difficult children and money


New Member
A few weeks ago "J" got his state income tax refund back (about $125). His dad gave him the "opportunity" to learn how to save money and had him open a savings account at the credit union. A few days later, "J" got a notice that he owes Target $450 for theft recovery services. So we gave "J" the talk about calling up Target and making arrangements to pay the fee over time. A few more days later and he gets his federal income tax return $200). His dad takes him to the credit union to deposit it. It's been over 2 weeks since "J" got the letter and he has yet to call Target. We aren't going to do it for him. On Sunday, my husband picked up "J" from the homeless shelter and we let him come home to shower, get something to eat, and get his clothes washed. They stopped at the credit union ATM and my husband had him print out a balance inquiry. $25. (The minimum to keep in there to keep the account open.) So we ask him if he has called Target yet? No....big surpise there!!! How are you going to pay the fee we ask? "I dunno." (His standard response to any question.) Just a little background info.....when he WAS working, we made him give us his checks, we would cash them and then give him money a little at a time. Well, he was always mad at us because it was his money, his life, yadda yadda.....That's why we helped him with the savings account. But of course, it's still OUR problems because WE are MAKING him live on the streets!!! Nothing is ever his fault!! He's been living in the shelter for over a month, and hasn't made any effort to do anything. The main part of the shelter is closing this week as the weather is warmer, so he took his sleeping bag with him yesterday. We told him he'll get arrested if he sleeps in the park near the shelter or anywhere out in the open. He doesn't care. All of this tells me that no matter where he is living....either with us or somewhere else, he is not going to change. I don't know what it will take to make him understand.
Our difficult child has gotten some hefty refunds/EIC in the past and blew through them at light speed. We're talking hours, not days. She had $3 worth of plans for every dollar she was getting. If we tried to talk to her it was the same deal: it was "her money", and never mind that she'd been freeloading on us and never paying a dime for the child who qualified her for the EIC. I once tried to tell her that EIC wasn't her money at all, it was other people's money (like ours) that the govt. in its wisdom felt she should have; it was for people who were working hard to support a family instead of being on welfare. I should have tried to explain it to the dog, he would have listened better.


New Member
My difficult child can't save money to save his life. It's spent long before he even has his paycheck in his hand. I have given up trying to help him figure out how to save. I think it's a lesson they just need to learn on there own, eventually!! I've tried to help him plan a budget so by the end of the month he has the money to pay his bills, but nothing ever worked. The only thing that helps him is his rent at the soberhouse is due every week. He gets paid every other week, so the first thing he does when he cashes his check is pay for 2 weeks rent up front. Other then that, I don't know what he does.


Active Member
so now your son will find out what social services has to offer. if he chooses to be a bum, he will live with whatever that life entails.
hard to watch it though when you know if they would only listen to our advice their lives could be so much better.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I'm guessing I should be grateful T invested his income tax return in a new updated computer. Although I wasn't exactly thrilled with the purchase.

However, I did make him also pay the back rent he's owed since he has been out of work. The look on his face was priceless. lmao husband asked "What? You think a landlord will let you live free just because you don't have a job?"

If he wants to do nothing and live on the streets, there isn't anything you can do to change his mind. Sad a frustrating, though to see potiential go to waste.



New Member
ok so my son tells me he has taken some of his money and placed it into a savings, CD and College fund for his baby. I guess he is saving cause he isnt paying out for his rent, electric bill, adn I think again for the car his Dad co signed with him for last yr.


Sue C

Active Member
I'm sorry your son is choosing to live on the street, but perhaps that is the only way he is going to learn.

Melissa owes:
$1,650 - Visa
$700+ - Visa
$480 - Kohl's
$227 - disorderly conduct ticket
$12,000 - student loans (payments to start soon)

She thinks it's OK to send in the minimum's on charge cards. We told her she needs to try to pay them off while she has the chance and is living at home. We shall see what happens. She's only received one paycheck so far.



Well-Known Member
ok...first off...some money problems are typical teen and young adult. Its the extraordinary teen or young adult who is fiscally conservative I think. Most make mistakes and learn from them. Actually...how else does one learn than from a mistake? You arent born knowing money management and we all know kids are not gonna listen to mom and dad.

Besides...spending is fun, saving isnt.

Who in their right minds decided giving credit cards to 18 year olds was a good thing? They should be shot. At least with cash you can only get into so much trouble.

I have been horrible with money...still am sometimes on somethings. I am in deep do do right now over something I just completely lost sight of. My fault...stupid...idiotic...financially insane and could cost me my house. Somehow we will pull through I hope. Part of it for me is I have memory problems. I lose things in my mind. I dont mean to but they go someplace and I cant retrieve them.

Maybe for some of the kids who are willing...see if they will take a budgeting course. That may help. I really have good intentions. For the most part I dont handle the every day finances. I do go pay the bills but I dont hold the money. I do have access to some money if I want to go buy something but I dont have a ton of it to go blow because I have done that and got in trouble before.


Former desparate mom
susiequte, there just seems to be a black hole for my difficult child, that is money. Obviously from the responses you have received it isn't uncommon.
I think Janet is right that a lot of teens are stupid with money but that's a learning process. Those guys learn from their mistakes.
My difficult child is aghast and appalled that "his" money should go for supporting him. The government and his mother have supported him and his work money is for him.
He really doesn't see it or get it. It's really alarming. You would think he would get that he is to contribute to his upkeep but since the world revolves around him, he doesn't get it. It is self absorption that is associated with his diagnosis.
We have taught budget, written budget, set goals, and everything possible. It just doesn't click. It's not like he is buying booze or drugs or even clothes. It's junk.

I don't have any answers but I wanted to tell you that you aren't alone. The homeless shelter is looking better and better.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #006600"> trust me, it's not any easier with-PCs.

jarrod is learning slowly but surely that you can't buy every toy you see. my daughter on the other hand told me the other night she doesn't want to drive because it's too expensive totally disregarding that she will not be able to work & go to school with-o access to a car. oh & this was her excuse for not saving a dime after working for an entire year.

after the veins in my forehead started to bulge i think she's starting to get it. she will take the alcohol/drug class online & then the written test. her friend's mom has told her she will do the on road stuff. we specifically waited until she was 18 because there is no mandated road time or restrictions once she gets her license. jarrod did it the same way. she's coming around. gave me her whole paycheck last night & asked me to distribute it appropriately.

i'm fortunate that when they both get those credit card letters they toss them in the garbage. neither their dad nor i are good at money management tho i'm better than husband. he gives me his paycheck & i separate it according to what we need. we have a prepaid debit card for our online purchases....which you MUST have the money on in order to use. jarrod has a prepay debit & now that sarah is 18 she can get one ~~~~ but i want to see her saving more before she gets her own.

money management usually has a long learning curve. it gets more complicated when they are difficult children.

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New Member
Oh, I'm so there with all of you abaout money. Of my 4, only one has the sense to save and keep it in savings. difficult child is the worst, although his debt is probably the lowest. But, then, we aren't counting the 2 cars he wrecked and the one that blew the engine! Hubby is abaout as bad as the kids. I'll admit, I'm not the greatest, but I'm working on it. I don't use my credit cards except for major travel (trip to Boot Camp grad 1.5 yrs ago), and have been paying down the balances for 2 or 3 years. I feel solvent personally, however, our household is deep in debt- to the tune of about 2x the annual salary AND retirement of hubby! I can't get him to see that CDs and DVDs are NOT necessities.

Sue C

Active Member
Regarding credit cards.........Melissa applied for 2 credit cards while she was in college. One gave her a $1,500 limit (which she went over 'cuz she wasn't watching it) and one gave her a $3,000 limit. I could not believe the high amounts they gave her (and it angered me that they would give kids cards). I wondered if she lied about the amount of part-time income she made but then again, wouldn't they check into it?? Oh yeah, and she also applied for a Kohl's Dept Store cc and got a $500 limit which she also went over 'cuz she was not watching it. (sigh)

When Angela was in college, she applied for a Visa and all she got for a limit was $300.



New Member
I'm so sorry this is happening to you and to your son.

It always turns out that the most we can do is to tell them the right way to go. They will follow their own paths, and the consequences are so heavy that it makes everything seem hopeless ~ for them and sometimes, for us too.

Telling your difficult child the right things is what your job is.

None of us can make our adult children walk the correct path out of where they are.

Why is difficult child not working?



My 13 yr old easy child is horrid with money. She has two jobs right now...walking a younger girl to school each day for $50 a month and walking a dog for a neighbour for $75 a month....she's paid weekly and within an hour is broke but can't account for more than $5 of it....blows my mind at times....but it's really frustrating when she comes hat in hand begging for money for the school dance, pizza day , popcorn day....I make her sign an IOU and when she is paid the following Friday, I hand her the chit and insist on being paid. She does hand it over but sure grumbles about it....

I admit, I was lousey with money too...my parents hever had it and we grew up on welfare so when I started working it was like xmas every week! Until the bills came rolling in...I soon learned how to live on a strict budget and make do....even with a better income now(just went to work part time) it's tempting at times....until I remember eating ramen noodles three times a day!!!!



New Member
my ex was (and still is) horrible with money. I can't tell you the number of times I took his credit and ATM cards away and cut them up. He never HAD anything to show for what he used the money for, he would nickle and dime it and then I'd see the results at the end of the month. During out divorce, when we were both financing/refinancing houses, the loan officer asked the ex what HE was going to do without ME!!!

Luckily, my oldest takes after me (comes from that tight wad German blood in me!) and is a real skin flint. My youngest is the one I'm going to have to watch, he's so absent minded that I know he'll have problems.

I think the best thing ever invented is the automatic withdrawal or payment system. I write NO checks for monthly bills (other than what I give to our church) - all of it comes out of the account automatically. And my check is deposited. As is husband's pension. I set the timings on the withdrawals so it's about 5 days after the deposit - then what is left is what we have to use the rest of the month. I also have an amount taken out and put in a separate savings account, treating it just like it's another "bill".

I think credit cards are great - if you pay them off every month. Getting behind on them (unless it's a real emergency situation) is what gets a lot of people in deep trouble.


My son..easy child (I thought) never had any issues with him..only money. He went to school for a few years, then because of our financial situation he moved back. (we couldn't afford to fund school) He has $4500 student loan. Had a job. But, wanted to move out to prove how responsible he can be. Moved out for 6 months. Never paid on his cell phone bill, but went to Florida for spring break, and anything else he wanted. Eventually the cell phone was $700.
He was not on any insurance as he was not a full time student. Went to the ER and let the bill go to collections, even though he had the money.
Now...two years later, he gets a great job, falls onto his lap. But will need a car. applies for a small $3000 loan. Nope. Cell phone, student loan, no loan.
husband and I looked for a few months for a cheap car. He did nothing but go out, have fun. We found one, he bought it. He lives 1/2 week at home and 1/2 week 2 hours away. (very much driving for this job...no benefits though). he makes good money, not a lot, but a single guy. He and I share a cell phone. It was an agreement he would pay 1/2. Car insurance, I am not going to pay it. He paid everything for the first few months. Now, it has been since December and no money. he says he has bills. Well, HELLO...SO do I. I pay it because I need MY cell phone. I pay his insurance because I don't want something to happen and have him lose everything. But he manages to go to baseball games, out of town concerts when ever he wants. Goes out with friends every night he is home. He even gets a small portion of his cell phone paid for by the company. I don't see it.
When we lost our jobs a few years ago, He was in college. I was talking to him, I was scared didn't know what was going to happen. He said, "why are you telling me this..I am just a kid".
Money is his only issue as far as that goes. Very healthy, thank god.
difficult child on the other hand can save more money that easy child. But, that is only when he WANTS to earn it.


New Member
My difficult child is also horrible with money. She doesn't pay her bills and has bill collectors hounding her (actually, they call US because she doesn't have a phone...got turned off cause she didn't pay the bill)! I'm hoping she hasn't written bad checks---I know that will land her in jail. She does not, however, have any credit cards.


New Member
My difficult child can save money if she has a goal; however, her priorities continue to be skewed.

Currently, she's walking around with about $40 for a concert she wants to see. She won't touch the money at all. But have her part for $2 for a bus ticket to the doctor, and she'd rather beg for a ride.

easy child has thousands in the bank. In the two short years she's been working, she has saved an incredible amount of money. With her first check, I insisted she put $20 away in the bank. She rolled her eyes. Then I had to drive her to the bank on Saturdays for a time to make sure the money got in. Then I would only do it when she was otherwise too busy with her work schedule and couldn't find the time to get there - otherwise, I've made her completely responsible for her own savings.

Right now I am trying to get her to invest in a mutual fund and an IRA. She'll never miss the money as she never sees the check from her grocery store job. It's direct deposited and she plays with the money from the bussing job at the diner.

I told her, forget about a car right now - everywhere she needs to be is in walking distance, her boyfriend has a car and she still lives at home. She is saving enough money and is so good at it, she may just be able to buy a small house or one of those apartments they keep making into condos sooner than she thought. I hate to see a car set her back to $0, what with the insurance and maintenance. But still, it is so encouraging and validating to see one them heed Mother's advice.