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If your DC have just finished their A levels and are not going to Uni . . .

(34 Posts)
ScotsLassDownSouth Thu 17-Jul-08 09:41:27

Well, at least not this year . . . Do you charge them rent? DS finished his A levels last month. I think he'll do reasonably well but certainly won't get straight As, and he does not want to go to Uni. He doesn't know what he'd study, doesn't want to get into debt. (Although luckily we are in a position to help).

He is now working (almost) full time at a bar (his part-time job for the last year) until he "decides what he wants to do". Now while I'm glad he's getting out of bed and doing something, I'm not sure what we should be doing re his "keep". He has not suggested paying any rent and as yet I haven't asked for any. He also has use of my old car (DH recently got a company car, I "inherited" DH's car, so my little runaround was sitting on the drive going rusty, so there was no expenditure). He puts petrol in the car and has paid for the tax.

I have told him that now he's no longer in further education he'll have to start fending for himself a bit more (ie I don't do his ironing, don't change his bed or hoover his room. If he wants to wear unironed clothes or sleep in the same sheets for weeks at a time that's his concern!)

Last night he came home and devoured a huge plate of bread, cheese and salad and then told me the pickled onions had run out so would I get some the next time I went shopping. Well, he's the only one in the house who eats pickled onions, so I told him to buy them himself if he wanted them! and he was a bit surprised and made some excuses how split shifts make it difficult go shopping, etc. My response was that I also work full time and have responsibilities for his younger brother, the dog, the housework, etc - so why should I go out of my way to buy things specificallly for him? He didn't raise any objections, I think it just hadn't occurred to him.

Now he must take home between 200 and 250 quid a week (not exactly sure, sometimes he works more shifts than others) and it seems to me that he should contribute something to the household whether we actually need the money or not. He does buy all his own clothes and pays for all his own entertainment - doesn't need to put credit on his phone as we bought him a "contract" phone for his birthday. So in reality he has a lot more disposable income than I have!

Well, wise Mumsnetters - what would you suggest? He is a good lad and we never have any trouble with him but I really want him to understand that money doesn't grow on trees and that if he were to go out an get a flat then he'd have a lot more bills to pay than he does living at home!

mumblechum Thu 17-Jul-08 10:02:01

I think I've seen elsewhere on MN that one third of income should go on board, so around the £70 a week mark?

Agree he should sort out his own room/washing, otherwise he's not going to learn, is he?

LazyLinePainterJane Thu 17-Jul-08 11:00:27

Yes you should charge him board. That, or he should move out.

Miaou Thu 17-Jul-08 11:22:59

I think the key here is that he probably hasn't thought about it. To my mind the fairest thing would be to sit down with him and your dh and thrash it out - ie, the change in status from dependent child to semi-dependent adult, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that entails. I would say mumblechum is around the right mark at £70. You should also set out what you expect from him and what he can expect from you in return.

FWIW, I did exactly the same thing as your son (got a ft job in a pub after a levels whilst deciding what to do), but never had this convo with my parents and subsequently went through a lot of glowering and resentment because they had expected me to figure all this out myself hmm.

Miaou Thu 17-Jul-08 11:23:37

(ie they did the glowering and resentment!)

TigerFeet Thu 17-Jul-08 11:28:40

I agree with Miaou - he just hasn't thought about it before. He has had everything done for him up until now so it probably hasn't occurred to him that he should be doing more himself now.

You should be charging him rent although £70 sounds a lot to me if you are going to expect him to buy his own food etc. Perhaps £50/pw?

You need to agree between yourselves what he has to do for himself. Sounds like you have already made a start re ironing and bedroom maintenance but you need to think about shopping. If he pays rent are you happy to buy all his shopping? Perhaps you could charge him more then.

Miaou my Mum did the same. SHe never talked about anything - we were just expected to figure it out for ourselves. In the meantime there was a lot of stropping and sulking on her part and I was all bemused wondering what I'd done wrong hmm

ScotsLassDownSouth Thu 17-Jul-08 11:39:38

I think you've got it, Miaou - I really don't think he's thought about it. (It was the "pickled onion" thing really - he seemed astonished that he was expected to buy them himself if he wanted them!)

I think the trouble is that we are very fortunate and don't really "need" him to contribute. He has also always been fairly self-sufficient, having had little part time jobs since he was 14 and has never asked for money for clothes, going out, etc.

We do have to sit down and talk about what is expected of him now. My only worry is that DH and I have slightly different expectations - DH left school at 16 and did an apprenticeship and paid (quite substantial) board to his mother as soon as his first pay packet came in. I went off to Uni at 18, worked during the holidays and was never asked for board and then after Uni was fortunate enough to land a very good, well-paid job.

It seems to take longer to become self-sufficent these days . . .

TigerFeet Thu 17-Jul-08 11:46:24

It does take longer but it can be a gradual process. Just because you don't need the money doesn't mean he shouldn't pay it. It's a good life lesson imo.

If you don't need the money why not open a new bank account with it? Save it for him and then if he decides to buy a house or whatever you can give it back to him then.

Flamesparrow Thu 17-Jul-08 11:48:51

If you're buying food, then £70 sounds ok, if he is, then I would go with less.

He does his own washing etc though and cooks his share of the family meals.

GrapefruitMoon Thu 17-Jul-08 11:53:08

Yes I would start charging him rent now - unless he is already saving a substantial portion of his wages in case he decides to go on to third-level education at a later stage...

Like Tigerfeet said, you can always put it away for him to have at a later date if you really don't need it right now.

Blandmum Thu 17-Jul-08 11:55:57

You must charge him rent.

He is an adult now and should be supporting himself.

If you feel mean, bank the money (or some of it) and give it to him later in life as a deposit for a car/ whatever

Lilymaid Thu 17-Jul-08 12:05:24

If he is definitely going to university you could either charge him rent and put some of it aside to help him when he is at university or charge him no rent and tell him that he will have to finance himself completely when he does get there. If he isn't you need to charge him something that will cover your costs (btw we discovered that our electricity bill went down enormously when DS1 went to university, so factor that in!). Don't go out of your way to buy him particular food. My DS has learnt that the fridge/larder is stocked sufficiently for him to get a meal (when he is at home during vacations), but that if he wants something specific - especially mid week when I'm at work he will need to buy it for himself.

ScotsLassDownSouth Thu 17-Jul-08 14:13:44

I think we'll start with £50 a week, which I believe is very fair considering he also gets use of a car. I will ensure that the fridge/larder is always sufficiently stocked for him to get a meal (only fair as DS2 is always starving, too) - but as Lilymaid says, if he wants something specific then he has to buy it himself. And if he finishes the milk/bread/cheese then he has to make sure he replaces it so that his brother can make a sandwich/have a cup of tea.

I quite like the idea of squirreling some money away - and if he does reconsider Uni next year or sometime in the future then he'll have a headstart.

dweezle Thu 17-Jul-08 17:55:37

When I started work I was earning £27 a week shock and gave my mum a tenner. I also did own ironing, either made evening meal or washed up afterwards, helped dad in the farden, washed car etc. DH's parent's allowed their 4 boys a 'free' year when they started work - i.e. no financial contributions for first 12 months, but fair divvying up of household tasks.

girlywhirly Fri 18-Jul-08 11:18:09

I thnk that if he does other jobs (over and above his own room and laundry, e.g. lawn mowing, car washing, others' ironing, cleaning bathroom etc things that benefit the whole family) you could treat him to a few jars of pickled onions!

ScotsLassDownSouth Fri 18-Jul-08 11:45:38

Indeed, girly - but I think I may have an uphill struggle! He took girlfriend out for a meal for her 18th last night and the struggle with the ironing board was quite a sight . . . I am trying to train him to be domesticated, but I do fear that he does not have "the ironing gene . . ."

I relented last night and bought him a big jar of pickled onions from the Co-op . . .

SqueakyPop Fri 18-Jul-08 11:49:03

Definitely charge him digs.

If this means that he can't save anything and you want him to, then put the money aside and use it to help him out when he needs a deposit for a house, or whatever. But don't let him have the chance to fritter it away.

ScotsLassDownSouth Fri 18-Jul-08 11:56:55

Oops - should have read "took girlfriend out last night and needed his smart shirt!"

Also mentioned to him today that perhaps his sheets needed changing. Response was "But Mum, they've only been on for 3 weeks . . ." But I will not give in!

justdidntthink Fri 18-Jul-08 17:06:10

i agreethat you should chage him whether you need to or not. At the very least it will show him that life doesn't come free. Ifyou are fortunate enough not to need the money, why not save some of it and give it back to him as a nest egg when he goes to uni? Or when he needs help with a deposit on a car/house etc? When my sons start earning we will have to charge them. We are not in a position to support them financially, but we are going to try to save some of what they give us towards their uni/house/car etc. I think they should at least pay fior the food they eat. Costs that are unaffected by them being there, eg;mortgage/rent, council tax, possibly gas & electricity, we will continue to pay, but costs of food, phone etc, which differ according to use, they will have to contribute.
As for housework, why shouldn't he begin to help out? as you say, if he wants clean sheets, clothes etc, he could learn to use the washing machine and the iron!
Good luck!smile

girlywhirly Sat 19-Jul-08 09:22:39

Actually, why not draw up a list of all your monthly household running costs, food receipts, bills, mortgage, insurance, car etc. He will probably conclude that his contribution is very reasonable when he realises what it really costs to run a home and family! Good practice for budgeting and living within his means when he does move out.

The sheets thing made me laugh, reminded me of elderly FIL who used to sleep on one side of the double bed for one week, then on the other side for the next week, then he'd put the bottom sheet in the wash, put top sheet on the bottom and fresh sheet on top!!!!!! (But he did wear pyjamas) Did your DS say he was saving water and power by not changing his sheets weekly?wink

SueW Sat 19-Jul-08 09:40:33

I bumped into our babysitter yesterday who told me that her mum's now cut her off without a penny (just finished A levels, going on gap year in Sept to Oz, uni the following year).

She's just started a p-t job, and was joking about being cut off but basically M&D had made it clear she'd got to start thinking for herself financially a bit more.

I paid board to my parents from when I started f-t work after A levels but it had been talked about all through teenage years.

Agree with others that if you don't need the money, put it to one side, to maybe help for uni or for the deposit on a house/moving fees for your DS later.

missingtheaction Sat 19-Jul-08 09:48:54

I think taking him through the household expenses is a brilliant idea and I am going to do that with DC this week. I certainly didn't have a clue what stuff cost at that age - and would never have considered council tax, gas bills, insurance, Sky etc etc

You could also check out the cost of renting a room locally and make a rough stab at how much it would cost him to live if he didn't have you doing it - not to mention the work of actually running a household.

IndigoMoon Sat 19-Jul-08 09:56:50

i was charged rent when i started working but I cannot remember how much.

when i started saving for my own house they stopped asking me for rent and the extra went into my savings.

motheroftwoboys Tue 22-Jul-08 14:12:58

This is difficult even when they are still at school. My DS1 is 18 in October and will be starting Upper 6th in September. He still gets pocket money; he also has a weekly paper round and pays himself something out of his savings (from work he did when he was younger). He will, hopefully, be going to Uni next year so when does all this change? Do we suddenly expect him to get a job and start paying rent over next summer? I just treat him (and DS2 who is 16) still as "children" as far as things like housework and meals are concerned. I do the washing and ironing for them both and cook them meals if they are around. DS1 is going to a lot of Festivals over the summer which he is funding himself. Maybe we are too soft with them, I don't know. If either of them decided not to go to Uni and just to get a job (if that is possible!) then I certainly would expect them to behave in a more adult fashion and to pay rent etc. I assume if/when they go to Uni then they will appreciate all the work that has to be done and they know they will be funding themselves with student loans but I don;t have much of a problem in letting them wait until that point to find out!

mumblechum Tue 22-Jul-08 14:29:08

MO2B, I'd still get them trained to make basic meals and do their own laundry, otherwise they'll be living on pizza for 3 years and bringing their washing home every term!

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