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No. of Recommendations: 48
Well, today I called the cable company and asked them to reduce my basic cable ($31.00) a month to bare bones cable, limited, for $10.95 a month.
My kids will probably have a fit, but they don't watch tv all that much in the summer and we still get a few of the cable channels minus Nickolodean and MTV (which I can do nicely without!) My 14 year old son had promised to help pay the extra $20.00 cable but hasn't yet. He has a part time lawn care business and everytime he earns a few extra dollars he blows it! Last night our church had a sneak preview carnival and there he was blowing money right and left, and I know he had just earned $50.00 from helping a friend baling hay. I thought, ok, goodbye to cable! This weekend I'm subbing on a paper route for 2 days $55.00 or so extra to earn, and that's going toward cc debt again!I have tried to teach my 14 yr old how to save money,and be more careful spending but he doesn't listen (typical teenager) The cable is going on Tuesday and he will have a fit. But, he's had 4 weeks to come up with the extra, that was our agreement! He's mad at me for getting rid of the cell phone a few months ago but that was $42.00 a month I didn't need! He liked to use it and his friends would call on it a lot! I decided it was more of a nuisance so cell phone went "adios" also. I owe about 6,000 in cc (due to my own stupidity) and my goal is to be debt free by Jan 2003! I probably sound like a mean Mom, but I'm divorced, trying to raise 2 kids on my own and it's a struggle! My $22,000 a year job (and limited child support) doesn't cut it, so no more living high on the hog for me! I'm determined to get out of debt! Allison
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Hey Allison,

Good for you. I don't think you are a mean mom at all - you are doing what is best for your family. If it makes you feel any better, we don't have a cell phone, or any cable TV at all. If the rabbit ears don't receive it, we don't get it. Between the two, it is another $50-60 a month to put towards our future.

Digrat
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Congratulations on giving your son a great example. Next time he knows he has to come up with some cash or lose a toy, he'll more likely believe you! And after all, I bet he's living a perfectly fine life w/o the cable & cell phone.

Beth
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Allison,

Teenagers can be a real pain sometimes, eh? I have one already with another fast approaching that stage. Sigh...

Have you shared your financial dilemma with your son? At 14 years of age, he should be old enough to understand at least partially the financial pressures you are experiencing. Have him help you with the bills, maybe write up a monthly budget together so he can see just where all that "big money" that Mom makes goes!

Sticks
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No. of Recommendations: 9
Congratulations - you sound like a GREAT mom.
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Allison - Good for you! If what you're doing is mean, we need more mean parents, and I hope I'm just as mean to my kids. Keep in mind, you made a deal with your son, and he didn't keep his end of the bargain. It's a good life lesson - negotiation involves giving something up to get something you want. He's not willing to pay for something, so either he thinks it's a free ride, or it's not that important to him. So no cable, no cell phone... Good lesson to learn.
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I think you were more than fair; after all, he had fair warning.

I'm also a divorced mom with a teenager (13yo girl). This is the first year I've made a decent salary and we have *no* child support! I agree, it's tough, but keep on plugging!
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I probably sound like a mean Mom, but I'm divorced, trying to raise 2 kids on my own and it's a struggle! My $22,000 a year job (and limited child support) doesn't cut it, so no more living high on the hog for me! I'm determined to get out of debt!

Allison, I really commend you for your decision. Being a single mom is not easy (I'm one too) and you have to do what's right for your family. I don't think you're mean. I think you're practical. Your kids will have a home, clothing, and food on the table. That's worth so much more than cable TV. I grew up without TV at all until I was well into my teen years. I survived, and so will your kids. Break out the books instead, they truly are more enjoyable.

Louise
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My 14 year old son had promised to help pay the extra $20.00 cable but hasn't yet. He has a part time lawn care business and everytime he earns a few extra dollars he blows it!

What a smart idea to have this option! After a couple of months at the basic service level, he'll either figure out that he misses cable so much that he wants to stop blowing all that money and come up the extra $20, or (more likely, I suspect) he'll realize he doesn't miss it much at all. And either way, he'll be realizing that a *choice* was involved. I think coming to terms with having to make choices is the hardest part of growing up (heck, I'm still dealing with it), so lessons in this area are very important.
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Another "mean mom" like me! When we moved 2 years ago my 13yo twin sons were stunned to find out that we weren't reconnecting the cable. They adjusted! My theory was/is...Why PAY for something that I'd be upset they used too much of?

Good choice...even if not doing it strictly for budgeting!
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No. of Recommendations: 5
When our kids were teenagers and earned money through parttime jobs, we had a rule that they had to save 50% - the rest they could use as they wished. When they turned 18, they each had savings accounts with pretty good balances.

When they were making college plans, we explained that we could afford to pay for tuition, room and board, and the basics, but spending money was up to them to provide.

This was a matter of financial necessity, but we also hoped that having a financial investment in their educations would encourage them to take college seriously.

I'm happy to say that they both finished college - a good investment for us, and for them.










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When my stepkids were teenagers, we disconnected the cable because all they would do was sit in front of the television and their grades stunk. They didn't complain when we told them that if they didn't bring their grades up, we'd cancel cable.

I hated being without the ballgames and AMC, but I lived. Got it back when they left the house!
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Allison,

You win the best Mom of the day award! You are showing (by example) financial choices. If you chose to blow money at a carnival, then there isn't any left for extended cable. Pretty simple really, and very valuable in the life lessons department.

You know, it's not the job of parents to be the child's friend. I know of kids that get whatever they want, and the parents are amazed that the kids can't live on a budget when they leave home. Those kids have no concept for living within their means, because all they had to do was whine and whatever they wanted was provided to them. I think that you are providing a valuable lesson that lasts throughout a lifetime.

Give yourself a pat on the back.

L
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When our kids were teenagers and earned money through parttime jobs, we had a rule that they had to save 50% - the rest they could use as they wished. When they turned 18, they each had savings accounts with pretty good balances.

When they were making college plans, we explained that we could afford to pay for tuition, room and board, and the basics, but spending money was up to them to provide.


Wow, there must be some kind of parent's union or something -- that's exactly what my parents did with my brother and me. And it worked out well for everyone: we got college educations without bankrupting our parents and without the distraction of having to work our way through school, and we learned a great lesson about saving for the future. The last point was the least tangible, but as the years go by I'm seeing that it was just as important as the others.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
I like you am determined to get out of debt. it's amazing how technology comforts takes so much of our money.

For example, the cell phone and the pager. Why both? Why either? Finally decdided to get rid of mine, and lo and behold my company purchased me one for its use. (Say goodbye to $65.00 bill). I convinced my DH to reduce his pager package from nationalwide (why we got this I will never know, he hardly ever travels) to local. Say good by $30.00 now $6.00.

Internet connection was next. Drew up an agreement with several members of my family, we split the cost of the AOL connection. (GASP!, I know AOL sucks, but the 7 screen names, helps a lot. Plus, the older people in the family - people who pay their bills - like the interface)

We had both the satiellate, and cable (don't ask why). When I finally said make a choice, the dish won out. We now watch the local channels over the air instead of cable.

Good luck in your quest. You will make it.

jiminica
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stick to your guns - being a good parent is an extremely difficult job but we are responsible. When my son was that age is wanted to purchase a skate board $200 and put on a cc. We calculated how much it would cost him (I stretched it out to the max) and figured it would costs him $450. Show me the money - is what has to happen. Most of the time they lose interest or change their own minds about something that they think they have to have. You've made good decisions - now comes the tough part - weathering the storm. Good luck!
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Allison, you've given yourself a win-win situation--tought to do as a parent of teens! We are in the same boat with 2 teens--one wants a car desperately (ALL of his non LBYM friends have one),has no way to pay for insurance, gas, repairs, etc. We find ourselves saying "NO" a lot lately--but as DH and myself are both teachers, we see a lot of the effects of "too much"--too much video games, TV, free time, and not enough responsibility! You are teaching your son valuable lessons that will only get harder for him to learn as he gets older--stick to your guns!
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<<) The cable is going on Tuesday and he will have a fit. But, he's had 4 weeks to come up with the extra, that was our agreement! He's mad at me for getting rid of the cell phone a few months ago but that was $42.00 a month I didn't need! He liked to use it and his friends would call on it a lot! I decided it was more of a nuisance so cell phone went "adios" also. I owe about 6,000 in cc (due to my own stupidity) and my goal is to be debt free by Jan 2003! I probably sound like a mean Mom, but I'm divorced, trying to raise 2 kids on my own and it's a struggle! My $22,000 a year job (and limited child support) doesn't cut it, so no more living high on the hog for me! I'm determined to get out of debt! Allison >>



These all sound like good decisions, and perhaps the Heir Apparent will learn something about keeping his agreements when MTV goes all fuzzy. Frankly, he should be making a financial contribution to maintaining the family, in my view. Perhaps when he moans and groans about cable, you can suggest that you are considering asking him to contribute $50/week or whatever to help support the family! That might give him something new to moan and groan --and think-- about.



Seattle Pioneer
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Perhaps when he moans and groans about cable, you can suggest that you are considering asking him to contribute $50/week or whatever to help support the family!

_______________________

I was the second oldest of 8 kids, and it was made clear to us that as soon as we were able to make our own money, we would be responsible for buying our own *stuff*. That meant school clothes, vehicles including upkeep (I never had to pay for insurance, but I believe my younger sibs did), and any extra school stuff like jackets, rings, yearbooks, etc. "I want" goes away pretty quickly when it means X hours of work!
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(and limited child support)

-----------------------------------------------------------

I've mulled this post over. You sound like a generous, hard-working mom. In fact I'm convinced of it. So I doubt my observation applies to you, although indirectly it does since you receive money, in a sort-of trust payment from from your ex-husband, which is to be spent for the benefit of the children. You, as executor of that fund, must decide in what form that money reaches them. i.e. their share of the food and rent, clothing and whatever else, in your judgement as executor of those court-ordered monies, you think they need.

It seems to me you've bent over backwards to supply them with a few extra "goodies", like the cell phone and premium cable TV, so the 14-year-old doesn't feel he's not as well as his friends.

The fact is, he's probably better off than many: He has a mom like you. But you fear he won't value YOU as much as he does MTV. And that is a legitimate fear, because most 14-year-olds are in training to become The Man Laying on the Couch, just like dad, and unless the facts are made clear to them -- that this is where his family is at the moment, financially, and all hands are needed on deck for the next few years -- he will be robbed of a chance to play a major role in the restoration of the family's fortunes.

If you think he's angry now, when the MTV is taken away without warning, in a preemptive strike that you believe will bring him to his senses, just wait until the years roll by and he figures things out for himself, that you worked your fingers to the bone to pay for a false front, and continued to do so until he struck out on his own.

Everyone needs to sit down at the kitchen table and hear you say "No more lies. We're broke. The good news is that now we have a chance to show what we're made of."

Good luck to you. You deserve it. I have a feeling you weren't all that many years old than your son when you -- hell, when most of us -- learned how easy it is to play make believe when the first credit card arrived in the mail.

Chip
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I'm coming to this conversation very late as I've been rather busy of late.

I just wanted to add a comment that it seems that your lessons of being careful with money have not paid off on your son. Does he know about your own debt? The only realistic thing to do is cut down on what you spend and do it gradually. Kids will not appreciate the reality of this, just that they are losing some luxuries. In a way I think the less luxuries you have growing up the better you'll be anyway. You won't grow up used to getting it all and think that the world owes you something, there seems to be far to many kids with " an attitude " as it is.

Possible he will come to the realisation that as he's earning now, he can pay for the things that he wants. He's already doing that in part by spending all the money but perhaps he'll learn the lesson that something things have to be saved up for as they take more than one garden work to achieve.

I certainly do not think that you are doing any harm to him whatever he may say to the contrary. Sounds like he could no with a reality check.

Petey
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