Sunday, March 1, 2015

My knee jerk reaction . . $316.67


This scenario is growing really, really old. I paid the rent earlier this past week (due the 1st), yet some* of those who are supposed to contribute to the rent and food remain behind for February, never mind owing all of March. A typical Landlord would not put up with this. Regardless of their ill planning, I pay my bills in full, on time. I had a serious talk with one offender, and plan on having a talk with the other. Bottom line is, the money is due, as agreed upon in writing, at the beginning of the month. Their actions are impacting ME, and that is not something that I will tolerate.

So, my knee jerk reaction is to once again, serious curb grocery shopping,focusing on needs until those monies come in. While I have completed February's shopping, there is a slight overage of $4.31 that I am rolling over to March. For now, until reimbursed, I am planning on using just my portion of the grocery funds plus what monies have been added to it so far, leaving me $316.67 - $4.31 = $312.36 for March. My menus are planned, and I've just shopped for the bulk of needs for the next 2 weeks, so any shopping these next 2 weeks, will be for milk, perhaps 1/2 & 1/2 cream. There are a few deals out there, but nothing I desperately need, so if I get them, fine, if not, fine.  By the weekend of the 14th, I must buy 2 corned beef briskets for St Pat's, and I suspect that I will need more carrots by then. Otherwise, I am in great shape.

Visible changes:
-we are running out of some supplies, and they are not being replaced
-more and more of the freezer/pantry supplies are diminishing
-more and more recycling is being created (just did the recyling Sat, and I've already filled a tall kitchen garbage bag up)
-snacks aren't being replenished much, although I did get protein granola bars as the old ones were finally eaten. one bag of tortillas, 1 pkg grahams (which I also use in baking)
-baked goods are pretty much limited to using/using up supplies already on hand
-more vegetarian
-more off brands, private label, dollar store bargains
-large pitchers of generic Koolaid, home brewed tea are available, saving what few cans of soda I just bought for sick tummies and "pizza night"
-some have noted that "all of the good stuff is gone," "there's no ice cream!"

We also continue to eat seasonally, what's on sale, which becomes especially challenging this time of year when nothing is being produced. I rely more upon home/commercially prepared canned/fzn foods and the cheap core of produce staples: potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, Romaine.

I am trying to demonstrate a clear case of cause and effect:  You don't pay your portion towards food=less food will be purchased, and I make what few food dollars I do have for a family of 6 stretch as far as possible, which is why the last 2 weeks of February found me using those remaining funds towards things like: dishwasher and dishwashing detergents, laundry detergent, dried beans, ketchup, mustard,toilet paper, tissues, tampons, salt, baking soda, peanut butter, tuna, canned salmon, elbow macaroni, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, etc.

What would you do under similar circumstances?


Anonymous said...

Not sure what I'd do in this situation. My first inclination would be that I wouldn't cook/prepare meals for those who haven't paid. But that could just compound the problem because they'd have to spend $$ to feed themselves and that would make them less likely to pay you! What a situation! Do any of the "non-payers" have extenuating circumstances (less hours at work, unexpected bills, etc.)?

sqbdew said...

I personally do not think everyone should be punished because of the 2 who are behind.

CTMOM said...

SQB-Here's a link to my March menus for this new month:
I don't feel that anyone should feel deprived, but that said while home made cookies, for example, will be available, perhaps not the favored choc chip, but instead oatmeal raisin as that is what is on hand. Does that mean no chocolate at all? Certainly not, just that other alternatives will be called into service. In lieu of buying new boxes of crackers, we're eating the older stuff in the cupboard. Popcorn is still available, as are pretzels, cheese/crackers, PB and crackers, cold cereal, yogurt etc. Just an example.

CTMOM said...

A56-you are correct. If I were to say, prepare a meal for the remaining 4, the 2 who are behind would fall further behind by buying food out. No extenuating circumstances, this has been a "because of Xmas" scenario

Baroness Prudent Spending said...

CTMOM I think you are doing an excellent job of offering and preparing good nutritious and well as fun (snacky) food for your family. I don't have much advice to offer because frankly, I'm not sure what I would do in your situation. These are still young people who need to learn to handle their money appropriately. And if I recall correctly part of the reason they are now with you is due in part to money (mis)management. They do seem to spend their money on occasional takeaways which IMO should be stopped until you are fully paid up. Of course you cannot stop them.

Xmas is such a poor excuse for them to owe you money. Perhaps they need to start planning Xmas 2015 now so that they have the money to pay you in 2016 assuming you are all still living together.

You are doing your best and I like your approach. No one is going hungry and if they have less varied snacks there is ultimately no harm done there.

Keep fighting the good budget fight! ~ Pru

SAK said...

I have seen your meals/snacks/treats - no one looks punished or deprived there. I would love to cook the way you do - and on a careful budget too! Not sure how/when they pay you - but is it possible to take a % off each paycheck - so if they get paid weekly - 4 times in a month - they split the amount 25% from each check? Set up an automatic transfer/bill pay each paycheck to you? If they lost work because of weather/job change/etc - I can see cutting them some slack. If they are just spending on other "fun" things - you may need to revisit your contract with them and the consequences of not paying as agreed. Tough to do I am sure. Possible to give them a "reset" - they have to start paying as agreed but you let them catch up on missed amounts over time? Best of luck!

carol pavlik said...

I have been in your shoes and it hurts on many levels. You are providing so much and they probably could not get the same deal in real life. But tough love is very wearing.

Mary Lou said...

Perhaps you need to rethink or reconfigure your arrangement with the older kids. Maybe they should not be included in food. Just pay their rent and let them fend for themselves which they would be doing if they were renting an apartment or room elsewhere anyway. Don't know if that is too harsh but I also know I would not be happy feeding adults without some compensation and you might be cooking differently for you and the younger boys if you didn't have to feed six.

mikemax said...

I agree that not everyone should be "punished" for the actions of two, but I also see that not providing food would lead them to spend more to eat out. My mother used to say it's "a vicious circle" and this certainly describes your current situation.

When you talk to the people that aren't paying, ask them what you should do.

Also, do you have a job that you would have to pay someone to do, that they could do in order to work it off?
That must have been some Christmas for them--it's March already.

Marcia in rural WNY said...

I don't think it's unfair, except that it affects the non-guilty as well, but there needs to be some consequence for not keeping up with the agreed upon commitment. I would probably be the one wanting chocolate before the kids were, though!!

Diane Cooper said...

I don't know how the offenders are paid, but could you set up an automatic payment to your account when they are paid, so that they never have access to the money you are owed.
Good luck x

Theresa F said...

I have to agree with sqbdew. If there are two not paying their share, they should be the ones feeling the consequences. Otherwise everyone is punished for the actions of only two. While this works in prison and P.O.W. camps, it seems unjust in a home setting. Ultimately, the two need to know that if they do not pay their rent, they will be evicted. If that does not light a fire under them, not much else will.

cheryl soergel said...

With one or both of these being your own children, they may think you would never have them leave for not paying their share. Even with watching your food budget these kids have it good. No where could they get both good food and a place to live for how much they are paying. They may need to be told just how much they are saving and what the cost would be if on their own. Being a parent and responsible sucks at times. Cheryl

Sandie Apuzzo said...

I think you are doing the right thing. I do like some of the other ideas posted. I.E. Ask for this months fees in full, and x amount towards rearage. OR, they cannot eat from the cupboards anymore, they are on their own for nourishment (but must still pay you their 'rent') just not the food fees.

CT Bargain Mom said...

I have to agree with an earlier commenter, they should be paying you and their car payments (if they have them) first every week/pay period.

Remind them gently, a regular landlord wouldn't put up with it - they would be out on their ear. Maybe get some envelopes at Dollar Tree and have a budgeting workshop with the 3 oldest who are working and paying rent. You could even include the twins, surely it's a lesson that can be done several times.

CT Bargain Mom said...

Also, although it's embarrassing for the ones that owe you $, they need to see it from your point of view. How could they survive if a friend or family member owed them that much money? Tough question but just because your the mom doesn't mean you should be expected to forgive the debt.

Lili said...

Can they work off some, but not all, of their debt with you? Is there a chore that you now hire out, that you can have them complete for you, in exchange for part of the monies they owe you? Like house cleaning, driveway shoveling, roof gutter cleaning?

If it were me with my own kids, I would sit down with them and work out a plan on paper of how they can repay their debt. Managing money is a skill they'll need once they move out, and you could put it to them in that fashion.

You might find that once you offer work for them to do in exchange for some of the debt, that they are suddenly able to find the money for you.

Good luck with this.

With my 3 kids, one pays rent monthly, and he's been good about keeping on top of this. But my other two pay me annually at the end of each summer. They occasionally borrow money from me, and I do have to pester them to pay me back. I will usually drive them to the bank, in order to get that done, if it goes on too long. If they ever feel irritated that I'm such a stickler with money owed, I figure they'll get over it, and many, many years down the road appreciate the lessons learned at home.

Lili said...

Another thought -- what about debt forgiveness in lieu of gifts that you would have given anyways, like a birthday gift. Do they have birthdays coming up soon? Could you offer to have some of their debt canceled instead of gifts? Or if you normally eat out in a restaurant for a birthday, could you offer to have a simple meal at home? Then you would apply whatever you saved on not eating out for their birthday dinner, to their debt.

One year, my two daughters really wanted spending money instead of eating out on their birthday, a usual and planned for birthday custom in our house. So, we had grocery store corn dogs, oven fries and fruit for their birthday dinner, and the amount I saved on not eating in a restaurant, less what I spent on grocery store supplies for the dinner, was given to them.

You have my sympathies. This isn't easy.

DW said...

This is a sticky situation. I like the work it off solution if you can do it.
Another thought ... do they have something you can hold for collateral with the idea that if they can't/don't pay up ... you can sell it? (I mention this because my DM co-signed for the loan on my 1st car ... with this admonition. 'If you stick me with the payments, I'm taking the car.' I did make the payments ;)

CTMOM said...

In response to some replies:
-the offenders are paid weekly, both work retail, low paying jobs
-both knew and signed a contract up front, what the expectations are.
-the modern living arrangement was developed as a means to get them out of a less than desireable situation, greatly reduce their expenses, afford them an opportunity to save money, get ahead
-no car loans, no collateral
-had a frank discussion with one (yes my own child) and reviewed budgeting, setting aside for emergencies, savings etc
-I plan to again speak with my child, as well as the other offender and lay it on the line, asking, "so what do you expect me to do?" I never agreed to support them. This was a case of hand up not a hand out. They are also shirking some household responsibilities, which are spelled out in the contract. Both need a reality check
-yes, "Christmas" is a tired excuse and frankly, unless there are some hidden gifts somewhere, far from lavish by any means
-one gets paid tomorrow, monies at the beginning of the month are usually earmarked for car ins, and I had been getting paid the second week, which I am OK with
-I am NOT Ok with hounding offenders down nor with ME being the party to initiate communication about this
-offenders already told that if this isn't addressed, they should seriously scour the classifieds. My lease is up in July-they don't need to be invited to remain here. I'd rather eat the rent myself and reduce my personal stress (on many levels)
-I've already told them that a regular landlord would have evicted them and they had better get their act together
-if they don't contribute to food, they'll buy more on the road, just worsening the situation. Could they use their own monies (not paid to me) and cook their own? they'd probably still use household kitchen staples, not to mention things like personal care products, detergents, etc. Their contributions is to ease the burdeon of having more in the household
-I have no jobs, nor do either possess any particular talent for which I'd let them perform a service and credit their debt
-birthday's are coming soon-may just deduct $X as a token gift and be done
-like the idea of no restaurant meal, just eat at home and use the "savings" as the aforementioned credit
-I am trying hard to still have treats and a variety of foods on hand. Nutrition is still a priority.

Baroness Prudent Spending said...

I just have to add a final comment that you are doing wonderfully. A quick glance at your monthly menus show that you are still providing very nutritious meals and treats for everyone in your household.

At the end of the day, this doesn't come easy to many, many people. Son+GF still have some growing up to do but (personally) I think you did the right thing and the best thing when you agreed to let them move home. It's a PITA but they will probably learn so much from you. And far better that your son learn this when he is 25 yrs old vs. trying to come home and needing help when he is 45 yrs old. (Needless to say, I think the rest of your kids are getting a valuable lesson here too - seeing it played out in front of them is priceless.)

To end, no one is deprived in your home! If I lived closer, I'd show up on vegetarian night with a $20 bill and ask you to feed me because everything looks yummy - especially the magic cookie bars :-)
~ Pru

Florence said...

I'm sorry I am so late to this discussion. It is a difficult situation. I applaud your effects to link cause with effect. I understand that he and GF are working low wage retail jobs. Two things come to mind. First, what are they doing so that 5 years from now they will not still be working low wage jobs. Are they taking classes or training to improve their prospects? Nothing will change if they keep doing the same thing. Second, do they know how to make a budget where they put down on paper on purpose every cent they will make before each pay period?
You have my admiration for trying to help them.

CTMOM said...

Agree that neither appear* to have a "5 year plan." Don't know if GF finished college, she does have loans, however. DS has one year of college and stopped, due to finances. He has no loans, owns his older car, outright. Gf has some CC debt from what I can glean, DS-none. GF has a few personal expenses (clothes, make up, etc) but basics are covered under our arrangement. Ditto for DS. DS pays for car ins, car taxes. Effective April, he will also start covering his cell phone thru me (reimbursing the additional charges) or go and get his own plan. I believe in weaning my kids off of parental financial dependence. As of 16, they are responsible for social expenses, family birthday/xmas gifts, make up, hair cuts. Get a car: you pay for ins., taxes, gas, repairs etc. That is reality. GF "budgets" by earmarking her fluctuating pay towards whatever bill is coming due next. Compounding the issue is that she doesn't get enough hours and often calls out "sick." DS still has no vocational path and is in a deadend position but they have been increasing his hours so at least he is considered more of a FT employee. He remains under my medical ins but must pay any OOP expenses, like his older sister does. He has trouble managing money, always has. We continue to work on it, I continue to discuss this with him, show him how I get it done, build savings, work towards financial goals, plan for emergencies, etc.