Do I Offer to Pay?

Updated on August 24, 2016
N.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
26 answers

I want to invite one of my daughter's friends and his mom to go swimming with us at a members only pool. We're allowed to bring two guests for $10 each. Since I'm inviting, am I supposed to offer to pay?

I'm guessing these issues will come up more often as my daughter gets older so I'm curious to know how these situations generally work. What's the general rule?

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answers from Washington DC on

When I invite anyone to go somewhere with me - I pay. Period. it's the way I was raised. You offer to have someone join you? You pay.

We invited 3 friends to go with us to Kings Dominion last year. We paid for their admission and meals. They paid for their souveniors. When the parents asked if they could send money? I said the only thing they would need money for is souveniors.

When my kids are invited somewhere? I always offer to pay.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You pay.

The only thing I let my kids friends pay for are their souvenirs. Everything else I cover. And that's only because I rarely buy those things for my own kids.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

When I invite other kids to go with us I expect to pay, if the other parent offers money I happily accept but I never ask.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I don't think it matters who pays, as long as you are upfront about it in the invitation. "We were wondering if Connor could join us for the day at the waterpark. he will have to pay the $20 admission, I will bring a picnic lunch, and I can pick him up at noon." or "Can Tristan join us at the movies, we will pay admission but if he wants treats he should bring some spending money.", or "Can Jack come mini-golfing tomorrow, our treat." These are all fine, and the parents can decide whether or not they can afford it. It is easy for people who have a lot of money to say "You should always pay for invited guests." For average people who don't have a lot of money this isn't always feasible. Especially if you are the mom who is always taking the kids on fun outings. I take my kids on outings at least twice a week in the summer, and they can each bring a friend on each outing. There is no way I could afford to pay for all those outings for the extra kids. I find families appreciate having someone take their kid out for the day, supervising them and entertaining them, even if it means having to pay admission to a venue. A while back my kids had an invitation I though was strange. "Can John come to the movies with us? He will need to pay his admission, and get a ride there and back." That was a little much. I guess they should have said "Can Jack meet us at the movies." When parents invite my kids on outings and don't mention a cost, I will ask "How much money should he bring." Sometimes they will say they are treating (and they often do because I take their kids on so many outings), or they will tell me the price of admission etc. When my kids invite friends to the members only pool we usually try to invite the friends that are also members.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yes you pay.

ANYTIME I invite ANYONE to our country club, dinner, outing, etc, it is MY treat because I did the inviting.

We did this throughout daughter growing up and still do it among friends to this day. It is just the right thing to do.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First of all, if we could all just meet that buddy's step aunt who makes a zillion dollars working from home on her laptop...we could take the whole town without a second thought...

Spammer, please, find another place to go.

I think how you start is how the relationship usually tends to go. If you offer to pay now, then there is a pretty good chance that you'll be paying for the duration of the relationship. If you can afford it, and can afford it for the duration of the relationship, then go ahead and pay.

In our town, a waterpark might be $10.00, but a concert ticket can be $80.00. For our child's BFF, I'm happy to pay because his BFF always is a pretty even relationship. However, with other families, we pay and pay and pay and pay, and when there is no reciprocity it becomes irksome.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I always pay for invited guests, even if they offer I still pay. Usually friends have done the same for me/my kids.
Though I never make assumptions, if one of my kids gets invited somewhere I make sure to give them $ but honestly most people who invite actually pay/host so it's rarely been an issue.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If it's just one friend then I pay their way. But it depends on how expensive it is and if we can financially swing it at the time.

I have told the kids they can invite friends but to let them know it's $10 or $20 or whatever. Then the parents can decide if they want to pay it or not.

When the state fair comes once a year, our son sometimes wants his friends to go and we will say that we will pay for the all day wristband, but they need to send money for drinks and snacks and "extras". Even still, we *know* we will still be paying more but at least it helps some. Because if you add in all those "extras", well, you can easily break the bank with kids. lol

So I think it depends. If you can afford it and it won't stress you out, then treat the friends. If you don't have a lot of extra, then I think it's still ok to let the parents know the cost and they can decide if they want to pay it or not. No biggie. Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

When my kids were younger it usually depended on whether it was a group or one on one. There were times when groups met, like for a movie, and I drove around four kids up there. I did not pay for anything for the other kids.

Now when we invited one friend to a pool or amusement park I always paid admission but they had to cover what ever else they wanted. I usually did pay for a lunch or dinner but not when another parent came along.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

We always said "we going x on Saturday its $10 per person to get in do you guys want go?" Your little one is 4 don't start the you pay for everything this early it's hard to stop once precedent is set. If you were inviting just child that's different.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hmm, maybe I don't remember what I did, but I think most other mothers usually covered their kids' expenses. I don't recall it being an issue. I do know that I always paid for kids' food, but I don't know that I would pay for entry fees to events.

To me, it depends upon your financial situation.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We do basically what Julie S does.

If we invite a child to an outing with us, we pay for them as our guest. Once our kids got a bit older and we take a crew to the trampoline park or to movies for example, then the kids pay.

Where you have the mom going - it might be a bit different. For example, my friend just invited me and the kids to go with her and her kids to see a movie. She was going to pick us all up. I would have paid our way. Even though she did the inviting. I wouldn't expect them to treat.

I don't know. Usually we just took the child (my kids' friends) not the parents too. So not sure about that part. When in doubt though - I'd pay.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Yes if you invite someone to a members only pool you pay for them as your guest. Sorry! If they insist on paying for themselves you can let them of course. On the other hand, if you are meeting somewhere you both have to in "Hey, do you want to meet us at the water park tomorrow morning?" then you both pay your own way.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i don't get how this is something with a rule.
i don't get how everyone (i'm assuming, haven't read ahead) will insist that yes, since you are inviting, you pay.
if you can pay and want to pay, say that. 'dears, i'd love for you to join us at the pool on thursday, our treat. bring a towel and some money for the snack bar.'
or 'dears, we're going to the pool on thursday, and we're allowed to bring guests. we'd love for it to be you. it's $10 each, and you do need to bring your own towel. you in?'
how is that offensive?
if there's ANY question, why not just clear it up?
ETA, beaver canoe, i love you. you are pretty much the only person who makes remote sense to me.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You do have to offer to pay. I wouldn't mind paying for the child but I have to say paying for the mother would bug me a bit but it is what it is. You invited so they are your guests. I would hope the mother would then pay for some lunch and/or treats while there. If not, you'll have to decide if it's worth it to continue to invite them and pay. Fortunately, most people we know reciprocate. Once I feel like we are hosting much more than someone else, I will take money if offered and if never offered, probably stop inviting. Or, in some cases, I know we are financially much better off than a couple of friends and in that case, I don't mind it getting really lopsided bc my daughters like the friends so much. It makes me happy to see my kids happy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would offer to pay. I know when we take DS's buddies to a movie or a concert or a game, we'll pick up the tab. Unless it's prohibitively expensive that is. 10 bucks is a small price to pay for some fun pool time. Besides, when her friend invites you guys it will be her chance to reciprocate. Have fun!! S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Since you invited them, you are the host and should be prepared to pay for your guests. I agree with Julie S that if it is a big group get together, let's all meet up at the pool kind of thing, everyone would pay for themselves. You should pay the admission and be prepared to pay for lunch if the timing is over lunch. If I was your guest, I would certainly offer to pay for our admission. If you paid for admission, I would offer to pay for lunch in return.
I know, it can get tricky!! If you just assume you are paying for everything then you will only have nice surprises if they pay and you won't feel bitter if they don't offer :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There is NO RULE. Just be upfront when asking/inviting; "our treat" or "we are going to the pool, it's $10 a person, are you interested in joining us". I feel this 'no rule' applies whether you are inviting one person or multiple.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your invitation to a place they cannot go on their own? You pay. You're the member, you have access. And, frankly, being able to afford a membership someplace means that you probably can scrape together an occasion fee for a friend.

What you MAY hope for is that the family reciprocates on another occasion, but you can't ask for it or expect it. If you can't pay, don't invite. It's different if you are taking your daughter to the movies and you ask if the other mom and child want to meet you there and go at the same time. That implies shared expenses.

Same thing as inviting someone to your house or to your child's party at a movie or bowling alley - your party, your expense, and you don't ask someone to pay to come to your home or your party. Sure, a birthday gift is implied, and if you invite people for dinner, someone will usually ask "What can I bring?" (at which point you decline or at least say "You really don't have to" and wait for them to insist, then assign something very small). Just as you wouldn't say, "Okay, but if you want to come, you have to underwrite half the dinner," you can't ask people to pay for your invitation or pay an "admission charge."

If the kids together decide they want to go to the lake or a public pool, then everyone can pay their share and parents on some level divvy up the carpooling and supervision. If you make the suggestion (rather than issue an invitation), you can imply the shared expenses by saying, "Hey Sue, my daughter Rachel wants to go see X movie. If your Ashley wants to go too, maybe we could find a showing they could attend together. I could drive one way and, if convenient, you could drive the other way." Same thing if they decide to go to the mall - they pay for their own purchases and you provide the transportation.

We have one son, and occasionally we took another friend of his with us on vacation - and we paid it all. We kind of spelled it out to the parents and the child, that we would cover his room, board, beach passes, meals out and family things like mini-golf. If he wanted souvenirs or a tee-shirt, or food at the concession stand beyond the picnic we packed, he was free to bring his own spending money (just as we expected our own son for pay for his personal luxuries). So as your child gets older, that sort of thing may occur more often.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Yes. If you do the inviting, you pay, generally. Chances are, the other mom will refuse your offer and insist on paying herself (I would). When inviting another kid only, I would ALWAYS pay for that kid. Often, it's a small price to pay for the exponential amount of enjoyment my kid would have with a friend along.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

When I invite people's kids out I pay. When others invite my kids out, they pay but I always make certain my kids have their own money just in case communication problem they have money to cover their costs of the activity without embarrassment.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If you can afford it you should offer. They might not have the money to do it and when they get there if you don't pay then it could be humiliating.

If you aren't planning on paying then you need to word it like this.

"Hey, I'm taking girly and we're going to the pool. It's only $10 each for non-members, you guys want to go?"

"Girly wants to know if your girly would be able to go to Frontier City on Saturday. It's a little expensive and it's short notice so I thought I'd see if that's something you could let her do?".

On the other hand.

"Girly and I are going to the pool today, we'd love to treat you and your girly to swimming and maybe a little trip to the tennis courts. What do you say? Wanna come, our treat?"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

When I invite a child - one of my kid's friends or a niece/nephew to do something with us - I always intend to pay.

If I am making plans with another adult, or another family group, sometimes I'm hosting and footing the bill, while other times it is a collaborative effort with shared costs. The key is being clear about it from the start.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Yes I pay when I invite to my club (there is not a cash register for them, so it is just added to my monthly bill). Most people I invite also know it is a treat and appreciate it. I do let my friends know if there is a free guest day and invite on that day, so they are not overly grateful or feel they need to repay me.

I agree if I go to a movie or park and/or 'get invited' I do not expect the other mom to pay for me nor do I pay for her and her child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Some people CAN pay. Some people can't afford to. And just because you CAN afford to, doesn't mean that you should always have to pay.

I just answered another question about this. My answer there was if it was a usual thing, then you certainly shouldn't be expected to pay all the time. That's being taken advantage of...

If this is the only time you are taking them, you can tell her "my treat". If it isn't, you can say "If you and your daughter would like to join us for the day, the charge is $20 for both of you."

What's more important than the question of who pays is to be upfront about it so that there are no unpleasant surprises.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Our pool charges $12 per day per guest now. I only invited the friends, not parents, and I paid because it goes on our bill. When other people asked to be my guest, I told them it will cost $12 each per day and I needed the cash up front. They didn't ask again.
I paid for Great Wolf Lodge because it is expensive. I told each mom the girls needed $40 spending money and we let them pick how they spent it. I once took two families to the rodeo with my passes. They thought I was paying for everything so they constantly asked me for stuff. Never again!
Also, Marie makes the best point. Once you start paying, it will become expected and it is irksome.

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