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Paying for rental car for In Laws - Husband and I disagree

I need unbiased feedback - thank you in advance!

My husband's parents live out of the country, but make trips fairly often and stay for an average of 3 weeks with each trip. They used to come and just borrow a car as needed from one of us (husband, me, brother/sister in law). Then, a couple of years ago they decided to rent a car for their stay. My husband and his brother decided to go in together and cover the rental. It was no big deal at the time as it was a one time thing. Well, two years later and several trips later, they're still covering the rentals 50/50. Before this last trip I brought it up to my husband that it's too pricey and that we need to stop paying towards the rental b/c we need to focus on our own family's needs. He agreed. 3 weeks later his parents have come and gone and his brother covered the rental 100% and just asked if we were going to go in on it with him or not. My husband now feels bad and is going to cover 50% of the rental. When I brought up the conversation he went on to say that he owes them for everything that they've paid for in his life (college, etc). My point is that we have a baby and a house and our own expenses. Additionally, they would be able to get by borrowing one of our cars, so there's no need to have a rental.  I'm angry about 2 things: The first being that we already discussed this and he should have followed through discussing with his brother so that everyone was on the same page. The second being my husband's feelings that he "owes" his parents for paying his way through college. I have to pay student loans, and I actually am paying my dad back for a student loan that he paid off for me 5 years ago (but that was the agreement at the time). My parents were not able to support me or pay for my college education - but he knew all of this and knew about my student loans long before we were engaged or even married. To me - I don't feel like we owe his parents anything more than gratitude and appreciation. Am I being selfish and stingy? Or am I right that we have no reason to be paying $150 or more each time they visit so that they can have an extra car to go shopping/etc?

Thanks for listening to my rant.

Re: Paying for rental car for In Laws - Husband and I disagree

  • Well, since he didn't talk to his brother I think the brother expected him to pay half of it. So your husband can pay him with saying that this is the last time. 
    But really, it was the parents' decision to get a rental in the first place so they should be the ones paying for it especially since you are fine providing them use of one of your cars for free. 
  • It's very simple:

    He needs to tell them -- and his brother --- email them and cc it to both -- that he can't afford to pay half the rental. He and you have too many other expenses.

    After that, his parents' ball game. He is not obligated.
  • Your DH shouldn't have gone back on your agreement, that sucks. But it sounds like he probably didn't really agree with it, which is why he went back on it. How often do your inlaws come to visit? If it's once a year, I would probably just try to make the $150 work somewhere in the budget. If it's four or five times a year, that would be different and we wouldn't be able to afford it either. Tell your DH how you're feeling, because it's really not fair for him to make financial decisions like that without you, especially when he knows it's something you don't approve of. And it might be worth talking to your inlaws too, and just letting them know that you can't afford to pay for the rental, but you're happy for them to use your car. Good luck!
  • Your H should probably have mentioned the new agreement to his brother. Since the brother didn't know things had changed, it puts him in an awkward spot, and I respect your H's decision to go ahead and pay his half. However, if he does want to stop paying for the rental, he needs to let his brother know this.

    As for covering the rental in general? I think it depends on a lot of factors. When my ILs used to visit, we paid for their rental car, because we only had one car, so there was no way they could borrow it. Also, his parents live in a country with a very low cost of living, so they really couldn't afford to pay for the rental themselves.

    Since you said that you have a second car they could borrow, is there a reason they continue to rent? If your H feels an obligation to them, he can still fulfill it by letting them borrow a car rather than renting one. And if this is really a strain on your budget, it sounds like it goes a bit beyond repaying their generosity. Just because his parents paid for his education doesn't mean that he should be going into debt to cover something that isn't a necessity.
  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    O.k.  There are a few different things to address here.

    1- your DH was wrong to agree to not pay then not tell his brother or his parents this.  To say yes to you and then "oh, ooops- I still need to pay" was wrong of him.  he needs to figure out where he falls on this.

    2- I'd actually like to know more about the car situation.  You say you have an extra car they can use, but then make a comment about how they wanted an extra car to "go shopping etc".  IS there a car they can 100% use whenever they want or isn't there?  To me, I get the impression that there is something about the "extra car" situation that wasn't actually working for them and they feel it's easier to rent a car. 

    3- I have NO idea what your having student loans has to do w/ this or that your DH "knew this" when you all got married.  You're comparing apples to oranges here and it makes no sense.

    Honestly, when it comes down to it - I see where your DH is coming from.  And I actually think it's really great that he doesn't take everything for granted that his parents have done for him.  As you full well know, not everyone gets their schooling paid for. The fact that HE sees this and wants to do a little to say "thank you" to them- GOOD.  The fact that you seem to take issue w/ the fact that your DH doesn't take that for granted seems really odd.  Is it that you're jealous?  Or... what? 

    In the end, can you all REALLY not afford the $150 or is it just you being pissy about it for "whatever reason" (jealousy, not liking his parents, or...???  Again, what?)?  For your DH, this IS how he wants to show his gratitude and appreciation.  Work with him on this.  If one year it's one visit for $150 but the next it's 4 and now costing you $600 - o.k. - that's an issue.  Come up w/ a set amount.  He can convey that to his brother and parents.  "I can help pay for 2 trips.  Anything past that- it's out of our budget.".  If they all know this- they can plan around it. 

    But seriously - there is a lot of middle ground and I think that you need to actually figure out what your real issue is because I don't think it's really just about the $$.
  • I agree with PP. If you really can't afford the $150 each time his parents come to visit. Then DH needs to tell the parents so, and offer to allow them to use on of your cards instead like you did before. I really don't think he should have to pay for a car if the option is there for them to use on of your cars instead. Does using your car inconvenience anybody? Can they only use it at certain times and have to work around your work schedule? If that is the case I could understand them not wanting to use it, but if it is an extra car and you can get around just fine without it for 3 weeks and are offering it to them to use, then I see no problem in why you should have to cover their rental.

  • jmm05 said:
    When I brought up the conversation he went on to say that he owes them for everything that they've paid for in his life (college, etc). My point is that we have a baby and a house and our own expenses.
    I think your point is a good one and it might be worth talking to your husband about paying it forward instead of paying it back. My parents gave me a good life and paid for college but they don't expect that money back, they expect me to follow their example and provide the same for my children. Your husband's parents obviously understand the importance of looking after their kids so I'm sure they would not want you to sacrifice spending on your own children so they can have the luxury of an extra car. They really should be paying for that themselves and the fact that they have spent money on your husband in the past is irrelevant - that's just what parents do. Would your husband want your children to pay for his rental car, or would he want that money to go into your grandchildrens' college fund?

    I understand why your husband paid for it this time since he had not discussed the change with his brother/parents in advance, but you need to let them know well in advance that this is the last time.
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