Give and Take: Offering to Pay for Groceries as a House Guest

Q: My husband and I will be visiting my brother and sister in law for 2 or 3 days. Is it okay to offer to pay for groceries?

A: Yes, it is thoughtful for house guests who stay for more than a day or two to offer to take the hosts out for lunch or dinner or to offer to pay for some groceries or even offer to prepare a meal.


  1. Heather

    I prefer to just go buy some groceries (staples like bread, milk, and apples that I know will be used), rather than offer to pay. Typically the host will reject payment, whereas they will happily accept a re-stocked fridge.

  2. PJ

    I’m with Heather. Things that I bring when staying someplace for a couple of days include good coffee, cheese, crackers, tortilla chips, salsa, wine and/or beer. These will all last if they’re not needed right away. I also call when I’m leaving or from the road and ask if I can pick anything up.

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