An anonymous reader of the post “Feeding my kids too much fast food” mentioned having had a problem with her au pair and credit cards:
DO NOT EVER give your AP a credit card or debit card to use. We learned the hard way with our first AP. She was getting cash back with all grocery and gas purchases and managed to fund a tidy nest egg before we caught her and sent her back to her home country. Now when AP buys something, she pays with her own money and give us a receipt for reimbursement. We try to do our own shopping and keep the car full (she puts her own gas in for social use). I will leave her a $20 once in a while to pick up milk or a pizza, but I ask for a receipt and the change. Lead them not into temptation.
It never occurred to me to give my APs a credit card. I have a hard enough time with the temptation of ‘buy now, pay later’! We’ve always used the “pizza money in an envelope” method, with me putting in cash for incidentals and her putting in receipts. This has worked well for us, in part I bet because I take care of so many other potential expenses directly (e.g., I keep the family car full of gas, I write checks for her to take to their piano lessons, I order groceries online and pay online, etc.)
But, I’m intrigued by how other people manage incidental expenses, and especially how host families use credit cards. So– Let’s think about CREDIT cards only (not debit cards) — and tell:
Have you found a good system? Do you have a story or advice to share? Tell us more…