Unwritten Money Rules When Living with Your Parents-In-Law


If you and your spouse live with the in-laws, there are many things that must be faced head-on including issues related to finance.

Apart from having to share living quarters, often you also have to share a few other things and –most importantly– have a big heart . Can you guess the money problems experienced by couples who live with the in-laws?

Monthly Expenses for Food

The house may be occupied by two couples; you and your husband, and your mother and father-in-law. There is, however, only one kitchen in the house. Thus, if this is the case, what you cook and eat will also be served to your in-laws too. Does this mean that you are responsible for all the grocery shopping?

Julie, 33, said that it is actually mandatory for her husband and herself to pay for the day-to-day meals. “We are staying at their place, after all. At the very least, we pay for the food. Rent is already free,” she said.

Julie said that she does not mind paying for all the food expenses. Her in-laws, after all, also like to make meals for her and her husband. The purchase of personal items such as soaps and shampoos, on the other hand, is not her responsibility unless the in-laws specifically ask for them.

“Mostly, we buy general kitchen essentials, like dishwashing soaps and floor fragrances. Only if they ask me to buy something will I buy it,” she said.

About Ownership

There is another interesting thing that is happening to couples who live in the in-laws’ house. Often time, items purchased and placed in the in-laws’ house will eventually become the property of the in-laws, even when you are about to move to your own place. Julie experienced this too; she bought a TV that was placed in the living room and now it seems as if the in-laws have more right to it than her.

“We don’t have our own house yet, so I've never intended to take it out of the house. However, when we did want to move the TV to our room, my in-laws opposed the idea,” she said.

Paying for Utilities

It turns out electricity payment has been a point of issue between Khaerunnisa, 30, and her husband. Khaerunnisa felt that she rarely uses the electricity in her in-laws’ house and thus she minds if she had to bear the full cost of electricity.  Meanwhile, her husband –who is the oldest child– is already accustomed to paying for the electricity for his mom on a regular basis ever since he landed a job.

“I fought with my husband about this because I don’t think it’s fair that we should bear the total cost of electricity,” she argued.

Until now, she confessed that she is still not comfortable with her husband’s actions even though the cost of electricity is now paid in full by her husband’s salary and not from their combined finances.

Ideally, you and your husband should organize your household expenses together, without any external interferences from other people, including your in-laws. However, knowing the eastern culture, it is still rather difficult to avoid this, especially if your partner is still supporting your parents-in-law who are not working and has no other source of income.

Read more:  5 Potential Problems Every Newlywed Should Avoid

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