The bank of Mum and Dad is running dry

(82 Posts)
Isabelle112 Fri 18-Nov-16 22:37:55

DS, second year uni. Spending hard. His loan for this term has almost disappeared and it was pretty generous to start with. We pay his monthly rent.

He hasn't learnt any lessons, it seems, from last year. Night clubs, bars, pretty pricey clothes and haircuts at almost £50 a time.The money is disappearing and he's hinting that he'll want a fair amount for his birthday (very soon) for more clothes etc. Last year, we bailed him out again and again and vowed we wouldn't do so to that extent again, barring an emergency. He seemed to agree and see the sense of it when he started the second year.

I work f-t and have a p-t job and DH is on a very low wage. We're also supporting another DS who's graduated but barely working at the moment.

Uni DS doesn't have a job and is usually very reluctant to work during the holidays. This Christmas he'll have an excuse, I suppose - in January he has to re-take a first year exam which he failed - he also failed the Summer re-sit and this will be his final chance. That and year 2 Spring exams.

I think he's studying but it worries the hell out of me that he's spending so much and is out so much - he had promised us that this year would be different. That in the second year he'd actually budget and restrict going out to meals and bars etc to reasonable limits.

Apparently, he now has a pretty substantial o/d and although I don't obviously know the exact state of his account, I think there isn't much left of the loan.

To be honest, we're pretty skint - money is tight. I know tough love is the answer but what I do I do when DS tells me, possibly sooner rather than later, that his money has run out or he's reached his o/d limit? I'm prepared to give him £50.00 for his birthday (Christmas is coming) but he's going to expect a great deal more, I fear.

Any suggestions as to how to cope and what to do? DH and I work our socks off but our DSs have, very sadly, rarely felt compelled to do so themselves. Many thanks.

OP’s posts: |
Manumission Fri 18-Nov-16 22:41:51

he's hinting that he'll want a fair amount for his birthday

He what? How spoilt.

You need a sit down 'this is how it is' talk. Reaffirm the arrangements and boundaries and then resolve to stick to it.

It's unkind actually to NOT let him learn budgeting skills and self sufficiency. Don't feel bad.

BackforGood Fri 18-Nov-16 22:43:42

My eldest is more of a spender than a budgeter, so we've always sent his money from us weekly, so he can at least buy food each week - there's never any danger he'll be left with 6 weeks to go and no funds to buy food, which is the only point I'd bail him out. Or, put another way, he' knows we won't give him any more. To be fair, he's also a grafter and works a lot of hours throughout all holidays to earn his own money.

Msqueen33 Fri 18-Nov-16 22:47:20

I think you know what you need to do. He needs to get a grip on his spending and join the real world. And he needs to learn the value of money. It doesn't sound like he's accomplished much if he's doing a lot of retakes but is racking up debt. Unfortunately he needs to learn a hard lesson. You work hard! He needs to partly stand on his own two feet. I worked all through uni. For a while I worked in a petrol garage and had to get up at 5am for work.

SixtiesChildOfWildBlueSkies Fri 18-Nov-16 22:47:38

Ahh my lovely, it's hard, so hard isn't it. I think you already know that tough love is the only answer.
By constantly bailing them out they're not learning how to budget, how to actually say to theirselves 'I need to buy food/pay the bills BEFORE i go out/ Buy yet MORE new clothes /spend another weekend drinking anonanonanonon etc!

So, when he tells you his money has run out, grit your teeth and suggest that at this time of year there are LOADS of temp jobs for the festive season available....and suggest he goes and gets one of them, and EARNS his money.

It will be so hard for all of you, but believe me, it is so necessary. .You and DH get together on the same page and read them both the same script, don't let them see you waver, otherwise you'll be subbing them forever - new house, holidays, the list is endless.

Good luck flowers

Isabelle112 Fri 18-Nov-16 22:50:29

Thank you Manumission - looking at your last sentence - yes, I agree. DS needs to learn for himself. Countless discussions with me, suggestions that he seeks advice and support from Student Finance etc etc have clearly not had any effect whatsoever.

We'll continue paying his rent. We paid the half rent for his room in his shared house over the Summer and, again very sadly, DS didn't work in order to contribute. He seems to have a marked aversion to making money if it can be obtained via a loan/from us.

But I think we've got to let him get through the last 2/3 weeks of term as best he can. £50.00 is reasonable for a birthday, isn't it? He's going to make me (probably quite unintentionally) feel very mean.

OP’s posts: |
Chillywhippet Fri 18-Nov-16 22:51:20

Would it help if he paid the rent using his loan at the start of term and you sent monthly or weekly allowance?
It is hard to make your money last and I would find it hard if I got paid 3 times a year.

Agree level of support and stick to it. It's tough.


Manumission Fri 18-Nov-16 22:53:20

£50 for a birthday is fine.

We all had to learn this stuff at some point. At least his roof is secure.

Isabelle112 Fri 18-Nov-16 22:55:59

Thank you, all - I do feel stronger reading your posts. And agree with every point made.

At the bottom of it all is, if I'm to be honest, a deep sadness. How is it that my DSs could behave like this, take their parents so very much for granted. Of course, they do and they must take our love and concern for granted, that goes without saying - but not exploit our generousity, not like this. I know very few, if any, students who don't work part-time in the term or, at the very least, in the hoiday periods.

OP’s posts: |
bojorojo Fri 18-Nov-16 22:56:10

How do you send the maintenance loan weekly? When he gets a job that is paid monthly, this will come as a shock!

I was going to say that it will save you all the hassle if he fails the exam again. I am surprised he is allowed another first year resist. The university must be desperate to keep students. Christmas job is the answer but that will get the blame when he fails the exam again. I think he just needs to get some work. Sooner rather than later.

Blueisnotforglue Fri 18-Nov-16 22:57:19

I can't believe how much some parents on MN support their (adult) offspring.

Why on earth would he work when you are paying for everything? That's a genuine question! He has no need to work, he's living it up on your dime, clearly not putting the academic work in and in no way putting any graft in for money.

Cut him off other than rent. He'll soon find a job I can guarantee you that. You're doing him no favours at all!

Aderyn2016 Fri 18-Nov-16 22:58:38

Your post has given me palpitations as I too have a ds in yr 2 at uni and I would do my absolute nut if my son was taking the piss like this. £50 hair cuts??? I would tell him that as of next term, when he gets his next loan amount, he has to pay his rent with it. Then you can give him each month an amount that you feel is fair to buy food and pay bills. That way he cannot burn through his entire loan on crap while you pay for everything. When he has limited access to cash, he won't be able to blow £50 on a haircut.
You are going to have to get really tough with him. From my ds's experience, at this stage he really shouldn't have the time to be out loads. The study should be like a full time job in terms of the hours he needs to put in. If he doesn't pull his finger out now he'll not be going back in the 3rd year - this year's grades really count and he is heading for a crap result while building up loads of debt.
Do you think he is spending as a way of consoling himself because he is struggling with the work? You have to get to the bottom of it because it really can't continue. You and your dh must be so exhausted with working all the time just to keep him in beer!

Honestly, cut the cash supply because carrying on is doing him no long term favours.

Blueisnotforglue Fri 18-Nov-16 22:59:03

My 6 year old didn't get her pocket money this week because she didn't do her chores.

You get money.

He's completely mugging you off!

Isabelle112 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:00:13

Backforgood - can I ask you - is your DS willing for you to 'look after' his loan (assuming he gets one) in order to be able to distribute it through the term? Ironically, this is something that DS' brother has suggested that we do. Don't know if DS would be willing but he's certanly not able to cope with the present arrangements.

OP’s posts: |
mirokarikovo Fri 18-Nov-16 23:01:26

Do not give him cash as a birthday present. How dare he make you feel "mean".

No cash at all but some books on how to live on a shoestring and how to manage time sufficiently to be able to combine money-earning work with successful study.

Stop pandering. You are doing him no favours.

AyeAmarok Fri 18-Nov-16 23:03:00

I'd cut him off other than rent.

If he is actually completely skint, then I'd maybe consider doing a weekly shop for him, you ordering it and getting it delivered to him (rather than give him the money) but it would be Tesco Value beans, lentils, dry pasta etc. Sustenance only, literally. It's the only way he'll learn.

MadisonAvenue Fri 18-Nov-16 23:03:48

My son who's at uni isn't too bad, he sometimes just needs a bit of help with food money when his loan is coming to an end, usually when there's around a week to go. He does a part time job which helps a lot and is a real grafter.

I've just this minute been having a rant about his younger brother though. He's 16 and at college and hasn't a bloody clue. He doesn't have a job, spends two days at college each week (full time course!), takes a packed lunch and we give him his bus fare yet in the two days he's been there this week he's managed to get through £20 (I'm pretty sure that he's spent it on XBox points) and is now skint again. He was going to a Christmas lights switch on tonight which was planned weeks ago so he knew he'd need money so I had to help him out (again).
To make things worse he's come home and, after walking across the golf course, has managed to fall over and get mud all over his quite new £65 white hoodie (which I told him was a disaster waiting to happen when he chose white). Stain remover hasn't touched it so it looks like that's more money wasted. I asked him what he's going to do if the hoodie is ruined and he said "get another one", so I asked him how and he said he'd get one when he got some money. I laughed at that.

Despite all the chats we've had with him, and there have been many, he really doesn't have a clue about money and the day to day expenses that we face. He's told about them but I swear he just thinks we're making it up.

Aderyn2016 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:04:26

Tell him he has no choice - he either hands over the loan for you to administer or you will give him nothing! If he wants to behave like a child thrn he deserves to be treated like one. Grown adults who are not relying on sponging off their parents get to call the shots. He does not.
Sorry to be harsh but you have to stop asking his permission or feeling you have to do what he wants - he is not the boss of you.

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:06:58

Ah, I'm going to burst your bubble, but they can borrow what up to 3.5 k a year? It's very low when you add everything all in that they need to pay for.

My daughter does not work during uni, I don't need or expect her to, and I understand I need to make her budget up, my focus is on her study.

There is a big difference between you not being able to afford it, and him being a wastrel and I'm sorry I suspect you are not being wholly fair,

Catinthecorner Fri 18-Nov-16 23:07:54

If he's got pricey (designer?) clothes then he won't starve. He can always sell on a shirt or something. Some other lucky student will get a nice bargain and your DS will get to eat that week.

Isabelle112 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:07:59

Aderyn2016 - yes, I know he struggled last year. He's chosen modules he likes this year and appears more of top of his studies. But we rarely hear from him. He was in contact a lot last year, far less so this. Which may be quite normal but it means that I don't really know what's going on.

Went to see him a few weeks ago - he hadn't unpacked from the start of term and his room was chaotic. We did something about all that as we couldn't bear to see the mess he was living in and I did wonder why he hadn't made any effort - what did this signify?

Yes, seasonal jobs. I think we should fix him up with something part-time at home but there's every chance that he'll object.

I'm in favour of reasonably distributing his loan so it doesn't run out, so it's evenly spread, so he doesn't rack up a big o/d. But the chances of him agreeing to hand it over at the start of term are very slim.

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Fri 18-Nov-16 23:11:06

How do you send the maintenance loan weekly?

Backforgood - can I ask you - is your DS willing for you to 'look after' his loan (assuming he gets one) in order to be able to distribute it through the term?

No, the loan he gets from student finance just about covers his rent. In first year (in halls) it came in at the beginning of term and went out for the whole term's rent. In 2nd and 3rd year it comes in at the beginning of term except this term when they cocked it up and he pays his rent monthly and has to budget for that and budget for bills.
What we send him, is a 'top up' for food (as the loan only covers the rent, incl bills). What he earns is his to spend or save as if as he likes.

My thinking was, if he had no money one month in, I obviously wouldn't let him starve, and probably would end up bailing him out like you have done, hence the eeking out the food money week by week. I have no qualms about letting him not have money for 'luxuries' such as socialising / traveling to see his girlfriend / clothes / going out etc. If he wants those, then he has to work.

Isabelle112 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:13:02

Bluntness100 - trouble is, DS is spending, spending, spending on fairly pricey clothes, shoes etc and nightclubs, bars etc. I want him to have a good student experience, including a good social life, but now it's very much at his family's expense and that seems very unjust.

OP’s posts: |
Aderyn2016 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:15:55

Bluntness no one really disputes that parents have to top up the money because it is true that the student loans are not very big. But he has enough money for expensive clothes and haircuts and seems not to care that the money for his extravagent lifestyle is coming from the OP doing 2 jobs. If he genuinely needed that money for books and food, that's one thing but he is massively pisstaking to let his parents work their fingers to the bone so he can blow their money on nights out. Esp if it is costing him a decent degree grade, which is the reason he is at uni in the first place. He doesn't want to be in a position where he leaves with a crap degree and a ton of debt.

FeedMyFaceWithJaffaCakes Fri 18-Nov-16 23:19:38

Hello OP.
I feel I need to write.
You're doing too much for your boy, even though it's for the right reasons.
Not so long ago, I was a nursing student graduated three years ago. There are plenty here that will tell you that nursing is tough, when on placement, you work shifts in hospitals and do essays at the same time, despite this, I had part time waitressing jobs increasing to full time during any holidays/reading weeks, throughout my training. Although NHS paid my course fees and I had a modest bursary for the first year, money was tight. But I learnt to budget. I paid my rent and bills first, then prioritised the rest, I didn't have a crazy overdraft (£300) and I tried not to go in it. I cooked at home, ate beans on toast if I was skint and took lunches to lectures.
Can your son cook? If he can, he will save a lot, and home cooked currys taste way better than take outs and beers are cheaper at home too !

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