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or is my sister?

157 replies

drowninginlaundry · 01/05/2011 17:50

just trying to do the right thing here so help me out:
over the Easter break me and DH went away for 10 days on a charity expedition. My sister, her DH and their two DDs stayed in our house with my mum to look after our three DCs. She volunteered to do this, it was agreed ages ago and it was the only way we could have done it.

We've just had a horrible row over money. We left a float of £300 when we left, my bank card with PIN with instructions that if they needed more for food, outings with the children etc they were to use it. We left them our car, insure them on it. Arranged and paid for cleaners.

When we got back I saw that DSis and brother in law have withdrawn another £700 in cash in 10 days, plus spent £250 on my card, so in total they spent £1250 from our account in 10 days, to feed three adults, four children and one 9-month old baby.

There's history - I help my sister out a lot. When they lived abroad they would visit us on holidays and rarely paid for anything, they drove my car and I filled it with petrol, we always fed them well. She owes me money and I had agreed to waive a £200 debt as a thank you for childcare over Easter.

When I queried the £1250, which as it transpired included things like pub lunches for everyone and filling her car with petrol, she blew her top, and said that since she helped look after my children they should not have had to pay for anything.

I'm happy to contribute for some of their food and obviously they have done us a massive favour, but there is no way I would manage to spend that much in 10 days without going completely nuts in Tesco champagne section. I want her to pay some of her family's share back as we simply can't afford to pick up that kind of tab (put it this way, they don't spend like that when it's their own money. They are both teachers so good jobs but not loaded), but I don't know how much would be reasonable given how much they helped us. And I don't want us to fall out over this.

OP posts:

pingu2209 · 01/05/2011 17:53

Well you have learned your lesson then!


ZZZenAgain · 01/05/2011 17:54

how much did you expect them to spend (outer limit)?

Are you reliant on her for childcare from now on still?


evilgdil · 01/05/2011 17:54

they spent £125 quid per day?
had you stocked the cupboards before you went? or did they have to do a big shop? what did they spend it on? ask for bloody recipts! that is a mad amount of money, i would be fuming.


unsurevalentine · 01/05/2011 17:56

I would be very pissed off, well out of line, the £300 was generous to start with - she is family not a nanny!!!

Do you want a new sister you sound great? Grin


YellowDinosaur · 01/05/2011 17:56

That is a really tricky situation.

Of course they have done you a massive favour but then again she offered and you were waiving a debt she has to you in order that she did this. So it was not entirely without benefit to her.

I think that in retrospect given that she has history with borrowing money and not paying it back you were naiive to give such vague instructions about money but you are where you are.

Has she given you receipts to account for the whole £1250? Because even with petrol and pub lunches every day I think it would be a struggle to spend that sort of money in 10 days. What does your Mum think about this?

Of course she should contribute to it but I don't like your chances of getting any money back and so you will have to weigh up how much you want to push this at the risk of causing a family rift. So sorry not much help but I'd be interested to see what others have to say...


Flounder · 01/05/2011 17:57

That's a huge amount of money, so I see why you are cross.

However, what were you thinking to leave them your bank card and PIN? That's very foolish.

Did you discuss with them beforehand about what was a reasonbale amount of money to use?


FakePlasticTrees · 01/05/2011 17:57

I'd ask for recipts too - £125 a day is excessive. And i guess lesson learned, you can't trust her with money.


bittersweetvictory · 01/05/2011 17:57

YANBU especially since it was your house they were in so had no utility bills etc, they basically stole from you, what has your mother got to say about it.


HumphreyCobbler · 01/05/2011 17:58

jesus, that is appalling behaviour. WHat on earth did they spend it on? I am afraid that falling out over this will be unavoidable - unless they apologise and pay back some of the money.

And to think you also wrote off money they owed you and left them enough money to cover expenses Shock Shock


rainbowinthesky · 01/05/2011 17:58

24hour childcare for 3 kids for 10 days - seems a fair amount depending on what was agreed beforehand. Were they doing it as a favour as being family or was it agreed as a childcare thing?


ThePrincessRoyalFiggyrolls · 01/05/2011 17:59

Wow, that is a lot of money to spend in 10 days, filling up her own car is bloody cheeky - tbh I would have used your car and kept filling it up if that was the case, but it seems quite steep.


SwearyMary · 01/05/2011 17:59

You left them your bank card? A mistake never to be repeated.

Unless you want to fall out and you state that you don't, you are just going to have to swallow the debt.
You sister isn't the only one to blame. The whole family are, have you spoken to BIL and your Mother? I would ask for receipts so that you know where the money went, but I wouldn't hold my breath.


zandy · 01/05/2011 18:02

Childcare for three children for ten days and nights, that's 240 hours and they got how much an hour? £5.20? Pretty cheap childcare.........but the details ought to have been sorted before you left. You'll know better next time.


saffy85 · 01/05/2011 18:03

Shock YANBU at all but I wouldn't have left them the card and pin number, although your sister is way out of line.

Definately ask for receipts! How fuck they could have spent that much money in 10 sodding days is beyond belief, unless pub lunches is actually code for dinner at Claridges!


parakeet · 01/05/2011 18:03

You left them with instructions that if they needed more they should take it. And that is what they did. Yes they have completely taken the piss, but technically they were only following instructions.

I think it's futile for you to rack your brains over how much they should pay you back because it sounds unlikely they have it in the bank.

Is there any way you can write it off? And never lend or give your sister any more money again.


cat64 · 01/05/2011 18:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

ZZZenAgain · 01/05/2011 18:03

I agree it seems unlikely anything will be repaid and you could ask for receipts but no doubt they have not kept any


Bogeyface · 01/05/2011 18:04

YANBU but I dont see you getting a penny back. And it was very foolish to leave someone with her financial history your card and PIN. I would also be asking your mum about this, I am sure she must have some inkling of what was going on and if she was happy to go along with this spending spree then she should also bear some responsibility. It does seem like you want to lump this all on your sister because of your history with her, but your mum was there too.

I think you should ask for receipts etc and ask to be reimbursed half of what they spent, but dont expect to actually see any money.

And see it as a lesson learned.


foreverondiet · 01/05/2011 18:06

I see both sides here. Yes, they spend a lot of money but you did leave your bank details and you went away for 10 days and you didn't set a maximum. If you paid a babysitter for 10 days even at £5 for awake hours only that would be £60 a day childcare before food.

Looking after someone else's 3 children is hard work, so perhaps having a pub lunches was reasonable. But even then, find it hard to see how £300 for food wasn't enough (think how many groceries that would buy in tesco, easily loads for 3 adults and 5 children esp if there was basics in the house).

Yes, I would probably be fuming too, but she did look after your children for 10 days....


mummyosaurus · 01/05/2011 18:07

YANBU your sister is pulling a fast one.

I am also very interested to hear what your mum has to say about this.


weblette · 01/05/2011 18:08

I'm sorry, but they've really taken the p*ss. Even with spending for that number of dcs, I would expect to get through waay less than that. Yes it was a favour but you less her off money and provided adequate spending money.

You've learned a hard lesson here, you now know you cannot trust her and you should make that clear. She views you as a cashpoint. I doubt you'll get anything back.


ZZZenAgain · 01/05/2011 18:08

I'm afraid I don't think it was all spent on petrol, outings for the children and food. Sorry that probably doesn't help matters. Feel sorry for you, how unpleasant


YellowDinosaur · 01/05/2011 18:09

I think those of you who are trying to make out that the childcare the op got are totally wrong.

The op wouldn't have gone away for this expedition if she had had to pay for childcare. And it was agreed that she would waive a debt as a thankyou. Added to which it would be a holiday for her and her family to go and stay somewhere else, for free, with a car provided. If the children all get on it can even be easier sometimes to have others their as they entertain each other.

You can't possibly compare family volunteering to help with babysitting to what you would have to pay a childminder or a nanny to do the same thing. It wouldn't cross my mind to expect my sister to pay me to do the same thing - I'd either do it with good grace knowing that she would return the favour at some point in the future or decide that that wasn't how I wanted to spend my Easter holiday and decline.


weblette · 01/05/2011 18:09

left not less doh!


shemademedoit · 01/05/2011 18:10

Ouch. I think your sis is taking the piss HOWEVER she's obviously terrible with money, and you should have made your expectations more clear from the start. I'd be asking for receipts too, but if she's didn't know to keep them, then you'll be lucky to get them. Sigh. I feel awful for you.

ALSO in the days when money grew on trees I left my 3 kids with our nanny for 10 days while my husband and I went away. We didn't discuss actual payment terms before we went (I know, I know...) and got a fright when she invoiced us for 10 x 24 hours. But that's what she worked, after all, so we paid. It was 8 years ago, and cost way more than your sister "got paid".

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