Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Awkward Family Money Situations

I was about to write this as a comment, but its quite long and brings up a ton of issues so here goes.

First, check out  <a href=" http://hereverycentcounts.blogspot.com/2007/06/money-and-etiquette-why-are-important.html">this story at here every cent counts</a>.

Now on to my response.

I am just mortified by this story. I cannot even imagine that people with kids would expect someone in college to pay for their own dinner. I'm assuming that this is an aunt/uncle/great aunt/great uncle situation and that you are a young college student in late teens, early twenties with no full time job. All of my answers below are based on those assumptions.

If that is the case, they should *splurge* the 20 bucks for dinner. They are an adult here and as much as I believe that you should be independent, while you are in college and struggling for money, you should be treated on an occasion like this.

Big Question: How do your mom and/or dad and/or other immediate family members feel about this situation? If it was them taking out your cousins from this other family and they were treated this way, I'm sure it would not go over well. In fact, if you were an adult and one of their little kids was in college and went out to a dinner with you, surely they wouldn't expect their kid to have to pay! This just seems really hypocritical to me.

On a personal note, I think I would say something to this family female in private. First I would thank the family member for her generosity and give the 30 dollars back, cash. If it is a check, it could get lost or not cashed. You want to give the money and be sure that it is taken.

Then I would simply state that I was budgeting my meal because I don't have a ton of money. In the future, I'd prefer to not order tons of communal food because I can't afford it -- and frankly, I'd rather not go to these functions frequently in the future because they're just too expensive. Depending on the mood, you can be a little nicer or a little more cold about the situation. But either way I would make it clear that you love them all very much, but this is not the kind of event that you can continue to go to in the future until you graduate. Do this in person or during a phone call. Anything else is going to seem too cold.

This is not a snub toward them. Nor is it a self-deprecating statement. Rather, it is simply accepting your position and learning to be happy about living within your means -- even if that is simply not being able to afford to pay for other adult's food that you didn't order. ;)

As an aside: The only potential reason that I can think of for someone being rude like this to a younger person in the family is that the family themselves didn't have much money. But if that is the case, then why in the world were they going out to eat with all of their kids.

1 comment:

Her Every Cent Counts said...

thanks for the response to my post. :)

to clarify, i'm a young adult (23 years old) who is 2 years out of college. I work and make $35k per year. So I have some money to spend, but I live in the pricey Bay Area and am saving for grad school.

*goes back to read the rest of your entry*