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DH's grandma just passed away. She's a very nice woman and we all would like to go to her funeral. The problem is she lived about 15 hours drive away. We looked into air tickets and the cheapest we could find is like $360 for each person (4 of us would be $1440)! This is the "special" price as well and much lower than the bereavement fare, which is close to $500 each. We'll need to rent a car as well. We can stay with some relatives for free. We've never even spent that much for a vacation, and we're not gonna have any fun this time. It feels ... just so expensive, you know.

I was considering driving. It will be slow and painful (I have back injury and it hurts if I sit for too long). I don't know how much gas will cost. We'll need to book two nights hotels, and as we're light sleepers, they need to be a "family unit". A few meals out on the way. Plus most importantly, DH will need to take two more days off. The good news is we don't have to rent a car or pay for airport parking.

I'm all torn about this. Yes we do have emergency fund to pay for all these, but everything seems so expensive in my frugal eyes I almost want to just skip it. But I know DH really wants to go, and the rest of his families will all go as well. I don't want to be the stingy one, you know. Any suggestions? What will you do? (Oh and DH's grandma wasn't exactly well-off so we're not expecting any inheritance, not that it matters.)
 

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Have you checked other methods of transportation? Bus (greyhound would suck, but be a lot cheaper... if you can take megabus, you would save a ton and the buses are not bad), amtrak, budget airlines (they don't always show up when you search a lot of big sites).

I'm sorry that your husband's grandma...

Dar
 

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If you really don't have the money, I'd just fly him out alone, and have a relative pick him up. If you do have the money, look at it as a chance for your kids to see all their extended family.

I'm sorry about your dp's gramma...
 

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Just send DH, have someone pick him up at the airport or take a cab to the family home. SS about grandma but there is no reason for kids ages 6 and 7 to go, there wont be much for them to do and while it would be 'nice' save the $$ and take a family trip this summer or next year.
Better yet if DH goes alone he can probably make the drive in one day, a long day but one day. That would be the least expensive way, leave early early am, get in after dark, pack snacks etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the suggestions! I think we should all go, though. DH and I always went to his family functions together, and we can't leave the kids here. Plus DH and our sons are kinda her only offspring to carry down the family name. I'm not sure how to explain it. I mean she's the matriarch of the ***** family, and we're the only direct line of the ***** family. I'm sure it doesn't matter to a lot of people, but DH's family seems to care.

Right now we're leaning towards driving. We can always stay at simple motels, and eat fast foods. We usually eat pretty healthy so I think a few fast food meals won't be too bad.
This trip isn't about pleasure anyway. I think if we're careful we can do it for $800 or less, which isn't too bad. Now we just have to talk to DH's boss to make sure it's OK. They're pretty busy right now at work.

*I wouldn't feel so thrifty about this if it's not for his sister's wedding. We're going to drive all the way to this same town again in a few weeks to attend his sister's wedding. So it's gonna cost gas, motels, meals, entertainment, formal attires and wedding present...etc. We have that money budgeted and saved, but this funeral is a bit unexpected.
 

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Things like this are what having an emergency fund is for.

You can take a cooler in the car and pack some healthier/cheaper snacks as well
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ckberkey View Post
How about just sending him?
Yes. My dh's grandmother died recently; she was in WA with most of his family and we are in TX.

Aside from money issue (we had just bought a house and did not have much savings), I think it worked better that he went with his sister, brother, and parents because they were close to his gm and funerals are so emotional; myself, and SIL's dh and all the children stayed home; we had not even met most of the extended family including his grandmother (and BIL and I are a different race, so there is a bit of that dynamic). They all stayed at a cousin's house.

When my father died three years ago, we had also just bought a house, dh had only been in his job a few months, he had just flown to WA for his uncle's funeral two months before, I had just been home to NY for a summer visit, and dh crashed his car the day before my father died. I thought it was best he stayed home and I went with my 2yo. I stayed nearly a month and helped settle the estate. It would have been nice to have him there for the funeral, but soooo expensive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

K, just saw that you actually normally visit this family. I'd get a columnar book, binder, calculator, and a couple of zipper envelopes for it to keep close track of your expenses; I had to do that when I went home for the funeral. You may want to look up any buffet chains that are on your drive.
 

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Well, as Rudy Guilliani says, "Weddings are optional, funerals are mandatory." I think it is important to see this as mandatory unless it will cause you to go into irreparable debt. But that is just my opinion.

But that doesn't mean you need to spend great amounts to do it. We just attended my grandmother's funeral and here's how we saved:

-pack a thermos with coffee
-pack a small cooler with sandwiches, snacks, drinks, etc. Do NOT spend for food on the road. It is unhealthy and if you aren't used to it, it can make you feel WORSE on a long car trip.
-splurge for a hotel that has a small fridge, pool, breakfast buffet and living area. You can purchase microwavable lasagnas and whatnot when you get there to eat for meals. Swimming in the pool will help you stretch your back muscles to keep them from aching. The extra money spent for the living area and kitchenette will allow you to refrain from eating out at all (again a MAJOR expense).
-don't be shy about taking the "leftovers" from the meal served after the funeral. Chances are you can use these to eat on the way home.

On our trip we spent about $110 for the hotel room (admittedly a great deal in and of itself) and about $60 on extra gas costs. We did end up spending about $5 for snacks on the road but everything else we brought.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by McFeelings View Post

-pack a thermos with coffee
-pack a small cooler with sandwiches, snacks, drinks, etc. Do NOT spend for food on the road. It is unhealthy and if you aren't used to it, it can make you feel WORSE on a long car trip.
-splurge for a hotel that has a small fridge, pool, breakfast buffet and living area. You can purchase microwavable lasagnas and whatnot when you get there to eat for meals. Swimming in the pool will help you stretch your back muscles to keep them from aching. The extra money spent for the living area and kitchenette will allow you to refrain from eating out at all (again a MAJOR expense).
-don't be shy about taking the "leftovers" from the meal served after the funeral. Chances are you can use these to eat on the way home.
Yes to all this. You probably won't need to buy food when you're in the funeral town because people usually send a lot of food to families in mourning. But don't hit the fast food chains on your drive. It will make you feel worse. We always pack a loaf or two of sandwich bread, a block of hard cheese (sharp cheddar) which will keep without refrigeration if necessary, some peanut butter and jelly, big bags of chips, maybe some olives or pickles, some big water bottles and some smaller cups or thermoses for the car. Then we stop for meals and make sandwiches and refill the car cups or thermoses. It makes our trip way cheaper and faster too because stops don't take so long, plus we can do it at a park or rest stop and the kids can run around.

Do you really have to have a family unit with two rooms for the hotel? When we travel and want to save money, we all sleep in one room for at least a couple of nights, and DH and I just go to bed at an early time. It actually works out well because then we all feel more rested - if we have a separate room, Dh and I will stay up a lot later and not get enough sleep because kids always wake up early on trips (in my experience!). But if everyone goes to bed at 7:30 or 8, then we feel great the next day and ready to drive.

Especially with kids the ages of yours, you should be able to do the drive in two days with only one night on the road. If your kids will sleep in the car, you might even be able to come all the way home in one very long day. We've done that in cases where we decided getting home at midnight or 1 am was worth not spending another night in a hotel.

Good luck, OP, and condolences to you, your DH, and his family.
 

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This (sort-of) happened to DH and I a few years ago. We ended up skipping it since we had just seem G'ma-IL a few weeks ago and knew we were saying "good-bye" at that time.

That said, this time I would send just DH (and maybe your oldest child if he/she can be away from you) and ask a relative to pick them up at the airport instead of renting a car.

Editted: oops, I didn't read responses before posting. Looks like you already decided to drive.
 
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