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Real-life MMD: Am I baking up the wrong tree?

Former_MSE_Debs Former MSE Posts: 890 Forumite
edited 21 August 2012 at 4:38PM in MoneySaving polls
Money Moral Dilemma: Am I baking up the wrong tree?

I like to bake cakes for my colleagues' birthdays, however, it now seems an expectation. No one offers to contribute towards the ingredients' costs, and though I enjoy it, it's becoming expensive. Should I only do it for those I'm close to and risk offending the others, or keep baking for everyone to my purse's detriment?
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  • ironlady2022
    ironlady2022 Forumite Posts: 1,544
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    To be honest, do it as and when you feel/can afford it. Doesn't have to be for special occasion. When it's someone's bday and they ask you 'What you baking' or 'Thought you were bringing cakes in', then you can say, money's a bit tight. Another suggestion is, you can each put a few quid in each month purely for you to buy ingredients to make the cakes with. People can't expect you to do it, and they will prob expect you to cotton on.
  • Arthurian
    Arthurian Forumite Posts: 771
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    If there's a birthday looming soon, bake for that, then announce to all that you are not going to bake any more office/work birthday cakes because times are hard. (Maybe you'll get a pay rise :) .) If you enjoy baking that much, take cakes around to friends out of office hours.
  • McKneff
    McKneff Forumite Posts: 38,756
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    If anyone asks or hints at you baking a cake, just say well you buy the ingredients and I'll bake it for you, simple as that really.
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • luxor4t
    luxor4t Forumite Posts: 11,125
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    You could scale it back a bit eg cupcakes not a full cake, then fewer cupcakes - if anybody complains you have the perfect opportunity to suggest the others chip in.
    I can cook and sew, make flowers grow.
  • lushberry
    lushberry Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    edited 22 August 2012 at 12:06AM
    It seems clear to me that everyone knows that you're being incredibly generous and to expect it as a given is incredibly 'cheeky' to put it mildly; they know this and you clearly know it. When the next birthday is approaching, simply send an email to your colleagues asking them to contribute towards the cost of a cake and a card, or as similar to mayling03's suggestion, set up or canvas views on whether anyone wants to contribute to a coffee/tea club outlining that with the monthly contributions of a couple of quid each, tea, coffee can be bought and contribute to the cost of a cakes once a month or as per the cash kitty allows. Either way, it shouldn't fall on your pocket solely to mark the birthday of a colleague while the rest of your colleagues eat the fruits of your labour, reign it in. Don't continue baking cakes for birthdays unless the team contribute, it's too personal and invites the expectation that all birthdays should be honoured similarly. I have to say that I am very surprised that no one has had the common courtesy to pitch in.
  • darkwarrior
    darkwarrior Forumite Posts: 234
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Stop altogether and say you can't afford it. They'll either chip in or at least you won't be offending anyone.
  • newkitchenfund
    newkitchenfund Forumite Posts: 37
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    People who don't bake may not realise that it can be pretty expensive to make a cake. Even though many of the ingredients come out of our your storecupboard, you had to buy them in the first place. And once you start adding up the cost of eggs, chocolate, fancy icing, and other more costly ingredients such as nuts or cream, it can be more expensive to make than to buy shop-bought - not to mention the cost of heating the oven!
    You say you enjoy baking and don't mind the time it takes you, but it seems that your enjoyment is being spoilt by the feeling that people do not appreciate the monetary cost as well as the effort you have put in. Perhaps it's best to bring this up with the team next time there's a birthday looming - you don't need to stop baking, just say you're trying to watch the pennies and therefore would appreciate a small donation from each person towards a 'cake kitty' to help defray your expenses. If you really can't face asking for this, why not set yourself a challenge of making budget cakes?
  • Androcles
    Androcles Forumite Posts: 77 Forumite
    I would be tempted to miss the odd birthday and see if anybody says anything.....just concentrate on baking for those close to you. I suspect that if you don't bake one for somebody not close, most people will not dare to say anything as they all realise underneath that you do it out of the goodness of your heart and at your own expense. Break the culture of expectation and get it back to being a spontaneous gesture which surprises, rather than an expectation.
  • tallgirld
    tallgirld Forumite Posts: 484
    Part of the Furniture
    Stop altogether at least that way you will not be accused of having favourites.

    No point continuing if it is putting pressure on your purse.
  • bouncydog1
    bouncydog1 Forumite Posts: 2,696
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Email them all saying you are very happy to bake when asked - but going forwards you have to charge for ingredients - perfectly fair. Just have in mind an idea of what the cost will be and make sure you factor in electric e.g. a large victoria sandwich £4 etc. Make sure you tell them you are not charging for your time but can't keep paying for everything.

    Alternatively suggest that in these days of rising prices people just bring in cakes for birthdays etc if they want to and you may find you get asked with an offer to pay the cost.
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