{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "My mother sent me a check for $200 for Christmas. She is retired and on a fixed income, not rich by any means. I don’t need this money. Is there a polite way to not cash this check?", "post_id": "5ffb4cc370a6340022b92480", "reply_count": 30, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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My mother sent me a check for $200 for Christmas. She is retired and on a fixed income, not rich by any means. I don’t need this money. Is there a polite way to not cash this check?

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I'm viewing this from the lens of my own family relationships. So food for thought, maybe it applies to you and maybe not.

Your mother knows her income and if this is a relatively large slice of her small income then the takeaway here is that she loves you enough to sacrifice for you. She wants you to be happy and she wants to feel like she has played a role in still providing that happiness even though you're grown up and off on your own. My mother would be most happy if I took the $200 and bought something nice for myself that I otherwise wouldn't have (and if it's a shared experience with her, so much the better). Yes, you can return it to her / never cash it, but that comes with a slight air of "I don't need you / there's nothing you can buy for me that I can't already get by myself". Respect her gesture and have a talk later about better ways for her to show her love (phone calls, cards, etc). The goal in all of this should be how to make your mother the most happy.

likehelpful

100% this. My grandparents do this and I always tell them they are too generous / they know I don’t need it, but it makes them feel good to be generous so the best thing to do is enjoy it and let them know what you got with it / how grateful you are.

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My mother gave me a $5k check for my wedding. She’s 4 months from retirement as a teacher. I said can’t you use this and invest this money? She said can’t you? She said she was thankful to be in a position to give me that money and thought about it and talked it through. I couldn’t argue anymore.

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I will invest it. She is the sweetest.

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Use the money to buy her gift eventually

likesmart

I’m sure OP makes plenty of money to get their mom a gift regardless.

OP should keep the gift from mom for themselves.

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Use it towards an experience that the two of you can enjoy together

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Do you live close enough that you can cash it and spend it on an activity together?

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Cash and slip in her purse when you see her next. It’s an old grandma trick.

likefunny

Doesn’t your post answer your question? Don’t cash the check...

likefunnysmart

Personally, I would talk to her about it so that I considered her perspective versus what I thought. She might have saved some of that fixed income each month to do this - point being I’d try to understand first.

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Just don’t cash it. Thank her and dont say anything about it again at all

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I was going to say this. Just don’t cash it. If she’s old school and keeps a registrar she may ask so say “oh i thought i did!”’and keep kicking it down the road.

Or.... invest it and someday, when she needs care, use that money. I know someone who takes this approach. It’s small dollars but when people hit a certain age, any assets they have are held against them for social services (elder care, etc). My grandma used to try to give us all kinds of money because she knew she had to have a net worth of 0 to qualify for services when she was going to need them.

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When’s the next time she celebrates something? I’d write her the check back 😂

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I feel the pain. Let her know that you love the gesture but that you’d rather spend time with her as a gift. That will make her day, I hope.
Be honest how you don’t want to reject her gift but how much you care about her trying to show you how much she cares. It’s all about communication.

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My mom just says she isn’t taking it with her and that social security won’t exist when I’m her age, so it’s for that.

funny

Buy something to share, take lots of photos and selfies of you enjoying it together, print and give her as a booklet. Win win win.

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Thank you, very helpful responses. I want to avoid the implication of “I don’t need you” that could come with not cashing the check, as EY2 mentioned. We don’t live near each other, so I think the best thing is to cash it and then spend it on her for Mother’s Day.

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Not cashing it comes with too many potential unintended consequences.

I'd cash it and then send her meals. This is what I do. I tell my MIL that the hotels and Uber give me points that expire and I have to spend them. I get more than we can use. Then have meals delivered I know she likes, usually fast casual restaurants she likes with her "girlfriends", all in their 70s and 80s.

I do it at the end of months that the "points are expiring"... I know it's not truthful, but the time my wife tried to tell her not to spend on us it went badly.

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I'd accept the good will and cash the check. however, during an important date such as her birthday, I'd gift her something around $200. I believe this is a very polite way to "not cash the check".

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Cash the check.

My mom always wants to put dinner I have with her on her credit card, even though I’m the one who pays it off / am giving her money each month (and thus reduces what she can spend on other things). If it makes them happy, just let them do it.

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My grandma is the same. But she insists because she wants to give gifts. Your mom probably wants to give you something because she loves ya. Talk to her about it but don’t push. Just cash it if she insists and then turn it around and spend it on something for her/both of you.

This is a good kid and nice human , I like

I am reminded of a Seinfeld episode where his grandmother sends him checks every year and he does not cash those

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