to pretend I didn't get paid?(201 Posts)
I feel so naughty writing that, but please hear me out...
Me and DH are really broke right now. I have just returned from Mat Leave and get my first salary in the next few days, probably Friday. DH gets paid on Monday. To give you an indication of how broke we are, I get a free lunch at work, which I have been bringing home to feed us all. I therefore have nothing to eat all day because of it. My last pair of tights got a hole in them yesterday, but I have to wear them today because I have no others. Not only that, but DS desperately needs new shoes, his socks are too small, the baby has hardly any toys or books. Basically, I need to spend some money on us.
So the in-laws are coming to stay for a long weekend. They are quite well-off, but hardly ever put their hands in their pockets. They are notoriously mean. Consequently, we pay for everything. It is partly our fault, because we always feel obliged to take them out, etc. But then you don't want to sit on the sofa for 4 days. It invariably ends up costing us a fortune when they stay here which is why I am thinking...
If I get paid on Friday, pretending that I didn't. Is that really bad? I just don't want to have to spend all my money on food, petrol, etc. then have nothing left for us. This will mean that they will have to pay for anything we do, which I feel bad about. But we did tell them it was a bad time to come as I had just gone back to work, so not much money (amongst other things), but they wanted to come anyway.
So your salary is due to land on/before Good Friday?
Can you not lock it away somehow? Like, um. Transfer it all to an account that needs 3 days notice to withdraw? Send it to your parents for safe keeping?
Or, oh! How about, can you leave your wallet at work over the weekend? Then you are protecting yourself from yourself, and to them all you need to say is "we can't afford the zoo/restaurant/etc this time, how about we go on a picnic?*" and let them offer?
Well, it's a new bank account so I was meant to go down tomorrow to pick up cards and stuff. They are closed on Friday, but I think they are open on Saturday. If my salary doesn't go in late Thursday night (Friday before I can access it), then it won't get there until Monday. However, the girls in my office think we will get paid for Friday.
And thanks for the advice tortoise, but even a picnic costs a lot of money. I just want to say, "sorry - my salary is only for my kids this time". I don't want to spend a single penny on anyone else. I am normally a very generous person, but this time I want to put my kids first.
A picnic can be cheese sandwiches and a bottle of homebrand lemonade. And I grant you, that's not very nice, but all the better to hope that they offer to pay, m'dear. The point is to offer free/cheap activities rather than be stuck on the couch all week, so they get the point.
Okay, forget the picnic, but my advice is still to a) lock your own access to the money away, and b) simply say "we can't afford X" rather than saying you didn't get paid. Then you're telling the absolute truth.
Do what you need to do to protect your family. I would ring them and warn them of the situation so they are aware that if they come they wil need to pay for xxxxx etc. as you just don't have the money. Tell them that you have had to bring your lunch home for the family to eat this month, tell them that your son is desperately in need of shoes. If they still say they are skint too, then you say that you are really sorry but they will have to postpone their trip until you have been back to work a couple more months and are back on your feet again financially.
If they do come, ask them to get a taxi, buy a cheap meal for the first day (or 2 days at the most) and ask them to buy the rest. Plan free things to do, museum, walks, park for kids, take kids to library, film and craft at home day etc. If they don't like it and want to do more then say you will have to pay.
But if DH knows I got paid, he will just expect me to pay for stuff. If he got paid then he would, but he definitely does not get paid until next week. I hate lying, really I do, but this is how I see it going:
Fri: Dinner. Takeaway as me and DH don't get back from work until after 7pm. Too late for shops or cooking and want to spend time with ILs (paid for by Marie).
Sat: DH driving in-laws around all day, using petrol. Stop for lunch. Afternoon tea. Entrance to a museum. Dinner. (All paid for by Marie, with the exception of Afternoon Tea which the ILs will probably pay for).
Sun: same as Sat.
This is at least 50 quid a day. I am just not bloody doing it. Not this time.
do what you have to do - pretend you haven't been paid
its not fair on you
however, you have a bigger problem than just money, if you can't be honest about this with your Dh...
sorry, what I mean, is that your DH has the problem, in that he thinks you (as a family, either him or you) should be paying for everything for his parents, when they are not short of money
How much petrol is in' the tank at the moment?
Friday night, heat up pasta bake, garlic bread and salad.
Saturday am pop out AND BUY WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE WEEK. So in this case school shoes, tights and food for the week, plus at home stuff for weekend. Write a menu and stick to it.
Most museums are free to get in to. Go on line and line up free, walkable entertainment.
Do not lie, learn to put necessities before entertainment, even other people's entertainment. Surely you can see that entertaining must come after shoes and food for the family?
If you can't trust yourself not to use the weeks petrol, put enough cash to cover I under a mat in the car for a Monday am fill up.
Lol I thought you meant tell work you hadn't been paid so that they might pay you again!
God it's early I'm clearly not with it. I need one of these
Anyway as others have said YANBU and to put your family first. Your in-laws aren't as a bigger priority (that would be my stance on the whole thing if I was in your shoes). If they sulk then they sulk, but that's not your problem.
This wouldn't even be an issue for me. I don't mean that in a mean way but no way I would be incurring one penny if I didn't have it, and actually, I would be pretty angry with dh for not being on the same page.
It took me a long time to work away the embarrassment of saying I'm skint.
No problem now :-) just tell em.
You don't have to buy a takeaway because you work to 7 pm, you buy pasta and sauce, it will take 10 mins. You don't initiate going to places that cost money.
Tell yourself and your husband you won't be paid until Monday and don't bother checking.
Your problem isn't your PILs - it's your DH. The reason your PILs don't appreciate your true financial situation is because your DH is hiding it from them.
In the immediate term, and contrary to the advice I would normally give, I would lie (to DH more than the PILs, frankly) and say you hadn't been paid. Don't say your card has got lost because DH's next move would undoubtedly be to march you to the bank on Saturday with proof of address to take money out in person.
Get through the weekend following Tortoise's excellent strategies that will require the PILs to either dip into their own pockets or go with low cost options. You will, after all, have no choice if you're to maintain the fiction. And, actually, it will be good if DH has to show them the true picture for once.
Then, when the weekend is over, have a long and hard think about whether your DH's attitudes - towards his parents, his parents, you, finances generally - are something that needs addressing.
You sound like you're trying to talk yourself into putting the ILs first Marie.
I agree with the other poster who said to repeat "we can't afford it". That way, you're not lying.
As for food, I agree with pasta and sauce. You could make a massive bolognese one night and make sure you have enough leftovers to turn it into a chilli for the next night.
A cheap tip is to use a tin of corned beef as a mince substitute. crumble it up or mash it with a fork and stir it into the sauce.
Look up free entertainment and get the bus anywhere so you can pretend you're doing the tourist thing.
Don't let any of them pressure you. You can even drop shy hints, like "I'm really sorry we don't have dessert this weekend, but it wasn't in the budget."
Or not so subtle...a bit of paper with your pay, childcare costs and budget displayed prominently on the fridge! Make sure there are no spare pennies in the budget.
OR, take them to the supermarket and put your change jar into the machines there so they can see you're really struggling if you have to raid the copper jar!
And having re-read your last post re too late to go shopping - you buy the pasta and sauce before Fri so no issue with it being too late to go shopping (shops open 24 hours).
OP, I think you are going to have to adjust your own mindset too I'm afraid on what really are essentials when money is tight
YANBU! Do / say whatever you have to do. I do agree with the strategy to pretend your pay hasn't gone in so you can't be pressured. Pasta in sauce, free children's activities at the library etc all sound great to me and demonstrate clearly the 'no money' message.
You are putting your DCs first. And sod picking them up from the airport. Public transport or taxi.
Towards his parents, your nuclear family, you, finances generally...
Baked beans & baked potatoes, egg & chips, pasta bake, a massive pan of home made soup, cheap bread.
No driving around.
Just tell them that you HAVE NO MONEY.
Do not waste money on your PILs when you are broke.
Best wishes for a good weekend.
Just say "we can't afford to feed you all".
All good advice, I appreciate it. However, if I buy even one jar of pasta sauce DH will know I've been paid, as I don't have any money. At all.
PS: I really don't want people [you guys] to feel sorry for us, we will be fine, this is just a transitory period. I know there are people a lot worse off than us.
Presumably they are visiting to delight in your company, not just to ponce food and entertainment for a weekend? If they grumble at all, you should raise that point to make them look bad / feel guilty / shut up!
I think we all have tight months... We had a shocker in December due to a massive unexpected bill. Fortunately we were ill for 3 weeks and didn't eat or spend in anything except medicine. Enjoy your shopping next weekend
Could you maybe "find a tenner in the lining of your handbag" or similar (i.e. take out a tenner without it being obvious whether you were paid )? That way you could buy basic pasta , tin of tomatoes, basic bread, milk etc but nothing else.
How about say you found some clubcard vouchers, used some nectar points etc.
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