Author Topic: How to gracefully give back money?  (Read 5394 times)

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NyaChan

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2012, 01:36:31 PM »
I think you should accept it. It looks to me (outsider's view, of course) like your SIL is trying to rebalance the weekend by making up for some of your expenses.
What I mean by that is.. the weekend was meant to be a joint gift from you and DH, and SIL and BIL, for MIL's birthday, no? Meaning, the costs (and the hosting/hostessing) would have been split 50/50, as a present to MIL, and no one would have been the "host".
Then it turned in to you and DH hosting the weekend, providing the majority of the meals, and then paying for the entire dinner out, even though you had agreed to split it. I think if I were SIL, I'd feel a little like I needed to do something to contribute more.
It's a bit telling to me that you say "they were great guests". They weren't supposed to be guests, they were supposed to be co-hosts in the gift to MIL, and maybe she's just trying to reestablish that by paying for some of your hospitality.

Great insights here.  Hadn't thought of it that way :)

Deetee

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2012, 01:57:10 PM »
Keep it, thank SIL and tell her it was very generous and you have put it aside to do something special at the next family gathering.

TootsNYC

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2012, 02:02:10 PM »
I think you should accept it. It looks to me (outsider's view, of course) like your SIL is trying to rebalance the weekend by making up for some of your expenses.
What I mean by that is.. the weekend was meant to be a joint gift from you and DH, and SIL and BIL, for MIL's birthday, no? Meaning, the costs (and the hosting/hostessing) would have been split 50/50, as a present to MIL, and no one would have been the "host".
Then it turned in to you and DH hosting the weekend, providing the majority of the meals, and then paying for the entire dinner out, even though you had agreed to split it. I think if I were SIL, I'd feel a little like I needed to do something to contribute more.
It's a bit telling to me that you say "they were great guests". They weren't supposed to be guests, they were supposed to be co-hosts in the gift to MIL, and maybe she's just trying to reestablish that by paying for some of your hospitality.

Great insights here.  Hadn't thought of it that way :)

I agree.

(I do think that the OP and her husband shouldn't have picked up the whole tab--it's not fair to make people accept your generosity, especially when the plan was specifically stated otherwise. They did to their SIL exactly what the SIL is now doing to them--and they should learn from how they feel.)

Outdoor Girl

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2012, 02:15:41 PM »
OP, do you know what your SIL's financial situation is like?  If it is comfortable, cash the cheque and don't worry about it.  But if this amount of money would really affect their budget, discuss it with her.  I like JustLori's wording.

And, going forward, be clear up front as TootsNYC suggested.

'SIL, I don't want you to have to subsidize our cocktails!  We'll get our alcohol put on a separate bill and then split the food bill 50/50.'
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kudeebee

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2012, 10:18:37 PM »
I think you should accept it. It looks to me (outsider's view, of course) like your SIL is trying to rebalance the weekend by making up for some of your expenses.
What I mean by that is.. the weekend was meant to be a joint gift from you and DH, and SIL and BIL, for MIL's birthday, no? Meaning, the costs (and the hosting/hostessing) would have been split 50/50, as a present to MIL, and no one would have been the "host".
Then it turned in to you and DH hosting the weekend, providing the majority of the meals, and then paying for the entire dinner out, even though you had agreed to split it. I think if I were SIL, I'd feel a little like I needed to do something to contribute more.
It's a bit telling to me that you say "they were great guests". They weren't supposed to be guests, they were supposed to be co-hosts in the gift to MIL, and maybe she's just trying to reestablish that by paying for some of your hospitality.

Totally agree with this post.  This was to have been from both families.  SIL/BIL are reimbursing you for the cost of the dinner out and for food at the house.  Be gracious and accept the check.  Don't try and treat them later to give them their money back.  Once the check is cashed, call this weekend over and done and move on to the next event.

Bijou

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2012, 10:49:36 PM »
I guess I'm on a little different page here. 
You suggested treating it like a gift.  It wasn't and you shouldn't, in my opinion.  She was paying their share (and should have asked you the amount, but didn't and probably erred on the side of caution in paying you).
I would tell her that their share was x amount and return the rest.  If she declined to accept it, I would just be gracious and thank her at that point.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 10:51:11 PM by Bijou »
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BC12

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2012, 01:06:51 AM »
Sneaking the money back into her purse was only a half-serious suggestion offered by my husband and it was never something we honestly considered. I mentioned it here as more of a joke. Sorry that wasn't clear.


What I mean by that is.. the weekend was meant to be a joint gift from you and DH, and SIL and BIL, for MIL's birthday, no?

I don't think the entire weekend was meant to be a joint gift. Just the birthday dinner.

Meaning, the costs (and the hosting/hostessing) would have been split 50/50, as a present to MIL, and no one would have been the "host". Then it turned in to you and DH hosting the weekend, providing the majority of the meals, and then paying for the entire dinner out, even though you had agreed to split it. I think if I were SIL, I'd feel a little like I needed to do something to contribute more.
It's a bit telling to me that you say "they were great guests". They weren't supposed to be guests, they were supposed to be co-hosts in the gift to MIL, and maybe she's just trying to reestablish that by paying for some of your hospitality.

In our original plan to go to Town A, it would have basically been every man for himself as far as the costs. We still probably would have split the birthday dinner, though. So it never felt like a "co-hosting" event, especially after I invited them all to stay at my family's house. SIL didn't seem to express an interest in taking on any sort of hosting role. She did offer to bring stuff, like food and soda for the house. Maybe I should have included her in the planning and hosting more? Now I'm wondering if I kind of steamrolled her out of the picture?

I guess we're going to just ask her about it. If she insists that we keep it, we'll just say thank you very much and let it drop.

In hindsight, we should not have paid the entire dinner bill. It wasn't really intentional or well thought out. The bill came while SIL was not at the table, husband looked at me and muttered, "I don't want them paying for all our drinks" I nodded at him to just hand the server his credit card. I think the intention was to just settle it up with SIL later, when we could have sat down and split it up fairly. And if that didn't happen, we were fine with paying the whole thing. It was all just very "whatever" and not well planned at all. We'll definitely handle that aspect better next time.

TootsNYC

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2012, 08:17:50 AM »


What I mean by that is.. the weekend was meant to be a joint gift from you and DH, and SIL and BIL, for MIL's birthday, no?

I don't think the entire weekend was meant to be a joint gift. Just the birthday dinner.

[. . .
In hindsight, we should not have paid the entire dinner bill. It wasn't really intentional or well thought out. The bill came while SIL was not at the table, husband looked at me and muttered, "I don't want them paying for all our drinks" I nodded at him to just hand the server his credit card. I think the intention was to just settle it up with SIL later, when we could have sat down and split it up fairly. And if that didn't happen, we were fine with paying the whole thing. It was all just very "whatever" and not well planned at all. We'll definitely handle that aspect better next time.
[/quote]

I can certainly see how that would come about.

I do think this is an important thing to note. Especially because the dinner was intended to be a joint GIFT, and not just a joint EXPENSE.  It's not always polite to insist on treating (giving someone a gift)--it's not always polite to the RECIPIENT. Turn it into "funding the cost of someone else's present," and it's extra uncomfortable on the receiving end.

I do think you can say, "You gave us too much money for the dinner--here is the extra."

(And isn't it nice that THIS is the sort of "paying for meals in a restaurant" problem you have w/ your SIL?)

jpcher

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2012, 07:13:56 PM »
In our original plan to go to Town A, it would have basically been every man for himself as far as the costs. We still probably would have split the birthday dinner, though. So it never felt like a "co-hosting" event, especially after I invited them all to stay at my family's house.

You saved SIL and family quite a bit on hotel bills.

Even though she brought food, etc. and helped with the cleaning and all "great guests!" I do believe the extra amount was not just for dinner. I think that she was graciously paying for her family's accommodations. With money that she would have otherwise spent.

Probably a whole lot cheaper than paying for hotel and meals out.




Here's a thought . . . Why not give the extra money to your parents? To pay for the electricity/water/whatever was used during the weekend stay? Let your parents know that SIL & family sincerely appreciated the use of the vacation home. Give your parents a Thank You Gift card and (maybe?) let SIL know what you did with the "extra" money.

I think that you should graciously accept the check.

Shoo

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2012, 07:29:27 PM »
Why not have an honest conversation?  Tell her you think she overpaid you and you'd like to return some of the money.  If she says no, she wanted to give you that amount, then let it go or maybe say the next dinner's on you.  If you discover that she overestimated the amount she owed, then you settle accordingly.

This is what I was about to post. 

I agree.  Why not just call her up and ASK her if she meant to give you all that money.  She's your husband's sister, not someone you should have to tip toe around.

jpcher

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2012, 08:06:31 PM »
Why not have an honest conversation?  Tell her you think she overpaid you and you'd like to return some of the money.  If she says no, she wanted to give you that amount, then let it go or maybe say the next dinner's on you.  If you discover that she overestimated the amount she owed, then you settle accordingly.

This is what I was about to post. 

I agree.  Why not just call her up and ASK her if she meant to give you all that money.  She's your husband's sister, not someone you should have to tip toe around.

I don't see anywhere that SIL was twisted in any way to give all that money. She did it of her own free will.

ASKING her if she meant to give it all to you would be calling SIL out on her own judgement, akin to "Did you make a mistake?"


Shoo

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2012, 08:20:33 PM »
Why not have an honest conversation?  Tell her you think she overpaid you and you'd like to return some of the money.  If she says no, she wanted to give you that amount, then let it go or maybe say the next dinner's on you.  If you discover that she overestimated the amount she owed, then you settle accordingly.

This is what I was about to post. 

I agree.  Why not just call her up and ASK her if she meant to give you all that money.  She's your husband's sister, not someone you should have to tip toe around.

I don't see anywhere that SIL was twisted in any way to give all that money. She did it of her own free will.

ASKING her if she meant to give it all to you would be calling SIL out on her own judgement, akin to "Did you make a mistake?"



Yes, but I think it's okay to ask that question.  I just don't understand why people are so hesitant to talk to others about things.  Instead of wondering and worrying, just ask!!  It's not an insult to the sister to wonder if she made a mistake.  People make mistakes.  It happens.

jpcher

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2012, 09:15:19 PM »
Why not have an honest conversation?  Tell her you think she overpaid you and you'd like to return some of the money.  If she says no, she wanted to give you that amount, then let it go or maybe say the next dinner's on you.  If you discover that she overestimated the amount she owed, then you settle accordingly.

This is what I was about to post. 

I agree.  Why not just call her up and ASK her if she meant to give you all that money.  She's your husband's sister, not someone you should have to tip toe around.

I don't see anywhere that SIL was twisted in any way to give all that money. She did it of her own free will.

ASKING her if she meant to give it all to you would be calling SIL out on her own judgement, akin to "Did you make a mistake?"



Yes, but I think it's okay to ask that question.  I just don't understand why people are so hesitant to talk to others about things.  Instead of wondering and worrying, just ask!!  It's not an insult to the sister to wonder if she made a mistake.  People make mistakes.  It happens.

I agree with you in the point that OP should/would/could be able to talk to her SIL about the amount of money.

I strongly disagree with you that the SIL made a mistake. Approaching SIL with a comment like "You've mistakenly paid too much" would be rude to me, if I were the giver. I'd know exactly why I made the check out for what I did. I would be taken quite aback if someone told me that what I did was a mistake.



I'm pulling up artk's quote because I agree:


What you're looking for is a graceful way of being ungracious. Yes, she may have given you more than what you thought you were owed, but that's her choice. She's chosen to be generous. Returning the money or, even worse, sneaking it into her purse is a slap in the face, nothing more.

Bold above.

LeveeWoman

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2012, 09:24:48 PM »
I have the perfect solution: send the money to me.  ;)

White Lotus

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Re: How to gracefully give back money?
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2012, 06:14:20 PM »
I would call her, or have DH call her, and say,"SIL, thanks for the cheque, but it is way too much!"
She'll likely say, "No,it's not.  We really enjoyed staying at the cabin, and we'd budgeted for a hotel we wouldn't have enjoyed nearly as much,"
"No, really, SIL, we can't accept that much.  Didn't cost us a dime.  But how about this -- anything on top of your share of the dinner, we'll give to Mom and Dad for the water, electric and that?"
"Good idea!"

She probably loves the cabin and wants to get on the good list for future invitations, and who can blame her?  Then tell your parents how great she was, when presenting the $ from all of you.  And ask SIL to the cabin again!  You know she will pull her weight.