Red Alert : The Visitors Are Coming!

Throughout the coming month of August, my boyfriend and I have 5 days to ourselves, the rest of the time we have visitors in our flat. We tend to get everyone wanting to come and visit us all at the same time because the flights are cheaper just after summer and last year I made a pact with myself that only one guest per month should come and stay. Other than that it is just too exhausting for us.

This time there were lots of reasons that my soft heart just couldn’t turn away the visitors! One are a young married couple who don’t have much money for a holiday, so they will stay 5 days. Another is my childhood friend who is having a lot of life changes at the moment and needs a bit of distance and refuge for a week while some difficult part of her life passes. The next is my brother and sister. My brother has never visited us in Germany, so we’re really excited to show him around. Finally, my boyfriend’s mother and aunt will come and they are really great fun. That is just for a weekend, so the last “leg” of visitors should be easy.

In between, we will have *just* enough time to restock the fridge, do a quick clean-up and wash and dry all our bedlinen and towels, so quite a lot of organisation will be required to make sure everything is in ship shape for each guest. I feel ready enough.

And now for the part I don’t like to talk about…

A few months ago I bought the e-book “The GOOD book” by Pam Young. (GOOD stands for Get Out Of Debt). Not that I’m in debt, but I like to read/ listen to peoples’ stories of how they came to realise that they can get their personal finances in order through self-discipline and organisation. Well, the author had an “aha!” moment when she realised that her behaviour had been like a spoiled brat, got to know her spoiled brat’s likes and dislikes and modified her tactics to deal with this spoiled inner child. This pointed the spotlight on my own inner child’s favourite playtime activities, which are very definitely eating out and lavish gifts to my friends and family.

While both of these things give me great joy, I can’t afford to do them willy-nilly as is my gut instinct. It gets me in trouble when I haven’t enough cash for the rest of the month. When visitors come, this gut instinct very often overrides everything else and I think “I won’t see them again for ages” and splash the cash on bringing everyone out to eat. So, I’m on Red Alert for the month of August! I will explain to each guest that since we have so many guests this month that we aren’t going to be eating out as much as previously.

So, here’s the way it’s going to work (and I hope I don’t back out on this too!) :
The young couple: the way I see it, it is their holiday, so if they want to eat out they should organise this for themselves. I will be cooking simple home-cooked meals which they are welcome to share in if they wish. Other than that, as Laura over on I’m an Organizing Junkie says “YOYO” (you’re on your own).

My friend: She is also here on holiday and I will bring her out for her birthday next Tuesday. We may possibly barbecue if the weather is good also. I will make a little extra of our simple home-made meals and other than that, “YOYO”.

My brother and sister: we will probably go away for a week if I can get the time off and we will be self-catering for that going out once to eat, perhaps on the Sunday. My brother has also requested that we go canoeing and also to a football match while he is here. This is why I need to take a little care with my other previous guests!

My boyfriend’s mother: never lets us pay for dinner. I usually take care of breakfast, lunch and tea and will offer to pay for dinner. But I know it’s not going to happen. She has helped me out so often with money when I really needed it, I’m so lucky to have her. I know so many other women have conflict with their “mother in laws”, we really understand each other. I hope it always stays that way!

Does anyone else get so many visitors at one time? And like me do you find it to also be a big temptation to splurge on them? How do you keep it within the realms of affordability? Any tips on organisation would be very much appreciated!



  1. I get the most visitors over Christmas. While my apartment is only 300 sq ft I usually end up with 4 overnight guests and up to 15 here for dinner. It’s like one big sleepover. While I enjoy having everyone together it’s always nice when things get back to normal.

  2. We get a lot of visitors but mostly immediate family. Certai people like my Mom who is on a small senior pension and the kids we pay for, but mostly we eat at home. When the kids come we try and eat out only once per visit. When Mom comes we only eat in as BBQ is a treat for her that she doesn’t get at home. My Aunt and Uncle are visiting from the States in October, we will mostly eat at home unless they want to eat out and then they are on their own. Home cooking rules with visitors! Good luck in your busy month!

  3. Thanks Cheapchick, I find it so hard to be organised enough to have enough for all the extra people. Our first guest left a few days ago and it was her birthday while she was here, so we took her out for dinner. We also ate out one other time when I just had nothing at all left in the house. That kind of disorganised money wasting does annoy me, because it’s my own fault that I wasn’t more organised.

    The next two guests to come are a young couple who I don’t know so well but I know how much 5 days in a hostel costs so said it was fine for them to stay in our flat. I will explain to them that we can’t afford to take all our guests this month out to eat, and ask them midweek to look after themselves and at the weekend I will cook as normal. There are certain guests who always take us out for dinner to thank us for having them, but um, none of these guests would fall into that category…

  4. It gets cramped but it’s quite fun. Food or plates get passed around rather than someone getting up and trying to get to the food. Everyone is so close that you can’t ignore the children so they have fun getting everyone’s attention all at the same time. But I am very fortunate in that those who stop by, while they may not want a place as small as mine don’t mind the coziness for an evening.

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