Monday, March 19, 2012

I'd like a vacation, too

Trying to advise and guide our 20 year old son, rather than just telling him how it's going to be. It's hard to steer them in the direction of keeping their priorities straight when they see so much frivolous spending going on around them. It's hard to tell them what to do at that age without coming across as killjoy's and controlling.

We've been getting some hints that Ds's girlfriend wants to go on a spring break vacation...a drive south to somewhere warmer and sunshine and of course she's doing everything she can to talk Ds into doing it.  At first I thought it was a weeklong trip with her family, so it wouldn't cost him too much (but still money he should not spend) but I'm learning more it would just be the two of them..and get this...they thought they could take MY car! Ummm, how do I say this? NO, big fat NO! I don't even get to take my 1.5 year old car on a vacation, they sure aren't.

There are lots of negatives, in my opinion, to this idea of a vacation.  One, he has a part time job that does not pay when he is not working, so he'll be giving up a weeks pay of probably $400. Two, he has a responsibility to his job and this is their busy time. Three, it's going to cost him for the trip and any activities they want to do, so what he has saved up will be used up.

The main reason is he is one quarter away from getting his IT degree and it's unknown how long it will take him to find a full time job and his current part-time job is seasonal for only another 6-8 weeks. He may have to go awhile without a job, who knows, and cover his gas and insurance with that money saved. Spending what money he has saved on a vacation is just not responsible.

Dh had a talk with him on their drive home from our friends Saturday (we ended up with 2 cars there because Ds came from his friends house, so he had his car) and basically said all this, without trying to alienate him and make him feel like Dad is controlling his life. I think he must have went over to his girlfriends that night and told her he wasn't going to go on the trip, because her mom made a facebook comment on a post my dh made (about something totally unrelated) that they "are trying to talk Ds into going to the sunshine".  This morning I told my Dh that I was so close to adding a comment that "I would love to go on a vacation, but all my vacation money is out in our shop (son's race equipment)". I didn't, but boy it was tempting.  Later we found out that they were having a St. Patrick's Day party at their house and she'd had a few Irish Whiskey's, so that's where the post came from, so I'm glad I kept my lips zipped.

I know he's going to have to learn on his own what to spend his money on and unfortunately, I think it's going to be a struggle for him to prioritize it all.  Especially with the lifestyle his girlfriend wants to have....she has a part time job, still has 2 years or more of college and she wants to buy a brand new car.  She spends more in a month on clothes and accessories than I spend in a year.  I'm not sure how she's going to support her wants on a teacher's salary, with lots of credit cards most likely. Her parents are super nice, but they have different priorities with their money than we do.  They like to buy stuff - lots of stuff.  At some point, I know we will have to let go and let him do his own thing with his money and life, but while I'm still supporting 95% of his life, he's going to have to live by our rules and expectations.


  1. Yep, it's a big old kick in the head when your kid gets involved with someone who's family has a whole different set of financial expectations and way to spend their money.
    And of course you can't say ANYTHING against their boy/girl friend or their parents because that just drives them away from your sensible self and advise into the arms of gosh who knows what kind of money insanity thinking!lol

    We are dealing with a similar issue here with daughter's BF. Was led to believe his mom/stepdad were the problem but turns out, it's more the BF's "lets not work and mooch off my parents" attitude since we find the mom/stepdad are trying to get that kid to get out on his own.
    BF has her convinced it's HIS parents, not him causing the problems and you can't say anything against him.
    I know things won't spiral down as long as we are footing the bills but
    I just hope I'm not saying "I told you so" a few years from now when she gets a "real" job and lets him move into her 1st apt. and he wants to be "kept".
    Hopefully yours and mine will have their eyes open to a few things & start remembering the good sense we tried to instill before that happens.

    Good luck!

  2. It is so hard when young people want to do what their friends are doing. They can be so unrealistic. When you don't have the money to foot the bill and you shouldn't have too even if you do. But I remember when I was in college kids who got to go on spring break and I was working every extra shift I could. The problem was my life never changed. I am changing it now.

  3. He will appreciate it more when he has the money to do what he wants, instead having to do something. He has alot of life left to go on vacation.

  4. Young people are definitely stupid with their money. I wish I would listen to my parents when they were teaching me how to spend what I made at first. I too wasted too much money on clothes and stuff. Not until I started my own family, I understood the value of hard work...Oh, how little money we actually have. I hope, he will make the right decision, and will not be pushed by his girlfriend!

  5. It's definitely tough going through this adjustment period of transitioning to adulthood and being financially independent. We'll get through it, but unfortunately, we will have to be the "heavies" when it comes to reminding him what we are going to approve of while we're still supporting him. He's not going on the vacation, but I know this is just one more time when he's feeling pulled to use his money in ways that are more satisfying to his GF and her family's way of life.

  6. This post so resonates with me today. I'm sitting here at working, taking a break, thinking about the very stupid thing my grown up dd did yesterday and so mad at the car dealership for allowing young people to sign on the dotted line without a care about their budget. She bought a car after looking at it and saying "that's the one"! No thought for how she'll pay for it or how she'll cope when she needs to buy something for our baby grandson. My hope is today the dealership will call her and say that she doesn't qualify, and she can walk away and think about this silly choice but chances are, they'll find a way so she does qualify and then she'll be stuck .... makes me sick to my stomach and partly because I had thought we had done such a good job showing our kids as they were growing up how not to get caught in the "I need it and need it now" trap. Somehow, we failed!

    I hope your ds is able to see the light. Thinking of you today!

    1. Ds did see the light, but I'm sure it's not the last we'll have to deal with something like this, especially now that he's making a little money and his GF has lots of plans, LOL. Good luck with your daughter and her car purchase - if only we could teach them from our mistakes, but I guess they must learn on their own.

  7. I think your last sentence was key to the whole post. He is still living at home. You are paying his living expenses. If you weren't there, how would he manage?

    Pointing this out to him is helping him learn. Following your good example will help him too.

    Hold on to your values, I believe you have it right!