Real life MMD: Should we tell relatives "we're not a free hotel"?

edited 1 May 2012 at 6:16PM in Money Saving Polls
87 replies 20.3K views


  • VfM4meplseVfM4meplse
    34.3K Posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    joehoover wrote: »
    When I have people to stay, they offer to treat me to a day out, a dinner, bring me treats as a thank you for staying. And I do likewise, this is normal is it not?
    I agree that you must be hospitable to guests...but there's nothing I would want less than gift that will clutter up the house, or a meal out that I don't want as a "thank you".

    Everytime my dad stays with his sister (she insists that he does when he is in that part of the world) she fleeces him big-time. He doesn't mind, but I do wonder why he always comes back the best part of a grand lighter!

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy :D...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...I love chaz-ing!
  • BNTBNT Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    i agree with Duchy - i would just subtly stop doing everything for them, maybe cook a nice meal the first night, but after that just go about my usual daily business, telling them how to help themselves to breakfast, showing them where the washing machine is etc.

    not sure what i'd do about the costs though - this is more tricky to negotiate. if you fdon't want to confront it head on, you could just do something like saying 'we're doing our weekly supermarket shop later, do you want to come and do your shopping at the same time?' if they decline, don't buy any extra stuff, just buy your usual, and when it runs out, ask them if they wouldn't mind doing you a favour and doing the shop this time as you're really busy.

    The problem with this approach is that you are only dealing with the issue after the visitors have arrived. It just makes the hosts look petty and childish and the visitors uncomfortable. Surely it would be more productive to deal with it upfront at the time these relatives are arranging their visits?
  • edited 2 May 2012 at 9:35AM
    BNTBNT Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    edited 2 May 2012 at 9:35AM
    VfM4meplse wrote: »
    I agree that you must be hospitable to guests...but there's nothing I would want less than gift that will clutter up the house, or a meal out that I don't want as a "thank you".

    Perhaps, but it is less embarrasing/more appropriate than taking money from guests. I'd like to think that most friends and relatives would know their hosts well enough to choose a suitable way of saying thank you; the risk of clutter or unwanted meals is probably quite low.
  • They should expect to pay something. Our visitors always buy the coffees and lunches whilst they are with us, treat us to a meal out and help with the household chores. Furthermore, they reciprocate by inviting us to return to them for a stay or at least for a meal when we are passing. Those visitors who came once and did not conform to the above have not been invited to return. There are numerous reasons/excuses that can be given if they try again - but sometimes just being quite blunt ('we find it too expensive to have numerous visitors') can sometimes be the best solution.
  • commandomumcommandomum Forumite
    18 Posts
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    There's a lot of beating around the bush in the vast majority of these replies to this question. If you can't face telling these people face to face then write to them saying exactly what you have said in your original post.

    Some of these people may not realise how much this costs you in time and money etc (although personally i don't see how as presumably they are financing their own lives when not holidaying at your place). Others will and be taking advantage of your good nature and generosity.

    Good luck and don't let people walk all over you.

  • happyinfloridahappyinflorida Forumite
    807 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    If you enjoy having them and would miss their visits if they didn't come, you need to handle this carefully.

    Do you want them to still come? Can you afford the extra costs? Are they able to afford paying out for things? Maybe you've got some jobs around the house/garden that you would love them to do for you?

    When I was young, my aunt would invite me and my then boyfriend, to stay. I didn't know it at the time but she was extremely well off and she'd go on about how poor she was. She'd say she wanted to go out for dinner on the Saturday night (we'd stay one or two nights) and we usually paid - we found with the petrol costs and present for her that in the end we couldn't afford to go! We were also expected to help her out around the house and didn't get much rest! My boyfriend, now husband, got so fed up with it that he refused to go again and I went once on my own but not again.

    I didn't mind helping out around the house but when I found out she had actually had got an extremely good income and pretended to be poor so we paid for the expensive meal out - I was really fed up with that.

    I would suggest you make the visits shorter and ask for some help, such as "Could one of you peel the potatoes?" or "Who's going to do the hoovering?" - then if no one offers, pick on one of them and insist!

    Try the tactic of "I've decided on some new rules when you visit" if you think that'll be received carefully.

    Do be careful though as it'd be a shame to lose the visits if you really do enjoy them.

    Good luck!
  • juliamarshjuliamarsh Forumite
    365 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I think the letter suggested by dannahaz handles it pretty well. When I was in this situation, after a couple of such visits left me exhausted I just told them they could only stay for a couple of days the next time they asked. I occasionally stay with relatives in Cornwall for a few days but would never expect them to wait on me. I bring with me milk, bread, butter and anything we might eat for breakfast and make sure I replace it throughout our stay, plus a plentiful supply of wine to share with our hosts! During the day we normally go out so are not around to eat lunch, and I make sure that I buy the ingredients for and cook at least a couple of meals for everybody over the course of our stay. I go out of my way to do the clearing and tidying up whether it is our mess or not and help them out wherever I can to avoid putting an extra burden on them. I take them out to dinner before we leave and also buy them a gift to say thank you - hopefully something that they like!! I am very grateful to them for welcoming me to stay and consider it the least I can do to show my appreciation,as well as letting them know that they are always welcome to stay at my home whenever they wish. This is just basic good manners and it sounds as if your relatives are totally unappreciative, even if unintentionally. Either be upfront about how you expect them to behave if they are too selfish to do it without being asked or limit their visit to a couple of days so that you get to catch up with them but are not worn out!! Best of luck!!
  • puddings_2puddings_2 Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    its a bit of a no-brainer this one i think...

    You say that you love to see your relatives for a couple of days, so invite them for a couple of days, dont invite them for a fortnight! Make sure they're clear at the outset that they are staying for one night, and make sure you and your partner are both unified on that statement so they dont get any mixed or ambiguos messages about when they are expected to leave.

    Don't feel "bad" that they have travelled a long way for such a short stay: they knew the score and made a choice before they set off, and beware of emotional blackmail: threats like "we're not coming then and so you wont get to see the grandkids this summer" are tough to deal with but you need to be strong, and if thats the case then you need to be prepared to travel to see them instead.
  • puddings_2puddings_2 Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Dannahaz's email is excellent. That will probably sort out the friends and majority of famil leaving only any less empathic hardliners to deal with - probably your own grown up children & grandchildren!
  • BarryfanBarryfan Forumite
    67 Posts
    Your relatives don't sound very nice and are they ALL like that? I wouldn't dream of staying for two weeks and not offering to pay my way! I appreciate that it mihgt be difficult to "suddenly" broach the subject of cost but I think you've got to take the bull by the horns and confront the issue. Lots of good advice has already been given on how to do this. Good luck.
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