Family Money Saving Tips

Why Living with the In-Laws Is Actually Costing You Money

Why Living With The In-Laws Is Actually Costing You Money
Written by Oana Schneider

You and your spouse just got married, you both have jobs and you’re about to start a family. Your husband’s parents invited you to temporarily live with them while you are still getting back on your feet financially, especially after the wedding-related expenses. You get along pretty well with your in-laws so you decided to agree. After a few months, you decided to stay a bit longer but you eventually find out that living with the in-laws can lead to financial disaster.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in choosing to live with your in-laws, but there are things that you simply cannot take full control of. Since you and your spouse are not living separate lives from your in-laws, it could take its toll on your marriage – both financially and emotionally. Continuously living with the in-laws would not pose an issue but remember that along the way, there are some compromises that you have to make, especially when it comes to money matters. 

Top 5 Reasons Why Living With The In-Laws Is Costing You Money

If you are living with your in-laws, you are not necessarily doing your finances any favor. Why is this so? What are the reasons why living with the in-laws is not really saving you any money? And depending on the financial dilemma that you are facing, how can you better deal with the situation? That is exactly what we will find more about here.

First, check out the top five reasons why living with your in-laws is not saving you any real money in the long run:

1. Your in-laws can easily borrow money from you.

Are you and your spouse living with your in-laws or are your in-laws living with you? Whichever the situation is, the number one problem that you will usually have is that your in-laws can easily borrow money from you. That is, if you and your spouse are better off than they are. Let’s say that you are living with the parents of your husband who are still relying on their kids for financial support.

In case your mother-in-law needs to go shopping, the fact that you live in the same house or maybe right next door would give her easy access to your wallet, albeit virtually. As a daughter-in-law, you might feel obligated to always say yes whenever your husband’s parents ask you for a loan – and this is something that can lead to financial disaster later on.

2. You can easily borrow money from your in-laws.

Let’s turn the situation around. If you ended up living with your in-laws because you are down financially as a couple in the first place, it would mean that your spouse’s parents are better off than you. If you live in the same house or if they live right next door, you might be tempted to always run to them for money.

Although there’s nothing wrong in asking relatives for financial help every once in a while, turning it into something habitual is not good for your financial growth, either. This is especially true if your in-laws are lenient when it comes to your paying them back whatever amount you borrowed.

3. In-laws who loan you money would have expectations.

Perhaps one of the most common scenarios that married couples living with a set of parents have to deal with is having to handle some expectations. If you’re a newly married couple, for example, and a newborn baby was welcomed into the family. When you were at the hospital, your in-laws volunteered to give their share of money for the hospital bills, insisting that they’re more than happy to do it. Or maybe your mother-in-law said she will gladly pay for the decoration of the baby nursery, which you obligingly accepted.

Fast forward to a few months or even years, when you realize that for every difficulty that you are facing as a family, your in-laws would always remind you about the debt that you owe them, or the help that they gave you when you were having financial problems. This is a situation that would naturally arise if they need something from you.

Even small things like them giving comments on what you should do with your car because they helped pay for the down payment can cause friction between you two. There’s nothing wrong in accepting financial help from your in-laws especially if you really need it, but remember that there would be expectations and you just have to deal with it along the way.

4. In-laws who spoil their kids would prevent you from teaching them how to manage money properly.

You’re trying to teach your daughter the value of saving by using labeled money jars. However, you live with your in-laws who spoil your kids indulgently. How can you instill the value of saving money and budgeting to your kids if they have grandparents who cater to their every whim? Since you’re living with your in-laws, this is a possible financial disaster for your kid’s adult life that you should prevent from happening.

What you can do is set your foot down when it comes to your kids accepting gifts or money from their grandparents. If they insist on giving monetary gifts, let your kid know that you will be putting it towards their college fund.

5. Living with in-laws might cause your household maintenance budget to be messed up.

Another huge issue if you have your in-laws living with you is your household maintenance budget. Who pays for which item in your monthly expenses? Even if your in-laws are more than happy to contribute towards the household expenses, you might feel obligated to also spend your money on them since they are your spouse’s parents. To resolve this issue, you might want to set clear boundaries as to who should pay for which part of the household maintenance budget. Talk it over with your spouse and your in-laws, so that you can all come up with a reasonable arrangement that will not take its toll on your personal budget as a family.

Living With The In-Laws Is Costing You A Lot Of Money

As you can see from the aforementioned examples, a lot of friction and tension could arise when it comes to financial issues if you are living with in-laws. How do you prevent money-related issues from ruining your relationship as a family? And how can you gain full control of your finances despite having your in-laws living with you?

The solution depends on the specific issue that you are dealing with. If you feel that your in-laws are undermining your every decision in the household because they gave you down payment for the house, the car, or if they paid the bills for one full year after you and your spouse got married, find a way to repay the debt so that you will not feel obligated to them at all.

When it comes to loans, set clear boundaries. If your mother-in-law is trying to borrow a big amount and your husband is asking if he can get it from your joint account, make sure that there is a written agreement of when the loan will be paid, how much interest will be applied, etc. For small amounts of money, you can probably just have a verbal agreement on when it should be paid.

If the situation is reversed and you are the one who needs to borrow money from your in-laws, do the same thing. Create a written contract of when you will pay back the loan and at what percentage of interest. If you have no issues about money, your personal relationship as a family will not be affected.

Famed psychiatrist Dr. Phil has the following tips on how you can better manage your relationship with your in-laws, who you should consider as an extended family:

  • Your loyalties should always lie with your immediate family.
  • Make sure that your in-laws understand that there are boundaries that you need to set. Although they are a natural part of the family that you married into, there should still be limitations as to which issues they can jump into, and having you live with them should not be an invitation for them to openly be into your lives as husband and wife.
  • After setting up boundaries, talk to your in-laws about it.
  • Separate the marital issues from your relationship with your in-laws. Whatever marital problems you might be experiencing should be resolved between the two of you, without involving your in-laws.
  • When having an argument, try not to criticize your spouse for his or her relationship with your in-laws. This can lead to more complications eventually.

There are married people who are lucky to have in-laws who adore them. On the other hand, there are also those who can barely tolerate each other’s presence. No matter what type of relationship it is that you have with your in-laws, having them live with you or your living with them should not lead to your financial doom. Managing your money while living with in-laws may be difficult at first, but it is something that’s perfectly doable if you set your mind to it.

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About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • Great information. I would never live with my in-laws, if I had them. It doesn’t matter how much you like two people in this situation. Living with your in-laws just doesn’t make sense, and it’s quite a burden outside of the monetary pitfalls.

  • Luckily this has never happened to me. Been on my own with my boyfriend since 2007. Before that I was still living with my parents and the only issue there was that they were borrowing money from me sometimes. But they always helped me out so I had trouble helping them.

  • Anyone who’s read or watched Gone Girl knows that you don’t necessarily have to be living with the in-laws for it to lead you to financial ruin 😉 These are good points, though, and I’m sure some people don’t take them into account when considering living with in-laws. Right now it’s not an issue for me, but I can see how it could be more of a burden than a cost-saving measure in the end.

    • I’ve watched Gone Girl! I think it’s really interesting because you make a really good point it’s like right on the topic. I think that it makes a lot of sense because of financial ruin and what can lead to it. Take heed people!

  • The husband’s role is important too. Not everything is incumbent on daughter-in-law. Grandparents tend to pamper your kids and it could create an uneasy situation for you. Sure, you may not enforce discipline on your kids, but they also lend a helping hand in managing your kids, while you are out on work.
    In nuclear families, women are forced to do multitasking hopping from one activity to another. If a woman strikes a good relation with her in-laws, there is no harm in staying together though the unpleasant things should still be sorted out through communication between husband and wife.

  • Often, loyalties are betrayed. Hurt feelings are unavoidable. Our in-laws co-inhabited with us for a 6 months. Difficulties in communication, strained relationship, disrupted children’s schooling and routine,
    But when the separation was given the chance of each families for recuperation, our relationships with one another (with the in-laws) have been the sweetest as best friends! We visit with them occasionally.

  • Commitment doesn’t come easy to a lot of men, but a woman needs to be sure that you will commit to spending a long time with her. Always have fresh breath when you are talking to women because bad breath is an instant turnoff. Ensure to keep your distance until you folks really get to know about each other.

  • I believe that living with the in-laws would cause a couple to become lazy and more spoiled especially if the in-laws offered for you to come live with them. It’s almost as if they can’t let go of their child or accept the fact that they are moving on.

  • That’s absolutely true, however, it’s not always the case because I guess it depends on which type of person it is. I know for sure living with the in-laws for me is different and it’s not the case with other people, but if it does cost a lot of money there are alternatives of course. I agree with this article.

  • I think that it is great that some people are letting not only their child but their child’s husband/wife to live with them while they save up for their own home. It is a great opportunity to save money, however as the points above show, it might not always be quite as it seems! It is also tempting to get back into the role of being a child if you live with your parents, and this means that independent life with a place of your own may be somewhat of a shock when it comes to it. But as long as it really is something that is in the short term, it should be a great way of them saving the money that they need to.

  • I experience living witn my in-laws before and it doesn’t give me a chance to save maybe i think it’s a matter of attitude,if you would like to give and shoulder their expenses it’s fine but in consideration and if you want to save well at least tell them to be considerate too,better give and take to let them feel and feel them the same way..

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