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Allowance for 17 year old starting Uni but staying at home

(102 Posts)
Missgiraffe1 Wed 31-Jul-13 15:46:10

Either I am clueless - as the offer I made to DD was met with a less than enthusiastic response - or she is being unreasonable.

She will stay at home, rent/digs free. No tuition fees (we're in Scotland). We will pay for her travel, food, toiletries, but makeup/clothes and social life will be for her to pay out of her allowance and any other earnings.
I don't want her to work too much during term-time, but I think 1 weekend day, or 1 or 2 evenings, would be reasonable. So she could top up what we were willing to pay by doing this, or by babysitting (we have a 1 year old) or by helping with housework (of which she currently does NONE!! [bone of contention emoticon]

She has been working a minimum of 4days per week since her exams finished, but has spent it all.

I suggested we give her £30/week. Working 1 weekend day would surely top this up to around £55. With potential to earn more by helping out (I offered her £10 to clean all the bathrooms) and £5 to watch her little Bro once a week to let me get out to the pub gym. That's £70/wk.

I honestly don't know if this is reasonable. She has got used to earning a bit more with her summer job, and her only reference is a friend who's already at Uni, but who gets a bursary and has taken out a student loan. She gets about £600/month (apparently)
With a reduction in my days of work, and childcare costs, we now have almost £13k less coming in per year. We are also looking to insure her for learning to drive, so that will be another 1.5K expenditure.

Would anyone be willing to share details of their arrangements in a similar situation? Am really struggling to understand what is reasonable. I know clothes aren't cheap, and they all have a great social life these days (spa days, city breaks etc) but I also want instill some life lessons in her (which I think I have mostly failed to do in this regard, regretfully)
Thanks (if you've got this far!)

Ilovegeorgeclooney Thu 01-Aug-13 11:53:58

This is a worry for so many parents. DD2 has had an allowance from her father's life insurance of £300 per month since she was 16, now she is 18 it doubles. This has meant that even though where we live there are loads of seasonal jobs she, unlike DD1 and DS, has not bothered. Last night she asked how much of an allowance I would be giving her for uni in Sept. when I said I would pay her hall fees but the rest was up to her I had a meltdown. She claims that since DH and I gave DD1 an allowance I should give her the same. DS has the same allowance from the LI and manages well. I am so upset, DH would be so ashamed and I feel I have let him down by allowing her to be so entitled.

Missgiraffe1 Thu 01-Aug-13 12:42:28

Ilovegeorge I will echo what others have said to me, don't be too hard on yourself. You most certainly are not letting your DH down (sorry for your loss) I do think teenagers build up this sense of entitlement pretty quickly though, my DD certainly has. You can only do what you think is right and hope that, as they grow into young adults, they will realise that they have been very lucky to have had such supportive and generous parents (and should bloody well be thankful for being so!!)
I know I've over-compensated for the difficult things our family has been through, but I now think tough love is the only answer for my DD.
This parenting malarkey is not always easy is it?!

And, Choco, that's an idea, Maybe giving her an amount per term. However, I am actually leaning towards withdrawing all offers completely and just letting her find out for herself how tough budgeting can be. My concern is that she just goes and gets herself into a ridiculous amount of debt before realising.

Missgiraffe1 Thu 01-Aug-13 12:47:24

And thanks everyone else for their honest opinions and experiences. If she want to be treated like an adult, I guess she needs to start acting like one.
(Am even more incensed now at how she reacted with such shock and horror at our 'measly' offer. Just as well she's in Turkey just now actually. She's probably safer there whilst I cool off and think about how to tackle this rationally and unemotionally.)

specialsubject Thu 01-Aug-13 19:50:46

TBH I think you are being very generous. She gets cleaning and laundry, accommodation, food, travel - she should be paying YOU!

I'm mean, but I wouldn't give any allowance until she contributes to housework. Especially as there is clearly enough money for a high-season trip to the Med.

hope she works hard and does well at uni.

AgentProvocateur Thu 01-Aug-13 20:00:16

Missgiraffe, I have two DC going to uni (potentially) this year, and although we can afford to subsidise them, we will pay travel for the one staying at home, and halls fees for the other. We have gone through budgets with them both, and they will get loans to make up what they need to live on, as well as their p/t work.

Do you know that the non-means tested loan for maintenance rises to 4k here in Scotland next year?

Missgiraffe1 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:54:27

4k?? Per year? Maybe I am actually soft in the head, but I hate the thought of my DD leaving university with a mountain of debt if she (we?) can help it.
However, I am now no longer willing to let her sail in &out of this house treating it like a hotel (aargh! I sound just like my mum did!) whilst showing absolutely no sign of understanding the value of money.
And, dh and I have agreed that the car insurance is off the cards for the time being (as we're pretty disappointed in her attitude regarding the allowance issue) so I hope she will start getting the message that we're not just going to keep handing stuff to her on a plate.
Think I need wine now smile

AgentProvocateur Thu 01-Aug-13 22:10:38

But she wouldn't need the 4k. My stay-at-home student has applied for £500. Which we could easily afford to give him, but I'd rather he learned to budget, and bought books and stationery within a budget instead of relying on his parents.

Likewise my going-away student will apply for more, because he'll have to buy food.

I don't think we do them any favours by giving them money. If they know they'll have to pay it back - ie student loan - or earn it, they'll appreciate it more.

sashh Fri 02-Aug-13 07:58:12

Your child is being selfish and you are being soft.

She should be paying rent/board to you and she should be getting a bursary and / or loan to finance her board and anything wlse she wants.

Missgiraffe1 Fri 02-Aug-13 11:35:42

Sashh yes, I'm now well aware that she's not being reasonable, but we are in the fortunate position to not have to charge her 'board' when she goes to Uni. Shes not demanding she stays at home rent free, we've never been under any doubt that we'd do this for her if she went to Uni. Yes, she needs to grow up, but we don't stop being their parents when they turn 17/18. I don't necessarily think its a bad thing to want to help your child avoid debt if you can, but I do appreciate that what we were offering was too generous.
As I said, we have already removed the car insurance option (until we see an improvement in several areas) and are revisiting the whole allowance issue, but I am never going to charge her rent for staying in her own family home. I very much feel I have a continuing responsibility for her.
Trust me, I know things have to change or she will become a selfish adult with an expectation that everything will come easy to her.
Im working on it.

chocoluvva Fri 02-Aug-13 11:54:07

I agree that if you can afford to have your grown-up child live with you it's mean to charge them rent. If you're struggling it's a different matter.

I also agree with the posters who feel their DCs should move out when they begin their tertiary education - my DD will apply for a highly competitive course and is most likely to only be offered a place at the uni in our home town - I think that's a shame for her, especially as she's desperate to have more independence, but the huge bonus will be the huge financial saving and we wouldn't dream of charging her to live in the family home unless we were struggling. DCs who choose to study in their home town for financial reasons are perhaps not very adventurous but the financial savings will be enormous. What on earth is wrong with that?

Missgiraffe1 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:13:01

Thanks choco
The course my DD wants to do is offered at 2unis in Scotland, one is 80miles away and the other about 18miles. She chose the closest one. Partly because she knows someone who started the course last year and loves it there, partly because its convenient (transport links are excellent) but also because I now have a 1yo DS and she has 3other siblings from her dad &wife (1just 4weeks) and she really doesn't want to be a stranger to them hmm
She is very independent in many ways (her Dublin &london trips were with friends) but I do feel that she needs to step out into the big bad world a bit more from now on (I've only recently set a new rule where she has to make all her own appointments eg hairdressers, doctors, driving lessons etc as she was forever pestering me to do it! Not exactly the sign of a mature young adult!)
I hope your DD enjoys her course though regardless. I'm sure she will. I suspect my DD may want to move out next year actually. But I also suspect it will not be very far away!!

catsrus Fri 02-Aug-13 12:19:03

OK - I have been in a slightly different position (dc not living at home but not eligible for loan - it's complicated!) but have had to deal with similar issues about "how much is fair" - after a year my dc has told me I have been giving them too much so this year the monthly allowance has gone down!

We did have the conversation at the start about getting the balance right between giving enough and letting them learn the real value of money, and this conversation continued - to be honest there has been a total transformation in 12 months from a sense of entitlement to one of gratitude. I was told that I should not give above X because it would just get spent - and they didn't like feeling so much better off than their friends.

taking them food shopping and watching a supermarket own brand being put in the trolley instead of the beloved Heinz tomato ketchup did make me smile.

I would say it's OK to be generous if you can afford to be, but keep the conversation ongoing about the importance of learning to budget and you don't want to do the wrong thing by giving her too much.

Missgiraffe1 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:27:47

That's encouraging catsrus. Sounds like you've done a great job there.
I really hope to see a change in DDs attitude. I have the added problem of her dad now having a lot of money. He tends to just hand her a £50 note every now &then, and also gives her £10 week (although I think that has stopped recently for whatever reason) so she has had it very easy. I had a talk with him when I stopped the allowance we had started giving her when she was 16 (as her room &ensuite were a mess, and it was the only thing I asked her to keep on top of)
But the handing out of money continued hmm
Not that I'm blaming him. Its just an added complication.
We are going to have a stern talk with her when she's back. Fingers crossed.

OttilieKnackered Fri 02-Aug-13 12:35:36

Just to add to the chorus, I think you're being more than generous. My little sister is at uni, although on holidays at the moment. She had to move away to go to a decent one, so pays for rent, food, socialising, travel etc all herself. As well as £9k per year fees. She worked in a call centre for a year to get some savings under her belt as spends the holidays working with children with profound disabilities. She doesn't get a penny from our parents.

She'll probably leave with about £40k debt. If you can afford for your daughter not to get into debt then that's great but her sense of entitlement for spending money is astonishing. Many more students are in my sister's position than in your daughter's. I think she needs to realise that.

Missgiraffe1 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:40:52

I totally agree ottilie. Praise where praise is due, your sister sounds like a very hard-working and committed person.

Chaoscarriesonagain Fri 02-Aug-13 12:48:42

Hi OP, I think you sound lovely!

I will share my story for background. I went to uni (Scotland) 10 years ago and lived at home. My course was FT and intensive. I worked throughout my course.

I lived at home and paid no rent but not a penny from parents. I lived a 40 mile round trip for which the public transport is non existent. I took out a loan and paid insurance for my own car and paid it up every month, had a good social life and went on holidays- all without debt and through my own earnings, also whilst getting a degree.

I managed to progress through jobs; TESCO, to promotions, to admin jobs- all of which I believe got me a better job than friends once graduated- I had doubly proved myself, if you like.

I graduated in 2008 with a good work ethic (I think!). I am personally eternally grateful my parents refused to give me anything- when they more than could. It taught me hard work, respect for money and that I can do most things myself.

It worked for me! I have a very good job and salary now having graduated 5 years ago

alreadytaken Fri 02-Aug-13 12:54:06

I feel for you as my teenager is spoilt too. Stand firm, let her take out a loan if she wasn't to be extravagant. You can pay off some of the debts later but having to borrow may curtail her spending.

chocoluvva Fri 02-Aug-13 12:54:21

She probably does realise that she's lucky compared with most people.
But it's like telling people to eat everything on their plate to avoid wasting food when there are others in the world who are hungry; it doesn't usually work.

It's more a question of her being fair and reasonable as a member of her household. If she isn't grateful or helpful then she shouldn't expect to be treated generously. She needs to understand that you wish to prevent her having a debt when it isn't necessary, but you don't have to spend a large proportion of your money on her social life/high standard of living and you don't feel inclined to when she doesn't show her appreciation - by being thankful and doing her fair share around the house etc.

The amount of time you spend doing things for her is the same. I tell my DC that I'm delighted to do things for them to support them with their constructive activities so I'll gladly run them to instrument lessons, DD's voluntary work etc, but if they're going to their friends to hang out they can walk (unless it's pouring or they've been very busy and I can spare the time.)

She will also feel good about herself when she has achieved things/acquired things through her own effort and be compassionate to people who are not as financially well-off as her.

Definitely a matter of balance.

SnowWoman Fri 02-Aug-13 12:56:09

DS is living at home while at college. We are not charging rent or food, but he does have regular chores to do as well as helping out with larger jobs like DIY as required. He does his own laundry and cooks a family meal once a week.

He got a travel bursary last year, but not any more, so from August we will be paying for that too. He was on £100 per month plus the bursary plus £10 for mobile phone. He had to learn to run his own bank account, and his allowance covers clothes, kit for the course, social life etc. He is doing Graphic Design, so we did buy an iMac but the whole family use that.

How this will all pan out when the DDs start college/uni will be interesting - DD1 has already negotiated a pocket money raise for S6!

mrsjay Sat 03-Aug-13 17:08:32

dd stays at home and works before she got her job we paid clothes travel and food any extras she had to pay for herself , It is amazing what they can achieve when you dont doll money out of them, what is she studying because she wont be in uni all day every day she can work and if she is staying at home then she has no other money worries I wouldnt be dolling out the cash if she isn't preapared to support herself a little bit

Greenkit Sun 04-Aug-13 04:28:32

My DD is 16, nearly 17 and since she was 16 I have given her the child benefit, about £80 per month. Out of that she has to buy all her own clothes and extras, I will pay for toiletries and food etc with our normal shop.

I also take £20 per month for her phone contract, which is in my name as she is not yet 18.

She attends college full time, walks there and back which is 6miles a day because she hates buses saves money

Greenkit Sun 04-Aug-13 04:29:44

Oh and in terms of work around the house, she walks the dogs every day, empties the dishwasher and puts washing on when asked

ImperialBlether Sun 04-Aug-13 18:43:17

Why don't you do something like match her wages, or give her 50% on top of her wages?

Everyone in the house should have jobs. Why are you cleaning four bathrooms? How many people live in the house?

Are you a SAHM, OP? How many other children are living at home?

Missgiraffe1 Sun 04-Aug-13 21:03:32

No Imperial, I work 4days. Just me, DH, Dd and 1year old ds. Dd has her own bathroom we have our ensuite, then there's the family bathroom and a downstairs toilet! We did not consider how much work this house would be before buying it!!
Mrsjay she will have 3.5days at uni so plenty time for a part time job.
But I have now pretty much decided that Dd is going to be responsible for cleaning them all weekly - and without pay - once she's back from turkey. Along with some other regular chores. I was on mat/annual leave for 14months so did let her get away without doing much during that time. I do need to get it through to her that she needs to start acting like an adult now.
I like the idea of possibly topping up what she earns (the shop she works in will be closing in a couple of months so she needs to look for something else) and an incentive, rather than us give a set allowance.
Thanks everyone.
Tough love from now on <invests in set of earplugs for expected 'Kevin-esque' whine>

sashh Mon 05-Aug-13 07:44:53

Re the bathroom and bedroom. Most uni halls charge a deposit and then inspect the room twice a year. If the room / bathroom is not up to scratch they deduct from your deposit.

You could do something similar.

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