How do I keep my parents from giving me money?

I admit, I feel kind of stupid for asking this. It feels like this shouldn’t be an issue at all, but oh, well. Thank you for reading.

Background: 18, about to go off to college, rueful denizen of Suburbia. Home life ain’t great, but then, whose is?
I’ve never been an especially gushy person. My mother is, and my father’s too shy to attempt. Thus, they tend to get a little insecure about their status in my eyes. I’ve more than had the standard my-parents-aren’t-perfect awakening; since then I’ve tried to get my parents to see me as a semi-autonomous adult, ready for the world. (For various reasons, my mother thinks I have a mental disability, and so still doesn’t trust my judgement.) Thus, things at home are a little tense.

The meat: Because of the above unpleasantness, my parents have been trying to secure our relationship before I move out. One way they go about this is by giving me money, “like a parent ought to.” I resent the attempts, because:
[li]It’s hard to plan, or want to plan, a budget (which I’m trying very hard to do) when unpredictable income can fix all my problems.[/li][li]The money’s not free. Deny it though they will, some part of them sees the money as a way to keep me in their debt. My best evidence for this is that Dad wanted to cut me off if I didn’t go to an in-state college, because they want to be close enough to help me.[/li][li]They need to worry about their own finances. We make a middle-class wage, but Grandma and her medical bills have been keeping them from even thinking about retirement. (They’re both in their fifties.)[/li][li] As I suppose you’ve already figured out, I never ask for the money. They just assume I need it.[/li][/ol]

I could go on, but those are the big issues. I recently yelled at them about this issue, and ever since Mom’s been guilt-tripping me about guilt-tripping her for making me feel inferior. Therefore: how do I convince my parents to stop slipping in a “commission” every time I grab them something from a vending machine, without offending either of them?

You don’t, this is a battle you cannot win. Just accept it and try to be ready to support them when they need it. I am 43 and my Mom still tries to slip me a little cash now and then. I suggest you put it in the bank for a rainy day.

Love does funny things to people.


You can give it to me. It’ll make you feel better! :wink:

Capt Kirk probably gave the correct answer, but I still think the question might get better results in IMHO.

Reported for possible forum change. Welcome to the SDMB, Zinnic!

Say thanks and bank the money (invest it) against the day when you must care for them as they care for Grandma.

Moderator Action

Welcome to the SDMB Zinnic.

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. Questions seeking advice and opinions go into our In My Humble Opinion forum. It’s no biggie. I will move this thread there for you.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

I am 50 years old. Yesterday I received a card from my Mom with some cash. She decided to set up her own Super Bowl pool, assign squares randomly to family members, and then contribute all of the stakes herself. Apparently I won the first quarter.

I long ago gave up this battle. As **Capt Kirk **says, you can’t win. But there are a few things you can do to mitigate the issues you mention.

That extra money won’t mess with your budget if it’s in a Roth IRA, or if you’re not eligible, in a CD or other account with more limited access. My Mom occasionally gets really annoyed with me when I talk about something not being within my budget, because she knows she’s given me money. But my budget is based on my income, not her random contributions.

As long as you are not dependent on the money, it can’t be used to control you. When I first moved into my apartment, my mother took me shopping for a mattress, and used her credit card to pay for it. As soon as I was able, I went to the bank, got a cashier’s check, and paid her back. I didn’t want to feel beholden to her for the bed I slept on. I still have the receipt for that check in my bedside table, as a reminder never to let my Mom use money to control me.

This is not really your problem – you need to make the best decisions for you, and let them make their own decisions. That’s another part of not letting the debt be an emotional weapon. That said, if you save and invest the money they give you, you’ll have it to give if they are ever in need.

Yeah, I have a good career, and have been supporting myself for over 25 years. My Mom and I had the following conversation last week:

Note that my Mom has personally witnessed my overflowing closets and substantial eating habits.

Mom: Are you sure you have enough money? Can you afford to buy food? Clothing?
Me: :rolleyes: No, Mom, that’s why I’m naked and starving.
Mom: Well I can send you some if you need it.
Me: :smack:

Bottom line: Accept the money graciously, but with no strings attached, never succumb to emotional blackmail, and save or invest it all. It’s tough, but it can be done. I have the (reasonably) healthy relationship with my parents and the healthy retirement account to prove it.

You can’t do anything about it. Plan your budget without their money and when they give you some put it into a savings account. Think of it as a rainy day fund.

Or if times get hard/lonely/frustrating look at the balance of your account and know that someone believes in you and what you’re doing. Sometimes the emotional support means more than the monetary.

I get your point #2. My husband’s father is like this, but worse. If you ever, ever accept anything in a time of need from him, outside of birthdays/Christmas presents, he holds it above your head forever. Even if you pay him back, even with interest, he’ll bring that up at the worst possible time and use it as ‘proof’ of how you’re worthless/stupid/hopeless/hapless. We have steadfastly refused to ever borrow anything from him, no matter how bad our financial situation was, and we had been in some tight spots in the past.

Best I can suggest is lots of minimizing/changing the subject/hiding your financial discussions from them. If they slip you money, “lose” or “forget” it in their house. Maybe claim to lose their “change” (which they were going to force on you) and be appropriately embarrassed. Always claim that you’re fine, change the subject, round costs down if they force you to give them numbers.

What in green heaven…the OP’s complaining about his parents giving him too much money?

Talk about First World Problems. :rolleyes:

I’m 50 and right now our mother is receiving more than I am, thanks to a 7-year delay in her survivor’s pension after our father passed away. She’s been giving me money which I now refuse. The effect is what I want: she gives more to my daughter, which my wife and I bank.

In State vs Out of State might be much more of a cost issue than a want to keep you near issue. Jus’ sayin’ out of state can be hella expensive in many situations.

As above posts have pointed out, if they can’t afford it (#3 in the OP) and/or it’s an attempt at manipulation (#2), it would be problematic, no?

Next time you see one of their checks, note the TR and account number.

Check with you bank for ways (short of the insane $35/transaction “wire transfer”*) to transfer money into that account.
Banks don’t care who deposits to which account - just who withdraws or otherwise harms the account holder.

    • this can be nothing more than keying up an ACH transaction - they used to be real-live, 80 byte card images (“IBM Card”, aka IBM 5081). It takes a teller approx. 2 minutes to key this up.

I am 29 and I’ve been politely refusing my mom’s offers of money for about 11 or 12 years. I’m not sure how everyone else’s family dynamic is so different than mine, but I’ve never found warm assertiveness to fail to deter her.

Tell them you appreciate the offer but that you’re set already. Or say, “You just bought me that nice pair of shoes for Christmas! You don’t need to get me something else.”

If you can’t dissuade them from giving you money you don’t need just accept the money and put it into some sort of account. Use it either for your rainy days, or to help your parents and/or other family members when they need it.

Regardless of the reasons for the money they are trying to help you. Find a bank online or someplace that has a free checking and/or savings account. Each time they give you money like that, take it and say thank you and put it in that account. Then when you want to help them out or your family use that money. It will serve as a good reminder that someone was kind enough to make sure you were being taken care of even if the amount is small.

I’m an independent person and don’t like the idea of someone doing anything to try and control me either with money, favors, guilt or whatever. So I can understand what feelings you may have associated with this money.

I’m not saying a drug habit is a good idea, but this is one of those rare problems that would be solved by one.

You don’t need the money now. But I’m going to tell you that there will be one day you’re going to look back at this post and do a facepalm. You are about to start college. You are *about *to start living on your own. None of these things have happened yet.

Unless you’ve got a job making $30K, you are not making middle-class wages. Your parents are. If you are like the average suburban American teen, you haven’t experienced poverty. You don’t really know how scary it is to have zero money in your bank account, but the deadline for registration is rapidly approaching, your dorm fees haven’t been paid, your car is broken down on the side of the road, and you just wrote a check that’s about to bounce. You may think you know what this kind of stress is like, but until you’ve been there it’s all intellectual.

It is easy to feel weird over “free” money when you don’t need it. But you will eventually. Drop every penny into a bank account and try not to agonize over it. Just think that every $100 you save represents one less phone call you’ll have to make to your parents when you’re in an emergency. And I don’t care who you are–an emergency will find you.

And unless your parents are being really abusive to you, try to have compassion for them. It’s hard for parents to relinquish control over their children. Especially independent-minded children. When my parents dropped me off in NJ for graduate school, my mother almost lost her mind. She wanted to buy me the entire inventory at K-Mart to buffer me from the harsh environs of Newark. And like a jackass, I kept rebuffing her because I wanted to pick out my own tacky furniture, thankyouverymuch. After an hour of us bickering back and forth in the store, she finally broke down in tears. That was my last memory of her after they left, and I felt awful. I thought my mother was trying to control me, and maybe that was her proximate motivation. But ultimately she was driven by love, and it wouldn’t have hurt me to recognize this and try to be more gracious.

Yes. Honestly, take the money, save it. If you need it, use it, but use it only on ways you’ll fell good about: food, housing, tuition, books, healthcare. Things were you can later tell your parents that the money made a difference. That’s all they want to hear: that their love helped you succeed.

If you can manage without the money, spend it back on them in indirect ways. Make that extra trip home for Christmas. Make them a nice meal when they visit. Whatever you think will show them you love them.

Or just sock it away and use it when they need it. Think of it as helping mom and dad save for retirement.