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The cost of visiting family-dilemma.

(42 Posts)
avocadosarentmiddleclassed Sat 17-Oct-15 10:19:20

Last year, I inherited £20,000 which I used to; pay off debts, get a new car, new lap top, buy us a lovely (once in a lifetime) honeymoon and put myself through weekly therapy for over a year to deal with issues from a difficult childhood.
There has been more generous presents and charity donations and a bit less stress.

However, it's all spent albeit on things I don't regret/ needed for work etc and I'm back to just living off my wages.

My sister lives in France and my Dad 5 hours away and Im struggling to afford to visit them without ending up using credit cards/ overdrafts.

I don't want to go back to that way of living so I have recently cancelled going to meet them for get togethers based on not being able to afford it.

I feel as though I'm morally wrong for not just seeing them and that they might judge me because they knew I had this money last year, but I want to live by my means and that means not hopping in my car every half term (I'm a teacher) to go to family occasions which always end up being really expensive if you count fuel/ snacks at service stations, meals out and presents.
I just want to live a simple life and stay put in my own world without feeling this constant gnawing guilt that I should use my holiday time to go visiting.
Does anyone else feel this way?
Thank you for reading.

CocoPlum Sat 17-Oct-15 10:28:59

I don't (my family are within 15 mins drive max!). But I don't think they should judge you. TBH, £20,000 is a lot of.money and I definitely wouldn't say no to it, but certainly not a life changing amount.

Have you explained to them that you have used the money for debts etc and don't want to go back to that? Can they not come and visit you?

SirChenjin Sat 17-Oct-15 10:36:25

You're a teacher, therefore holidays are very generous. Can you really not use a few days to visit your family? Would they come to you? Can you go and visit but make it clear that you're doing it on a budget - so for us that means we take our own snacks (motorway services are extortionate), food from supermarkets as opposed to meals out, a small token gift instead of presents.

avocadosarentmiddleclassed Sat 17-Oct-15 10:45:34

It would cost 100 pounds at the very least to visit because my dad lives on an island (ferry is expensive)
And it's my step brothers 30th so I'd have to buy presents too.
I just don't want to spend money that I don't actually have.
I've told them they are welcome to come and visit me any time.
Holidays aren't that generous when it's only a week because I spend half the week planning, filing, marking, sorting out my classroom and getting over exhaustion.

CookieMonsterIsOnADiet Sat 17-Oct-15 11:02:52

Imagine it was the other way round and they had blown £20 on cars, holidays and computers and then said they couldn't afford petrol to visit you.

Sounds like they are better off with you not visiting tbh.

DoreenLethal Sat 17-Oct-15 11:05:13

Do they ever visit you at all?

ImperialBlether Sat 17-Oct-15 11:08:49

Does your husband work? If you have no debts and you're working as a teacher and if you have a working husband, surely you can't be too badly off?

Is it just that you don't want to see your family?

bakingaddict Sat 17-Oct-15 11:12:03

I moved away from my family and it's always me that goes to visit them. I love seeing them but it is expensive, travel, hotels etc. I'm beginning to feel less guilty nowadays if I don't have the time or money to go.

JumpingJack56 Sat 17-Oct-15 11:14:53

Are you sure it's about the cost? I mean you are allowed to admit to us that you don't want to visit them...it's understandable seeing that you've had therapy for a difficult childhood that your priority during your downtime and financially isn't visiting your family. Of course they have the right to feel hurt or upset by it but equally you have the right to make yourself happy by spending your money and time on and with people you want to. Just because they're family doesn't mean it has to be them nor should you feel guilty for admitting that to yourself flowers

Cronx Sat 17-Oct-15 11:16:21

Were your family part of the cause of your difficult childhood? If so it may be that the therapy is working and your subconscious is telling you that they aren't worth the money even if you have it.

I am also in therapy for a very difficult childhood, and spent much of my life feeling obliged to forgive them, attend their events, bail them out...but they still treated me like shit. I've finally stood up for myself and said no more. Not in a similar situation to you, the biggest "fuck you" I can give is not attending Christmas with them, but if your background is similar I wouldn't blame you.

If it's not similar, apologies for projecting! How often do they fork out to see you? Even then, I feel the obligation to see family is always a bit much. If you don't want to just because you don't want to, or you'd rather spend the money on something else, I think that's fair enough.

SirChenjin Sat 17-Oct-15 11:24:08

Holidays for teachers are very generous across the year - could you visit them during your long summer break, or a few days over Easter?

As someone else said, if one of my family members had spent £20K and then said they didn't have the couple of hundred to spend on visiting me then I'd feel confused, esp. when as I said, there are cheaper ways of doing the visit and time across the year to save.

If your family are the reason you received counselling then of course you shouldn't visit them - but using money as an excuse is a bit off, especially as there are ways round that.

Cronx Sat 17-Oct-15 11:33:36

I also think it's perfectly reasonable to spend £20k on getting yourself back on your feet by clearing debts, getting therapy and having some normal treats like a holiday, computer and a car - don't feel guilty about this.

You've told them they can come and visit you - from the limited information you have given, it sounds like you are doing all the running thus far, so if they really cared about you they'd take you up on this compromise.

Imgivinguponyou Sat 17-Oct-15 11:36:42

Even without the inheritance, on a teacher's salary you can afford a quick visit to family once every couple of months.

Are you being honest with yourself about why you don't want to visit?

LilaTheTiger Sat 17-Oct-15 11:39:27

I think you are right.

Whoever left you the money left it for you. I assume there was no caveat that said it had to be spent visiting family?

You've spent it on things to make your life better, and you've enjoyed it - this is allowed!

Teachers holidays are generous, but if they weren't most teachers would collapse. You work incredibly hard during term time and deserve to have some down time that is just that, not travelling all around the country because other people choose to live in difficult places. Anyone who lives with only ferry access should expect that it's not easy for people that work full time to visit them when they decide they want visiting.

Chill OP. And enjoy your half term smile

SirChenjin Sat 17-Oct-15 11:42:05

Nurses, doctors and other public sector workers who work horrendous hours and receive far fewer holidays manage to visit family across the world. Funny that.

Cronx Sat 17-Oct-15 11:43:48

Teachers' salaries are ok but they aren't that generous; I can easily imagine the day to day cost of living like rent/mortgage, bills, travel and food eating it up quite easily, especially if you live in an expensive area (particularly if your partner has a similarly modest income job). The OP has been in debt before and needed an inheritance to clear it, I understand why she'd be wary of stretching herself again. £100+ is a lot of money, not everyone has that as disposable income, and one shouldn't feel obliged to sacrifice other things or get into debt just to visit relatives (particularly if said relatives won't return the favour - not sure if that's the case here).

Cronx Sat 17-Oct-15 11:46:45

I don't think the whataboutery re nurses and doctors is particularly relevant - no need to bash teachers because their chosen career has a lot of leave. (and I'm sure there are plenty of doctors and nurses who can't be fucked with visiting family either, for a myriad of reasons). The OP said money was the main concern, not the time, and even then if she has a lot of time off and wants to spend it pissing about at home with her husband rather than catching a ferry to visit her time, that's perfectly fine, she shouldn't feel guilty for doing so.

LIZS Sat 17-Oct-15 11:47:54

There is more to this than cost. If it were that important you would have set aside some funds for a few trips out of the 20k. You mention your honeymoon but talk about only your income, does dh not contribute to your living costs?

SirChenjin Sat 17-Oct-15 11:54:27

The doctors/nurses thing is very relevant in the context of available holidays - and no-one is teaching bashing, so you can flick that chip off your shoulder.

But you're right - if she wants to spend her holidays pissing about then she can. She can do exactly what suits her, and if that means not visiting family then it's her choice. As adults we have the choice to do whatever we want without feeling any guilt whatsoever. There are always consequences to doing what we want however, but as long as we don't feel any guilt for it that's the main thing.

SeaCabbage Sat 17-Oct-15 12:05:29

I can see how £20,000 can go quickly and it sounds like you spent it wisely.

I also think it is sensible to live within your mean. Visit them only when you want to and when you can afford it. They will just have to realise that the £20,000 has now gone.

Lay out some new boundaries and expectations.

Cronx Sat 17-Oct-15 12:08:07

No chips here, I wouldn't be a teacher if the salary was £1million...

Anyway, OP I think my favourite cliche "don't make someone a priority if they only make you an option" can apply to you.

If your family does make you a priority sometimes and that is why you feel a bit guilty, they should be understanding if you explain your situation to them and then you could work out a compromise - e.g could you and your sister each meet in the middle and only spend 2.5 hours travelling; could you not visit you dad once a year instead of every half term; you could agree that the new family rule is to not bother with presents so that you can visit and share your time together but not have that extra pressure on finances for the sake of the convention of special birthday presents for 30 year old step siblings and so on... there are ways around it. I know I would much rather spend time with a friend or relative that I didn't get to see often than get a present from them - if I thought they were reluctant to see me because they couldn't afford presents for me I'd be horrified. If your relationships with them are good they will probably understand where you are coming from.

If your family does make you a priority but you can't be bothered, that's fine, but that means your relationship with them may suffer.

If your family doesn't make you a priority, don't make them a priority either and definitely don't feel guilty about it.

diddl Sat 17-Oct-15 12:15:56

If you can't afford it then you can't!

Put away what you can until you have enough but also shouldn't they be taking turns?

FoxInTheDesert Sat 17-Oct-15 12:19:52

OP I moved away nearly 10 years ago, much farther away than France (username says it all I think). In those 10 years I have had someone coming over 3 times, of which 1 I paid for (my mom). I don't expect people to visit me but I do visit my family in 2 different countries each year. But then I get a free yearly flight included in my salary package, which makes it much easier to do so.

If I were to inherit a large sum of money I'd use it in the same way as you: Pay off debts, have a nice holiday and get myself stuff I have wanted to get for a long time but had to put off due to lack of finances. We all know our limits financially and you don't owe your relatives any explanation at all. If people choose to move away from you they have to accept they will see much less of you.

avocadosarentmiddleclassed Sat 17-Oct-15 12:37:32

Thanks for your replies.. I have visited them in the summer holidays I visited for a week and have gone to my mums where my sister was staying before she went to Canada for a month- these trips are costly emotionally too.
I do LOVE my dad, mum and sister a lot but I just feel like I need some time to just be and not being able to afford to go right now seems sensible.
Last Christmas I asked my dad what he wS doing and he said going to Cornwall to stay in a holiday home with his partner and my step siblings and I wasn't made to feel welcome/ the journey alone eould have taken hours.
I arranged to go to the island to see him just after Christmas but ended up getting really ill so not seeing him at all.
It's hard.
I want everyone to know I love them but I also want to get on with my own life.
Also The elephant in the room is how everyone's welcome to come to mh house but rarely come up anyway even though I have a spare comfortable room.
I feel rich in food, friends and home but not in time energy or actual didpisable income.
I just don't like the inner judge in my head making moral judgements of what I should or shouldn't have done be doing with money.
Dad text me an said not to worry and sending love.
So I'll have to just believe him.

Cronx Sat 17-Oct-15 12:42:39

It sounds to me like you are doing the right thing for you, no shame in that. It's hard, but sometimes families just don't live up to expectations. Are you still having therapy or has it ended? If it's still ongoing it might help to discuss this. I always find that talking about the theory is fine but then when you come to practise your new found assertiveness or whatever, it's still difficult.

I'd take what your dad said at face value - he seems to understand you have your own life to lead, just as he does.

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