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Need advice - person I babysit for asks me to wait to cash checks, etc.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi Mamas

 

I'm looking for some thoughtful advice.

 

I've been babysitting for my neighbor's kids for about two years now. It's not much money but its my only personal income source since I'm a SAHM. My son loves playing with her kids when they come over and they are great kids and so easy to hang out with, and I make a little extra cash in the process!  Their mom and I have become pretty good friends over the two years, often chatting when she comes to pick them up etc.

 

Our usual protocol is that she pays me for my time when she picks up the kids, either cash or check. Sometimes if I'm babysitting for her the very next day as well, we'll just group the two days together and she'll pay me on the second day.

 

Lately at the time she picks up her kids she has been asking if it is ok to pay me the next week, drop the check by later, and on several occasions she asks me to wait 3-5 days to cash her check. She never defaults, though. Usually I say sure no problem because I would feel rude saying anything else (how could I say "No, i'm cashing it today"??), because I know her and her husband are working hard and I don't need the money that bad.

 

However recently she asked to pay me next week (I agreed), then when next week came she gave me a temporary check and asked me to wait 4 days to cash it but said she would text me if it was sooner. I told her "OK, but I was planning on putting the money in my account today, so please let me know."

 

OK - so I really want to keep this relationship good, I like her and her kids a lot, but at the same time I don't like that I'm constantly wondering how/when I will be paid -- if she will give me cash/a check/a check that can't be cashed/asks me to wait. I'm thinking of telling her that I prefer cash from now on but I really don't like the idea of putting any sort of wedge in our relationship.....how can I communicate my dissatisfaction with this payment arrangement appropriately/considerately?

post #2 of 12

If I were in your shoes, and valued the relationship as I think you do, I would not be upfront and risk embarassing her.  Can you say that your accountant (or your dad, or some outside source that you trust) has advised you not to take a check in case you get audited?  I do know a lot of people who sit and don't want to get paid via a check.  That to me would be the simplest way to handle it.

post #3 of 12

I do home daycare. I have become friends with several of the parents, but as a mentor once said, "don't do special" for anyone. I would send her an email being totally candid about the situation. Tell her you love her kid, her, and your relationship, but from now on, she has to pay cash for care, on the same day, or on Fridays, or however you guys want to determine the pay period. Explain to her that you have financial obligations too...

 

I think it's so strange how people don't value their child's caregiver in the way that they don't think it's important to pay on time. Imagine if their bosses at work asked them to wait to cash their paycheque.

post #4 of 12

Do you need this money? Do you value the relationship more than the money?

Are you babysitting the kids all day several days a week or is it just here and there?

 

If babysitting is a significant portion of your time and you need the money then I would sit her down and ask if you can come to a new payment arrangement because asking you to wait for payment and then hold the check doesn't work for you. You need to set a regular payment date. If she can't then you'll probably have to tell her you can't babysit as a regular thing anymore.

 

If it is not that important to you financially I would probably ask if she'd like to exchange a service for babysitting or just tell her to pay when she can.
 

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

Do you need this money? Do you value the relationship more than the money?

Are you babysitting the kids all day several days a week or is it just here and there?

 

If babysitting is a significant portion of your time and you need the money then I would sit her down and ask if you can come to a new payment arrangement because asking you to wait for payment and then hold the check doesn't work for you. You need to set a regular payment date. If she can't then you'll probably have to tell her you can't babysit as a regular thing anymore.

 

If it is not that important to you financially I would probably ask if she'd like to exchange a service for babysitting or just tell her to pay when she can.
 

I second this!

post #6 of 12

Yeah you need a set weekly pay dates.  Daily pay is hard to do. 

post #7 of 12
Can you just send her an email along the lines of what you posted here?

"Jane, your kids are awesome & I love babysitting them. I consider it an honor to be a part of their lives, and I'm also really enjoying the friendship you & I have developed over the past couple of years. So I'm a bit hesitant to even broach this subject with you but I also don't want it to ultimately get in the way of our friendship. I'm a bit uneasy with our current pay arrangement, it's making it hard for me to stay on top of my bills and I'd really appreciate something a bit more predictable so I don't end up wracking up late fees. How do you think we can approach this?"

...and if you are open to bartering with her, mention that as well. "I know money is tight these days, I'm more than happy to trade babysitting for some of those amazing homemade meals you make. I just need to know ahead of time so I can rearrange my budget if necessary."

I guess I really feel honesty is best. You need to speak up so you don't wind up resenting her, and I'd do it sooner rather than later. If you frame it the way you have here, sharing the love you have for her & her family, I think it could go over well.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for the great advice...the babysitting is really only here and there, maybe once or twice a week for a couple hours each time, so regular pay dates don't work and it works better for her to pay me after each session. I'm gonna think over each of the things you suggested.

post #9 of 12
I agree with weekly pay - even if it's not consistent hours/days, what if you two agrees to an every Friday, or even every other Friday payday? Just like most jobs, times sheets are turned in, and pay is received for hours worked two weeks later. Since she's a neighbor and friend, you know she's not likely to stiff you - but this gives her time to have gotten paid herself before having to pay you or mess around with post-dated checks. Then you would know when you are truly getting paid, and she could plan accordingly. I also like the idea of exchanging childcare - I would live that option, personally.
post #10 of 12

I think the daily pay is best,   she may need to ask you to hold the check,  but that is better than having a larger amount go unpaid, or having her forget later.    it sounds like she s having financial troubles and things may get better or else get worse and worse.  D

post #11 of 12

Can you accept paypal? That way she can do it by credit card on her end and pay for it when it fits her budget.

post #12 of 12
Quote:

I think it's so strange how people don't value their child's caregiver in the way that they don't think it's important to pay on time. Imagine if their bosses at work asked them to wait to cash their paycheque.

 

I couldn't agree with this more.

 

She is NOT being respectful or considerate of you by not paying you on time and putting you in this horribly awkward situation. If this really is more of a friendship than you needing money, than you should feel comfortable enough with your friend to talk to her about it.

If that's not the case, then you should still talk to her and tell her this is not working for you. To be honest, I can't believe you are taking a check. I don't know anyone who does casual babysitting (not a certified daycare) that takes a check. What if you DO get audited? It is an actual valid concern.

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