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Sister-in-law: dollars and sense!

Help!!  My sister-in-law is single, in her 30's, and a mother of four. (Did I say she's single?).   She manipulates DH and MIL to help her make ends meet.  The problem is DH is out of work.  Any money DH has is my money.  Am I overreacting when I tell him that we can't give what we don't have??  I'm paying for EVERYTHING and when I found out that he paid for one of her bills...I literally hit the roof!  Any advice on this?image

Re: Sister-in-law: dollars and sense!

  • image mowens26:
    Help!!  My sister-in-law is single, in her 30's, and a mother of four. (Did I say she's single?).   She manipulates DH and MIL to help her make ends meet.  The problem is DH is out of work.  Any money DH has is my money.  Am I overreacting when I tell him that we can't give what we don't have??  I'm paying for EVERYTHING and when I found out that he paid for one of her bills...I literally hit the roof!  Any advice on this?

    Sorry but if he allows himself to be manipulated it is his fault.  He needs to be on the same page with you and learn to say no.

    But, what MIL does to support her is none of your business.

    image
  • You did say something that struck a nerve.  It isn't your money.  You are married, all the money that comes into the house belongs to both of you.

    I have a few questions before I feel like I can give you a good answer to your problem...

    What does your budget look like?  Are you not making ends meet or is there a little bit left over at the end of the month?  How much do you have allocated for fun money for yourself and your husband?

    Is your husband looking for work?  Where is he applying?

    Is his sister working?  Is she making stupid money decisions?  Has she just fallen on tough times?

  • Thanks, Duckie. I'm not concerned about MIL and what she does for SIL.  I am concerned about DH when he "forgets" to tell me about a bill he's paid for SIL.  I'm letting him know my concerns every chance I get.  I don't want this to become a habit for SIL or for DH.  She's relied on the famiy to take care of her all of her life.  She's grown now and needs to handle her business herself.  Yes, I know times get hard for everyone...but I'm worried about DH enabling her to stay his little sister and she'll never grow up...even with 4 kids.
  • First off, I'm not sure what your SIL being single has to do with this (and you've mentioned it twice, so obviously you don't approve of her lifesytle - remove that from this situation - not really the issue here.)

    Second, I'm not sure what difference it makes if your DH was working or not as far as "his" and "your" money.  It's the household money.  With that said, it sounds like it's a good time to have a talk with your DH about your financial goals, your budget, what you deem as appropriate to spend.  If DH is spending his "fun money" on his sister, none of your business as long as he is meeting your households financial goals/needs.

    I would be upset if DH did this without talking to me because we would normally discuss this type of thing - especially if one of us were out of work and money was tight.  However, I would be upset with DH, not my sister in law.

  • image rori11:

    If DH is spending his "fun money" on his sister, none of your business as long as he is meeting your households financial goals/needs.

    I would be upset if DH did this without talking to me because we would normally discuss this type of thing - especially if one of us were out of work and money was tight.  However, I would be upset with DH, not my sister in law.

    Ditto this exactly. If you have a budget and your H has his own "fun money," he can choose to do with it what he wishes. However, it sounds like he's been hiding this stuff from you, which simply does not fly. It's not your SIL's fault that your H is willing to give her money--it's HIS issue, and you need to deal with him rather than complain about the SIL. 

  • what was the bill for? how much was the bill? where did the money come from for it-specifically-was it DH's money for your bills? his fun money? where?!
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • image alithebride:
    what was the bill for? how much was the bill? where did the money come from for it-specifically-was it DH's money for your bills? his fun money? where?!

    These are important details to get a good advice.  Plus, when you say you aren't making ends meet, does that mean you are dipping into savings or are you putting expenses on credit cards that are not paid off each month? BIG difference.

    Also, it's really important to drop the "this is MY money" bit, it ruins your credibility.  You can have an adult conversation about your household expenses, goals and contributions to extended family without sounding like he doesn't have a right to participate in the discussion.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Thanks everyone for your directness and honesty. I wrote this post out of frustration.  But, your advice is right on. We have a lot to discuss, which we've started to do.  We haven't set up a fun account for both of us, which could be a part of the problem.  I realize that I need to change my language about "my money."  I'm learning. Thanks, everyone.  It's a learning process every day.  We'll get through it.  
  • Maybe I'm alone on this, but it'd become MY money damn quick if Mr. Kuus were using MY earnings to pay someone else's bills against my wishes.
    image
  • image ReturnOfKuus:
    Maybe I'm alone on this, but it'd become MY money damn quick if Mr. Kuus were using MY earnings to pay someone else's bills against my wishes.

    Ditto this!

    I understand the "our money" concept, but how we spend "our money" should reflect OUR values - not one spouse's inability to stop enabling their sibling. 

    If it is THEIR money, and they are struggling with bills, then her husband is irresponsible gifting money to a relative who doesn't choose to support herself.  If the sister is always asking for money, she is obviously living beyond her means. 

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • image mowens26:
    Help!!  My sister-in-law is single, in her 30's, and a mother of four. (Did I say she's single?).   She manipulates DH and MIL to help her make ends meet.  The problem is DH is out of work.  Any money DH has is my money.  Am I overreacting when I tell him that we can't give what we don't have??  I'm paying for EVERYTHING and when I found out that he paid for one of her bills...I literally hit the roof!  Any advice on this

     

    I always find these types of phrases hilarious.  You literally hit the roof?  Really?  Did you go outside and climb a ladder, or hit it from the attic?

  • First off, while I am totally on board with the "our money" concept in marriage, the flip side to that is that all financial decisions become joint as well. 

    And even in the "fun money" category, there have to be some limits and some agreements.  Nobody would say that you can spend your "fun money" on hookers and illegal drugs with no repercussions, right?  I know it's an extreme example, but giving money to family members is a very sticky situation.  It's not like going to Starbucks or buying a pair of shoes -- it's one of those things that can very easily and quickly become a habit that's hard to break.  If you're not okay with giving money to somebody who's bad with money and chronically crying poormouth because you feel like it's enabling, then you are well within your rights to say to your spouse, "Honey, I am not okay with giving financial assistance to your sister under any circumstances, and these are my reasons," and then have a conversation and listen to his reasons for wanting to pay these bills..  Maybe he just can't stomach the idea of his nieces and nephews living in a house that's going to have its gas and water shut off, for example.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • after reading the post and all the replies, all i could think of is that this is a communication problem between you and DH. i understand that you have become very upset with him not consulting to you regarding this matter. this is very common with every household especially when it comes to financial matters.you just seriously need to improve on the communication part.

    image 

  • I agree it's your money in that because it is household money then it is money that you both should agree onhow to spend. It is not simply money for him to decide how to spend.

    It is not your money simply because you earnt it, however.

    Helping out family is an issue and I don't agree that itw ould autimatically be acceptable just because it came out of his fun money, if you choose to set that up.

    It is a slippery slope of creating a dependence on the two of you. Even if he is spending his "fun" money then there will come a day when his fun money won't cover it, when he'll want to help out his sister because he always does and you'll be the bad guy saying no.

    This issue isn't just about whether or not you guys can afford this, but about enabling a person to suck on your household money like their own personal cash cow.

    This is definietly behaviour that needs addressing. 

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • image KateLouise:

    It is not your money simply because you earnt it, however.

    EARNT?

    image
    Currently Reading: Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
  • Maniuplates him?

     No. You mean "he enables her". You have an H. problem, not a SIL problem.

    Really. You're paying for everything? and why haven't you been more proactive about stopping this nonsense where he's forking over money for his sister without your permission?

    Why are you also finding it acceptable that he's putting his sis before you?

     

  • I hope you have a budget you are utilizing. Your DH needs to know about the bills and the money coming in. ANY money left over should be discussed and the decision should come from both of you about how it will be spent. He is enabling her...does he realize this...does he want or plan to keep doing this? I hope he comes around...if not, he will have to do without his own "fun" money...not yours, savings, or the bill money or your fun money.
  • She's 30. She's able bodied. Why is she not working?
  • Sigh.  Do we have the same SIL?  This is a very slippery slope to be on - especially since there are kids involved. 

    I 100% agree with Tarpon:

    image TarponMonoxide:

    Maniuplates him?

     No. You mean "he enables her".

    Part of being an adult is taking responsiblity for your actions.  Begging money off of family members constantly and not having a job is not taking responsibility.  They are enabling her not to take responsibility for her actions. 

    Instead of throwing a fit, I'd suggest to really talk to your DH.  Why does he feel the need to give his sister money?  Has his dad passed an he feels like he is the patriarch?  Is he wanting to "take care" of the kids?  By getting to know the root of WHY he is giving her money, they you can really begin to have a discussion. 

    If he has been paying her bill(s) all along, then he most likely will want to continue to support her in some fashion.  Think about ways that you would be willing to "support" her: For example, if DH is really worried about the kids, then make a point to have them over once a week and play games with them and help them with their homework.  Or, if your DH feels like he needs to be the patriarch then have him help her find a job. 

    Bottom line: communicate with our husband and let him know that you are willing to support SIL, but on terms that you BOTH can agree to.   

    GL!

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • image TarponMonoxide:
    She's 30. She's able bodied. Why is she not working?

    Why should she work?  Or live within her means?  She has a brother and mom who will hand her money to "help her out."

  • image ReturnOfKuus:
    Maybe I'm alone on this, but it'd become MY money damn quick if Mr. Kuus were using MY earnings to pay someone else's bills against my wishes.

    Especially when he's not bringing an income!!!Indifferent

  • Has his dad passed an he feels like he is the patriarch?  Is he wanting to "take care" of the kids?  By getting to know the root of WHY he is giving her money, they you can really begin to have a discussion. 

    Here's another question: Is this perhaps a cultural issue?

    In some cultures it's pretty much a given that the son more or less support the family. And the wife of the son is more or less expected to take a back seat to the rest of his siblings and his parent or parents.

    Normal for that culture; NOT normal for you and he.

    If this is a cultural issue, be advised that culture is very difficult to transcend. If it's a cultural issue, I strongly suggest seeing a counselor that specializes in cultural problems.

     If it's not cultural, your H simply has no spine and no cohones. From there, act accordingly.

     

  • image imoan:
    image KateLouise:

    It is not your money simply because you earnt it, however.

    EARNT?

    "earnt" : (UK) An archaic but entirely acceptable alternative form of the simple past and past participle "earned". Still considered to be incorrect by many, who are largely unaware of the historical development of the English language. Other verbs which can be declined in this way are: learn (learnt), dream (dreamt), spell (spelt). Suggestions that the word is somehow "incorrect" are themselves incorrect. 

    I had to look this up however. I was not aware some poeple may consider this wrong. I'm in NZ though so maybe it's common here?

     

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • We have a similar situation with BIL.  I had to give up going on vacation so BIL could have money.  He was supposed to be paying back -- sending checks, etc.  But then asked for checks not to be cashed.  I just sigh.  It was "extra" money anyway... 
  • image KateLouise:
    image imoan:
    image KateLouise:

    It is not your money simply because you earnt it, however.

    EARNT?

    "earnt" : (UK) An archaic but entirely acceptable alternative form of the simple past and past participle "earned". Still considered to be incorrect by many, who are largely unaware of the historical development of the English language. Other verbs which can be declined in this way are: learn (learnt), dream (dreamt), spell (spelt). Suggestions that the word is somehow "incorrect" are themselves incorrect. 

    I had to look this up however. I was not aware some poeple may consider this wrong. I'm in NZ though so maybe it's common here?

     

    Using past tense forms with a "t" rather than "ed" is very seldom done in American English.  It's one of those things Noah Webster tossed, along with "-re" endings (like theater and center instead of theatre and centre) and the "u" after "o" in words like honor/honour and color/colour, when he wrote the first Webster's Dictionary.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • image scherza:
    image KateLouise:
    image imoan:
    image KateLouise:

    It is not your money simply because you earnt it, however.

    EARNT?

    "earnt" : (UK) An archaic but entirely acceptable alternative form of the simple past and past participle "earned". Still considered to be incorrect by many, who are largely unaware of the historical development of the English language. Other verbs which can be declined in this way are: learn (learnt), dream (dreamt), spell (spelt). Suggestions that the word is somehow "incorrect" are themselves incorrect. 

    I had to look this up however. I was not aware some poeple may consider this wrong. I'm in NZ though so maybe it's common here?

     

    Using past tense forms with a "t" rather than "ed" is very seldom done in American English.  It's one of those things Noah Webster tossed, along with "-re" endings (like theater and center instead of theatre and centre) and the "u" after "o" in words like honor/honour and color/colour, when he wrote the first Webster's Dictionary.

     

    very educational post

    I've always used "dreamt" instead of dreamed.  I always wondered why teachers never corrected me.....

  • image KateLouise:
    image imoan:
    image KateLouise:

    It is not your money simply because you earnt it, however.

    EARNT?

    "earnt" : (UK) An archaic but entirely acceptable alternative form of the simple past and past participle "earned". Still considered to be incorrect by many, who are largely unaware of the historical development of the English language. Other verbs which can be declined in this way are: learn (learnt), dream (dreamt), spell (spelt). Suggestions that the word is somehow "incorrect" are themselves incorrect. 

    I had to look this up however. I was not aware some poeple may consider this wrong. I'm in NZ though so maybe it's common here?

    Cool.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Personally I would tell your DH not to spend your (as in you and his) money on his sister. She needs to get a job and support herself and her kids. End of story.
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