My parents are coming into town today. I’m really excited, because I only get to see them a couple times a year and I love them and I could use a few decent meals.
My parents started teaching me about money when I was in Kindergarten. My mom believed very strongly in the allowance system, where you earn your money and you decide how to spend it. The parents of my friends would just buy them that toy, but I always had to decide whether that toy now was worth missing out on what might come later. I had the responsibility. It was the same in college. My parents agreed to pay for a certain amount every year and coming up with the rest was on me. That doesn’t mean I just paid for trips out out for ice cream or weekend vacations; that means I paid for the majority of my education.
It is hard to write on a blog about my debt that my parents did a good job in preparing me to live financially independent. The truth is that they did do a good job, but I made my mistakes anyway.
So, that’s the history of the money relationship I have with my parents, but in the present things are different. I’m 26 and my parents still pay for meals when we eat out, they send us kids money every now and then when my mom gets a bonus or their tax return is higher than expected, and they even cover most of my flights home to visit them. It’s nice to have generous parents who can afford these kinds of things even though they certainly aren’t rich, but I grow more and more uncomfortable with it every year.
When I was 22, it was okay, but at 26, I should at least be picking up the tab on meals once in a while. In the time I have been of age to do such things, I have been broke and in debt. But, some of my debt is due to shopping, so while I was feeling like I couldn’t afford to be generous and pay for a trip to Applebee’s, I was buying myself new clothes and makeup. I felt guilty about that and immature.
Now, it’s a bit of a different situation, because I’m still in debt, but all of the money I’m making is going to getting out of debt. So, I have the money, but I have a strict budget to stick to and I don’t want to go off course if I don’t have to.
When I am out of debt, I will pick up the tab and buy nicer birthday presents and cover all of my own flights home to visit. That’s not so far away, but I want to do something for them while they’re here, however small, even if it’s just covering the cost of our planned trip to In ‘n Out. It’s the least I can do.