Should we or Shouldn't we...advice please!


Ever go through that torturous “should we or shouldn’t we?” situation? My wife and I have been lately! About a month ago we found out that my wife’s mother is having some real health problems that got very serious. She was having an enlargement of the heart, increased blindness from her diabetes, swelling in the legs, chest pain, and she was generally in a horrible state physically.

My wife is from the Philippines. Her entire family lives there, including her mother whom I just mentioned. The last time we were in the Philippines to visit her family was Christmas 2003/New Years 2004. Because we’ve had three children since (aged 4, 3, and 21 months respectively) and my wife quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom (something that means A LOT to us!) we’ve been very tight financially living off my income. I am a sixth grade teacher in public school.

So we haven’t been home in years to see her family. We got into panic mode and got on all the travel sites, Expedia, Cheaptickets, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. The airfare was outrageous! The cheapest we got at the time was Philippine Airlines. The airfare totaled $7,400 for all five of us! And that was discounted airfare! The hotels in Manila and my wife’s hometown will total around $1800 for the amount of time we’ll stay, and food, taxis, and miscellaneous will be around $1,000. So we’re looking at $10,000 to $11,000 for this trip.

After we booked all this my wife’s mom began recovering somewhat and she is walking around now. Her blindness is still present, still feels lousy, but her blood pressure and numbers are improved thanks to medication and rest.

My wife really misses her family and mom. I miss them, too. And my children have NEVER met their grandma in the Philippines or their aunts, uncles, cousins, and they know nothing of their filipino side. It saddens me. I want them to know that part of their family, culture, and identity.

Yet the cost of the trip is insane! My wife and I have been thinking about cancelling the trip. Four months ago we paid off over $7,000 in credit cards finally and were debt-free. My wife and I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Now my wife has about three and a half years until she becomes a registered nurse. She just finished her RN program pre-requisites and is on her way toward a great career. But we don’t want to do the daycare or preschool thing too much with our kids. We’re trying to take care of them at home ourselves and build/nurture that relationship bond between mom, dad and the kids. So it’ll be a few years until we have a dual income again.

We really have three options: we go as a family and take on new debt, just my wife goes alone to the Philippines, or we cancel it and just pay a $1,000 cancellation fee and be debt free in about four months.

I’d like to hear your opinions about this as we’re prayerfully trying to discern what we should do? We’re SO stressed out and tired of this situation. HELP everybody! Your opinions are encouraged and welcome…be kind, please! :slight_smile:


Go as a family and have a great time.


Is her mother close to dying? At the very least she should visit her, because if her mother dies and she doesn’t go see her, it may be something she will come to regret for the rest of her life. Much worse than debt.

Maybe if your finances are tight she should be the only one to go. Your kids are so young now, even if they do go how much will they remember of the trip later on?


If her mother is close to dying, let your wife go. Otherwise I’d say, it’s not worth it in terms of debt. My mother died, alone, in Holland in 2001 (I live in Britain), so I do sympathise, especially since my mom also died of complications of years of diabetis…but $11.000,- would take you YEARS to pay off, and having just spent 5 years paying off a similar amount myself, I know the hardship that involves…you have 3 young children, your life is in the US , and your wife knows that, so really…let her go if her mom doesn’t have much time left, but otherwise don’t enslave yourself to more debt!


Putting my two cents in, I would say to stay home for now. Suggest that you mother-in
-law be put on dialysis, since her condition will not improve but only get worse. I am also
diabetic, have CHF, and sufferd from edema and high blood pressure. I was put on dialysis
and the results are tremendous. I no longer have edema, and my bp is normal. I still have
some use of my kidneys. If your mother-in-law continues the way she is, sooner or later
she may have to be dialyzed and it may be too late. Since your wife is almost an RN ( I
wish her the best in this ), she should know about it. Being dialyzed regularly, you mother
in-law should make and show great improvement in her health. It did for me. I hope this
helps. God Bless.

PAX DOMINI :signofcross:

Shalom Aleichem


For your sake: I think spending that much money is ridic!! lol. But it is well worth it to visit family.
I’m 22 and my grandma died this past May- and I am still upset about it, but I am glad I got to see her once a year or so (she lived in Canada- I live in Georgia). So for that part- I think your children should be able to visit your wifes side of the family…
But if she was to die soon (within the next year or so) would you all fly there for the funeral? Because if you will be paying 10,000 again that is VERY pricey.

Also to make things a little cheaper, is there no way you can stay with her family when you get there? That way food and hotel would be practically eliminated (in some sense…)

Depending on what you say back- right now I say you should go, but hopefully that price will be able to be reduced a little??


Go! Go! Go! Even if she isn’t at death’s door right now, her health is not going to improve, and your wife and children should have the chance to visist before she takes a turn for the worse. The money thing will eventually work it’s self out, but Filipino families are really close, and I’m sure your mother-in-law would be uplifted by a visit.


If it were me and I already was used to the idea of spending the money and going, I would go. First of all, it makes more sense to me to spend the $10,000 and get the trip than to cancel and get nothing for $1,000.

Second, your kids may not remember it but I’m sure you will have pictures and you can talk to them about it forever. There’s also something to be said for your wife knowing that her Mother met her grandchildren. Plus, above all, it will make her Mother happy if you go. Sure it will be a lot of money and if it were some random vacation to Hawaii that you could take anytime, I’d say cancel, but it sounds like this is a unique opportunity you will never have again, and it involves her family.


God bless all of you for your comments. Keep them coming! My wife and I truly appreciate them. My mother-in-law doesn’t appear to be close to death but her health is by no means good. She is in her 70’s and my wife and I worry about her. The Philippines does not have a preventive maintenance mentality like we have here in the States with colonoscopies and annual physicals and blood pressure being checked all the time, mamograms, etc. They go to the doctor when they’re sick. It’s a third world country and you do what you can afford.

But the point is that when we made the plans to go and bought the tickets, Kate’s family was making it sound like she was on borrowed time. We were panicked about it. But now that she’s better, I don’t want to have the mentality that I’ll only go there when she’s miserable and close to death either. We should be thrilled she’s better and we’ve felt that if we go it would lift her spirits. Right now she says she feels so much better knowing we’re coming and she’ll finally see her grandkids as well as see Kate and I after being gone for about six years.

It’s tough. Financially Kate will be an RN in about three years or so. Right now things are tight financially. We live in CALIFORNIA, tax-a-fornia, land of Arnold the mismanager of $$$ and the worst housing bubble state you’ve ever seen :eek:. It’s tough times here.

Tough balance. I really thank you all for your advice, input, etc. Keep it coming!


i know trips are more expensive when you have to buy them fast. What would it cost if you had the time to plan a trip farther out in advance. Like for nest summer? Could you get a better deal on airlines etc??


Hi Beckers,
Good and valid point BUT we already looked into it. Between the $1,000 fee for cancellation and the fact that airfare in the summer is only about $1,500 cheaper, it would just about be a wash. Summer and Christmas season are considered “PEAK” so you can’t win with hotel rates at all! And the airfare is only slightly cheaper in summer because the weather STINKS. In summer it is monsoon season in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines it pours rain. So you save about a grand but it pours! Christmas season is lovely. Financially thanks to the penalty it would be about a wash.


My perspective: If you’d have to take on debt to travel to the Philippines, you can’t afford it. It’s not a matter of should we or shouldn’t we. You simply don’t have the money to pay for it. And although this is unfortunate, it’s really just a consequence of the (very good and loving) decision your family made to keep your wife home with the kids. You traded the ability to go on expensive, spur-of-the-moment vacations for the benefit of having a stay-at-home mom. It is what it is.

I understand how important it is to visit family, I really do. I myself just moved across the country to be closer to my family. And if your mother-in-law is in poor health, I could see how getting your wife to the Philippines soon would be a priority. But I would do it without debt. Save, save, save for the next month like crazy, then send your wife alone. Maybe she could stay with her mom or other relatives, instead of a hotel. Have her take lots of pictures and make some great memories. And then when she returns home, you won’t be burdened with debt for another five years. You’re obliged to honor and love your parents, but you’re also responsible for managing your family’s finances wisely and prudently.

I’ll pray for your MIL’s health. God bless.


I think at this point it’s either my wife goes alone or we all go but that’s just where we are right now. I still appreciate any input from posters!


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