What's the worst they could do if you don't help them?
I mean besides not giving you any weird dead grandma money.
Lose ties with those relatives/family members, I guess. Which would be bad, because I do like them as people and I'm fond of the little ones.
I don't have many friends who live nearby, so family is important. I don't want to be rejected. If I didn't lend them money once in a while, I could set of some sort of domino effect. The ones that had trouble with their bills? The wife is in charge of finances, but didn't keep a very close eye on them and she didn't have to, because her husband made enough. Then there was an accident, her husband lost the use of his legs and ended up in a wheelchair. He was in the hospital for months. The wife lost sight of the bills completely and one of afternoon, while I was watching the little ones, the phone rang. It was a very urgent 'request' to pay a very large electricity bill that had build up over many months. Turned out the wife had forgotten about it and didn't have the money, because traveling to and back from the hospital everyday is expensive. I lend her the money and she paid it back within a year. But by the time her husband came home the finances were a mess. She knew, he didn't and she didn't dare to tell. She got into bill trouble again and I lend her some more. She finally started paying it off in small monthly installments. Should be done early 2016. Husband knows nothing.
Maybe I shouldn't complain too hard. I gave her some advice to keep her keep her grocery spending to a minimum and she's following it. Their electricity and gas bills have also gone done after I pointed out what household items/habits were costing them lots of money on a yearly basis.
On the other hand, she did buy my sister's old tablet while that money should have been going toward that debt. Maybe I should have confiscated the tablet. Held it hostage until she'd pay off a decent amount.
Argh. I hated seeing parents buy consoles for really young kids; or worse (sorry) but when you buy the kids one each. My brother and I shared till we 'did chores' to earn one of our own. I was definitely not spoiled as a kid beyond minor doting; when the folks said "no" we usually had to grin and bear it.
I did have my own GameBoy at an early age, but that came at a heavy price: I had to chose between that fairly big birthday present and a birthday party. I didn't have many friends, so I chose the GameBoy. I have no regrets.
The console I got after that was a Super Nintendo, right at the end of that generation. I was ten and paid for it with my birthday money, allowance I had saved up over the year and money I made at the local fair on Queen Day. I think that's the way it should be. Now that I think about it, it wasn't until my late teens that my parents started spending more and more money (money they didn't always have) on gifts. We kids were more aware of the financial situation and I think they were trying to compensate somehow.
I dunno, I think it's worth trying to talk about it too. In a soft way that suggests "ideas" as solutions (instead of an outright "YOURE WRONG").
I have had some success with being nice, but the main problem is that they're not willing to make any big changes to their lifestyle. None of them want to stop smoking. My mom says it's about the only joy she has left. Might-lose-the-house-mom could go to work by bus, but she doesn't see that as an option because she never uses the bus. Using the bus simply isn't something she does not do. I don't know how to give them a reality check that big nicely.
Feels good to talk about this. I mean, I'm spilling some family secrets here, but it's not like they can read English :D As usual: thanks for listening.