Richer/More Generous Parents?

(25 Posts)
JennieLee Thu 24-Aug-17 20:34:19

This isn't about education - more about the social side of university.

My daughter is studying at a place where a very high proportion of her friends were privately educated and have high-earning parents. The parents buy them cars and fancy computers and take them on expensive holidays

Her father and I are not wildly different, but have less money and are shabbier. He's retired now and I am on a low income. She gets fed and watered and we buy her gifts at birthdays and Xmas and there are occasional treats.

But I know that occasionally she makes comparisons.

The inexpensive laptop we bought her before she went to university is running very slowly - but she didn't get it looked at before its two year guarantee period expired. (This was a 18th birthday present, though she got a few other small gifts from us.

She asked about getting a new one for a forthcoming birthday and we told her how much money we'd put towards the cost if she wants to replace it. I rang her up and got a bit of a moan about how all her friend's parents bought them state of the art PCs as part of their standard going to university kit. She wanted to get something expensive/fancier but didn't want the responsibility of choosing or spending lots of money.

I find it difficult. Her grandmother has given her a substantial sum of money.

We had a fairly rational conversation about her choices - but it has left me feeling a bit ruffled.

Do other parents have this sort of dilemma?

OP’s posts: |
NeonFlower Thu 24-Aug-17 20:43:28

Don't beat about the bush with her. Tell her you have done your best to give her a good start, but you are retired now and have to be frugal. She will have to provide for herself any essentials and luxuries from now on. I got dds a very basic HP laptop that I believe many students use (presumably the ones without richer parents). At the same time, keep up the nurture and emotional support so that she can develop her independence while feeling secure,

scaryteacher Thu 24-Aug-17 22:12:19

My dh is quite high earning, and we contribute in terms of fees, rent, allowance and phone contract, but ds hasn't bothered to sort out driving lessons, so no car; we don't do fancy holidays, and he has an Amazon Warehouse ASUS laptop on the grounds that if it got nicked, damaged or it broke then the world wouldn't end and we could replace it.

When his old laptop died in his second year at uni (it had lasted three years of hard use from the start of Year 12), he rang telling us it would be a grand to get what he wanted. He was told he could either have what we were offering (previous year spec, better than what he wanted) or something that did word processing only and he could use the computers in the college library. He went with what we offered and has been happy with it.

Some can afford more and some less; you support to the level you can afford. We have one ds, drive older cars, don't do exotic holidays, don't do designer labels, so we can help him out now. He knows once dh retires help will be still be forthcoming, but not to the same scale.

We saw this at school, some parents could easily afford the fees for prep; it took most of my salary to cover them. We didn't have a holiday home abroad or a new car each year or a house with a pool or grounds.

Dh is doing the job he is now because it means we can help ds out; it was a factor in deciding to take it.

blueskyinmarch Fri 25-Aug-17 10:11:13

I think for me i would be thinking that a decent laptop is a vital piece of uni equipment so i would give her what I could afford to go towards it. With her grandmothers money could she buy a good one? My DD2 used money from her grandmother to buy her laptop for uni.

scaryteacher Fri 25-Aug-17 12:38:32

It doesn't have to be all singing and dancing though. Ds wanted one set up for gaming; he has a PS4 for that, so we wouldn't pay for an all singing and dancing graphics card and fast processor.

Amazon Warehouse have some good deals, and often the older models have a better spec than the newer ones iyswim.

JennieLee Fri 25-Aug-17 13:37:01

It's one of those slightly sore points because she has complained at various points about the original laptop running slowly and I encouraged/nagged her to get it looked at under the 2 year guarantee from John Lewis . But she didn't do it - every time I reminded her she said it was 'too bad' and now the guarantee has expired.

A bit of me thinks if she'd sorted it within the time frame the old laptop would be workable. But she's said 'I like to keep about 20 tabs open at once.' (I imagine this is music, films etc. She doesn't do gaming.)

I think every now and then she compares her situation to friends who have wealthier and/or more indulgent parents.

The reality is she has a substantial sum from her grandmother - it's more that she doesn't like spending her own money!

OP’s posts: |
FinallyHere Fri 25-Aug-17 13:37:01

I was blessed with parents with the same attitude and resources as you. Lots of people around us had loads more material wealth. At the time, I would have preferred the 'toys' but once i started mixing with other people, first at university and then at work, i am very, very glad that I have inherited their values, so that I know that there are more important things than money, that my value is not a function of the resources I have at my disposal. I could, and did, live very happily on much less than i have now.

It did drive me to find a role in an industry where I am well rewarded. I enjoy the rewards, but do not get hung up on them, as some of my colleagues do. I could stop work, and live happily and frugally, if i needed, or wanted, to.

My sister went the other way, chose a valued but not well rewarded career. She too, is very happy with her family.

Stick to your guns, it will all work out. My only regret that I didn't realise at the time, how hard it must have been for them, being consistent and putting up with my complaints. I only wish I had not complained so much, I'm sure your daughter will grow up to be grateful, too.


FinallyHere Fri 25-Aug-17 13:38:28

Just seen your update. smile. In my experience, all the people who accumulated personal wealth, preferred not to spend their own money. She will do great.

JennieLee Fri 25-Aug-17 13:39:34

She said it was 'not too bad' is what I meant...

OP’s posts: |
Notreallyarsed Fri 25-Aug-17 13:42:35

When I was at uni, my parents (very kindly) paid for halls/meals in halls. They had offered to give me "an allowance" but I declined and got a part time job instead, because I didn't want to rely on the bank of mum and dad, I wanted to earn my own money. If she's sitting on a pot of money there is no reason at all she can't buy her own computer unless she's spent it all in the union wink

MrsJayy Fri 25-Aug-17 13:47:15

So she has her own money but chooses not to spend it on a lap top well tbh that is up to her you provided a laptop she chose not to get it looked at this for me would be the clincher I would be telling her to buy her own. Your dds expectations are ridiculous being supported through higher education is not a right she as an adult woman should be responsible for her own things she wants not needs. Many people go through life with others having it is just a fact you and her dad can't support this lifestyle your dd is expecting and that really is ok, what isn't ok is her acting bratty.

Moominmammacat Fri 25-Aug-17 13:55:34

Stick to your guns ... there are far too many entitled rich kids swanning around university. The ones who understand how much people earn/how much things cost do far better in the long run.

senua Fri 25-Aug-17 14:01:47

Do other parents have this sort of dilemma?

Is this the first time you have encountered this?shock Mine perfected the art, at Primary school, of whining "but, muuuum, everybody else's parents gets them <insert object of desire here>".
I'd trained them out of it by University.wink

BizzyFizzy Fri 25-Aug-17 14:01:53

She is probably not being straight with you.

There are too many generalisations.

My five children were privately educated and consequently we don't have two pennies to rub together. My university kids have the laptops they were given at the beginning of sixth form.

Lucysky2017 Fri 25-Aug-17 17:29:22

I agree with most chidlren this starts then they are about 6. "Everyone has"..... well everyone is like the tooth fairy, does not exist.
Mine was using my previous lap top I got fed up with as it was running so slowly. I have promised to buy one (budget £1k) before he goes to university as I just bought his twin one similar but I have made it clear this it the last ever, asked if they'd rather take their PC (no). Also their big brother (and I suppose I) could clear the whole of the existing lap top and do a factory restart. Could your daughter try that? It might get it working faster again.

I have also said I am not paying for replacements if it's stolen or dropped inthe bath and that they should get insurance or check what they are covered for in halls. One of their older sisters killed three iphones. After the death of the third she bought an insurance policy.

There are a lot of teenagers at university with not much money. If she dosen't have much that might be an incentive to earn some! My son started at Deliveroo 3 weeks ago and is also on Taskrabbit. The other one has some work to do for me this afternoon if his friend ever leaves and he gets on with it.

Ktown Fri 25-Aug-17 17:32:39

Raspberry pies are 35 quid and are really good computers!

Leeds2 Fri 25-Aug-17 18:24:44

I think I would tell her to spend her inheritance if she wants to upgrade. It is nice to be able to support your children, but I doubt that many at university are funded entirely by mum and dad.

Floralnomad Fri 25-Aug-17 18:29:55

Are you sure she still has the money that her Gran gave her ?

JigglyTuff Fri 25-Aug-17 18:37:15

I agree with whoever said that this is no different to smaller children mithering about wanting STUFF all the time.

JennieLee Fri 25-Aug-17 20:29:31

Yes, the money is still there - in a high interest account that one of us has! She's not asked for any of it yet.

I think while there were always better off/more parents who treated their children lavishly, the divide seems greater now that she is at a university where the students are very much from a privileged socio-economic group. And in society generally there's more of a gap between the haves and the have nots. Also once they're 18, there is that question of how much you regard them as adults who can earn money for what they want - or seem them still as those who are dependants because they've not completed their education.

I think the thread's being quite helpful. I just wobble sometimes and think - briefly - thatI should be a different sort of parent than the one I actually am.

OP’s posts: |
AtiaoftheJulii Fri 25-Aug-17 23:20:58

I don't find it a dilemma tbh! We pay our kids' rent (currently two at university, likely to be two for the majority of the coming years) which I think is pretty generous, and that's about it. They get the maintenance loan, one got a small scholarship amount, they can work if they want to but they don't have to. They also have some inherited money but so far they've both put it in ISAs. There are four of them, they've learnt that there's not a bottomless pit of money, although we're perfectly comfortable.

(Dd1 is currently visiting a friend at their London flat - next weekend same friend is having a big 21st birthday party at their house in the home counties. Clearly they have a lot more money than us!)

Interestingly, although some of dd1's friends are talking about the high paid jobs they want to get after university, dd1 isn't interested in that kind of job.

Lucysky2017 Sat 26-Aug-17 08:08:46

Mine have about £10k which is saved from every birthday for 18 years from relatives etc and our older children used it as needed at university if what I fund them did not last. I don't mind - they are 18 and can do what they like with it. In fact in June we transferred it from the child savings account with the old fashioned pass book etc into a savings account with their main bank so they can move money between the two - obviously I hope it will be the other way - lots of earnings they then save but not much chance of that at university.

I like it when my children mix with others of all backgrounds and income levels.It gives them the chance to see all the different ways people live and make informed choices about their own lives.

BubblesBuddy Tue 29-Aug-17 15:53:26

Why my DDs went to university, few took their cars - no parking! We did buy a laptop (through DH's company) but it was fairly ordinary.

The next problem was that after 4 years, it was not good enough for further courses and work and it was very heavy to lug around. So it has been upgraded to an Apple.

There will always be people with differing levels of disposable income. Mine have one grandma with little money so nothing from any grandparents at all, ever. Your DD could spend her own money but sometimes computer glitches can be sorted out cheaply by backstreet shops. We have regularly had younger DD's computer cleaned up because it was slow. Does not cost much and I would do this before anything else. How much is she running on it? How much does she need to run on it?

knittingwithnettles Wed 30-Aug-17 22:50:50

if her computer has only a 2 GB memory (which is what my Acer does) she may need to download some more memory onto it for it to run faster. I bought a series of cheap computers for the kids thinking that they were slow because they had viruses etc but actually it is because you cannot run things like Word and PowerPoint AND Google on a 2GB computer. A computer whizz finally explained this to me after two/3 years of slow computers, and upgraded the computersfor about 40£ apiece. She needs someone to clean it up for her and reinstall something or other...don't ask me I am not at all computer savvy, but all I know is that I had been labouring under the delusion that there was something wrong with my computer when it merely lacks GB!! (it is an Acer ES14 btw) whereas the 4GB computer I had originally was much better (after I fixed the broken screen)

knittingwithnettles Wed 30-Aug-17 22:59:38

my sister has been very strict with her sons at uni, imposing what is in reality quite an artificial allowance on them (when she has spare) because she felt very strongly they should learn to manage their money. Son 1 was given catered accommodation, but son 2 was just given Sunday lunch occasionally (his uni was in same town as parents) and expected to batch cook. This was offset by them being invited to a very nice holiday every year for a week. They seem to just accept that they have to scrimp and save, and have v good work ethic, Deliveroo etc. They come from a "wealthy" background, and went to private school. I think there are so many students who do live on a budget that is quite easy to find people with same concerns, and want cheap holidays, save for everything and don't expect designer anything. Eldest found a graduate job the minute he left uni, he was obsessed by the idea of having an income to support himself.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in