My 19 year old daughter has elected to work in lieu of going to college. She has held a part time job for almost a year. But then we reached a point where if she wasn’t going to college, she needed to work full time and eventually there would be (gasp) rent involved. This message was understood; just not executed. For months.
We recently went to the mall to go shopping. Reverse that: I went to the mall to go shopping. I had money; my daughter did not. During this trip, Christina started to get a bit pissy when I kept refusing to buy her things. But I did patiently explain it to her: “Look, if you were working full time, then I would be more inclined to buy you stuff. But now that you are an adult, with no school and no expenses – well, the days of mom whipping out the credit card are pretty much over.” We went to a shoe store where she had a gift card to use. As she was checking out and still a bit pissed off from our earlier conversation, she asked: “Are you guys hiring?” She was given an application to complete (and didn’t have any of her contact information with her, didn’t matter – she was filling out an application on the principle of the thing!) and left it with them. Two days later, she was called for an interview. One week after that, she was working part time. Note to self: It really should be a lot harder for her to get a job.
So Christina is now working 9 am to 2 pm at the mall and 3 pm to 8 pm on her evening telemarketing job. She likes both jobs, but is now starting to complain that she is working 7 days a week between the two jobs AND putting in MORE THAN 40 hours (she has had to of told me that at least 20 times by now – just so I am aware of this fact). Better for her is that she is getting a paycheck every Friday since her jobs pay on alternate weeks. So how much does she currently have in her bank account? Nothing. Zero. Maybe some change. But you should see the new shoes she’s bought with her employee discount from the shoe store.
My husband has also started a detailed ledger documenting each time we give her money that she “promised to pay back.” (Her balance is currently at $732.55). She went out with her brother and texted me asking if I would pay her back if she gave Michael some money. I told her I would. That evening she informed us that we owed her $30.00. My husband pulled out his detailed ledger, put in a debit amount of $30.00 and informed Christina that she now owed us $702.55. The look on her face was priceless. (This only worked once – all future requests included payment up front).
One day she came home all pissed because she KNEW she should have, “like almost $80 in my savings account” and there was nothing. She was absolutely certain that the bank had messed up on her account. (Now, given the facts, who would you believe? The bank or your 19 year old child? Yeah, us too.) When she initially opened up her bank account, it was clearly explained to her that overdrafts would come from her savings – which had happened enough times to use up the entire balance. When I asked her how she kept track of how much money was in her account, she told me she knew she was broke when her debit card was declined. (I guess I should be happy to note that she did mention she always “had a feeling” when that time was coming).
As dedicated parents (meaning dedicated to the goal of eventually helping her to move out) we are working with Christina on being more responsible for her expenses. Starting with her car. Now, she has finally stopped asking for gas money but there are still other expenses that for some reason she still expects us to cover. So we had the conversation that the car is hers and she needs to start taking responsibility for upkeep and repairs, tags and insurance. She came home yesterday and proudly informed me that she has worked out a deal to replace the tires on her car. She is going to purchase a new tire every week until she has 4 new tires. Only my daughter would find a tire place that allows layaway. But it’s a step in the right direction and I am not going to complain. And she told her dad she was going to start changing her own oil rather than pay someone to do it for her. But I’m thinking she learned this one from me – there is no way in hell my husband will let her change her oil on his pristine driveway so he’ll end up doing it for her. Or, knowing my daughter, she’ll just talk a friend into doing it for her.