18 Year Old Getting Too Much?

Updated on September 12, 2013
S.H. asks from Cazenovia, NY
23 answers

I have an 18 year old who is currently going to college and working part time. He will be paying his college tuition via a student loan. My husband and I pay our sons car insurance, cell phone bill and his truck parts credit card. My dilemma is that the 18 year old is nit picking all that is wrong with his truck and expecting my husband and I to fix his truck. Financially it is getting too much for me. How do I go about telling my husband and son that our son is going to start paying on the bills that he has because I cannot do it anymore. The credit card is almost $3000.00 now. Our son also has a savings account of over $1000.00 and gets at least $300 every two weeks from his job.

What can I do next?

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answers from New York on

Very simple. Do not pay. Hand him the bill. Non negotiable. The only thing I would pay for would be cell phone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

he sounds like a good kid overall. good for him for going to college and working. doesn't sound to me as if he's getting 'too much', he just doesn't yet quite understand adulthood, which is understandable. he's very new at it.
so tell him.
what's the big deal?

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Columbus on

Um...in English!!

Seriously though, just tell them! My son would NEVER have expected us to pay for stuff. I'm in a similar situation but without the dilemma - my son has a used car that he's paid for all himself - I helped a little but he didn't ask or expect me to!! He just started college but we encouraged him to quit his part-time job for a few months to get acclimated and because of the heavy Honors' course load, we wanted him to focus on his school work. He worked his butt off over the summer and paid for more than half of his tuition so far. He'll be working every long break they have and he'll work his butt off again next summer to pay for the next year of college.

I don't understand parents being afraid to face their children!!! Just do it!!

Good luck!!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you haven't already, then give him a budget.

As in, "We will give you $200 a month for living expenses. You can use that on your truck, or on anything else you need. If truck maintenance costs more than that per month, then I really recommend trading it in. That's not a good place for our family's limited resources to be going."

If he'll be paying off loans upon graduation, then he's got to get used to budgeting. This would be a good training-wheels budget, so to speak.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

IMHO, if you can't just come out and have a financial dicussion with hubby and your son, then you have more problems than giving your 18 year old too much.

I don't get why it's so hard to simply say it's getting to be too much and it's time you learned how to budget. Pretty simple if you ask me.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What do you mean "nit picking" the truck? Does the truck run? Then stop paying for him to do things to it. How many parts can a truck need?

Tell your husband and son that you are done paying for the truck. Then take away the credit card.

What is your son using his work money for?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

So he has $1K in the bank and you're struggling? Then time to say, "Okay, this is what is going to change. You can either pick up the bill or chose to not have that item."

Like the things that are "wrong" with his truck. Or his cell phone. Or whatever. My sks pay their own car insurance and have done so since they got their licenses (we made it contingent on them being set free in our cars).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

18 = legally an adult
Adults pay for their bills.

If he has cash to pay for school he should use part of that first instead of the student loan. Being financially responsible is something that is learned. If there is $3,000.00 of credit card debt, it may be time to put that card away and figure out how to better manange finances and to save up for necessities and wants. No harm in doing that. The $300.00 a week is decent pay for someone with virtually no financial obligations.

He may just want to hoard all of his money for himself and you as parents may be cultivating an environment where it is easy for him to do so unchallenged.

I agree with others that you should talk to your husband and then determine how you are going to approach this matter with your 18 year old college student with dreams of grandure at your expense.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

"We can't afford to pay for your truck anymore. You can pay yourself, or give up the truck."

Don't feel bad, my parents never paid for my bills- phone, car or otherwise once I left home at 17. Yes, I had crappy apartments, roommates and rode lots of buses, shopped in thrift stores and used pay phones, but hey, it made me work hard so I could start to buy things. The longer you do this for him, the longer he'll "make you" go into debt and that could last for his entire adulthood based on some kids who depend on parents way too long...

He's so busy nit-picking the truck repairs, he's not even realizing you already pay for WAY TOO MANY of his bills. Let him know that the truck repairs are off the menu completely. In x months (3?) he will also need to his pay check and savings for truck insurance and phone. If he can't afford those, he has to give them up. It will seem unreal to him with what he's used to, but it would be unreal to some that he has a truck and phone when he can't afford them. Put him on his feet gradually or cold turkey, but do it! He'll be on his own feet sooner if you do.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Take away the credit card...if the truck gets him to school/work and back home again then it works just fine and doesn't need any extra parts.

My parents paid my car insurance. I didn't have a cell phone, but I paid for my own land line and long distance. I didn't have a credit card, but my parents did give me a gas card, but with the instructions that only gas was to be charged on it and not too much. I lived on campus and didn't drive much anyways.

I would also really really watch the student loans...when my husband and I graduated from college the payments (just interest!!!) were over $800 a month!! We would have to pay higher amounts to even touch the principle. We ended up living like we were dirt poor and doing a Dave Ramsey course to get our finances under control. We were college grads working two good jobs, and only had one car, a one bedroom efficiency apartment, and it was tough. If we had it to do over we would not have borrowed so much for school...worked more hours and taken less classes...even if we were in college more years.

Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

The solution to this is: Simply TELL your Husband and son.
And you tell your son that he is being too nit-picky.
Then, you TELL him bluntly, about life and what bills are as it is related to how much a person can afford or not.

The thing is, you or your Husband, does NOT have to even pay for his truck bills/repairs.
And maybe if his truck is needing so many "parts" then get rid of it.
Trucks cost more per insurance anyway.
So tell him to get rid of the truck.
He does not need a truck.
He can drive something else.
When I was in college, MANY of the college kids.... even drove Mopeds. Or took the bus. Or walked.
Get him a bus pass.

AND when I was in college, I paid for my own car repairs and maintenance. And I worked part time.

And who pays for your son's gas bills?
You or him?
HE should be paying for this too.

The bottom line is: you said it is financially "too much for me...." So, then stop paying for all these things. And why can't you AND your Husband talk about it? You are the parents. And then you just tell your son, the way things will be.
He is not a King.
And he works.
And he has a savings account.
So then, why doesn't he ALSO GET A CHECKING ACCOUNT? Too.
So HE can pay his bills, too.
At that age, a "kid" who is now an adult... NEEDS TO HAVE a checking account, too. Not just a savings account.
And what the heck is he doing with his $300 from his job?
He should be.... BUDGETING that money. HIMSELF. And thinking AHEAD per his expenditures. Doesn't he know how to do that? He is 18 already. TEACH him if he does not know how.
AND teach him, about how there is simply NOT enough money... to continue to pay for his darn truck.

And look, his truck is a HUGE black-hole sucking all the money away.
So, get RID of the truck.
That is an emotional attachment anyway.
Not a "necessity."
He can drive, something else that costs less.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Why are you talking about this on the forum instead of with your husband and son? I don't know what your question is.

Help with what you can, don't help with what you can't.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

He makes $600 a month. Does he pay rent? Utilities? Buy his own food? Seems to me that unless he's paying living expenses out of his paycheck, he can buy his own truck parts unless it's something critical to the operation of the vehicle.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Sounds like you need a family meeting about finances. Your son needs to know what he can and not count on you for financially.
I think it is reasonable that he has a reliable mode of transportation and he could certainly use his savings to fix his truck.
I am not sure why there is $3000 in CC debt when $1000 is sitting in saving unless that money is needed for fixing the truck or tuition. The credit card debt is definitely concerning and should be addressed.
If the truck is too expensive to maintain, he may need to consider a less expensive car.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Time to loosen the apron strings...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Hmmmm, if he qualifies for a student loan why can't he fill out financial aid papers? If he's low income he can qualify. Then he won't have huge debt when he graduates. I've never heard of a kid who went to college that didn't have parents to pay for it or get financial aid.

He's going to be paying almost all of his salary for over 10 years. I know people who had well off parents and they got loans to supplement what their parents could pay. They couldn't buy a home, buy a car, nothing. They barely afforded go get their own place because their student loan payments were so high.

Each one they get can cost them so much per month. They add up quickly. The one guy, he got married in college and got a great paying job right off. They had 3 kids and another on the way before his student loans were paid off.

Then they got to move out of his parents house and buy their own place after about a year.

I think he needs to apply for grants and other free money for school and drop getting loans. Plus he needs to get financial aid so he can get repairs done on his vehicle.

If you really want an 18 year old to be out on his own paying for his own college and everything else plus working then I think he'd be better off getting full financial aid, quitting work so he can get straight "A"s and concentrate on his education.

He could probably live on campus and eat a meal plan with financial aid helping him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Sit down and put things in writing.

First, have the detailed credit card bills on the table. Highlight the car repair entries and costs.

Second, inform your son that you will keep his truck in good enough running condition to pass inspections and be insurable and be safe. That means safe tires, and windshield wipers, and lights and brakes, etc. Outline in writing what you'll both be responsible for and if you're paying for new brakes, for example, you will have the option to select the repair shop and approve the costs. Teach your son responsibility by asking him to submit something in writing to you if he thinks the truck needs something. For example "the left rear tire is bald and I believe a new tire is needed." Or "The truck needs a better sound system because I want Sirius radio on it". And have him find out what that would cost, at a junk yard, or high end store or a basic store like Walmart. Tell him "no more nit-picking. We'll do this in a business-like way." That way he'll realize the costs of having a vehicle more clearly.

Sign a contract together, stating that your son must pay X amount of dollars each week or month towards the credit card.

Some kids just don't think about the bottom line until they see it in writing. If your son is keeping out of trouble, keeping good grades and doing well at work, it's nice to help him, but he will learn valuable lessons by seeing how much life costs and by contributing in an orderly fashion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You just tell them. Talk to your husband first and explain your concerns, your limits. Explain that your son is capable of working and owning a truck, then he is capable of paying for the parts or selling it for something better which he can earn the money for.

What you might want to do, too, is sit down and get a list of all the parts your son is going to need to make the truck up to snuff for him and find the prices. Have your husband look at hard numbers and at your budget so he can actually see the problem and not just hear "I'm worried"-- often, guys need hard evidence.

What is your son spending his earned money on? That's also a factor. If it's for frivolous items, then it's time that a good chunk of that paycheck go to being a big boy and paying part of the bills he is incurring. It does sound like he's been led to believe that you and dad will be taking care of the expenses, but he's also old enough to hear 'you know, this is more than we expected to take on, so we need some contribution from you'. If he is still living with you, what is his contribution? I was paying rent the month after I graduated high school (1988, I was 17 and working full time, paying $50 a month, $100 when my child support checks stopped coming) and paying for my own phone line a few months after that, as soon as I turned 18 and could sign the contract. Some things to think about, so life isn't a total shock for him when he graduates..... you do want him to move out eventually and not be completely dependent upon you. Start setting up expectations for some independence now, not later.

Oh, and Kroeger and other markets have good, economic pay-as-you-go plans. We've had our cheap little iTouch phone for the last several years-- both my husband and I have one. If you are thoughtful about usage, it's about $30 for 3 months. I have never run out of minutes, by the way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Sounds like he needs to get rid of the truck and pay off his debt. If he would live without the truck, it could save him a lot of expenses.

As a family the 3 of you need to meet and go over all of this and have a conversation with you stating exactly what you al can and will pay and let him know this is not negotiable, because there just is not any more money available.

Honesty is the best policy.. Put this in your sons lap and tell him he needs to solve his money issues.


answers from Erie on

Here's what we have agreed to do with our son who just graduated from high school and has decided not to join the military at this time.

First, he has to pay room and board if he's not in school. We told him it would be $150, and we own a business that can provide him with enough work that he can work off the rent. But, he is looking for employment because that means he has no money other than for room and board.
Second, he is actively looking for a school to attend in town. If he becomes a full time student, we will pay for his books and he will not have to pay room and board during the school year. If he wants to earn extra money, he needs a job,
Third, he is expected to do more housework now, his main job is doing the dishes (by hand, and there are 6 of us that live here). But he does whatever I tell him to do otherwise.
Fourth, we will not pay for a vehicle in any way shape or form, if he wants that privilege he can pay for it himself. If he wants to get a license and drive ours, he has to pay his insurance and gas and a percentage of the upkeep. We do not pay for a cell phone, he can use the house land line or pay for a cell phone himself. We also no longer use credit cards at all. Period.

More and more I see parents providing transportation and extras to their kids during these years and all it gets them is a huge headache because then the kids expect to be given these things with no responsibilities for them. Stop the handouts, Mom. It's time for him to pay for the truck himself and I hope he is helping around the house.



answers from Houston on

I'm a little confused with this. Is he buying stuff on the credit card and NOT telling ya'll? If so, then no way.

You say he is paying for college tuition, is he also paying for room and board? Or is he living at home.

Our son is 20 and in college. We pay car insurance, cell phone, and car repairs. We also pay for his school, or some of it, he is getting money from the military. He works part time. However, to us, his job is school.

If you can't afford what you are doing, you need to have that conversation and have him pay going forward. I don't think it would be fair to go back and take the $1000 out of the account. What was the conversation regarding the credit card? What was HIS responsibility?

However, I do think you should show him the bill and request 1/2 of the bill to be his responsibility. He needs to understand about credit.


answers from Santa Fe on

When I was 18 I paid for everything myself. My mom tried her hardest to help me with college but it was not much. My dad didn't help at all. It was up to me to get scholarships, loans, part time jobs, and grants. I rode my bike around campus. I payed my own phone bill. I payed my own rent and for my own books and for my own food...and electricity. It's time for your son to start paying his own way in life. You can help pay for books/food if you really want to be nice (no one did this for my brother and I!). He should pay for his own phone and car insurance and car parts if needed....or downsize to a bike if he cannot afford it.


answers from Phoenix on

He needs to start feeling the pinch of real life somewhere. If it were me, I would let him live at home rent free as long as he's working, but the entire truck...payments, gas, insurance, repairs and maintenance are totally on him. I assume "nit picking" is him wanting the 'extras' such as nice rims and things? No way. And if he gets a raise and is still at home and managing everything, then I would add $200 rent and increase it as he gets paid more. And how do you tell them? You talk to husband first, get a game plan and time line together then you TELL your son. If he doesn't like it, he has 60 days to move out. Good luck.

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