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  1. #1
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    Default Balancing financial priorities with kids of different ages? Blended family dilemma!

    My DSS (17) got his learner's permit just before Christmas.His mum (whom he lives with) has so far not contributed anything towards DSS learning to drive - we even paid for his permit. He wants a manual licence and we both have automatic cars, so he's doing some odd jobs around our place in exchange for us paying for some lessons through a driving school.

    DH has mentioned about getting him a car once DSS has his licence. DH's parents gave him $500 to buy a car when he was a teenager himself, so he feels it's what he should do for his son. $500 might have picked up an okay first car in the 80's - but these days you'd be lucky to find something decently safe and reliable for under $2k! We currently have quite a few debts (new house, paying off wedding and car loan, plus IVF) so simply don't have the spare cash laying around. We are coping fine financially with paying off the debts we currently have, but our income will be dramatically reduced soon as I will be going on maternity leave for 6 months, so I am not willing for us to take on further debt for something I don't count as necessary.

    We're expecting our first baby together in about 8 weeks, and even though we're sticking to a strict budget to get prepared, I think DH is having guilty feelings about spending money on one child and not another. He also has another son who will expect to receive the same as whatever his brother gets in monetary value (he isn't able to drive due to an intellectual disability, but loves having money to spend on "stuff").

    Has anyone got any suggestions about juggling kids wants and needs financially, particularly when there is such an age gap, without any of them feeling like they're missing out??

  2. #2
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    Determining between wants and needs is a good place to start. Surely the 17 year old could find some part time/casual work to fund his driving lessons and to eventually buy a car?


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    Arlais  (07-02-2014)

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    It's tough. Really tough. We have 5 children between us. DH's oldest son is 16.5 and there's no way we could possibly afford to help him buy a car! However when our children are the same age we probably will be in a very different financial position.
    I don't work and we are one income. Because we are dealing with the topic of "step kids" though everyone seems to get their knickers in a knot.
    My eldest is 9 and he will always be better off financially because of his biological fathers family.
    He also got much more spoilt as a child by us as he was the only one living with us full time!
    Do I feel "bad" for our other 3 children? Hell NO!
    Each child is going to be raised differently and accordingly to the financial situation of the parents at that current time. Step kids or not!
    I think it's ludicrous to think that because you received $500 then you must give your child $500?!?
    Crazy. If you can't afford it. Don't do it.

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    Arlais  (07-02-2014)

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    Agree.

    If the money just isn't there it isn't there.
    Or you could tell him if he got a part time job and saved you would match him dollar for dollar but that's not going to work if the money isn't there.

    I know how expensive it is in the last year I have bought cars for my 2
    boys paid for countless lessons, and the rego and insurances are on going but they are both still studying and we live remotely so it was a necessity.

    I can understand you DH wanting to help ( I really wanted to do this for my boys so made it happen) but if the money isn't there it isn't there.

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    Arlais  (07-02-2014)

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    We are also a blended family, 2 live with us majority of time, 1 rarely comes home, 1 is here part time & new bub is due soon.

    How I look at it now ( recent events have drastically changed my mindset & it's now my way or not at all ) is this.

    In my home all 4 + bub are treated equally, beautiful home, bedroom, school activities, social activities, clothing etc. However if they aren't in my house it's no longer my responsibility, I will contribute my share but I will no longer pick up the slack of the other non contributing parents.

    It's taken me 5 yrs to get to that point as before I made sure the kids weren't going without even at the other house & truthfully I got no credit, no thanks, it really just p!ssed the other parent off & all it did was make life easier for everyone else but me

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    Arlais  (07-02-2014)

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    Might be time he looks for a part time job? Along with the car comes rego, insurance, petrol & servicing so someone needs to pay those also.

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    Arlais  (07-02-2014)

  12. #7
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    DSS is trying to find an after school job at the moment which will definitely make things easier. I'm happy to help give him a kick start with the lessons initially, but I do wonder when DH will say "enough"?

    DH's boys are not "second class citizens" just because they are from his first marriage, we don't treat them that way even though they don't live with us, but our soon to be daughter will be better off through her childhood - simply because we're in a much better financial position that DH was at the time the boys were young.

    They are at an age where they should be starting to take on adult responsibility for themselves (17 & 19) and not expect parental handouts, but they are still DH's children. Whilst we don't want them to feel resentful seeing things being bought for their little sister, we simply can't stretch money to provide any form of "compensation". I hope I don't get shot for using that term, but I can't really think of any other way to put it!

    And it's not even just $500 to put towards a car (I handle the majority of our finances and could probably just scrape that together) he's talking about a whole car at today's prices, plus all the rego, etc. And then you've got to factor in what my other DSS will expect if we spend a significant amount of money on his brother.

    I know we cannot afford it with the initial and ongoing expenses of a new baby coming into our lives, but feel very hypocritical saying anything because my parents bought me my first car.

    DH might have pictured being able to afford to do things like this for his sons, but as anyone who has gone through divorce would know, you end up being in a very different financial position later in life than what you thought you would be. I'm just not sure how I can help DH reconcile this without financial stress.

    Selfishly too I don't want to feel guilty about buying things for our baby (being my first and potentially only bub). I'm concerned that if I say "no" to the car, but come home with a cute outfit or something for our daughter, that he will think I'm showing too much favouritism and cause problems in our relationship. Why does money stuff have to be so difficult?

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    I'm with you on the whole not showing favoritism but to me it's not fair to compare apples with oranges

    Atm I mostly buy things for bub, maybe I just don't feel guilty as I already have other kids & I know that it's changes over time as to which child gets more time, attention, money.

    My way of looking at it is I know my dsd had the absolutely most expensive best of everything brought for her as a bub where I buy almost everything for this bub secondhand so I dare my dh to tell me to reign it in ( if that makes sense )

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    Will you want to buy your baby when car comes?

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    What about getting the 17yo to find a casual job, outlaying the $2K for his first car and than have him pay you back- maybe $50 a week. It'll also teach him about budgeting and responsibility- and also how much cars cost, i.e. machinical repairs etc.


 

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