A good set of grandparents is a godsend. The kids love spending time with the grandparents, and the grandparents love having them. Many grandparents are just dying to take the kids and spoil them and take them to museums and stuff. It should be an ideal situation, but families are complicated. That’s why one mom was stunned to send her daughter to spend time with her mom, and her mom sent the granddaughter back with a bill for $475.50.

The woman wrote in to Ask Amy and said that she had sent her mother $300 before the visit. The money was intended to cover the daughter’s food and expenses while at the grandmother’s house. But then her daughter came back, followed shortly by an itemized bill for $475.50.

Grandma ran up the bill.

The $475.50 covered additional expenses like the mother’s gas to drive to the airport to pick her granddaughter up. The grandmother charged her daughter for train tickets into the city, and museum tickets once they got there too. It was a fully itemized bill, with every cent accounted for.

But those excursions were grandma’s choices to make, and $475  is a lot of money for “extras.” The daughter had already paid for what she thought the reasonable expenses for a visit with grandma could be, and her mother’s activities more than doubled it.

Nickel-and-dimed by grandma.

The letter-writer is hurt and offended by the bill. She feels like she’s being nickel-and-dimed by her mother. She also seems to think their relationship is unfair financially, and that irks her. When her mother lived with her for four months, the daughter’s family paid for everything, including a fancy vacation. She feels she’s been very generous, and her mother’s taking advantage of that.

The letter-writer does not describe their personal financial positions. She says her mother is single and a retired college professor. But that could mean anything. A retired college professor could be living comfortably or in penury, depending on benefits, savings, medical expenses, etc.

It’s a little unusual for grandmas to want to be paid for visits, especially if the visits are not a regular thing. When I was looking for a stock photo to illustrate this article I looked up “grandma money,” and all the results were photos of grandmas giving people money, not taking it.

Stick to the budget, grandma.

But it’s not unreasonable for the parents to pay for their child’s expenses while visiting grandma. Not everyone can afford to pay for another person. We don’t know grandma’s financial situation. But it is completely unreasonable for grandma to run up the bill on her own, and then send the parents an invoice.

The daughter resents paying for everything and wants her mother to be more generous. That seems unlikely at this stage, especially since the letter-writer says she’s the only one of her siblings who is still in contact with their mother, mostly because they think she is petty and lacks boundaries. If the grandmother has lost contact with her other children through this behavior and not changed it, she’s probably not going to change.

The daughter is reconsidering sending her child for these visits. If she does decide to continue them, she’s going to need to tell her mother upfront to stick to her budget. If she sends $300, grandma has to stick to it. It’s completely ridiculous to run up an extra $500 of expenses and to expect her daughter to pay it.

What do you think of this grandma’s bill? Let us know in the comments.

(Image: iStockPhoto / Kristina Trimailova)