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DS, hugely overdrawn at uni. How do I respond?

(70 Posts)
Isabelle112 Mon 26-Dec-16 23:40:32

It appears that DS has, in spite of a loan and our paying his rent at uni, is OD by about 2k - the limit on his account. He has very clearly been spending a lot, largley on socialising, over the past term. Last year, his first, he didn't budget either but at least his account then didn't have an overdraft facility.

I don't know what to do. He's been so cagey about his finances, won't talk at all - in fact, he seems altogether pretty withdrawn. Goes out for long walks at night (he's out now) with barely a word and largely only speaks to me to ask me about food. All quite depressing. We suspect he's fully aware that he's overspent but somehow he's got into a horrible spiral and can't understand that the first step towards disintangling himself is to set himself a budget. He does't work in the term or holidays - another sore point but he doesn't.

His loan for next term will come in soon no doubt - and he's hoping it's soon so he can go back to the uni town for New Year. He didn't like most of his Christmas presents so I've said I'll take them back and put the money into his account. But with a 2 k overdraft and expensive tastes (pricey hairdressers, buys quite a lot of clothes, goes out a lot - ), whatever I give him will be a drop in the ocean. I wish he didn't have an account with an OD (one of those student incentives it was) because then he'd have had to cope with his loan. Last year, we bailed him out a lot but this year, we determined not to quite so much (aside from the rent), hoping that he'd learn to live on the loan alone. It's not ungenerous, so it could have been done (especially if he'd got a pt job).

Do I have it out with him - the thought makes me exhausted and all my overtures re money haven't had any effect so far - just met with disinterest, exasperation on his part and even, sometimes, rudeness. Any thoughts would be welcome! Anyone else, incidentally, had a Christmas when their uni DCs have barely engaged with family life? Unlike their pre-university selves?

AlexandraEiffel Mon 26-Dec-16 23:45:24

Isn't this just normal? University is about learning life skills in a relatively controlled environment. So they run up a debt, realise it wasn't such a good idea, pay it off when they start work, learn not to do it again. You don't really do anything. Unless of course it's abnormal debt, beyond what is authorised, or some such.

Sofabitch Mon 26-Dec-16 23:45:48

Student over drafts are there for a reason. He will regret it when he gets a job. As long as he is within his agreed limit. Suggest he's gets a job and let him learn. Once the od limit is reached he will have no choice but to budget within his means.

As an aside the university might have a hardship fund he can apply to but I'd wait until he really needs it.

To learn from mistakes they have to make them and face the consequences independently.

Give advice. Listen. But try to let him find a solution.

PinkCrystal Mon 26-Dec-16 23:49:20

It's hard. I have dd1 at uni and she does work part time but is constantly skint and spends so much on drinking and nights out. I resent giving her cash to subsidise this when we are careful for every penny and if she was careful she would have much more than us. We have 4 others to support.

I have bailed her out with small amounts here and there but do not want it to become a habit and we cannot afford it. She is maxed out with the overdrafts. Sigh they are adults so.other than nag a bit there isn't much we can do!

AyeAmarok Mon 26-Dec-16 23:49:43

Have you posted about him before a few weeks ago? The expensive haircuts ring a bell.

Steamgirl Mon 26-Dec-16 23:50:55

I don't have any personal experience here, but it sounds like you need to just let him get on with it. I don't think bailing him out will help anyone in the long run.

Isabelle112 Mon 26-Dec-16 23:52:54

Thank you, Alexandra and Sofabitch. You're right. I know instinctively that DS has to find his own way out of this but it is hard. This holidays, especially, he seems quite disengaged, unwilling to tell us very much at all (and we certainly don't pry) and, as I say, very cagey on the money front. He worries me that he isn't coping and isn't doing something as elementary as setting himself even the most rudamentary budget for the term ahead.

EngTech Mon 26-Dec-16 23:53:04

Ask DS how he got in this situation and how does he plan to sort the problem out?

Sorting out the problem for him will just mean he will get used to problems being sorted for him.

Tough love I think

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 26-Dec-16 23:54:04

Time to let your adult son deal with his own adult problem. By all means send him an essentials food delivery every fortnight, but stop bailing him out.
It might be time he entertained the prospect of a part time job to fund his socialising, or to stop going out.

rollonthesummer Mon 26-Dec-16 23:55:00

No students I was at university with had expensive tastes or used pricey hairdressers-have things changed massively or is he unusual!!?

QueenLizIII Mon 26-Dec-16 23:58:09

that's what they do.

i knew a 26 yo trainee solicitor at my last job who lives out of overdraft. Her monthly salary was about £1500 net and she was permanently £2k over drawn and made no attempt tp reduce it by the month.

out drinking several times a week, meals out, new clothes, holidays, etc

Just leave him to it.

They won't call it in as it is a student account.

QueenLizIII Mon 26-Dec-16 23:59:30

many students i knew at the time lived out of overdraft.

Lorelei76 Tue 27-Dec-16 00:00:05

You do need to have it out with him
Have I understood right, he's maxed out the overdraft? In which case it can't just be left till he gets a job
Tell him no more bailing out, you'll send food shop if he's starving but that's got to be it.

Are you sure he's not gambling? My friend's kid racked up major debt at uni with this so I might just be paranoid! They didn't bail him out btw, best lesson.

Isabelle112 Tue 27-Dec-16 00:00:16

Thank you, all. We bailed him out a lot last year, his first. This year ie last term, barely at all (expect for rent - which is exorbitant in his uni town). Hence this OD. I simply can't see, if he's not paying rent, how he could have racked up 4k or so in a term. Pink - it is hard, isn't it? I also have other DCs to support and am doing so on a very modest salary.

SauvignonGrower Tue 27-Dec-16 00:03:22

This was me 20 years ago. I'm now a normal 38 year old with a pretty cautious attitude to money. I'm afraid it took leaving uni, growing up and getting a proper job to teach me the value of it.

He will learn over the years. He is perfectly safe in the meantime. Send food parcels if necessary but nothing more.

crunched Tue 27-Dec-16 00:04:48

Maybe the fact he has become withdrawn is a more significant part of the issue.
Could he be hooked on on-line gaming or something?
I agree being overdrawn is pretty common amongst the students I know.

Earlybird Tue 27-Dec-16 00:25:05

How exactly do you know he is hugely overdrawn?
Has he told you? If so, was he remorseful?
Has he asked you for help, or is he simply assuming you'll do so as you have done in the past?

You describe someone who is quite extrovert with socialising, expensive clothes / haircuts, etc., yet he acts introverted/depressed at home. It could be that he is embarrassed, or resentful as you are forcing him to face his situation.

It also might be that he does not know how to live within his financial limits, so is saying 'yes' to anything and everything. Was he accustomed to quite a comfortable life at home, or is this extravagance a new thing since he's been at uni?

What would happen if you simply didn't bail him out?
Do you think he is resourceful enough that he'd figure it out on his own?

I'm asking as he is experimenting with semi-independence, with you/dh as his 'safety net'. Perhaps you need to let him figure this out, and let him deal with the consequences of his actions.

How is he doing at uni? Is he keeping up and getting good results?

CauliflowerSqueeze Tue 27-Dec-16 00:34:35

Don't mention the money to him again.

I would ask him if everything's ok with him as he has seemed a bit down in the dumps. Remind him you're always there to be a listening ear even if you don't have all the answers.

Could be girlfriend problems!

DownAmongtheElves Tue 27-Dec-16 15:10:00

Isabelle112 in the kindest & gentlest possible way, you AND your DH need to act like grown ups. YOu've posted a lot about this son over the last 6 months or so (maybe longer?) and your family more generally. Neither your DH nor either of your sons pulls his weight. You also are not well & suffering under the strain. You're letting these selfish men run you into the ground. You & your DH - the children's father, remember - need to have a plan.

Otherwise I think you should go on that retreat for a month. Or go on strike at home, and just see how they manage. Your DH is not puling his weight & he's setting a very bad example for your sons.

And so are you - you're tacitly telling both your sons that some woman will always skivvy for them, that they don't need to look after themselves.

Good luck, but I doubt you'll really do anything. I hope you do find your backbone and tell them what for.

Bluntness100 Tue 27-Dec-16 15:16:24

My daughter shared last year with a guy who did this. He was always buying crap, like expensive clothes, shoes, going out etc, and they all tried to tell him to stop and to take stuff back when he came home with it, but he was playing the big guy, god knows what he was telling his parents as he was up to his limit on his over draft and was struggling.

I think kids rebel in different ways and the only way to teach him responsibility is to not bail him out so much. He knows what he's doing and he deliberately does it, for reasons only he can explain.

insancerre Tue 27-Dec-16 15:18:59

He doesn't need to do anything
Mum will bail him out

This time, don't give him any extra money
Pay his rent and tell him the rest is up to him
Don't take his presents back either

Time for some tough love
Dd is in year 2 at uni. She has a part time job. She cleans every morning before uni. She starts at 6.30 am

Plenty of students have jobs as well as uni
Why is ds so special?

kilmuir Tue 27-Dec-16 15:24:47

Well aren't some kids just wonderful doing their cleaning jobs!!! Not very helpful comment
I would sit him down and have it out with him . Not to bail him out but to set him straight.
I would not send him back to uni without knowing why he is so withdrawn

insancerre Tue 27-Dec-16 15:28:29

Yes thank you kilmuir
She is wonderful
Nice of you to notice

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Tue 27-Dec-16 15:45:38

I don't understand why insancerre's comment has been taken that way - if he can't afford to live on his loan alone, then he tries to get a job. Isn't that the way the world works?

Op, I would leave him to it, listen if he wants to open up, but ultimately this is his mess to sort out. You're paying his rent, you're already supporting him.

OohhThatsMe Tue 27-Dec-16 15:51:24

That was a bitchy remark, kilmuir.

OP, I think you do have to talk to your son about the risks of taking out pay day loans, because he'll be bankrupt within months if he goes down that road.

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