No Really I Got This: Does Income Matter When The Bill Comes?
Growing up I was constantly asking for money, it started with a quarter to play an arcade game to $5 for pizza with friends. At first your parents are happy to give you money, sometimes it is for clothes or to see a movie with your friends, depending on your parents they might have paid for your summer camp, which was in the hundreds of dollars. Later on many of us get our first job, it could be in high school or college, but it’s usually a chance to break free from asking Mom (If I asked Dad, you would have thought I asked for a Corvette for my birthday instead of the $5 request that was made) for some of the wants you have in life. My first real job, you know the one where they pay you minimum wage and expect you to show up on time and do tasks every single time you show up, I was shocked they expected this every time. This gave me the chance to blow money on pizza and a movie without asking good old Mom and Dad because you had a few dollars, of course you still relied on them for food and shelter or at least the basic necessities, but grabbing a movie was on me. Then one day it happens, they don’t send you money any longer (maybe care packages, which I’m pretty sure I will receive until the day I die and yes I’m perfectly OK with getting Animal Crackers in my care packages when I turn 40, those little snacks are my favorite). Maybe it was the day you received you first pay check or when they realize that you are officially on your own. Then in some version of the movie BIG, when your parents come to visit, you are a kid all over again and they want to pay for everything. Get ready to tell your parents, “No, Mom and Dad I got this”!
My parents are visiting this week and with the expectation the entire month of May would be a little more expensive than our usual budget we made plans to pay for everything. It’s funny though when went to the cash register to pay for our first meal at Rex’s Italian Foods we paid for the whole meal with our own money, they begin to talk with each other to say something like “Did they pay for that? Should we give them something for it? No, we can just get the next one.” When we paid for the meal it was almost like a sneak attack, maybe it was because you pay after you eat and before you leave or maybe it was all the great tasting Italian food that left everyone in a food coma, either way we seemed to have won the first “I got this” register battle, but trust me there would be many more.
It happened sooner than I thought. On our way home we stopped at our local grocery store and picked up a few things, just some snacks and drinks for the night and a few small items for tomorrow morning’s breakfast. When we were being checked out, I was quick to pull out my wallet and have my debit card in hand, just waiting for the last item to be scanned, when I heard my Dad say, “Put that away, I got this”. I immediately responded with a man sized NO, I would take care of it, but a gentle push and smile gave me reason to defer to the man with the voice that I have heard sound like an angry grizzly bear, I was relegated to a baby cub and moved away quietly. I have also learned that this type of interaction happens many times throughout your life, so I have developed a streamlined approach of how I handle the situation when someone offers to pay.
3 Easy Steps to Follow, When Someone Offers to Pay
- Person offers to pay, Immediately say No with full intention to pay for everything
- Person usually offers to pay again, allow person to pay for everything, no use arguing over money
- If you still feel the need to pay in some way, hand them cash and tell them at least let me pay for something, only do this once
With these 3 steps everyone is happy and doesn’t feel any guilt or animosity for paying/not paying…..All your problems solved, unless it’s your parents:)
What I find interesting with family or at least with my parents is that income plays no factor in the decision for who is going to pay. I’ve actually had this discussion with my Dad, he has a pretty good idea of what income we produce, I think I have even shared a general number of what our combined salary’s equal. Mrs. Even Steven and I are both college graduates in our early 30’s living and working in the city of Chicago, we are happy to be blessed with well paying jobs and continue to stay humble and work hard on our path to financial independence, some of the reason we believe it is possible to reach this goal is because of our salary.
My parents are your typical blue collar hard working people who like many parents want their children to grow up and be successful, have the things they did not. They have not been the best savers or have the highest income, but they still want to pay for things when we go to the grocery store or out to a restaurant. Should I step in and pay for everything? Offer cash to at least pay for something? Would I hurt their pride if I did pay? What would you do in my situation?