Need advice - expenses and adult children at home

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterby, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    easy child and his girlfriend live here. My income dropped dramatically in July...and it was a pittance before.

    They run the washer and dryer *every day*. An extra person means extra showers, etc. However, girlfriend does a lot of stuff around the house and really helps me out.

    That said, the electric bill was $100 more this month than it's ever been. I don't know yet what water will be because this month was estimated (they only read every other month). They buy their own groceries. What I meant for them when I said they need to buy their own groceries, is snack food items and drinks (no one else here drinks what they do). I buy the main stuff - meat, bread, fruits and veggies, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. easy child pays for $110 of his car insurance per month; my mom pays the other $80 (on my policy). girlfriend will be added to my car insurance next month as her mom said she is going to drop her. easy child also pays for their cell phone plan which is $130/mo. They can cut some things on their bill, like internet access via the cell phone. It's really not necessary.

    I have told them that I need them to pay 1/3 of water and electric. I also told them if they want to keep HBO and Cinemax, then they need to pay the $30 a month for it. Neither difficult child nor I watch those channels. I think it's only fair. They are both working - although girlfriend is only working 12-16 hours a week. easy child is working a lot more hours and is getting paid well for his age. He is netting approx $500 a pay - and he's only working part time.

    In addition, my mom gave easy child $40 to give to me to help buy difficult child's school supplies. She gave him this money on Tuesday and I have yet to see it. I have bought the rest of difficult child's school supplies. I asked him tonight if he had the money, he said yes, and that was it. They then used part of that money last night (I told them to) to buy toilet paper. by the way, easy child is the biggest user of toilet paper in the house by far. But, I didn't get the change.

    He has made no effort to find out how much money he owes me for utilities. I have asked them several times if they want to keep HBO and Cinemax and have received no answer.

    I *hate* tracking them down for money. Insurance is drafted from my bank account on the 19th of every month. It never changes. And, yet, I have to remind him every month.

    Plus, the alarm clock going off every morning at 8am and easy child just keeps hitting snooze. He's not going to get up til at least 10am. I'm up, however.

    How do you think I should handle this. I've already talked about it - a few times. I hate having to nag about it. Shouldn't they be making the effort since I've told them - repeatedly - what is going to need to happen. Am I being unfair?

    I know he's going to cry poor, but he just bought 2 mini fridges. They decided the first one was too small and sold it to a friend for $40 less than they paid for it. They'd had it less than a month. Then turned around and bought a bigger one for more money. easy child said he bought it because I ate one of his lunchables he bought. I didn't. And it really ticked me off that he used that for an excuse to spend more money when he needs to be spending it elsewhere. There is plenty of room in our fridge for everything. I know what I've bought vs what they've bought.

    I'm really frustrated and I'm becoming really cranky about the whole thing. Then I feel bad because girlfriend does so much around here to help out with the upkeep of the house. The bottom line, though, is that I simply don't have the cash to pay for these extra expenses.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok....I know exactly what you mean. This is what you are going to have to do. No more Ms. Nice Gal. They have to pay rent and it isnt 1/3 of something, it is a set amount each month. That mini fridge comment frosts my hide. It was a rude reason to get something. Who cares if you ate something they bought! You buy food they can eat!

    You dont need the luxury cable. Cut it back. You are in financial straights right now. Even they cant afford it. Go to basic cable and internet. That should save some money. If they want to see a movie they can rent one of the $1 from Walmart like everyone else.

    You need him to come up with roughly $400 a month between the two of them I think. $110 for the insurance for him, $130 for an average increase in utilities, and the rest for whatever it will be for her increase in insurance and other costs. That is only $100 a week for a couple. Not a bad price for a rented room with utilities included.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I think instead of discussing it like a topic in passing make it an official conversation.
    Call a family meeting for Sunday evening after dinner. Everyone must attend.

    Sit down with the budget. What the bills are written in one column. Income in the other.
    Ask how they can contribute in order to live there. Explain what has to be cut out if they are to keep a roof over their heads.
    Instead of talking in an accusatory or defensive way, talk to them like a financial guy. Calm, ask their advice of how to manage the home financials and what their part should be.

    At the end, let them know that you appreciate their input and that if you give them money they must give you the change. Anything else is theft. It's what I told my difficult child. If money is not returned to me or is taken without asking that I will call police because it is theft. (you probably couldn't pull that one off with your kids but my difficult child believed it) Still the point is I resent their sense of entitlement. I worked for my money too and I want them to respect that they have to work for theirs.

    I make difficult child pay rent and food. I keep it aside for the time he needs a deposit on his own place and will use it for that. Fortunately, at this time, I don't need it to pay bills but he works hard around the house for me too.

    At some point you may not need as much financial contribution but since times are hard, you should expect that everyone will pitch in.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Fran is right. This should be approached simply and in a businesslike way.

    Establish a written contract. How much they pay per month, what chores are expected of them, and what is to be available.

    The mini-fridge is just plain mean and RUDE.

    If they wish to continue that game they need to find a place of their own.

    Establish a day that the rent is due. It can be weekly, every other week, first and fifteenth of the month, whatever. Try to time it so that rent is due each time they get a paycheck. Not once a month if they get paid weekly because they will constantly "run short" and not pay you. Esp if the rent is more than one paycheck (which for 2 people it probably should be).

    Tell them that if they don't give you change without you asking/nagging then it is theft. Fran is on the money on that one. It IS theft. But they probably have not ever thought of it that way.

    Keep track of ALL grocery receipts for a month or two. You will be able to then tweak the agreement to reflect the actual grocery/cleaners/soap/toothpaste costs. Once you can SHOW them this it will open their eyes.

    They think that you have everything paid off and money floating around to sponge off of. Or it hasn't truly "clicked" that they are adults now. Or some of both.

    Just make SURE to put it in writing. We nearly had a permanent break from my mom after we lived with her for 2 years while husband was in grad school. With Wiz I couldn't work. He was just to volatile. Our big money blowups were over the grocery/cleaning type stuff. Mom would give me the monthly budget for that and I kept it in a locked drawer that she also had keys to. But to get all the stuff she insisted we HAD to have it took the entire budget and another $500 of the $800 husband got for teaching 2 classes. She kept badgering me for the "rest" of the money and insisted that I was stealing it (by the end of our time together). I showed her the figures, the receipts, the items I paid for separately because they were strictly mine or husband's or the kids' bills.

    Put everything in writing. make it clear. Make it a contract. Include things they suggest that are reasonable (if they make any reasonable requests).

    Also sign a housemates behavior plan. What is okay to ask, what is not okay to do, whatever floats your boat.

    Remember, even after the contracts that this is first and foremost YOUR home because YOU are paying the major bills. They are NOT paying half of what the bills would be if they were in an apartment.

    Your home, your rules, your veto power and power to change the rules at any time if things get out of hand.

    You don't want to be a tyrant but you MUST have some sort of veto power because they are children learning to be adults.

    Hopefully you can navigate this fairly easily.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I agree with the comments already posted here....

    and FWIW I understand EXACTLY where you are coming from. It's maddening to see the family running out of money and racking up the bills and you are the only one that seems to notice that, at this rate, you will be out of a house and home in no time....and worse, no one seems to care enough to even ACT concerned!! ARRGGHH!!

    So, under the heading of "Ya gotta do what ya gotta do..."

    Have a meeting where household expenses are all detailed in black and white. Here is what everything costs...

    Then, let them know that $$$$ is their share of the costs. This is what they will owe every month on the first (or the tenth or whetever) of the month.

    If they have any ideas for cutting back on expenses, now is the time to suggest it. Cut HBO? Fine. Hang clothing outside instead of using the dryer? Fine. Shop around for cheaper car insurance? Fine. Good ideas...

    If they cannot afford to live there with you at the current rate? Too sad. Either get another job or get another place....

    Because if they do not contribute what they owe, the bank or the landlord will have no problem throwing you ALL out on the street.

    Be tough! Take no prisoners!


  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Forgot to say this.

    The "you ate my lunchable so I had to buy 2 fridgies to make sure I had enough room to keep my lunchables safe" is just over the top.

    If they plan to have that plugged in, fine. But they MUST pay an extra $15 or $20 per month to have it plugged in. Let them know you WILL go in to examine if it is plugged in or not.

    I say this simply because it is just so over the top out of line and so MEAN that I would want to know what they kept in it.

    I am willing to put money on them keeping beer or other alcohol. If you are OK with them drinking alcoholic beverages, be SURE you check the laws in your state/county before you tell them it is OK. I would go in at random times to make sure it is alcohol free.

    the lunchable is just too piddly an item to make an expenditure of over $100 over. Esp not to make TWO large expenditures.

    If they DO drink then you need to make sure they don't leave until they are fully sober. Esp the girlfriend because women need a LOT longer to process alcohol.

    I hope I am wrong. Cause this might end up a huge fight. But if you let them drink alcohol then difficult child is going to want to do it also. Maybe not right now, but before age 21.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Thank you for all of the advice. It was very helpful and made me feel better about having to do this.

    We sat down tonight and came up with $300/month, plus their car insurance. We are only basing this on easy child's income because his girlfriend has to pay for what the FASFA grants don't cover for school and they are trying to save up to get a car - hers is dying a slow, painful death.

    I hate that I have to do this. I hate that my financial situation forces me to do this. I would rather have them save their money for their future. But, we do what we have to do.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that is fair. Kids dont realize how much it costs to run a home until they are running one of their own.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Don't feel guilty. THat is most important - it is YOUR home, t hey would be having to resnt somewhere and would have to have an agreemewnt in place.

    You all need to contribute to thr household, you are the head of the household and so therefore you are the director of this show.

    We went through this with easy child 2/difficult child 2 & BF2 living here. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was the worst waster of energy - she insists her bath be run at 43 C but would then leave it to go colder, ten let ater out to run more hot water in. Then BF2 would have a shower (a long one) and even if we haf the electric hot water booster switched on, the tank would run out and we would only have cold water left for husband's shower. And HE is the main breadwinner, his needs must be paramount.

    The rest of the electricity bill - the kids had a small electric heater which was on constantly, pumping kilowatts into the atmosphere.

    When they moved out, the power bill for the next quarter was down by about 80%. And the kids first power bill?

    Oh, that was funny...

  10. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    If at all possible squirrel away a little of the money away in the event that these two move out. You could surprise them with a gift of their own saved money. Even if it's only 200.00. It's more to get started than they had before.
    I'm glad that everyone sat down and looked at the reality. Someday you may be able to help them but if they are old enough to be a couple and living together then they are old enough to understand the finances of running a home.
    I think you did very well.