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Visitors stress me out

October 26th, 2012 at 01:07 pm

We don't have many overnight visitors, but sometimes when we do it really stresses me out!

My family recently visited us. The thing about my family is that when they come they don't just like to hang out. They always have to be doing multiple touristy things each day. And we don't live in a real touristy city (like Orlando or New York) so it's really hard to please them.

When they are here we end up spending SO much money!

I think the issue is that this year we have been in our own little bubble--our budget bubble. We go out to eat about once a month, we mostly do free activities with the kids (with the exception of some major splurges like our vacation)...our home life is very simple and frugal. But then when we have visitors come and we are forced to conform to their way of living, even for just a few days, it totally throws us off.

We asked my family in advance what they were planning on doing and they told us 2 activities. We looked up the prices and the cost for my family was about $130. Not a big deal, we could plan for that by cutting back earlier in the month.

But the bigger thing is that they always want to go out to eat. Like they insist on it. So we went out to eat for most meals while they were here and spent around $150-$200. I made one meal at home for everyone and would have done more but they don't like hanging out at home.

When we go to these touristy places, their kids raid the gift shops and their parents buy them at least one thing from every gift shop we encounter. And then my kids are like hey, we want something too (when we are by ourselves they don't expect something from every place we go).

I have a friend from college coming to visit me in a few weeks. She is single, no kids, and leads a totally different lifestyle. She travels all the time, is very social, and is just the total opposite of our frugal family lifestyle. She is already making suggestions on stuff we can do while she is here and I'm hoping to reach a compromise. Like instead of all 5 of us going places with her, maybe just I can go. She will be here on a Sunday and Monday (and I already warned her about weekdays not being a good time for me, with 3 kids and school and their activities). So I guess the whole upcoming visit is stressing me out.

I realize as I write this that I probably sound like an old fuddy-duddy set in my ways. I am thankful that we have people that want to visit us, I really am. I just get stressed out about the money part and feeling like I have to keep people entertained.

Anybody else go through the same things with visitors?

9 Responses to “Visitors stress me out”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I understand the stress! Luckily, our parents like to treat us for dinners out and are willing to hang out or do low cost things. I think your friend would probably like the one on one time with you, so that is an excellent way to cut costs.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    It could be partly a matter of them thinking they are "putting you out" by being in your home so many hours of their visit, and maybe they feel bad about your family cooking for them, as if they don't want to impose so much. A couple things I do on visits of 2+ days is to (1)have meals that feel super casual and maybe do not even turn on the stove, or which each person including guests help assemble the food. That changes the feeling that your host is waiting on you. A build-it-yourself sandwich, taco, or salad spread works. For snacks, a platter of sliced fresh & dried fruits, nuts, and cheese. And (2) go outside to the patio or, in my cas,e even the front yard and visit outside, whether at meal time or other. The ability to expand the view and take in a little nature or a little street life while visiting makes everything feel lighter and less imposing.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Yep yep yep! I offered to bring several of my sisters and their families out to visit this summer -- but after the one sister and her family who didn't decline came out, I was SO glad the others had said no! Stressful and budget-busting.

  4. Analise Says:

    I agree that it can be stressful to have company. When my sister and BIL visit, it is always a lot of fun because we think alike and enjoy healthy meals at home, balanced with an occasional meal out (Dutch treat). With my step-daughter, not so much. For one thing, she is messy and does not clean up after herself unless we ask (which we do). Eating out is her favorite activity which explains one of the reasons she has always has had so many $$ problems.

    When SD and her BF visited on Labor Day weekend, all they wanted to do was eat out. I was visiting my sister in CA at the time (she was undergoing surgery for breast cancer) so dh had to deal with them by himself. Dh said he spent over $300 taking them out to eat at restaurants SD had researched and wanted to try. Not once did SD offer to pay for their meals and my dh is a too easy when it comes to paying the tab. If I'd been home I would have nixed all the eating out. Dh even paid for their entrances to museums, etc. All in all, I'm glad I was gone because it would not have been a pleasant visit.

  5. snafu Says:

    Yikes, no wonder you're stressed out! Are you trying to tell us your family act like moochers when away from home?

    We have a lot of visitors and during our summer festivals I've often felt like our home was a hotel for family & friends. One group leaves and there's barely time to change the bed linens before the new group arrives. We follow the visitor rule...'like fish guests shouldn't stay more than 3 days, after day 4 they begin to smell.'

    Why not treat guests as we would expect to be treated in their home? Guests treat for one meal out and it's their choice to visit over meals with us or go out on their own. MapQuest makes it fast and easy to supply information but most have GPS if driving/renting. Visitors with DKs the same age, we'd choose one outing to join. Limitations were clearly stated in advance with our DKs. Visitors understand all the synonyms for 'no,' said with a smile.

    We've had several visitors stay long term taking a course or going to summer school for example. We've made it clear that we're happy to host and explained 'house rules' so that there are no unmet expectations. If visitors disappoint or severely disrupt our lives, we speak up! We do our best to explain in the most positive words we can muster that we just don't do that [whatever it is] here. We've had some doozies but it all worked out in the end.

    For a visiting college friend, I'd do the things on her list that I'm happy to do and give brochures, Mapquest info, drop her off or even loan my car so that she can visit places of personal interest. I doubt she'd want to think her visit would upset the household.

    I suggest creating a new sub category of vacation budget to set cost limits for visitors. Every dollar spent on visitors reduces the sum for vacation with flex from your personal allowance for example.

  6. patientsaver Says:

    Why do you feel you have to conform to THEIR habits and preferences? If they're family, why not simply explain you are watching your spending, yada yada yada and don't wish to spend so much upon their visit.

  7. Jerry Says:

    Good for you and your budget bubble! I think that it might be time to lead into some ground rules, and tell them that you would love to see them, but that you are working with a specific budget. They should respect your personal space, and you deserve some insurance that you can manage things your way within your home. Good luck!
    Jerry

  8. Looking Forward Says:

    If your family wants to eat out when they come for a visit - no problem - they treat. Smile

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