Stipend for the inlaws *caution - LONG*
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  1. #1
    Registered User MTS04's Avatar
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    Default Stipend for the inlaws *caution - LONG*

    *sigh* I'm just not sure where to put this. I don't even know if what we're considering is appropriate. But, here goes:

    My inlaws were a one income family. FIL worked, MIL refused unwilling to work. FIL retired 10-12 years ago, far too early for their age and income. But they said they could make it work, so we gave them our blessing.

    So, now they've been retired for some time. About 2 months ago, we were driving through town and saw them collecting bottles from the side of the road. Dh called them that night and asked if everything was ok. They assured him that it was and poo pooed his concern.

    Three days ago, BIL (DH's brother) stopped by and in conversation mentioned that he's putting MIL and FIL in for fuel assistance, so be prepared for backlash. We said "Is it really that bad?" He said, I was over there and went to wash my hands and the water was cold. Come to find out their hot water heater was on the fritz, so they've been running it for showers and dishes only, then shutting it off.

    So, BIL replaced the water heater out of his pocket. While he was there with the plumber, FIL can't get the car to start. Mice had chewed some wires. FIL mentions, "Don't know where we're going to find the money for this" Eventually I guess they found the money, I think they borrowed it from DH's Grandmother, but I can't be sure.

    So, it comes down to I think the IL's need a stipend from month to month or need better money management. I can't be sure, I know they are getting probably just above MA poverty level for income, so they don't meet some assistance requirements. I asked BIL if he knew their income and he said "Probably low to mid 20k"

    So, we're bridging a bit of a gap this week with an experiment. They are getting a Delivery from Peapod. It's grocery delivery. We ordered them food for healthy and nutritious meals for the next 2 weeks. We're thinking if we can relieve their food budget a bit, they might be able to survive better. We're thinking of doind this bi-weekly. We're hoping they will accept it without too much grumbling. I know if we were to bring groceries by, they would refuse them and be embarrased. However, Peapod is delivering to them as if they've ordered it.

    I don't think the IL's would take budgeting advice or let us see their income and expenses. They tend to be of the mindset that children (even adult) are best seen and not heard. I would really like to get into their ledger and see if we can make their dollars stretch, but I don't think that is going to happen.

    So, do you have any advice? Do you think what we've done is appropriate? I'm feeling at a loss, we didn't realize things were this bad. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User baxjul's Avatar
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    I really don't know what I would do in that situation. Bless you for helping them!

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    Registered User militlady's Avatar
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    We sort of know myfil income/outgo but when I cook I just take some over and put it in his fridge and tell him I just cooked too much. (he can't really cook except to heat up something like a can of soup or heat something up in the microwave.) He owns his house outright and because his income is so low he doesn't have to pay property taxes.

    I think the only thing you could really do is what you have already done. Hopefully they will accept it for the loving gesture that it is.

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  5. #4
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    What you did for their food is awesome! That is a first priority.

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    Registered User piney's Avatar
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    That was a nice thing you did God bless you.

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    I don't know the ages of your in-laws but they're probably close in age to my parents. In their mind, ANY assistance is deemed a failure and they would vehemently deny / refuse it. That said, I think what you're proposing is appropriate. I seriously doubt my parents would EVER allow me to see their budget so I doubt they would share with you.

    It would indeed be better to put them in the position of having to accept the assistance (like having groceries delivered). Perhaps you can make payments to the utilities, thereby removing the option of having your in-laws refuse the help.

    Good luck! On a final note, make sure their phone is paid. My parents went weeks one time w/o phone service which freaked me and my siblings out.

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    Registered User MTS04's Avatar
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    Militlady, Thanks for the mention of perhaps making something. You know, too much for 2 people to eat, so I thought I bring some over instead of letting it go bad, type meal Good idea.

    JerryG thank you for the idea of the phone. We'll have to figure out how to do this. Perhaps we can talk them into letting us pay it, since to call us it's a long distance call. That might work.

    I know in the fall we'll be gifting them with gas cards, an oil change and hotel so that they can go visit family in another state. They haven't seen them in quite a while and it would do them good.

  9. #8
    jas
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    all wonderful ideas! They are lucky to have family that cares enough about them to even want to ease their burden. Even though that is what family is supposed to do a lot don't see it that way these days.

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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    They are so lucky to have you!! Peapod is a terrific idea!! Have no other ideas, but will think about it tonight!!

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    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
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    That is wonderful you are helping them!!!! Lots of good ideas mentioned!

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    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    I live in MA too, so I know how expensive it can be to keep a house warm, the lights on and the bellies full around here.

    Not knowing what part of MA they are in, these apply to the whole state...
    MA Utilities Directory

    Utility and Telephone Discount

    I had looked in to Peapod because my FMS has prevented me from being able to drive to the store... I know it's more expensive than going in and being able to shop. --- Holidays are approaching, would they use grocery store gift cards if they were given... as gifts? Happy Mother's Day! Happy Father's Day!

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Gift cards sound like a good idea. I used to give my grandparents gift cards to Big Boy. I don't know if they still have those in MA, it was like a diner and had cheap, home cooked style food. They could eat out a couple times and not be embarrassed by anything 'extravagant'.

    Gift cards to a drugstore could be useful for OTC medications or towards a pharmacy co-pay.

    Walmart or Target gift cards can be used for a lot of things, if they have grocery departments and pharmacies. The ultimate idea being to free up their cash income for utilities and other bills.
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    They are fortunate that you are willing to help. I hope they will accept your assistance. The food delivery sounds wonderful & the gift cards are a great suggestion. Do you visit them often that you could take "leftovers" or extra batches? If you know items they enjoy, could you take these to them? I'd try saying that I got a great price & bought too much or something like that.

    If they refuse to accept your assistance, you could try mailing them money orders or gift cards anonymously (no return address). I had a co worker who was having a difficult time & sent her a money order. I didn't want her to know it was from me for many reasons, but wanted to help. She was thrilled to receive it & wondered who it was from. It made my day to see how happy she was to receive it.

    It may take more effort if they refuse your help, but get a little creative & find a way to do what you can. I'm always surprised that even small things can make a huge difference. Good luck.

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