here and for the copious amount of water'. Wasn't expecting flowers, or wine or chocolate, or whatever, but a simple and quiet 'Merci' would have been nice!

JessM Sat 28-Jul-12 19:06:37

I would interpret "split the bill" as paying in proportion of the people there - if 2 out of six, pay 1/3 of the bill.

soop Sat 28-Jul-12 20:21:22

JessM is right! grin

Littlenellie Sun 29-Jul-12 14:17:37

Living in the heart of Norfolk people do like to invite themselves to stay and not contribute to the food arrangements and bed arrangements and then provide a list of likes/ dislikes and not prepared to eat....hands are very reluctant to delve into the pockets of some of my family members when it is suggested that a meal out would be nice so that I don't wait hand and foot on them.....funny now when a visit is suggested I say I am busy that week....when did you say it was so they can see I am not ecstatic about the proposed visit...