The grandmother that I have talked about here, the knee replacement one, has always been horrifically cheap all of her life. She lives on her own and does her own grocery shopping but buys the cheapest stuff available at Save a lot then complains that the fruits and veggies that she got are rotting a couple days later. My response was maybe you should either quit buying them or maybe take a look at the thermastate on your fridge and turn it down, and naturally, the fridge is fine. But her latest thing is calling me up telling me that I have to buy her a laptop and set up an internet connection. I asked if I could expect a check for buying her a laptop. Her response was that I wasn't going to get a check or any kind of money. I don't have a whole lot of extra money period to spend at the end of the month, I'm lucky if I have $150 breathing room at the end of the month. I told her that she was going to have to get off her butt and go to Best Buy and get herself a laptop. She had a meltdown, which I expected because she calls every day asking me to buy her things but has no intention of paying any one back. Between her pension, Social Security and investments, she has $4,000 a month. She has no house payment, no car payment and her bills total are $1,500 a month. Other than cutting her completely out of my life, how do I deal with it?
likely to continue living in her house on her own for any length of time?
I might question her about her plans for the computer. If she's having issues, it could be risky for her safety and finances. She could fall for any number of scams on the internet. Plus, is she tech savvy? Is it odd for her to suddenly want a computer? I'd try to figure out where that is coming from. I don't think that telling her to go by a major purchase herself if wise. If she does do that, she might get taken advantage of and overpay for something that she doesn't need. In fact, until I figured out why she's saying those things, I would be concerned with her shopping alone.
It seems that your patience has worn with her. Is there someone else who can assist her for now?
As for your Grandmother, you need to use tough love and say "NO" any time she wants you to pay for something. "Sorry I can't afford this luxury for you". Grandmother might not understand how expensive a laptop is as she probably sees people with them all the time, so they must be a dime a dozen.
By the way, has she ever owned a computer or is this her first try at wanting one? Do you think she would learn how to use it, or would it collect dust after a few weeks. Laptops aren't easy depending on Grandma's age. I can't get a hang of one and am happy to use my desk top computer as I came from the era of manual typewriters. A laptop makes my hands ache because one holds them differently compared to a regular keyboard.
As for her being cheap, if she gives you money to procure something reasonable for her, then buy it but if she doesn't, then don't.
My boss also had a tablet, but the constant scrolling was making me seasick too quick. Nope, don't want to use a device where I would need Dramamine :P
I'm going to take a step back and venture that the friction isn't about the food or the computer or other issues. It's about control and manipulation, and she's literally got you around her finger. She complains, you feel an obligation to respond or explain.
To me, that's the critical issue.
Just say no.
"I could pick that up for you. Are you paying by cash or a credit card?"
"Maybe you should pay a little more and enjoy the fruit longer."
If grandmother has been firmly attached to her money all her life, don't expect her to change now. But that does NOT obligate you to pay for things she won't buy for herself.
Just say no.
I might visit with her and get a good look at how she's functioning. Encouraging a person who may not have good judgment to make their own purchases could be a bad move.
After my cousin was diagnosed with dementia, it then made sense that she had a habit of revealing too much about her money situation when she went shopping. She would tell total strangers how much cash she had and how much in the bank! She was too friendly with people in the Walmart parking lot. It's a miracle she was not robbed or worse.
I'd make sure she's competent and if so, explain what the options are and ask if you can make the purchase for her with her money or if she would like to go with you. I don't see any need to be sarcastic to her about it.