This morning on our way back from art class I decided to stop by Target. I bought a really great storage box for toys a few days ago and I was hoping to pick up another one. For the record I now know that I am better off buying items in advance and then returning them if I don’t like them. Target’s clearance section sells out quickly and returning to the store with a toddler in tow is never easy. My little guy prefers walking to riding these days, which means it can take us quite awhile to walk through the store. Target is certainly not small and the baby section is always inconveniently located at the farthest point from the entrance. Sure enough after walking and waiting and waiting and walking we arrived only to find that the boxes I previously bought were no longer available.
While I was in the store it dawned on me that I had coupons in my binder that I didn’t use for my previous purchase. I have no idea why this thought popped into my head on my way out the door, but it did. I thought I would return to the store to explain my quandary, but I could not find my receipt anywhere. “No big deal,” I thought. Target has a great system for checking credit cards for previous transactions. So off we go to the store with the items, coupons and credit card.
Once again I drag my son through the parking lot. With lots of walking, waiting, waiting and walking. He patiently waits in line and when I reach the register the cashier informs me that I must have used a different credit card. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just pull that one out of my wallet,” but when I reach inside it is no where to be found. This sets my heart into a bit of a pitter-patter as I cannot remember where I last put my credit card.
Knowing that the cashier cannot help me. I decide to see if this store has storage boxes for sale in the clearance section. My little guy is smiling and happy but taking ever so long to reach the far end of the store. We arrive only to find the clearance section completely cleaned out. Ugh.
Back to the car so we can race home and look for my credit card. Two seconds after walking in the door it dawns on me that I pulled everything but my ID, primary credit card and insurance cards before heading out to a basketball game. I tend to keep my wallet in my back pocket and lighten the load if I know I won’t be shopping.
I grab the credit card. The receipt happens to be tucked right beneath it and gather my son, get back in the car and head back to the store. So here I go unloading my son for the third time, walking back through the parking lot, waiting in line behind a row of people and returning the items with coupons in hand to save $10.
Just two days ago I told my husband I didn’t want to complete an Amazon return because it wasn’t worth the time and effort to write to Amazon, dig up a cardboard box, pack the item and drop it off at UPS. Compared to today’s trips back and forth it would have been a breeze.
So what do you think? Would you have returned to the store to save $10? When you failed to return the items the first time would you have made a second attempt? I’m not sure I would do that again.
Did you see the picture of the sandwich in this post? That’s the sad excuse for a sub that I received from a local restaurant in my area. For my son’s second birthday my husband and I decided to take the easy approach to party planning by ordering subs from a local sandwich shop. I think this may be the first time we didn’t spend the day cooking and preparing, but we wanted to enjoy the time with our friends and family and opted to let someone else prepare the food.
During the party I noticed one of the subs was missing quite a bit of meat, but to be honest I was rushing around entertaining and didn’t pay close attention to the quality of food. A few hours later as we were wrapping up the remaining subs I was dismayed by the quality of sandwiches we purchased. A sub that should have contained healthy portions of turkey, cheese and veggies contained almost two thin strips of lettuce, no cheese, barely any meat and the saddest excuse for a tomato that I’d ever seen.
I paid over $100 for a platter of sandwiches that were all similarly composed. Of course, no one at the party complained. Even my parents refrained from comment until I asked them about it.
That night I took pictures of the food we received and emailed the restaurant with my complaint. In essence I kindly stated that I’ve ordered from this particular establishment many times and that I’ve never had a problem with the quality of food before. I explained the state of the sandwiches and the fact that they lacked ingredients of every type and reasonable portion.
The very next day the owner of the store called to apologize. He asked me to email him the pictures and quickly offered to make amends of the situation. A few days later I picked up a $100 gift card, which was slightly less than the amount we paid for two platters of subs.
Over the years I’ve experienced hit and miss luck reaching out to stores with negative feedback. Sometimes I receive a ‘thanks for letting us know’ response and other times, like in this case, I received full compensation for whatever I purchased. For the record I did not expect to be fully compensated. Despite the bad food the party goers did eat a healthy portion of subs that afternoon.
The fact is that some stores appreciate your business more than others. I had a completely different reaction when I bought two stale cupcakes from an upscale grocery store. In that case I was told I needed to speak with a store manager in person about the problem. Although I paid nearly $15, (yes I realize that’s a crazy amount for cupcakes, especially two unappetizing cupcakes), it certainly wouldn’t make sense to drive to the store to speak with someone about it. The store is a forty-five minute drive away from my house and I only travel there once or twice a year. I explained the situation to a customer service representative but they said that was standard store policy. Perhaps they decided I didn’t frequent the store often enough to be considered a valued customer or that $15 wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to compensate me for my troubles.
This post might make me sound like Debby Downer and I assure you that is not the case. While I do send out complaint letters I am equally prone to contacting businesses with words of praise. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to write about positive experiences, but it can also help the employees. Waiters and waitresses have been encouraged by pats on the back from their bosses and on occasion we’ve been told that our kind words resulted in unexpected bonuses.
Do you notify businesses when you are displeased with their goods or services? Is there a minimum amount you have to spend in order to justify the time and effort spent complaining? Have you ever reached out to a store or restaurant where you had an exceptional experience?
Did you ever have one of those moments where you look down in your shopping bag and wonder what on earth you just bought? Maybe you don’t regret the purchase right away, maybe it creeps up on you months later when you look at that awful orange dress hanging in the closet or the ridiculously expensive purse hanging on a hook that you’ve never found an occasion to wear.
My downfall has always been holiday decorations. I suppose it’s the wanna-be Martha Stewart in me. Whenever Christmas rolls around the sparkle of Santa and reindeer always catches my eye. Of course, every time I get home and plop new holiday knickknacks and doodads onto the dining room table I instantly regret my purchases. Two or three days later I trot off to the store, wait in a long line and hand over whatever it was that I really didn’t need in the first place.
I don’t have the space to store all of these items. In the past I shoved them into crawl spaces in our house, but typically forgot to retrieve them when the holiday finally rolled around.
I used to return a lot of the things I bought. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 50%. Sometimes I didn’t have enough time to try something on before leaving the store, other times I tried the item on in the store but couldn’t decide if I really looked good in it. Still other times I just couldn’t ignore the lure of something bright and sparkly. Wouldn’t that Santa look so cute on my dining room table? Couldn’t I fill that bright red bowl with beautiful Christmas decorations?
I always kept the tags attached and the receipts filed in my handy-dandy, ever so organized plastic binder, but wouldn’t life but so much easier if I stopped buying stuff that would eventually be returned? If I stopped wasting money on stuff I never really needed in the first place. Yes, of course it would.
So this year I am making a vow to avoid the lure of ridiculously overpriced decorations that are used for such a short time each year. No more glittery orange pumpkins or Santa Claus figurines. Doesn’t everyone need a turkey on their mantle or a large ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ wreath of leaves on their front door? No. It turns out I don’t need them either.
It’s tough to ignore the decorations popping up in every store’s entryway, but this year I’m bound and determined not to buy anything I don’t need. For the time being I’m able to pass by the table wrapped in shiny silver and red without batting an eye.
I remind myself that I don’t like to dust, don’t want to find a place to store new knickknacks and above all else I don’t want to find myself back in line returning something I don’t need.
I suppose I should count my blessings. As far as shopping vices go I suppose the lure of holiday decorations is pretty benign. Do you have a shopping vice? Something that you find yourself buying even when you know you shouldn’t?
I hate to lose things. I mean absolutely, positively hate to lose things. To be honest I go a little berserk when things get lost. I inherited this characteristic from my mother. She wasn’t the most organized person in the world and she carried a tremendously large purse around wherever she traveled, which certainly didn’t help matters.
Sometimes she would throw her keys or wallet into her purse and completely freak out when she reached around in there and couldn’t find them. I can vividly recall my mom dumping the entire contents of her purse onto cosmetic counters in the mall trying to find her keys. This happened on more than one occasion. For some reason she always convinced herself that she left them in the car, in a different store or dropped them somewhere between the car and wherever we were at that exact moment in time. Ninety-nine percent of the time they were sitting in the bottom of that enormous bag she lugged around with her.
She struggled with similar problems at home. Rather than keeping her key on a hook or counter by the door she would drop them somewhere in the house and then completely forget where she put them. The next morning when it was time to go to church or school or wherever we needed to be, she would realize that her keys were missing and run around the house in search of them. This involved frantic worrying, raising her voice and ultimately getting the rest of us, (my dad, brother and I), to search every nook and cranny in the house alongside her.
I’m an uber organized person. I can probably tell you where ninety percent of the things in our home are located. Down to the specific room, drawer, box or bin. I’ve always been this way. As a kid I set aside a specific place for everything in my room and before leaving for school I would scan those four walls to make certain everything was in it’s place.
Most of the time being organized keeps me from losing things, but every so often things get misplaced. When things get lost I try to retrace my steps, I think back to the place I last had the object and all the places I’ve been in that day. Usually I can find what I’m looking for, but when I can’t I go absolutely berserk just like my mom did all those years ago.
I start a massive search, opening all drawers, the washing machine and dryer, pants pockets, the car, the couch and every where in between. I feel uneasy when things go missing, even though I know it’s not the end of the world when things get lost. I will obsess over it and the question, “where did I put that darn thing,” will pop into my head over and over throughout the day.
Day before yesterday I noticed that the smart key to our Toyota Highlander was missing. I remember taking the key in the morning. I moved that car out of the way in the morning so I could drive my son to the library in our 99 Camry. After climbing into the Camry I considered running the key back inside, but we were already late for story time and I really didn’t want to be any later. I remembered seeing the key in the cup holder of the Camry and I was almost positive that I moved it back to it’s usual holding place when I got home that afternoon.
My husband told me without a doubt that there was only one key there when he went to work the next morning. He is famous for losing his wallet, keys and just about everything else that can fit inside a man’s pocket, so I wasn’t quite sure if I trusted his memory on this one, but it was strange circumstances with which I grabbed the key to move the car so for the most part I believed him. I searched the entire house from top to bottom and both cars two or three times. I asked my husband to help me look for it. He glanced in his book bag and jeans pockets, which took all of three minutes, and then gave up. He never worries when things go missing.
I took my son to the playground after visiting the library and part of me wondered if I dropped it in the wood chips and didn’t hear it fall. We also ran around in the yard for quite a bit that afternoon and I wondered if it fell out of my pocket and into the grass.
I was so bothered by that key that I considered going back to the playground to search for it. I even considered raking the leaves in the backyard, because there was no way I could find it on the ground among all the leaves and sticks that have recently fallen.
Finally I came to terms with the fact that it was missing. I continued to mentally retrace my steps, but I was finished looking for it. I decided to order a new key and searched for the steps for getting a new one. It turns out that smart keys aren’t cheap. The estimates on the Internet averaged $600. I planned to call the dealer in the morning for a quote.
When my husband came home I told him I’d order a new one but it would probably cost about $600. “What?!,” he asked, “that much!” A $600 bill suddenly peaked his interest and he jumped from his chair to look for that key. Two seconds later, (I kid you not two seconds), he pulled it out of his coat pocket!
Photo by: mormones.org
My husband has many good qualities and a few that drive me absolutely crazy. He’s the type of guy that won’t let his parents buy him an expensive birthday gift, even though they clearly have the money to pay for it.
When we’re in a restaurant he always yanks the bill off the table and immediately hands over his credit card. This ensures that no one else can share in paying the tab.
If he rides your jet skis he’ll pay for the gas he used. If you cross a bridge on your way from point A to point B he’ll dig cash out of his wallet before you reach the toll booth.
I admire his desire to pay his own way, but I wish every once in awhile that he would accept gifts from someone else. Do we really need to pay for each and every item we use?
Do we need to split the cost of dinner when someone says they really want to treat us? Shouldn’t we keep our credit cards in our wallet when our parents offer to buy us an expensive birthday gift. Especially when we know they have more than enough money to pay for it.
No one else ever offers to split the bill or pay for the gas they’ve used. To be honest no one other than my husband ever even seems to think about it.
Today I was complaining about my husband’s desire to pay for things when my mom stopped me dead in my tracks. “You know”, she said, “It’s good that he’s not a moocher. You could never accuse him of that and you would never admire him if he was like that.”
She’s one hundred percent right. I don’t think we should have to pay his parents back every time we eat with them, but deep down I do admire him for wanting to share in the costs.
Better to be married to a giver than a taker. Better to be married to a man who wants to give of himself than one who wants to hoard all that he’s given.
Thanks mom for the reminder.
I’m not sure of the exact sequence of events, but at some point over the course of a 48 hour period my car was ransacked. There didn’t appear to be any visible signs of breaking and entering so I’m pretty certain that my husband or I accidentally left the vehicle unlocked.
I am typically vigilant about locking the doors, but every once in awhile my husband or I get distracted and simply forget. Unfortunately every time we’ve left the car unlocked thieves have taken advantage of our mistake.
Lucky for me the thieves had no interest in stealing my feminine hygiene products. Of course they didn’t, that’s why I store my emergency cash inside of a small travel package of panty liners.
They also didn’t take my external GPS system, which was wrapped up and stored in my glove box. I could have kicked myself when my old one was stolen from my vehicle a few years ago. I think navigation systems are so cheap these days that the thieves probably didn’t think mine was worth the hassle of stealing.
What they did take was my diaper bag/purse. Before my son was born I registered for a traditional diaper bag, but after two trips of lugging around that awful, heavy thing I opted for a very simple purse from Payless. I bought last May and have been using it exclusively ever since.
Before it was stolen I shoved my son’s toys, snacks, diapers and anything else he might need into that bag. It was pretty roomy and remarkably light. It had one zipper compartment so I usually tucked my wallet in there so my son won’t pull out my credit cards and throw them all over the place. Before I started using the pocket that was a regular occurrence.
I’m not exactly sure why my purse was in the car. I’ve never left it in there before. I know my son was tired when we returned home from the store and that I brought him inside so I could lay him down for a nap. I thought my husband carried everything else inside, but it seems he must have forgotten or simply not noticed it.
To my knowledge there wasn’t anything of value inside. Lucky for me, my wallet was in the house and there wasn’t any spare cash inside of the inner pocket.
As far as I know there was nothing in there other than a plastic bag containing three or four diapers and a pack of baby wipes. My son’s sun hat, which is unfortunately the only hat I can ever seem to keep on his head in the summer time, and a few containers of squeezable apple sauce.
I’ve been slightly worried that something else might have been stolen, but I double checked my wallet and it appears that all of my credit cards, gift cards and anything else I can think of are all safe and sound.
So then why did the thieves take it? My best guess is that they saw the purse and made a mad dash with it. They didn’t want to take the time to see what was inside of it, they just saw a purse and imagined they would find money somewhere within it.
When I took my son for a walk the next day I actually kept my eye out for it. I was kind of hoping the thieves would realize it was worthless and ditch the bag somewhere along the side of the road. I really liked that bag and I’m bummed about losing it. I’m also super bummed that they stole my son’s hat. It sounds silly but for some reason he left that alone. He takes all of the others off the minute they touch his head.
My 1998 Jeep
Yesterday as my husband was leaving for work he handed me a notification and told me the deadline for our vehicle inspection was that very day. It was nearly 10 o’clock and I had an 11 o’clock appointment, but I grabbed my diaper bag and started to get ready when my husband kindly reminded me that our jeep doesn’t have a back seat, which meant I could not take my son along for the ride.
“OK, no problem,” I told him. I know he’s been under a lot of pressure with his job and his business lately. As luck would have it the baby sitter was coming to watch my son and I already planned to have her stay an extra hour after my massage appointment, just in case things ran a little long. So after my massage I’d drive over to the vehicle inspection site. No problem.
After a relaxing 80 minute massage, (seriously my therapist is amazing), I felt calm and happy. I jumped into the jeep and drove the fifteen minutes to the inspection station. I checked the clock and realized I’d have just enough time to get the car inspected and return home to relieve the baby sitter.
As I pulled up to the station I saw only one car in front of me. Perfect. It wouldn’t take any time at all. And just then it happened. The temperature gauge on my 1998 jeep jumped to red, a tiny alarm began to ding and smoke began billowing out of the front of my vehicle. Part of me began to panic as I watched the smoke build and part of me couldn’t help but chuckle. What are the odds that the car would overheat at the vehicle inspection place.
Four attendants came running out of the station to inform me that I could not have my jeep inspected. My first thought was “seriously, you think you have to tell me that,” but instead I calmly asked if I could receive an extension for the inspection since it couldn’t be done that day. I went inside, answered some questions and walked out with a new deadline of Christmas day.
Then I emailed my husband who promptly told me to call AAA. My father has been purchasing a AAA membership for me since I turned sixteen. The first car he bought for me was constantly breaking down on the side of the road, so it was really a necessity. Over the years I’ve used my membership less than a handful of times, but since my dad insists on paying for it, I can’t argue with free.
For those of you who think it’s odd that my dad still pays for this I kind of agree. I’ve told him more times than I can count that I could pay for it myself, but he likes the idea of taking care of me during an emergency. I think that’s pretty sweet, so I let him pay for it for me.
Luckily the tow truck arrived quickly. In case you are interested I asked what it would have cost without AAA. The driver told me there is usually a $75 hookup fee plus $3 for every mile.
Later that night when my husband came home he told me he considered buying flowers for me. He was worried that I would be mad about the late notice he gave me, the fact that the car overheated, that I wasn’t able to get it inspected and that I had to be towed to the mechanic and picked up by my father-in-law.
But I wasn’t mad at all. The massage probably put me in a calmer, more relaxed frame of mind, but sometimes these things happen. Given the circumstances it actually worked out rather well. I got the extension, the tow truck came quickly and my father-in-law was able to give me a ride home.
I could have chosen to be grumpy about the circumstances, but what would I have gained by those thoughts? Nothing but bitterness and negativity.
We live in an older community without mailboxes, which means the mail is delivered by a mail person who walks all the way up to our door, opens the mail slot and drops the mail in.
This time last year our faithful mailman retired. Before he left he told me that no one wanted his mail route. He said “no one wants to walk to deliver mail anymore, the routes where you drive your car right up to the mailbox are so much easier.” Plus our neighborhood has very large hills, which makes delivering heavy packages all the more strenuous.
I didn’t realize how important a good mailman was until ours quit. These days we receive mail at all sorts of random times, we previously received it around 11 o’clock. Where the old mailman would push a few letters through the slot and then push through a few more, the new delivery people shove a bunch of letters in all at once. This results in torn envelopes and sometimes, even on days when it does not rain, our mail is wet.
A few hours after we receive the mail I inevitably hear the mail slot open and watch another envelope drop through our door. It seems our mail ends up at the wrong house at least a few times a week. Luckily our neighbors are nice enough to bring it to the right place.
The other day I received notification that I needed to sign for a package that had been delivered. The notification was torn, but I could read enough of the postcard to see that I could go online to set up a date for redelivery. I logged onto the website only to realize the tracking numbers weren’t written down correctly and without the numbers I couldn’t reschedule.
So I drove down to the post office in an attempt to retrieve it in person. There was only one person working. She took the notification from me and spent twenty five minutes searching for it. In the mean time a long line began to grow, by my count there were now ten people waiting behind me. There was no notice on the register saying that she went to the back and there was no one else in the post office, so as the people began complaining I explained that she went to the back to look for a package.
Since I couldn’t read the tracking number on the notification I wasn’t sure who the package was from and as I stood in line I began to wonder how long I was willing to stand there and wait for it.
As I waited in line attempting to amuse my son and trying to keep my cool I wondered if I shouldn’t just move on. Eventually the item would return to the original shipper, but would they attempt to reship it? I really wanted to know what was in that envelope.
Just as I was about to give up the woman returned with the envelope. It was a $100 gift card I won in an online contest. I guess my wait was worth it, but it did make me wonder if I should stop entering contests that might require signatures. Had the gift card been for any less I’m not sure it would have been worth the wait.
This is not a post about saving money for my son’s future college expenses, making sure my insurance policies are in place or how much I paid to furnish the nursery. This is not about how much money I spend buying him clothes or toys or whatever other things toddlers need or desire.
This post is about how much more I spend on a day to day basis since my son was born. Before my son arrived I clipped a lot of coupons. These days I can’t keep him away from the coupons, the scissors or the circulars, so I tend to do this much less often. When I do bring coupons to the store my son tends to grab at the binder and make a general mess of things. So, coupons? Not so much any more.
I still take a general list to the store, but I find it difficult to shop with a toddler who has no interest in riding in the front of the car or sitting in the back of the cart without throwing everything onto the floor. I’ve tried taking him in the morning, taking him at night, asking him to help me put things in the cart, bringing him snacks, making sure he’s clean and happy. None of these things seem to make a difference. He wants to see and touch and explore. It’s difficult to think about saving money when I’m focused on keeping him quiet and peaceful. I rush from aisle to aisle trying my best to make sure everything I need actually makes it way into the cart and stays there.
Before my son was born I thought nothing of spending thirty minutes on a Sunday morning searching through the drug store circulars, highlighting the best deals, matching up coupons and making quick trips to pick up one or two items. Toothpaste and toothbrushes from CVS, soap and shampoo from Rite Aid. It was simple enough to do. I jumped in the car, jumped out, shopped, paid and drove back home. No problem. With a toddler in tow it’s just not so simple. Dragging him out to the car is hard enough. (There are so many toys in the backyard that he’d rather play with.) Strapping him in, unstrapping him when we arrive, dragging him around the store and ultimately waiting in a line of five people to buy two items just doesn’t seem worth it. So, drugstore sales and shopping? Not so much anymore.
This weekend after taking my son to swim class my husband and I decided to drive off in search of a new mattress. My son was wearing only a diaper. My husband seemed quite nervous about a possible blow out on clean mattresses, but I wasn’t too worried. I didn’t want to head back home just to get shorts. He left the house in a swimsuit that morning, but it seems I forgot to bring along a change of clothes. He had a shirt and diaper on, so that seemed good enough for me.
I was tired from going to bed too late, waking up too early, rushing off to swim class, swimming, rushing to get him out of the pool and dried off and freezing in the locker room. In other words this was probably not the best or wisest time to search for a bed. But my husband often works late hours and there never seems to be a good time of day to complete chores like this one, so I stuck it out and we settled on a comfortable bed.
You can imagine how we looked in the store. My son is half dressed, my husband is exhausted, my hair is still dripping wet from the pool and all of us are hungry. If I were in the right frame of mind I probably would’ve selected a bed, taken home the paperwork and researched the best prices online. Instead, given the circumstances I did something I would have never done before my son was born. I immediately agreed to the price and handed over my credit card.
In all due honesty there was no need to rush to buy a new mattress, but for some reason it seemed easier not to shop around and not to drive from store to store in search of the best deal, but at the very least I should’ve looked up prices of similar beds on the Internet where I know I could’ve gotten a better deal.
Sure enough as the night wore on I grew angry at my hasty decision. At midnight it bothered me enough to keep me awake. I searched for prices online and found I paid at least $250 more than comparable stores. If Sam’s Club carries the same one I purchased, (it’s difficult to tell), I would’ve saved even more.
I love my son with every ounce of being, but sometimes I find that having him around makes me focus much less on money. As he becomes more mobile and independent, (we hear a lot of ‘no’ in the house these days), I find myself less willing to worry about coupons and deals. But sometimes I have to remind myself to step back from a situation or confront it when I have more energy. There is really no good reason to overpay for a mattress and I am kicking myself for doing so.
I want to thank all of the readers who left comments on last week’s posts: What Do You Think: Unequal Financial Handouts From Parents and Unequal Financial:Handouts Would You Turn Down a Gift From Your Parents? I appreciate the honesty and sincerity in your words. I wanted to leave a few last remarks on the topic.
I have never dealt with financial inequality in my own family. For the most part my parents treat my brother and I equally. If my mom buys something for me she makes every effort to purchase a gift of equal value for my brother or his family. There is only one time in my entire life that I can remember my parents not evening the score. They once paid for gutter covers for my brother’s house, but did not offer my husband and I any money in return. When I brought the inequality to my parents attention, (I only mentioned it because the discrepancy had gotten into my husband’s craw), they offered to write me a check for the same amount of money. (I did not take them up on that offer.)
My parents do not have a lot of money, which may make it easier for them to treat my brother and I fairly. I really cannot say. I do think it helps that my brother and I hold/held down high paying technical jobs and that we are both careful with money. Thankfully neither one of us has ever needed to rely on my parents. When we were growing up my father stressed the importance of a college education. My parents paid for our college expenses with the understanding that once we received our diplomas we would be on our own.
As for my own immediate family, I have only one child, so I cannot comment on financial equality among children in my own household. Though I hope I would always be fair, I’m sure that many other parents who treat their children unfairly once believed the same thing. In an ideal world wouldn’t we want everyone to be treated equally?
Although I have not dealt with financial inequality in my own life I have certainly witnessed it within my extended family. Regardless of the reason for unequal financial handouts the result is usually the same: someone gets hurt. No matter how strong and capable you are it can be difficult to watch a sibling receive financial handouts from your parents, especially when that sibling does not appear to work as hard or focus on saving as much as you do. There is nothing worse then seeing a loved one hurt by members of his or her own family. Parents may feel that they are simply providing more money to one of their children, but in reality the other child is left feeling unappreciated and unloved.
In my heart I like to believe that most parents do not willing hurt their children. I like to think that these parents do not realize how their actions are perceived by the children who are not receiving gifts. I hope that they want the best for all of their children, not just the one who is always holding a hand out for them to fill.
Am I being naive? Perhaps parents know exactly what they are doing and proceed with their actions fulling knowing that one of their children will be hurt. Maybe they think that their other child is strong enough to handle their decisions. Perhaps they really just don’t care.
From what I’ve seen in families where financial inequality exists there is also a lack of communication among family members. The golden child continues to receive handouts, while the other child sits by unable to speak up about the situation. Of course, in these situations communication may not matter. When the topic is broached the parents usually have one reason or another to continue favoring a child and while the parents try to legitimize their actions the other child may hear nothing but excuses.
The best course of action in this situation is to try and release the bitterness you feel. You have to accept the situation for what it is and try not to let the negative feelings overwhelm you. At the end of the day you have absolutely no control over the way your parents dole out their money, so your best action is not to brood over the fact that you are being treated unfairly.
If you are lucky enough to be successful then the good news is that you don’t need your parents money. You made it on your own. You can count the blessings in your life and focus on the positive things that surround you. Do you have a good relationship with your spouse or significant other? Are the people in your life healthy and strong?
I know that this won’t make up for the injustice you feel, but the truth is you have little to no say in the matter. If your brother or sister is willing to put his or her hand out for money your parents will continue supplying them with gifts. This will probably continue for most if not all of their adult lives. Since the situation is unlikely to go away your best option is to try to relax, breathe and do your best to look beyond it.
I realize this is all easier said then done. Believe me, I do, but in time it does get better if you change your frame of mind about it. I am thankful that we do not need the support of other family members. It doesn’t make their actions right, but it does feel good knowing that we don’t need to rely on anyone other than ourselves. These days I’ve changed my perspective on the topic of unequal financial gifts from family members. I know I can’t do anything about it and as a result I’ve decided not to carry all of that bitterness around with me anymore.