Thursday, January 10, 2008

The boy wants a car ...

What a conversation my son and I had yesterday regarding my parental responsibilities and financially helping him get his first car. I took the stance I have always taken.


BACK STORY: Well, originally (pre-Dave) I was going to give him my car and buy a new car for myself. I let him know last summer that I was keeping the car until it died and he would have to continue saving for his car. I told him if I was in a place where I could help - I would match what he saved. That also was PRE-DAVE. He was also made aware of that change.

CURRENT SCENARIO: He has a job (temporarily on hold) - he works more in the summer than during school - but up until recently his urgency to fund his car has been slim while XBOX 360, Snack Foods and recently... Caitlin has taken priority for his money. The only BILLS he currently has is $15 for his cellphone and $24 for video game rental (he's since cancelled because he hasn't been working) and 10% of his paycheck, no matter how small, to his college account. Also has been renamed his "apartment fund" since he has decided he is not going to college.

I admit, I did bribe him with money for good grades. That didn't work. His grades will not be earning him any money. "I'm PASSING, mom!" That should sum up the school dilemma in one sentence for you. Now that the day of getting the official license photo is upon us his eagerness has now clicked in. He's now decided that although he hasn't saved enough money, that he should still be getting a car.


1. He tells me that it is my parental responsibility to HELP him. I told him it was HIS responsibility to help himself. My parental requirements included: clothes, food, shelter, education and medical.

2. My Italian temper started flaring up at this point. From out of my mouth I blurted, "Why should I work harder to pay my bills AND help you pay for your car when YOU aren't willing to work harder to pay for your car!"

3. He basically demanded that his college money that I have mandatorily made him pay from his paychecks (10%) be turned over to him to be used for his car. I refused.

4. He asked for the money that his grandmother has given to him at his birthday and Christmas over the years to go into his college account. I told him I talked to grandma and she said she didn't want the money that she specifically wrote COLLEGE FUND on the checks getting blown on a car. So I told him that. He has many savings accounts - plus a lot of the money my mom has "given to him" sits in a 529 plan - that I'm still trying to figure out what to do with!

5. Cars cost money. Does he plan on working more hours so he can pay for his insurance, gas and maintenance? "Well, HOW MANY more hours will I have to work?"

Now you see, this is coming from a boy who lives with two parents that are workers -- and HAVE been hard workers.

I also knew this time was coming. I told him months ago that this argument was coming. Every time he wanted to take money out his car account for things like a skateboard, roller blades, clothes, xbox live etc I'd tell him he couldn't have it because you couldn't drive roller blades etc. He was angry then...and he's angry now. He's probably be even more angry if I had allowed him to take money out for every little thing.

Next problem in the foreseeable future.... Miss Caitlin!
Whoever said raising a teenager was going to be easy??
Not a single person I have ever known...that's who!
Somebody pass the hair color.. I feel a new grey hair forming!


Our Debt Blog said...

OK FIRST OF ALL... "since he has decided he is not going to college" IS BS! you make that kid go to college, I have many friends that can't get a decent job because they did not go to college, a college education is worth going in to debt for! trust me, let him know that not going to college will become the biggest misktake of his life.

If that doesn't work out make a deal with him, make him promise you that he will go to college and you agree to put down at least 2000towards a car... make him pay the monthly payments while working full time...

My first car was an old 91 GMC Sonoma (I miss this car) my parents helped me out with it and we paid 3000 cash for it... so maybe you guys can help him out w. an old along w. the savings he has...


Krista said...

Aren't teenage boys fun? My 16yo has decided that he isn't even going to get his drivers license because he has to buy his own car, pay his own insurance, gas, maintenance, etc. He said it isn't worth it to him. lol

Stand firm. He will thank you for it... someday!

Anonymous said...

My Italian temper started flaring up at this point. From out of my mouth I blurted, "Why should I work harder to pay my bills AND help you pay for your car when YOU aren't willing to work harder to pay for your car!"

This is not your Italian temper! This is an excellent lesson for him to learn. No handouts, handups, or hand holding.

And fingers crossed that he re-decides to go to college in the future.

Kris said...

lol - sounds like a fun time at the Debt Freedom Fighters household that night! :)

Stick to your guns, girl. You're right, and you're the parent. That gives you two really good bats. He's the one striking out.

No clue why I'm doing the baseball analogy, but...whatever. ;)

Wendy said...

Our Debt Blog: He will be close to 18 when he graduates school so even if I drag him to campus - he can drop out and legally do what he wishes. I'm playing this one out and hope that my prodding will make him change his mind. Neither his father or I have gone to college and although we do work pretty hard for what we have - I don't think it was the BIGGEST mistake of my life not going. Trust me... I've made worse! LOL

Krista: A few weeks ago that was the excact stance my son took. It wasn't worth working that many hours for. I guess Miss Caitlin has changed his mind on THAT!

Anonymous: I cross my fingers and keep his college accounts intact for the chance that maturity will change his mind. And if my comment wasn't my Italian temper my ability to STAND TOUGH sure is! LOL!

Kris: It was a short lived arguement. He is a smart male. He knows when to shut up and back down. LOL. I think he realizes how he came off yesterday because today was a whole new day and he didn't even bring it up once.


Rebecca said...

Go back to Dave's chapter on money and family relationships. It will reaffirm that you ARE in your right mind. I agree with your first poster. Encourage him to go to college. If nothing else, junior college for a year. Good luck!!!!

Wendy said...

Rebecca: I'm thinking he may take some classes pertaining to his defined interests. So maybe not full time school, but SOMETHING to use his 529 money.

Our Debt Blog said...

Times are different now... you need college! Here a good blog post I found today...

Wendy said...

Our debt blog:

I can see your point 100% (and thanks for the link to that site. I pegged it for later) and trust me - the boy SHOULD go to school. I will not argue that one at all.

The only problem with the link you shared is jobs paying that amount of money are not GUARANTEED. It's based on overall stats. So my saying that if he goes to college he's going to automatically going to get a job making double what I make as a non-college graduate is just not true. More doors may open, but the world is different place. There's no such thing as the "sure thing" anymore.

I still push for school. I still push for better grades. I still push that he turns into a kind and loving person with good morals and respect for others.

I'm still working on the responsibilty factor with himself and his money. THAT's proving to be the challenge.

I need a DR book for teens!