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MIL has asked to borrow money, WWYD?

(20 Posts)
guiltyfeelings Fri 09-Oct-09 21:25:48

Ever since me and DH have been together I have known MIL likes to shop (ok who doesn't) but the way she shops is a problem. Before me and DH moved in together I would stay over at his mums and she had parcels delivered all the time, the only T.V programmes that she watched were shopping ones and she shopped as if money was no object.

I offered to help her change the beds one day and when I went into the airing cupboard to get the sheets was almost buried under an avalanche of unopened parcels, I showed DH and asked him if he thought MIL had a problem, he asked her and she swore us both to secrecy and told us not to tell step FIL what we had seen.

She has been shopping like this for the 5yrs that me and DH have been together and possibly longer.

Early yesterday morning I got a call from MIL and she sounded upset so I asked her if she was ok, she said "I need to ask you something and if you say no I won't be offended" I said ok whats wrong, she then says "I need to borrow some money, a couple of hundred pounds" I told her I would need to speak to DH because we don't have much money but we would see what we could do. She again swore me to secrecy saying please don't tell step FIL or BIL.

So I had a word with DH and we agreed that we could lend her £100 we honestly don't have anymore to lend. But me and DH have also said that if MIL is as deep in debt as we think she is then even £200 would only see her through till next month and then surely she will be back asking for more.

DH asked her how much she owed and who too and she was really vague and just kept saying don't worry, she is adamant that we don't tell anyone but we think she should tell step FIL and BIL after all what if the baliffs come knocking.

I feel really guilty because we can't help her more but I also feel angry that she's put us in this situation.

We really don't know what to do, by staying loyal to MIL we a letting step FIL and BIL down.


Katisha Fri 09-Oct-09 21:27:31

Sounds to me like she needs more real help than staving off the inevitable with £100. It's like giving an addict abother fix.
Can you get down to CAB for a talk about her debts?

thisisyesterday Fri 09-Oct-09 21:29:16

i would get your dh to talk to her again.
if she isin a lot of debt, and it sounds like she could be then she needs to get it sorted sooner rather than later.
he needs to tell her that ok, if she needs the £100 she can have it. but that is IT. and that she HAS to tell step-FIL otherwise he will. because it isn't fair on the FIL like you say, if they get bailiffs knocking.
if the FIL knows then hopefully he can help get it all sorted and stpo her getting deeper into debt.
he needs to know,, for her sake. but do try and get her to tell him herself

LynetteScavo Fri 09-Oct-09 21:30:51

Good idea about CAB, but iI think your DH need to make FIL aware of what might be going on....

Sounds like MIL has an adiction, which she needs help with. Giving her more money isn't going to be helpfull in the long run.

crokky Fri 09-Oct-09 21:30:55

Difficult - I think if you lend her the £100, you will have to accept that it probably isn't going to be paid back. If you can afford that, then I would give the money on this occasion.

I think you and your DH should tackle her together and ask her to give you more information about her finances. It depends on how bad the problem is as to whether you go to step FIL and BIL. And I suppose how well you get on with step FIL and BIL.

Surely step FIL might open the airing cupboard and find this stuff??? What if the central heating system gets a bit broken and people need to look in there. Perhaps suggest to MIL that these unopened items coudl be returned or eBayed as BNIB?

guiltyfeelings Fri 09-Oct-09 21:32:41

DH suggested CAB yesterday and she just kept saying don't worry. If me and DH made an appointment she wouldn't go, I suppose we can't help her until she's willing to help herself. But she can't keep asking us for money we just don't have it and the little bit that we do have is for DC's christmas presents.

HerBeatitude Fri 09-Oct-09 21:33:59

Sorry but I would give it to her only on the condition that she tells her DH about the problem and that she makes an appointment with a debt counsellor/ other type of counsellor, because she obviously has an addiction.

Giving her money is like giving an alcoholic a bottle of vodka. It is not a kind act in the long run.

DuelingFANGo Fri 09-Oct-09 21:34:16

I would leave her to it and not lend her any more money.

Katisha Fri 09-Oct-09 21:35:01

Don't give her the money. It's really not helping her.
Have another go about CAB and say it's no good saying "Dont worry" because you ARE worried.

guiltyfeelings Fri 09-Oct-09 21:35:44

When I asked her yesterday if she could tell SFIL she said no because he would make her feel like she was eating humble pie.

Katisha Fri 09-Oct-09 21:42:49

Well maybe a word needs to be had with him not to rub her nose in it but to help her see a way out of it all.

ravenAK Fri 09-Oct-09 21:45:30

I think I'd say (or rather suggest dh says):

'OK, we'll give you £100 - no point calling it a loan, because you're obviously in trouble financially & you'll need every penny to sort that out.

'But it's obvious the shopping's got out of hand & it's going to be much easier if we work out how to sort it - you really need to sit down with step-FIL, get rid of all the credit cards & catalogue accounts, & start eBaying the contents of the airing cupboard!

'Otherwise, we can't help - we can do this as a one-off, but we're not comfortable about going behing FIL's back like this, & we just can't afford to bail you out again'.

& then you just have to stay out of it. It will come to light eventually, but it's much better if it's MIL fessing up to her dh than you grassing her up...

Oh & put her on to the consumer action group (google) if she does decide she's ready to ask for help - they are great on coping with collection agencies, bailiffs etc.

guiltyfeelings Fri 09-Oct-09 21:46:18

If the baliffs come will they take things that belong to BIL as he still lives at home?

He's worked really hard and paid for everything he owns, if the baliffs come and remove his stuff and then he later finds out that we knew the situation he's going to hate us.

guiltyfeelings Fri 09-Oct-09 21:49:10

Bailiffsblush This is stressing me out so much.

HerBeatitude Fri 09-Oct-09 21:49:17

Honestly, I would not give her any money, not this time, not ever.

When the shit hits the fan and your SFIL finds out (which will happen if she doesn't seek help right now), the fact that you have enabled her behind his back, will cause a major row.

HerBeatitude Fri 09-Oct-09 21:50:46

Bailiffs are not legally entitled to take anything that doesn't belong to the person who is the subject of the court order.

So your BIL's stuff should be safe - unless of course, he's out that day and your MIL doesn't think to say "that stuff's not mine"

ravenAK Fri 09-Oct-09 21:51:31

It's complicated!

They can't just march in & start lifting stuff, though. You can refuse to let thim in, at least until it's gone through the courts.

Honestly, try CAG. They are fantastic on this stuff (I had years of bailiff bother following the death of my first husband, with whom I'd owned a business which subsequently failed).

ohnelly Sat 10-Oct-09 11:12:22

By the way if bailiffs do come round you dont have to let them in. Its only if you let them in they can take anything.

IsItMeOr Sat 10-Oct-09 11:30:35

This is hard. But given how convinced you are that £100 is only the tip of the iceberg, and it's hard for you to find that amount, I would honestly be inclined NOT to lend it at this point. I would say that the only way you will lend any money is if she tells SFIL and THEY need your money to sort out a repayment plan with the people she owes money to.

Bluntly, if you lend the money, you're just enabling her problem. You need to help her face up to it. If that means her eating humble pie so be it. This IS going to come to a head eventually, and I think you really don't want to let SFIL and BIL find out that you knew and colluded with MIL to keep it from them.

Sorry, I know that's hard, but it's honestly what I think you should do. Best of luck.

IsItMeOr Mon 12-Oct-09 10:30:45

How you getting on guiltyfeelings?

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