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Quill

I’m annoyed by what I view as an unnecessary purchase

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By my young adult kid. I’m walking a fine line here. She earns her own income and she works hard. But also, she does owe me money for her trip to France and needs to replace her car that we were hoping would last through her last year of college but now does not appear to be the case. 

She’s caught up in having a purse of a special brand, which I generally advise against and even did so in this particular case. But they are “super on-sale!” So she bought one moments ago. So I feel I am walking a fine line because I would not/did not forbid her from IMO wasting money on a pricey purse and don’t feel that would be right as she makes money herself, yet however, if she were not already living on our benevolence, she could not even entertain the idea of buying this (stupid) purse. 

Stuff like this is hard for me to deal with because I was piss-poor at her age and was 100% in charge of all my expenses. I had to buy tires and dinner and bus fare. I’m sort of hoping she ends up regretting it. 

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

Is this a JAWM or vent only or do you want replies?

Opinions are fine. I mean, I don’t really care to hear that I’m a crappy fun-sucker, but if I am wrong to be annoyed, that’s fine. 

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From a parent of a 19yo to another mom of an adult, here's what I tell myself:

"You raised a darn fine kid.  He's nice, determined, and has a decent head on his shoulders.  You've taught him everything you can about money and life, and he's still going to mess up.  You did, too, at 19, and at least he's not making the same mistakes you are, so that's something.  Give him a bit of grace right now and talk to him later when you can separate your feelings from the issue and get him back on the ball again."

So.......just replace 'he' with 'she'.  Because I'm pretty sure you raised a darn fine kid, too.

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Well I did just say somethhing a little bit mean in a text. Cause she just had a root canal that I am paying for in three installments of >$300. So I said, “Luckily you didn’t have to spend that on dental care.” Which was a little mean. Yet true. 

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I totally understand!  

 

All 3 of my kids make frivolous purchases with their money that should, IMO, be spent on other things...

DS - save up to move out, please

DD - stop buying makeup 

YDS - stop going out with your friends/teammates and save up to buy a car/insurance because you won't be driving my car to school in the fall  

 

And, I do hold my tongue, but man, it is annoying.  I do agree with HomeAgain, though.  I did raise ' darn fine kids', and continue to do so!

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Honestly, I think my advice might depend on pricey. Like if we are talking about a $300 purse, I might gently flip out on my kid.  If we were talking like $50 (which, in my world, IS a pricey purse, though I know to some people it's not.) I might make one or two comments and that's it.  

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I’m with you, Quill. Yes, my young adults make their own money (and honestly they work really really hard and save a lot and pay for most of their school) but they are still in our wallet. We still do help them out on things and that is hard to do when it feels like they are frivolous about money. I would really struggle with what you describe.

I don’t know what the answer is. I want to help my young adults, and I feel good about doing so, but it is as a support when they are working hard and spending wisely. It doesn’t feel good unless they are doing their part. I also was piss poor at that age and married and completely on my own at 21. And we were POOR. 

I’ve been pretty lucky not to have this scenario. Mine tend to run big purchases by me and also work so hard they feel the weight of their purchases. I do think I would talk to her, though. Basically just couch it somehow in a relationship lesson. In my house I would say something to the effect of “I understand your excitement and your desire for the purse, but as a mom it leaves me feeling ______. “ I think I would explain how it made me feel to see her spend that money while she owes me money and explain how that would likely make others feel and that it can hurt a relationship. I wouldn’t guilt her more than that and I wouldn’t force her to return it. I wouldn’t bring it up again. I’d move on and hope that she makes a different choice next time. 

But I don’t think your feelings are wrong at all. 

 

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I think the purse aside, once you cool off, something should be said about your feelings. 

She ought to be putting things like saving for transportation before a purse. 

Possibly no longer providing things like funds for a trip to France that she would be paying back and letting her save up in advance would be a better option. 

For example of a slightly similar thing in my own life. My teen ds, not yet adult,  currently owes me for cell service fees for unlimited plan amount over the 7GB level that I was willing to cover. Then in the school year he had a little money, but I let him defer paying back till summer time. 

Now it is summer and nothing is happening toward making some more money and paying it back. 

So my new rule will be that I don’t cover any cost for any extra in advance. When he pays me back, then if he wants he can save for unlimited and pay it in advance. I think Dave Ramsey would approve. 

Edited by Pen
Autocorrect corrected
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9 minutes ago, Quill said:

Well I did just say somethhing a little bit mean in a text. Cause she just had a root canal that I am paying for in three installments of >$300. So I said, “Luckily you didn’t have to spend that on dental care.” Which was a little mean. Yet true. 

 

I think what may be interpreted as slightly sarcastic remarks are not likely to help the relationship. 

But I think you have a legitimate grievance. And also I think her decision to buy an on sale doodad in the circumstances you describe is probably not a good one in terms of financial prudence. 

So I think a frank, calm discussion about finances and how you are feeling should take place soon. 

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Well, everybody, the cat is out of the bag and she does know how I feel now. She was thrown by my dental care comment and so I just explained it more. She said it sounded like I was raining on her parade and I said some things reflective of what I just said here - that I am finding it hard to be happy for her about the purse because I don’t feel she is in a position to buy fancy purses and I feel resentful because I could not do such things at her age. I think it will all work out and we have a good relationship in general and I won’t be saying another word about the purse from this day forward. But I don’t like conflict and stuff like this is hard, as I said. She lives with such privaledge but she doesn’t really see it because it is just “normal”to her for our economic class and the people we are around the most. 

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4 minutes ago, Quill said:

 I said some things reflective of what I just said here - that I am finding it hard to be happy for her about the purse because I don’t feel she is in a position to buy fancy purses and I feel resentful because I could not do such things at her age.

 

I think I'd try to take some time to reflect on this statement if I felt this way. Generally speaking, I am GLAD my kids have opportunities and can take some things for granted that I never could. If you're feeling resentful of their privilege, you might want to reconsider how much you help your adult children - your resentment will likely bleed into your relationship with them. 

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16 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Honestly, I think my advice might depend on pricey. Like if we are talking about a $300 purse, I might gently flip out on my kid.  If we were talking like $50 (which, in my world, IS a pricey purse, though I know to some people it's not.) I might make one or two comments and that's it.  

Probably at regular price, in the $300 range. But “super on sale!” is $60. 

It’s interesting because I have an expensive-purse story from my early 20s. I had some gift money and Coach purses were the thing at that time; all my friends and work associates had one. I rationalized that, hey, this is present money, I am going to go buy one of those Coach purses. So, I went to the expensive mall and looked at the expensive store that sold them and then agonized over each choice. What if this is too small? What if this is too big? What if this doesn’t turn out to be the most versatile color? And on and on, I hemmed and hawed. Then it dawned on me that I did not want a Coach purse, only thought I should have one because that’s what other ladies like me had. So I never did buy one. I probably bought contact lenses instead. Or groceries. 

I think I just wish in my heart that this would have been the same epiphany she would have had. But she doesn’t feel that sting because she is still dependent, so here we are. 

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2 minutes ago, hippiemamato3 said:

 

I think I'd try to take some time to reflect on this statement if I felt this way. Generally speaking, I am GLAD my kids have opportunities and can take some things for granted that I never could. If you're feeling resentful of their privilege, you might want to reconsider how much you help your adult children - your resentment will likely bleed into your relationship with them. 

It’s that I am torn - on one hand - HORRAY! She got to study in France! She has a car she can use and that she did not have to buy herself! She does not have to put off things like dental care, which I did. I enrolled in a study program at NIH for dental care when I was 20-something. I am glad. 

I just don’t feel like I’m doing these things so she can buy a fancy purse. 

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A Coach purse marked down to $60 is IMO a fantastic deal and probably a very reasonable purchase.  Properly cared for, that purse will last a long time.  And it sounds like it is normal in her socioeconomic group to own designer purses, and $60 is pretty much nothing for one.

I occasionally still get a whiff of resentment from my mother.  The truth is my parents hovered right around the poverty level most of my childhood. We make a very good living, especially for our LCOL area.  My husband’s parents likely haven’t made $50K a year ever, and very occasionally I get a feeling of regret from them.  We ARE in a different socioeconomic status and can do more things for our kids, but we’ve made different choices—not better or worse—that allow for that.  Don’t let this affect your relationship with her.  She started in a different place than you and is in a completely different place now than you were.  You can’t compare or hold her to the same economic values as someone who’s known poverty and struggle.

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I think you should set up a repayment schedule for the money she owes you. As long as she makes her payments on time what she does with the rest of her money is her choice. Having you second-guessing her choices and justifying it because she owes you money is a recipe for resentment on both sides.

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Okay, this is totally a case of pot and kettle here, because I am worthless when it comes to any kind of confrontation. But if you need for her to pay for more of her own expenses, you need to just say, “Hey, you need to pay more of your own expenses.” Don’t bottle it up, or go all passive-aggressive on her, because that will just hurt both of you, and it's not worth the rise in blood pressure for either of you!

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15 minutes ago, Danae said:

I think you should set up a repayment schedule for the money she owes you. As long as she makes her payments on time what she does with the rest of her money is her choice. Having you second-guessing her choices and justifying it because she owes you money is a recipe for resentment on both sides.

I agree. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

By my young adult kid. I’m walking a fine line here. She earns her own income and she works hard. But also, she does owe me money for her trip to France and needs to replace her car that we were hoping would last through her last year of college but now does not appear to be the case. 

She’s caught up in having a purse of a special brand, which I generally advise against and even did so in this particular case. But they are “super on-sale!” So she bought one moments ago. So I feel I am walking a fine line because I would not/did not forbid her from IMO wasting money on a pricey purse and don’t feel that would be right as she makes money herself, yet however, if she were not already living on our benevolence, she could not even entertain the idea of buying this (stupid) purse. 

Stuff like this is hard for me to deal with because I was piss-poor at her age and was 100% in charge of all my expenses. I had to buy tires and dinner and bus fare. I’m sort of hoping she ends up regretting it. 

 

I am 1000% with you, girl! My 21yo spends money like water and it's sooooo hard to know when to say something and when to shut up. She doesn't owe us money per say but she made a huge error with her bank account which ended up draining ours (we've since unlinked them) and she never even offered to pay us back. But she's been to plenty of concerts this month!

She was crying to me last night because she feels limited in her opportunities because she has to work (vs people who can take unpaid internships). There, there. Maybe if you paid off your credit cards, you wouldn't have to work so many hours? No, I didn't say that.

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15 minutes ago, Danae said:

I think you should set up a repayment schedule for the money she owes you. As long as she makes her payments on time what she does with the rest of her money is her choice. Having you second-guessing her choices and justifying it because she owes you money is a recipe for resentment on both sides.

I guess this is why it is an issue, because she knows what she owes me and she knows that if she has to replace the car, she will owe me still more, so, TO ME, it seems like she should be on an utter wallet fast until she has paid off her debt and gotten ahead of the car issue. Then buy the stupid purse if you must.

She knows that once school is back in session, in one month, her earning ability will be halted or severly curtailed until winter break. Yet it doesn’t press upon her and that is where I’m feeling put out. 

In general I feel under enormous financial pressure because of some other things I can neither discuss with her nor mention here and I’m just mad that it’s not on her radar screen that she should be paying financial attention to the imperative things and ignore the doodads for now. 

I was trying to avoud saying, “you must pay me $——— each month on the 10th until you are paid up AND in a position to replace the car,” because her main earning ability is NOW, but will be curtailed once school resumes.

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My ds buys fountain pens...don't get me started on prices. How I would feel would depend upon what conversations have happened previously. Were there conversations about her possibly covering the dental care or her own expenses toward study abroad or a car? Or has she historically considered those expenses covered by a parent? 

Learning to spend correctly required some scaffolding in my household. Ds would ask about a purchase (pens in this case). We'd discuss his expenses, what his monetary goals are and how far a purchase might set him back, then the decision is his. Just because he's purchased some expensive pens doesn't change the expenses we cover for him by living at home. 

$60 for a good purse would be something I considered an investment. I would ask myself if I'm upset because she spent $60 or because she spent it on a designer purse. 

You could turn this into a bonding experience by asking why she likes that brand of purse, asking if she agonized over size, how she plans to use it, carry it all or time or just for special occasions, stuff like that. But it may be too late for that. 

I do think you need to say that you must pay me so much by this time of the month. Otherwise, it's a nebulous idea. 

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If it is any comfort, I am right there with you with my 20 yr old dd.  She is working hard, I am really proud of her, but I struggle to bite my tongue when she makes purchases similar to what you describe.  We have had her develop a budget, but I can't really "enforce" a budget at this point, kwim?  So I talk to her, I remind her and I cringe from time to time.  

Life can be unpredictable.  If I could talk to my 20 year old self, I would say "Save every possible penny!!  Life is coming at high speed!!".  Unfortunately, some lessons are only learned the hard way. 

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Also, it is moot now, but the semester in France - she did know ahead of time that she would be paying for the flights and another sum for incidental costs and she did save money in order to do so. But the error was mine in that it was just plain a lot more expensive than I had figured and that was without her being frivolous. It was all just more. Tram passes, train passes, cell service. Things were just more expensive so I told her we would let some ride until she returned because otherwise, she would not have enough money to fly home or take a train back to Paris, kwim? 

So, she always knew it was not carte blanche, but neither of us knew she would come back indebted to us. 

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13 minutes ago, Quill said:

I guess this is why it is an issue, because she knows what she owes me and she knows that if she has to replace the car, she will owe me still more, so, TO ME, it seems like she should be on an utter wallet fast until she has paid off her debt and gotten ahead of the car issue. Then buy the stupid purse if you must.

She knows that once school is back in session, in one month, her earning ability will be halted or severly curtailed until winter break. Yet it doesn’t press upon her and that is where I’m feeling put out. 

In general I feel under enormous financial pressure because of some other things I can neither discuss with her nor mention here and I’m just mad that it’s not on her radar screen that she should be paying financial attention to the imperative things and ignore the doodads for now. 

I was trying to avoud saying, “you must pay me $——— each month on the 10th until you are paid up AND in a position to replace the car,” because her main earning ability is NOW, but will be curtailed once school resumes.

 
 

I had a similar conversation to this recently and I feel like it went well and I was generally less annoyed afterward. My script for you might go:

Hey kiddo, this purse thing has made me realize that there are some financial things that we need to get settled so you don't feel nagged and I don't feel used (I think there's a better way to say this. Used might be a trigger. resentful, put upon?). As you know, your dad and I are anticipating that you will pay back $___ for the trip and car. I am realizing that it's not going to work to just have that hanging out there between us. I know that you're working hard to balance all of your expenses along with some fun stuff, which is totally ok as long as you meet your obligations. What I think would be better is for you to come up with a payment schedule. Why don't you think through what sounds reasonable to you and let's talk it through. I'd like to start up in August, so just choose a date and amount and get back to me.

 

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6 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

My ds buys fountain pens...don't get me started on prices. How I would feel would depend upon what conversations have happened previously. Were there conversations about her possibly covering the dental care or her own expenses toward study abroad or a car? Or has she historically considered those expenses covered by a parent? 

Learning to spend correctly required some scaffolding in my household. Ds would ask about a purchase (pens in this case). We'd discuss his expenses, what his monetary goals are and how far a purchase might set him back, then the decision is his. Just because he's purchased some expensive pens doesn't change the expenses we cover for him by living at home. 

$60 for a good purse would be something I considered an investment. I would ask myself if I'm upset because she spent $60 or because she spent it on a designer purse. 

You could turn this into a bonding experience by asking why she likes that brand of purse, asking if she agonized over size, how she plans to use it, carry it all or time or just for special occasions, stuff like that. But it may be too late for that. 

I do think you need to say that you must pay me so much by this time of the month. Otherwise, it's a nebulous idea. 

I am upset because it is a designer purse. If she spent $60 on...something that I thought had lasting importance - maybe like a winter coat or something, if she didn’t have a coat at all - I would not be upset. I am entirely upset because of what a designer purse represents, which, to me, is nothing but image and trying to show off. 

About your first paragraph, there was never any expectation on either of our part that she would pay for her dental care. And I still don’t expect her to pay for that. I just thought she would realize that it’s a big deal. It’s a thousand dollars and I had her arrange a payment plan because it is a lot of dough. It just seems to me like she would realize that but it doesn’t feel like she does. And the car - she knows she will have to pay for the purchase of a replacement car; we have always said so. BUT she is not in a position to buy one herself, so that will be payments to us as well. This is where I feel like yelling, “DON’T you get it?! You need to focus on paying for the stuff that CANNOT WAIT!” 

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

I am upset because it is a designer purse. If she spent $60 on...something that I thought had lasting importance - maybe like a winter coat or something, if she didn’t have a coat at all - I would not be upset. I am entirely upset because of what a designer purse represents, which, to me, is nothing but image and trying to show off. 

About your first paragraph, there was never any expectation on either of our part that she would pay for her dental care. And I still don’t expect her to pay for that. I just thought she would realize that it’s a big deal. It’s a thousand dollars and I had her arrange a payment plan because it is a lot of dough. It just seems to me like she would realize that but it doesn’t feel like she does. And the car - she knows she will have to pay for the purchase of a replacement car; we have always said so. BUT she is not in a position to buy one herself, so that will be payments to us as well. This is where I feel like yelling, “DON’T you get it?! You need to focus on paying for the stuff that CANNOT WAIT!” 

But what does the purse represent to her? Was she influenced by French style? I don't necessarily see a designer purse as showing off. Having had many $10 purses in my life that didn't quite work or last, a designer purse can be an investment piece. They're generally made with better quality materials and craftsmanship. Now if she bought 10 and carried them for a week each, then it could be a issue. 

As for the second paragraph, I would again consider previous arrangements. A $60 expense when you're covering the dental care wouldn't phase me. I don't think my son should never spend his money just because the furnace/electric bill is high for a month because of weather. We've (my mom and I) already agreed that that bill would not be his responsibility, what he does with his money in that time frame is his business. 

As for the car, yeah, I would have some conversations. I would maybe help her develop a budget for fall. She may concede that she shouldn't have spent the money. Or, she may see it that she'll be back to "broke student" budget next month and this was her one big item for the summer. 

 

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For Christmas, consider gifting her with FPU (or whatever other financial management course fits your values.). Someone else speaking to the priorities and such that you are referencing here may have more impact.  The truth is that even at 20, many young people still have this idea in the back of their minds that mom doesn’t REALLY know what she is talking about, and can’t REALLY understand.  

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I’m just guessing, of course, but I think the purse to her represents the standard for “everyone” of her age and class. She, I think, simply views it as What She’s Supposed To Have. The purse is not the only symbol like this, it’s just the most flagrant currently and it’s bad timing because I am extremely stressed about our financial future. She also buys Sephora makeup and Lush skincare - that sort of thing. Just bougie buying in general.

Last week, she said she thought it would be helpful to have a chiropractic alignment and I kind of just laughed. Because I had two immediate thoughts: 1) I’m not paying for a spine alignment; and 2) Neither can you!  I don’t know who told her she should have a spinal alignment, but to me that is preposterously frivolous. 

So, it is a culmination of things unsaid and the purse is the most glaring example, so it boiled over. 

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I would be annoyed as well, but I'd also know that my child wouldn't understand the depths of my annoyance and would be confused about what she had done wrong.  

She has a big safety net (you) so she doesn't feel the urgency that you feel.  You didn't have a big safety net when you were her age, and you don't have one now.  You're feeling the stress of that right now, and she's not.  Even though she doesn't understand because she's innocent to the stress you're under, it's still irritating to be thought of as the safety net for someone else, especially when you yourself are worried about falling and hitting the ground hard.  

She probably won't get it until her safety net is gone and she's relying fully on herself.  And if you weren't facing your own financial issues, you probably wouldn't feel as upset by her buying the purse as you do right now.  Things have changed for you financially, and she doesn't know it yet, so she's continuing her business as usual.

 

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13 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

For Christmas, consider gifting her with FPU (or whatever other financial management course fits your values.). Someone else speaking to the priorities and such that you are referencing here may have more impact.  The truth is that even at 20, many young people still have this idea in the back of their minds that mom doesn’t REALLY know what she is talking about, and can’t REALLY understand.  

Yeah, possibly. (Although I loathe Dave Ramsey, so not him, but I get it. It would be Joe Dominguez.) It’s just kooky to me in a way because I have been frugal since before she was born. It has been an example for always. She knows my parents never had much and still dont. I have refrained from comment on the expensive makeup and such but now I feel like it was a mistake to not mentin it more. I figured she would understand better as she needed to buy more necessary things like gasoline. But she doesnt seem to notice that really so far. 

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I understand. Kids make bad financial decisions sometimes. 

For your peace of mind, do you have a specific timeline for when she has to pay you back for the trip to France? If not, I would develop one with her and everyone sign it.

I'd suggest that she start looking for a car to replace hers NOW. It takes time to find a good car at a good price. Time allows you to shop around. No time means you may not get as good a deal. So start looking now and she can get an idea of how much a car will cost. I'd suggest maybe showing her how to figure out what her monthly payment would be too, so she can figure out how to cover that. 

We started our College girl on covering her own expenses because we saw that she was earning money but not spending it wisely (yes, it is possible to eat at McDonalds and Sonic 28 days out of the month and not die. But it does eat up a LOT of money!). She has learned that if you work a lot one month, but you eat out a lot (see those 28 days), all that money just sorta disappears somehow. She downloaded a money tracking budget app and is slowly learning that she needs to spend her money in a wiser fashion. She is very proud of the fact she is paying her own cell bill, her own car insurance, and for all her food expenses. She wanted to be independent, and she originally sorta fussed about some of those costs, but now she is owning it and learning (some) financial responsibility. 

But she still does some stuff that seems silly to me. But if she does, we won't let her starve, but we will let her bear some consequences for it. At least I hope we will. 

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@Bambam, she is actively looking for a car and has had discussions with DH about parameters and things to look for and avoid. She is actually the one who wants to replace the car now, even more than I do, becuase she knows she will not have time to look at cars and such once school starts. If the ancient Taurus keels over during fall semester, she will be totally screwed for transport until winter break. The college is also rural and for my part, I don’t want her breaking down on Rt5 on a Sunday night. This is where I feel like there is some big disconnect in her head about these costs coming fast and furious and “la-dee-da! Buy a nice purse!” 

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I would not lend her any more money until she shows better judgment in how she handles money.

I would recommend she sit down and work out her budget for the next year, including how she's going to pay off all of her debt and upcoming "big purchases."  And then she should update it weekly based on actual spending.

I've seen this kind of thing go on for decades with certain family members.  It never ends until the person is forced to learn responsibility.  Best nip it in the bud.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

...

In general I feel under enormous financial pressure because of some other things I can neither discuss with her nor mention here and I’m just mad that it’s not on her radar screen that she should be paying financial attention to the imperative things and ignore the doodads for now. 

...

She does not know you are under financial pressure?  I think you should tell her somehow.  If she knew that, she might be more responsible about what she expects from you financially.  Or at least she would understand when you stop enabling her.

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6 minutes ago, SKL said:

She does not know you are under financial pressure?  I think you should tell her somehow.  If she knew that, she might be more responsible about what she expects from you financially.  Or at least she would understand when you stop enabling her.

 

That’s my thought as well.  She just doesn’t know that the ground isn’t as secure as she thinks it is.  She doesn’t know to be cautious.  

Of course, the issue is probably complex and you might have valid reasons for not telling her...but my first instinct is to say to tell her the truth about the financial situation.  

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5 minutes ago, SKL said:

She does not know you are under financial pressure?  I think you should tell her somehow.  If she knew that, she might be more responsible about what she expects from you financially.  Or at least she would understand when you stop enabling her.

No...it’s too complicated and has to do with marriage stability. It is not something I can discuss here or with her. Today’s bills are paid. Tomorrow’s probably. It’s the longer-term circumstances that are less certain and I can’t discuss those situations. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

I guess this is why it is an issue, because she knows what she owes me and she knows that if she has to replace the car, she will owe me still more, so, TO ME, it seems like she should be on an utter wallet fast until she has paid off her debt and gotten ahead of the car issue. Then buy the stupid purse if you must.

She knows that once school is back in session, in one month, her earning ability will be halted or severly curtailed until winter break. Yet it doesn’t press upon her and that is where I’m feeling put out. 

In general I feel under enormous financial pressure because of some other things I can neither discuss with her nor mention here and I’m just mad that it’s not on her radar screen that she should be paying financial attention to the imperative things and ignore the doodads for now. 

I was trying to avoud saying, “you must pay me $——— each month on the 10th until you are paid up AND in a position to replace the car,” because her main earning ability is NOW, but will be curtailed once school resumes.

 

You don't have to say anything. All you have to do is utilize your word processing skills to create a coupon book for her repayment schedule. Which is what my dh is doing right now for one of our young adults (who thinks shoes and pricey fun activities with friends are a higher priority than paying the balance agreed upon for a vehicle purchase financed by dad). It's a fair and patient plan, but it is serious and regular. Assistance with any other need (aside from sudden hospitalization) will not be considered if the payments aren't current. 

When I went back to work, a couple of them noticed when I made some purchases which seemed to them to be more "frivolous" than they knew were characteristic of me (but was really pent up demand for clothing and some household items that I could finally meet with my income), and started asking me to help them out with this or that expense. We had to have a frank conversation about that, that I didn't go back to work to fund their non-necessities when they have jobs and know how to make a budget. 

I love them, I'm not unwilling to help them, but like you, OP, at their ages I was working three jobs to meet all my own living expenses, paying for my own college and vehicle expenses. i don't want them to scrape by quite that way, but I do want them to understand that they have to grow that ability to earn their own ways. It's a bit sad that our (let's say middle- to upper- class collectively) hard work has "blessed" our kids with an inflated sense of what their "needs" are.  

And before tomatoes get thrown, I know not all young adults are this way. I also realize that some can have this sense of privilege/entitlement without even realizing they have such high expectations. That's where actively engaging as a parent (with a repayment schedule!) comes into play. Reality checks, kwim?

 

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For those calling the purse an investment, you have fallen for advertisers attempts to change the definition of the word. Investments are supposed to make you money, either through dividends, appreciation, etc. Purses rarely (if ever) fall into this category. Neither do most cars. In fact, even houses are way oversold as "investments." These things are generally just expenses (or places to live). In my opinion, it's time to dump the idea that things that mostly/only lose money are investments (excluding people using the term to mean doing things to improve their health or relationships).

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It is a lot easier and less relationship-breaking to say no when you can't afford something than when you don't want to pay for it.

I totally ran across this with DD.  We were extraordinarily frugal when I was home, and once I went back to work it was harder to do the things that replace 'spending' but also it was sort of demonstrably clear that we were better off financially and so it was meaner, in a sense, to say no.  I know that she is good at saying no to herself, but she has some habit that I disagree with, mostly around eating out or having expensive coffee or tea drinks out fairly often.

I think that you would be wise to try not to resent your DD's priviledges and  preferences but also to make it clear that it's time to pay you back, and that you're not going to be able to be her fallback for car number 2.  

 

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Just now, JumpyTheFrog said:

For those calling the purse an investment, you have fallen for advertisers attempts to change the definition of the word. Investments are supposed to make you money, either through dividends, appreciation, etc. Purses rarely (if ever) fall into this category. Neither do most cars. In fact, even houses are way oversold as "investments." These things are generally just expenses (or places to live). In my opinion, it's time to dump the idea that things that mostly/only lose money are investments (excluding people using the term to mean doing things to improve their health or relationships).

We're defining the word differently. An investment article of clothing is one that will last through many seasons, go with different styles, is well constructed and designed. It's more of a wardrobe definition than an economic one. No, I have not allowed advertisers to change the definition. Words can mean different things in different worlds.  I'm not looking to increase it's value, but I am considering whether a purchase will be one that lasts. I consider it an investment (in the fashion sense) to buy one well-designed useful purse than stumble through 3-4 cheap purses that don't quite fit my purse criteria. I've done that before and actually spent way more than combined that I did on the more expensive item. 

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

Well I did just say somethhing a little bit mean in a text. Cause she just had a root canal that I am paying for in three installments of >$300. So I said, “Luckily you didn’t have to spend that on dental care.” Which was a little mean. Yet true. 

 

Holy cow, what do you consider a lot bit mean? That's a lot of guilt and shaming crammed into ten words. 

2 hours ago, Quill said:

She said it sounded like I was raining on her parade 

 

 

You were raining on her parade. The time to say something about it was before she made the purchase, not after. Saying something after doesn't help. The money is already spent, you're just taking the fun out of it. 

1 hour ago, Danae said:

I think you should set up a repayment schedule for the money she owes you. As long as she makes her payments on time what she does with the rest of her money is her choice. Having you second-guessing her choices and justifying it because she owes you money is a recipe for resentment on both sides.

 

Agreed. 

1 hour ago, Quill said:

I guess this is why it is an issue, because she knows what she owes me and she knows that if she has to replace the car, she will owe me still more, so, TO ME, it seems like she should be on an utter wallet fast until she has paid off her debt and gotten ahead of the car issue. Then buy the stupid purse if you must.

She knows that once school is back in session, in one month, her earning ability will be halted or severly curtailed until winter break. Yet it doesn’t press upon her and that is where I’m feeling put out. 

In general I feel under enormous financial pressure because of some other things I can neither discuss with her nor mention here and I’m just mad that it’s not on her radar screen that she should be paying financial attention to the imperative things and ignore the doodads for now. 

I was trying to avoud saying, “you must pay me $——— each month on the 10th until you are paid up AND in a position to replace the car,” because her main earning ability is NOW, but will be curtailed once school resumes.

3

 

It is much kinder (and more effective) to set up a payment plan and expectations in advance than to be resentful and snark on her choices. Okay, dd, this is what you owe, you won't be working much in the fall, let's figure this out. 

Why do you feel like you can't discuss the financial pressure you're under with her? You don't have to go into details, but you can't expect her to magically know and empathize and change her behavior based on something no one has discussed with her. 

It can be tough on us as parents when we are able to provide a lot more for our kids than our parents provided for us. We want to do it, we work hard to do it, but there are mixed feelings. When we give our kids something, I think a part of us wants our kids to react as we would have reacted if given the same thing, but they can't. They aren't coming from the same place or the same experience, and it's not fair for us to expect that. A kid who has gone to summer camp for four years in a row isn't going to be astounded when they are offered summer camp in the fifth year, kwim? A young adult whose family routinely provides medical and dental care for young adults is going to accept that as routine. 

This is a harsh post, I'm sorry, but that text would have really hurt me at 20. 

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You can do this without letting things remain heavy, or without divulging stuff that's not up for discussion yet, or without getting back into comparisons between your young self and her current decisions. I would recommend not bringing up anything from the past, whether trips or makeup or purses or dental bills...you need to go forward. Don't look back, you are not going that way!

My suggestion is to start to fix this by apologizing for being short or snippy (or however you want to put that, not because you were wrong, but to break the ice and start the conversation). And then explain that the new edginess about money (because she's interpreting it as new) is because you've been looking at your long term plans and realizing just how hard it is for older people in this country, to save enough to thrive after working age. Stability is harder to establish and keep, and once you stare that in the face - realizing the bulk of your top wage earning years are getting behind you - you can't unsee it.

It's not something we think about as much while raising children because we are doing everything for them, to provide and to get them "launched." And we WANT to. They ARE the plan. But at some point we have to realize that we need to let them utilize the strength - the roots and the wings - that we raised them to have. They possess energy, youth, health, and strength, and the transition to taking care of themselves SHOULD happen. It's hard to see when the moment is, but you've been thinking it over, and you realize the moment is now.

Not that you will "cut her off" or throw her out in the street. Of course not. You are a loving family and you will make a plan together. Right now. The bills must be paid and budgets must be observed now. You love her and you are glad that you can trust she will be okay, and you will always be here, but there are many kinds of support...the structure of the financial kind of support has to change now.

Reassure her that you will not be destitute, this is not some movie about the Great Depression. She doesn't have to start taking care of you. She just needs to step up on taking care of herself, and shouldering some of the burden, which will probably look more like car payments and less like new purses but you know she can handle that.

(I hope some of this helps.)

 

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3 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

We're defining the word differently. An investment article of clothing is one that will last through many seasons, go with different styles, is well constructed and designed. It's more of a wardrobe definition than an economic one. No, I have not allowed advertisers to change the definition. Words can mean different things in different worlds.  I'm not looking to increase it's value, but I am considering whether a purchase will be one that lasts. I consider it an investment (in the fashion sense) to buy one well-designed useful purse than stumble through 3-4 cheap purses that don't quite fit my purse criteria. I've done that before and actually spent way more than combined that I did on the more expensive item. 

 

I understand your point and agree that sometimes more expensive items are cheaper in the long run than cheaper ones. I guess my quibble is with the word "investment." People do throw the word around and get suckered into things that are just more expensive in the long run. Financial illiteracy is so high in this country that I suspect many people don't even realize the financial meaning of the term.

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

Well, everybody, the cat is out of the bag and she does know how I feel now. She was thrown by my dental care comment and so I just explained it more. She said it sounded like I was raining on her parade and I said some things reflective of what I just said here - that I am finding it hard to be happy for her about the purse because I don’t feel she is in a position to buy fancy purses and I feel resentful because I could not do such things at her age. I think it will all work out and we have a good relationship in general and I won’t be saying another word about the purse from this day forward. But I don’t like conflict and stuff like this is hard, as I said. She lives with such privaledge but she doesn’t really see it because it is just “normal”to her for our economic class and the people we are around the most. 

I think the message you want her to hear is that you are worried that she is not developing the financial budgeting / decision-making skills needed to be successful in life.  Decisions like the one she made today (in the context of her overall financial situation) are the kinds of decisions that lead to deep debt, bankruptcy, and having to tell the next generation of kids that they can't have a bike or a winter coat that fits.

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Why do you feel like you can't discuss the financial pressure you're under with her? You don't have to go into details, but you can't expect her to magically know and empathize and change her behavior based on something no one has discussed with her. 

But this much, she knows. It is clear from a thousand conversations, i.e., “Are we going to Ocean City this summer?” “No; I am too stressed about all the expenses we are facing with two kids in college and all the cars aging...” Or like with the root canal: Her: “They say I need a root canal.” Me: “Get a quote. Find out if there is a payment plan available. I cannot drop a thousand dollars on it right now.” Or with the cat. Me: “I am terribly concerned about that car not lasting through this year because we cannot replace it and will not buy a car for you. You will have to pay for it, so I was hoping you would be done with college when that would be necessary”...and then the car did break and full repairs would be more than $1500, so the conversation turned to, “we cannot sink $1500 into that car. The best hope is that dad can get it driveable and it will still need to be replaced which will not be by us. I realize you don’t have the money to go buy a car right now, but you will have to pay us back.” 

So anyway, that is where I am at. She does not know the exact hurricane in my head at present, but she knows in the general sense that we are not being spendy. 

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y suggestion is to start to fix this by apologizing for being short or snippy (or however you want to put that, not because you were wrong, but to break the ice and start the conversation). And then explain that the new edginess about money (because she's interpreting it as new) is because you've been looking at your long term plans and realizing just how hard it is for older people in this country, to save enough to thrive after working age. Stability is harder to establish and keep, and once you stare that in the face - realizing the bulk of your top wage earning years are getting behind you - you can't unsee it.

The second part of this is really smart advice; I like it a lot because it would be pretty accurate, even without the gory details. Having a DH in physical labor is not all it was cracked up to be when he was young and invincible. I do realize that more severely now. 

To the first part, I did apolgize (in the texts). She is not home yet, so I am not sure how awkward it needs to be; she normally shows me things she bought but she might be gun shy to do it so we’ll see. I said I was sorry I was being a turd and I am very stressed about meeting all the needs and the purse seems so unnecessary. I said I was trying not to be a jerk when she showed me the purse and that was why I was short with her. 

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5 minutes ago, Quill said:

  She does not know the exact hurricane in my head at present, but she knows in the general sense that we are not being spendy. 

 

 

Okay, that was not clear to me from your prior post. I agree that those various conversations should give her an idea about the money situation. 

Does she have an actual written budget of expected expenses and income? That might be a tremendous help. Then, whatever she spends that is within the 'disposable income' category is up to her. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

 To the first part, I did apolgize  

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That will mean a lot to her, I bet. 

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

Well I did just say somethhing a little bit mean in a text. Cause she just had a root canal that I am paying for in three installments of >$300. So I said, “Luckily you didn’t have to spend that on dental care.” Which was a little mean. Yet true. 

 

Ds has lived on his own and takes care of all his expenses...yet when I hear about some purchase of recreational equipment to the tune of $500, I blink a few times. I don't say anything because he is an adult (I am sure a little older than your daughter) and I want to respect his decisions, however, it does not mean I have to agree with it or if asked what I think may comment that it seems quite a bit of money at this time in life, blah, blah, blah.  

Perhaps a clearly spelled out plan of what your dd is responsible for financially speaking and what you and your dh are willing to contribute may help you in feeling that she has certain expenses she needs to take care of and how she does this is up to her - mostly. For instance, she may need to contribute a percentage to the new car that needs to be purchased for her. She may need to become responsible for all / part of maintenance, repairs, insurance. Naturally, this has to be realistic according to her income and earning ability.

It made me grit my teeth less often when we did this with ds while he still lived at home because he could spend his money any way he wanted as long as he paid for the agreed upon items himself. Just my 0.05 cents.

And no, you not a "fun sucker." [Insert rolling smiley here]. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

I guess this is why it is an issue, because she knows what she owes me and she knows that if she has to replace the car, she will owe me still more, so, TO ME, it seems like she should be on an utter wallet fast until she has paid off her debt and gotten ahead of the car issue. Then buy the stupid purse if you must.

She knows that once school is back in session, in one month, her earning ability will be halted or severly curtailed until winter break. Yet it doesn’t press upon her and that is where I’m feeling put out. 

In general I feel under enormous financial pressure because of some other things I can neither discuss with her nor mention here and I’m just mad that it’s not on her radar screen that she should be paying financial attention to the imperative things and ignore the doodads for now. 

I was trying to avoud saying, “you must pay me $——— each month on the 10th until you are paid up AND in a position to replace the car,” because her main earning ability is NOW, but will be curtailed once school resumes.

I think she needs to start paying for her stuff and you need to back away from it as much as you can. The new car that she needs? Can she buy it and you deposit money each month into her account? That way, she doesn't have to pay you back and you won't feel stuck and frustrated. It's her responsibility. If it needs an oil change, she can ask you if you'll help cover the cost. You can choose yes or no and deposit the money, if any, into her account. But she pays for the oil change. Cell phone? In her name. We deposit money in our kids' accounts so they can have smart phones, but if they want data, they have to pay for it. The cell phone bill is in their name and comes out of their account. We have done that for each of our kids as they've approached college age and it's really made a difference in what they chose because it was their money on the line, not ours. It eliminated some frustration, but not all. My oldest dd thanked us for doing this when she graduated from college because so many of her friends were still so dependent on Mom and Dad paying for everything. She really appreciated the independence and confidence it gave her.

 

 

44 minutes ago, Quill said:

Yeah, possibly. (Although I loathe Dave Ramsey, so not him, but I get it. It would be Joe Dominguez.) It’s just kooky to me in a way because I have been frugal since before she was born. It has been an example for always. She knows my parents never had much and still dont. I have refrained from comment on the expensive makeup and such but now I feel like it was a mistake to not mentin it more. I figured she would understand better as she needed to buy more necessary things like gasoline. But she doesnt seem to notice that really so far. 

I have 2 daughters. They have been raised by the same parents with the same budgeting strategy. One chose not to work very much in college, was incredibly frugal, and sometimes didn't buy what I would have considered necessities. The other, who has more discretionary income due to her hard work, spends on things I consider frivolous.

Even if you commented on the makeup and other things more often, it's no guarantee she would have responded differently.

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