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Have invited ourselves to stay with very skint family. What to take?

(29 Posts)
thatsnotmybelly Thu 13-Aug-09 15:33:48

We live abroad and are making a trip back to uk to see family. Family is absolutely skint. Beyond skint.

We aren't using them as a base, or staying with them while we get other things sorted, we are just going back to see them.

Obviously we'll take wine and cheese and chocs and flowers and 'local crap' from where we live, and prezzies for the children.

But given how skint they are, I wondered if a Mumsnetter could advise on what to take that bit extra. I'm not sure if offering cash to cover our stay would be right, but then I think I'm a bit squeamish about money and family, so perhaps it would be fine?

If we take everyone out for a meal, or offer to get takeaway in, would that be okay?

We're staying for 4 nights.

Thing is, even if we do all of the above, we will still have cost them a bit just by having breakfast and lunch and supper. I don't want to cost them money they can't afford.

'We' by the way is me, a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old.

What do you think?

cocolepew Thu 13-Aug-09 15:36:24

A meal and takeaways sound great, if it's only 4 days that would be a help. If you could afford it yourself what about leaving a small amount of money in a card as you leave?

lummox Thu 13-Aug-09 15:37:36

You could organise an online delivery of luxury stuff and ordinary stuff for the day before you arrive?

elliott Thu 13-Aug-09 15:39:25

If they are beyond skint then it might be reasonable to give them some money to pay for food. Or, give them some cash to spend on the kids. Or, you could suggest you shop together for your stay once you are there? then you can pay your share.
I guess if its family you might be able to discuss?

OhBling Thu 13-Aug-09 15:41:48

Definitely offer to take out for dinner, or even just to shop and cook dinner, whatever is appropriate. Also, if you're all out at the shops together, offer to pay - I think it's hard to give cash but offering to pay at the counter seems to go down easier?

potplant Thu 13-Aug-09 15:42:27

If you think they might be offended by an offer of cash how about buying some vouchers for somewhere foodie for them and putting it in a thank you card as a leaving present.

Or go to the shop to 'get a few bits for the DCs' and come back with a week's worth of stuff for them to keep.

PotPourri Thu 13-Aug-09 15:44:13

What about gift vouchers for the supermarket they use (e.g. Tesco). Or, the universal gift voucher of money in a card (when you leave if you are really embarassed). And paying for a takeaway, or going and getting the stuff for a barbeque if that seems less wasteful to them.

I understand both sides. 4 days is not overly long, but it is amazing how much cost that can clock up - extra washing of bedding/towels etc, extra food, heating costs (too embarassed to ask people to just stick on a jumper like your kids do!), toilet roll, luxuries you wouldn't normally have...

Oh, the other thing is you could fill their car up with petrol...

SazzlesA Thu 13-Aug-09 15:45:18

Message withdrawn

ComeOVeneer Thu 13-Aug-09 15:45:29

I find the title a tad odd tbh. You have invited yourselves to stay? If they are so skint are you sure you haven't put them in an uncomfortable postion where they feel oblidged to host but really could do with out it? It may just be the way you have worded it but it sounds rather rude.

EyeballsintheSky Thu 13-Aug-09 15:46:07

When my aunts come over to stay with my parents, they insist on doing their own shopping. My parents aren't skint, despite what they'd have me believe wink so it's not to do with that; they just hate the idea of putting anyone to any more trouble than clearing a space for them to sleep. They buy everything from cereal, bread and milk to dinners and have a corner of the work surface that's theirs and we let them get on with it as it makes them happy.

It drives my dad potty but that's a different story

GrapefruitMoon Thu 13-Aug-09 15:46:49

I used to work with someone whose family were originally from a poorer country - they used to take sacks of rice when they went back to visit!

You could pretend that your dcs are fussy eaters/have allergies and so have to go to the supermarket yourself/cook yourself - and then make sure you over-buy so there's some to leave behind.

yada Thu 13-Aug-09 15:48:30

i used to love having family to stay when i lived far away but the strain it put on the household budget was enough to make me ill.

if it was me i would be sending £100 of tesco (or similar) vouchers ahead of my arrival so they can stock up, even simple things like buying extra toilet rolls can make a big dent in the budget.

i remember once my aunt came to stay and i said i was ill one meal time as i did not have enough food to go around, when she left she put £40 in a card which was a huge ammount of money to us but it would have made things a lot easier if she had given me the money beforehand.

mazzystartled Thu 13-Aug-09 15:48:58

what sazzles said. pay the whole lot or split the bill.

EyeballsintheSky Thu 13-Aug-09 15:54:41


Definitely send vouchers ahead if you can.

thatsnotmybelly Thu 13-Aug-09 15:58:52

Not odd really COV - maybe just worded badly. We can't afford to stay in a cottage nearby, so if we want to see them we have to stay. They are massively excited that we're going. We can't wait to see them either grin. It's family, and we've not all been together for over a year. We just decided to get on a plane and go and see them. I know they're thrilled, but will also be thinking "bloody hell, how to stretch the food budget for those few days?".

I want to get the balance right between not causing stress by costing them money they don't have, but also not swooping in from abroad showering largesse ostentatiously. They have not always been skint, and I know feel a bit embarrassed. I don't want to rub it in, but I do want to contribute well.

PerArduaThinksFucktheDM Thu 13-Aug-09 15:59:59

If you're coming from abroad, you can just say - Oh let me go to the supermarket - I've really missed Sainsburys/Tesco/wherever. Then have a complete overshop - including laundry detergent (in case you have to wash something for DC sensitive skin). You can even get things like baked beans that you've missed, and then 'forget' to use them?

thatsnotmybelly Thu 13-Aug-09 16:00:59

Do you not think that sending vouchers ahead sort of says "oh and get some decent things in by the time we get there"? It might imply that their usual fare wouldn't be good enough for us...?

thatsnotmybelly Thu 13-Aug-09 16:03:47

That's a good plan PerArdua. I like that.

Got to go and attend to children now, but back later...

NorbertDentressangle Thu 13-Aug-09 16:05:14

I was going to suggest what PerArdua said -pretend that you've really missed shopping in UK supermarkets so tell them not to go shopping without you.

Then get in quick with your card at the checkout.

ShrinkingViolet Thu 13-Aug-09 16:05:33

why not be really upfront and say somethign along the lines of "obviously us staying is going to make the food shopping more expensive, so as I'll be contributing, is it easier for you if I send you a cheque/transfer money beforehand, or shall we go and do a shop when we get to you?" so that the idea of you contributing is accepted, and you're simply sorting out the convenience of handing over the money. If you start with the expectation that you'll be paying for at least soem of the gorvery bills, then yourrelative can say "oh, don't worry about it" and you can say "don't be silly, of course we can't expect you to pay for it all" and everyone saves face.

EyeballsintheSky Thu 13-Aug-09 16:13:21

Good point belly.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 13-Aug-09 16:15:26

yes that sounds like a good plan, and then you can get a bit "carried away" - get some extra bits and bobs as "treats/thankyou gifts" for them, anything you see that they need once you get there (bedding, household stuff, clothes for any kids...). You can also do the "oh it was reduced so I couldn't resist" line?

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 13-Aug-09 16:16:14

I meant the going-to-supermarket plan btw smile

Leeka Thu 13-Aug-09 16:16:18

I think I might arrive with, as you say, the usual visitors stuff of wine, flowers, etc, but also stop at a supermarket on the way to them and get basics that will do for all of you for breakfast and lunch on the first day, then when you go shopping slip your debit card in first and insist on paying for the whole lot.

Also offer to pay for takeaway/meal out at least once during the stay, and make it clear when suggesting it that you will be treating them - my partner and I often have to invent excuses not to go out with our better off, foody relatives when they visit because we know we can't offer to split the bill in the types of places they like to go to - so unless they tell us in advance that they will pay to thank us for having them, we don't go.

You sound very considerate, by the way - I'd like guests like you!

nickschick Thu 13-Aug-09 16:19:53

Id be blunt and give them money when i arrived and just say we are so grateful we can stop here with you and i know it all costs so heres our share.

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