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To find it hard to be grateful for this gift (car)?

84 replies

bereal7 · 19/06/2015 09:28

Ofcourse I appreciate the gift - it's a huge gift and in different circumstances I would have been screaming with joy.

Basically, I'm in uni and my parents just gave me a car as a birthday gift but I can't help but think "well how am I supposed to afford to run a car?" when I don't even know how I'll pay rent through summer before student finance comes in.

This makes it worse - before I received the gift, I opened a letter from SFE saying I would be receiving the bare minimum AGAIN and I was already upset and stressed because it means I have to accept that I'll be taking money from my parents next year aswell ! And now...on top of money for rent, I'll have to try and run a car.

For full disclosure, they will be paying the insurance for me but I know there's still a lot of costs involved with running a car. I feel bad cos I didn't respond as excited as I usually do with such gifts (I did try!) so think my mum might be a bit dissapointed.

Sorry for the long post - I just had to get it out to people who don't know me or my family !

OP posts:
OhEmGeee · 19/06/2015 10:26

Talk to your parents, seriously. Have a chat with them and tell them you love the gift, really appreciate it but you're struggling and can't afford it. They will want to know.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 19/06/2015 10:28

Its a classic white elephant gift in the original meaning:-

"A white elephant is a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. The term derives from the story that the kings of Siam, now Thailand, were accustomed to make a present of one of these animals to courtiers who had rendered themselves obnoxious in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance."

It's a shame they didn't check with you first. Can you use it just for trips to and from home?

Gileswithachainsaw · 19/06/2015 10:31

It's a shame they didn't check with you first. Can you use it just for trips to and from home?

this kind if usage almost costs more than using it daily.

because you have all the costs of the vehicle depending on who covers what. and bus and train fares the rest of the time.

so petrol and bus tickets

HumphreyCobbler · 19/06/2015 10:31

People are being so rude to the OP. There is no need. I think you are being fiscally sensible, OP, to worry about running costs. If you have no money you have no money! You did not ask for this car, you do not want it, you cannot afford it. You were not rude to your parents, you are expressing your worries away from them. I see no hint of spoiled brat Hmm

Backforthis · 19/06/2015 10:32

You don't sound ungrateful at all. Cars are wonderful when you have a need for one. In rural areas with non existent public transport they're the only way to get around. In a city they are a huge hassle.

In the dim and distant past when I was at uni I only knew two people who had cars with them. One of them had their car (ancient, rusty thing) stolen from outside their student house and never replaced it. The other left their car at home after one term. Everyone walked. Half an hour to a lecture, half an hour home. I lost half a stone in the first month there! Parking was a nightmare and even if you found a space anywhere near Uni buildings it was metered. Older cars also don't tend to be happy left outside through freezing winter months.

I'm sure it was given with love but they really should have sounded you out about it first.

MirandaWest · 19/06/2015 10:35

I don't see how the OP is being a spoiled brat. Had she asked for a car, or if she had been given a car but said she didn't like the colour or something like that then maybe but she didn't ask for the car, and it looks like being a present that may end up costing her money. How is any of that spoiled behaviour?

BumpTheElephant · 19/06/2015 10:36

Why are people being so hard on the op?
I get it, you were bought something you neither want or can afford to run and are already stressed about money.
I'd suggest you tell your parents how you are feeling and tell them your money worries. They may be able to help you out.
I say this as someone who had a poor upbringing and have never had nor expected a penny from my parents. You do not sound spolied or like you are "sponging".
If your parents income decides what money you receive then that suggests a general expectation that parents will support their children through uni.

cashewnutty · 19/06/2015 10:36

I get you OP. We bought a car for our DD to learn to drive in and we paid all the related costs (ours are both automatics). She went off to a uni in a city and couldn't afford to run it so we looked after it for her and used it ourselves over the four years of her course. Now she has her first job she can afford to run it and has now assumed all the costs for it. A car is a massive expense and probably not needed if you are at uni in a city.

Can you ask them to keep it at their house until you need it? Or ask them to sell it and buy you one when you need it?

Kewcumber · 19/06/2015 10:37

You say your parents don't know you're struggling so you are being a bit unreasonable - they aren't psychic!

Talk to your mum and just say how much you appreciate the gift and you're sorry you didn't seem as appreciative as you would normally but that money is a lot tighter this year and you don't think you can afford the maintenance of it.

Gileswithachainsaw · 19/06/2015 10:40

It's not miranda

there are always threads on MN about well meaning people giving gifts that are just not useful or practical.

grandparents buying buggies that won't fit in the car they have or buying cots when they were Co sleeping until they can move to a house with a second bedroom.

or buying buying musical instruments or football boots when the parents can't afford lessons.

It's like block buying riding lessons. get the kids hooked when the parents can't afford to pay for any after or the equipment needed to ride.

hibbledibble · 19/06/2015 10:42

I think you sound rahter pragmatic op.

It is a really hard situation though, as you don't want to offend your parents by refusing the gift.

In your situation I would probably keep it, act grateful, and try to think of some way of making the car pay for itself.

Eg Can you use it so you can travel further to a better paid job? Can you lift share with fellow students in return for expenses? Offer yourself as a babysitter, with own transport? (Families would find this more attractive as they wouldn't have to pay for a cab home for you).

WorldsBiggestGrotbag · 19/06/2015 10:49

Wow you're getting a tough time OP.
YANBU. It's not the sort of gift that should be bought without consultation. If you can't afford to run it and it will cause you stress then it's not a suitable gift.
By the way I've read some of your previous threads (if you're the poster I'm thinking of) and it sounds like communication with your parents is a big issue in general. You need to talk to them. Tell them exactly what your financial situation is.

QuintShhhhhh · 19/06/2015 10:51

I cant believe adults are so rude to a young student!

You have my sympathies. I will never forget my well meaning friend who bought me an aquarium. Just the glass container, it was £12. I had to get myself on a two hour return bus journey across London to the only aquarium shop I knew (foreign student, and no internet and Google!) to buy aquatic gravel, liner, a £30 filter pump, and not to mention aquatic plants and fish. Her generous gift meant I instantly had to spend over £50 just to enjoy it.

ragged · 19/06/2015 10:55

Park it at your parents' house & use it only when you're at home ( and can tap them for petrol money if required).

SaucyJack · 19/06/2015 11:05

It's a wonderfully generous gift in and of itself, but if you didn't and don't want the hassle and expense of car ownership then you won't feel grateful.

You don't sound like a sponger or a spoilt brat to me.

Merrylegs · 19/06/2015 11:14

I don't understand how you can be so clueless about each other's finances tbh. Did you really have no idea that you would only be getting the minimum loan? Why was it such a surprise? Equally they must know you are only getting the minimum loan. Who is acting as guarantor for your new increased rent? It all sounds a bit financially chaotic and as if the car is the least of your problems

TiltedPenguin · 19/06/2015 11:21

My inlaws did this to us - no insurance though for us, so we immediately had to pay (I think) £70 or 80 for the insurance upfront, then take on £50 a month payment. We drove it home, where a neighbour stopped to look at it and pointed out it had a couple of bald tyres - so over £100 at the garage that weekend. Then 2 months later, the MOT showed the brake discs needed replacing plus a few other bits - £500.

We couldn't afford a holiday that year and had to pay some on credit cards. We had been quite happily walking around until then!

Oh and of course the inlaws still love to mention to friends and relatives about how they bought our first car and bask in what great parents they are Hmm. Sometimes these gifts are more about them than you!

bereal7 · 19/06/2015 11:25

Sorey for late replies.

  1. The new place I'm moving to is a main student/poor area where I will have to park on the street. And I will be a 20 minute from uni. I could use it for work - no idea how much parking is there though. Bus pass costs £250 for the year - I live in a city.

2. I have a job already and will do as many overtime shifts as I can but these are not guaranteed so can't plan/budget with them. I am looking for a second job now that it's summer (I can't work 2 jobs through uni)

3. We do , generally, know our financial situation. My parents gave me money to cover the rest of my rent and eat. This year I was fine - the problems only just started because my new place wants 3 months rent upfront - I do not have this money.

4. The reason I'm reluctant to tell them is because they will pay the first 3 minths rent AND let me keep my car. Tbh , knowing my dad , he will insist on a fuel allowance or something of the sort. I REALLY don't want to do this because they have been very generous enough and honestly, it's slightly humiliating to be borrowing from parents when I'm supposed to be an adult.

Thankyou to everyone who has replied -you've all helped slightly lift my mood. I guess it's just being brave enough to tell them my money problems.
OP posts:
CillaAndArchie · 19/06/2015 11:29

Bloody hell, vipers. Give the OP a break. It is possible to be grateful but concerned about the costs/responsibility a present entails.

I get where you're coming from, OP. You sound like you know that your parents have been very generous, but having a car definitely comes with costs and responsibilities which, if you didn't choose them, you may not want or be able to handle.

I wonder what the responses would be if a poster were being "ungrateful" about being given, say, an expensive pet they didn't ask for and didn't really want to maintain?

ToBeeOrNot · 19/06/2015 11:41

I REALLY don't want to do this because they have been very generous enough and honestly, it's slightly humiliating to be borrowing from parents when I'm supposed to be an adult.

The amount of student loan you are allowed to borrow is dependent on them funding you through university though (I don't agree with this but it's the way it is), you shouldn't feel humiliated at having their help throughout university

Allbymyselfagain · 19/06/2015 13:08

You are at university OP, a very hard time. I don't know how old you are but its a difficult time to balance finances, do the work needed to get a good degree and work to be able to support yourself.

Suck it up, explain to your parents, they sound like lovely parents and will want to help you and when you graduate you can repay their kindness with kindnesses of your own. I hated having to borrow from my parents but now I have my degree i make sure I treat my parents as often as I can. Just get through the next few years with as little extra stress as possible.

GoblinLittleOwl · 19/06/2015 14:17

If you are living in a city and having to park your car on the road, prepare for it to be vandalised. This happened to my daughter's house mate's car regularly; mine had its windscreen wipers and aerial snapped off when I went to collect her at the end of year. You will have to buy an expensive permit for parking at the University as well.
You really have to explain all this to your parents; can you leave the car at home for term time and use it in the holidays? it will give you far more scope for holiday jobs / first job if you have your own transport.
If you do manage to keep your car at University, make sure friends contribute to petrol if you give them lifts; some are dreadful scroungers.

SylvaniansAtEase · 19/06/2015 14:53

Good God, why all the sneering?!

OP works.

She is in the horrible position that many students are in - not eligible for anything more than the basic loan package BECAUSE OF WHAT HER PARENTS EARN!! The EXPECTATION is that they will partly support her. It's a horrid, disempowering system, which sees many students with less supportive parents really struggle financially. And it's bloody hard to declare yourself 'independent' to satisfy the loan companies.

Running a car is a real hassle and expensive in loads of small ways. Parking charges, petrol, where to keep it. I don't run a car because I don't need to, and unless I needed to I really would not want to for the minor 'convenience' it would give me.

It's a badly thought out gift, and OP's posts show her to be nothing more than thoughtful, hard working, and appreciative of her parents' help even though strictly speaking, it's help that the government fully expects them to give in order for her to simply be able to afford to live at all.

Kewcumber · 19/06/2015 14:59

OP - my mother was horrified when she subsequently learned how hard up I'd been at times at Uni. I'd never told them because my father packed me off with the words "We're paying you maintenance (in the days before loans) don't tell me you need more"!

My mother had no idea that he'd said it and was mortified that I'd been living on £5 per week for food at times - and I really wasn't a profligate student. I managed to run a mini in my last year but I did accept help from my mother to get the car through the MOT and the insurance.

You sound you've got your head screwed on and in your parents position I really wouldn't like to be sitting at home with money to spare and have my child unable to afford the running costs for the car I'd given them.

BEsides if you take money for your upfront rent, it will be a loan won;t it.

In the years since (it was 30+ years ago I was at Uni!) I have more than paid my mother back in different ways not just financially. Just mark it up in your karma book and you can repay it in the future.

bereal7 · 19/06/2015 15:52

Thankyou so much for all the helpful and supportive comments. I finally spoke to my parents and they will help me out -my mum cried when she saw how stressed I was ! Thankyou guys so much Cake

OP posts:
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