Money Moral Dilemma: Should our son pay us for the fuel we use babysitting our grandchildren?

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MSE_Kelvin
MSE_Kelvin Posts: 346 MSE Staff
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This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

Our son and his partner regularly ask us to babysit our young grandchildren. While we love spending time with the kids, they live about an hour's drive from us, which means it costs £15 to £20 in fuel per round trip. It's becoming difficult to afford it with other bills rising, but I'm not sure if we should ask my son for money as they're feeling the pinch too.

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Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,065 Forumite
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    It's worth discussing with them, even if the outcome is that you say you are happy to continue to travel and that you will absob the cost because they are also struggling. If you discuss it, they will be aware that it is costing you money, and it will be easier to discuss things if anything changes because they will already know how closely your own budget is being streteched. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • KxMx
    KxMx Posts: 10,618 Forumite
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    They may be feeling the pinch too but seem to be able to afford to go out regularly as a couple. 

    Yes, you should definitely ask and I think you are justified in doing so.

    You could come to a financial arrangement that suits both parties which means they still get to go out and you still get to spend that time with your grandchildren. 
  • Lauraebrad
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    I think they should definitely approach this, especially given the massive cost saving they’re getting by using grandparents as childcare.  I used to give my parents £10 towards fuel whoever they came to look after my son (between 2013 and start of the pandemic). 

    Aiming for mortgage free by September 2030

    Balance 1.1.20 - £69,701.80
    Balance 1.1.21 - £63,699.80
    Balance 1.1.22 - £57,762.80
    Balance 1.1.23 - £53,074.20
    Balance 1.1.24 - £47,902.00

    over payments 2024 = £610/£1,200 /// invested 2024 = £400/£1,200 = TOTAL (YTD) £1,010
  • Groom
    Groom Posts: 56 Forumite
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    It depends why they are asking you to babysit - if it's so they can go out for a meal, the cinema, concert etc then yes, they should at least contribute to your petrol costs. If you didn't do it, it would cost them between £10 and £12 an hour. 
  • REJP
    REJP Posts: 325 Forumite
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    KxMx said:
    They may be feeling the pinch too but seem to be able to afford to go out regularly as a couple. 

    Yes, you should definitely ask and I think you are justified in doing so.

    You could come to a financial arrangement that suits both parties which means they still get to go out and you still get to spend that time with your grandchildren. 
    They may be going out to work.

  • wy111
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    In my mind, depends on the reason. Why not pay for a local babysitter, if on a night or a local creche or pre-school group.
  • Ed264
    Ed264 Posts: 104 Forumite
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    You don't say how regularly you do these babysitting duties. Is it weekly, monthly? Whatever, your son is well aware that you have an hour's drive each way, and that it costs you money in fuel. If they're out socialising, it's fair for them to cover your travelling costs.
  • Wisp
    Wisp Posts: 22 Forumite
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    I would have expected an offer from the outset (which I may have declined in favour of glorious grandchildren, warm home in winter/ meal  etc) Depends what regularly is - 2 x weekly, 1x weekly, 1 x fortnightly ......
    I wonder why are they needing regular  childcare - working, studying or a combo, date nights ?
    In my humble opinion date nights are valuable but need to factor in an offer of fuel for childcare costs, maybe less date nights.

  • bikaga
    bikaga Posts: 159 Forumite
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    You should mention it - they might not be aware. I also like the suggestion to ask them to drive the kids over (though of course that would probably mean they wake up on the way back if it's an evening thing, so might not work).
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