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Mother is terrible with money

UnderwhelmingUnderwhelming myMomIsTheJam July 13, 2013Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum

My mom is AWFUL with money because she has no willpower. She knows what she's supposed to do with it, but she buys crap she doesn't need, and makes excuses and feels sorry for herself and there's this vicious cycle about the whole thing too.

The short and skinny is that mom had a breakdown when her job laid her off because of her knees. Now she has had surgery on both and can't work, gets disability and is convinced she needs all these meds cause she will have another breakdown without em. My sis manages her money and pays her bills with it, and she's good, but she's stressed and has her own life to worry about, so she's slipping. I'm in the military and not in a position to take over that right now. For mildly selfish reasons, I don't want to either. But also, she is a grown woman and needs to get a handle on this herself again.

Part of this is that I want to get her self-sufficient again and part of it is I don't want to end up like the rest of my family. Sis is treading water on her own, but mom is a brick that she has to hold onto while staying afloat. I don't want to end up in sis's position and then end up in mom's position needing someone to help me and have this whole thing continue generation after generation.

So guys, how do I help her help herself when she has no willpower to not waste her money and end up needing to borrow more?

Apologies for the scatterbrained method of writing this out. I wanted to give you the quick-and-dirty now and fill in the rest later. It's late and I should sleep, but this is stressing me out tonight.

Underwhelming on


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    Dulcius_ex_asperisDulcius_ex_asperis Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Since your mom is a grown woman, it's really up to her to decide that she needs to more effectively manage her money. You can try telling her and trying to help her, but until she decides for herself, you can't really make her manage her money differently.

    In college I took a course on personal finance where basically all we did was watch Dave Ramsey DVDs. They seemed pretty general (don't spend money you don't have) but many people swear by them. You could see about getting her to watch/read some of his stuff. You could also try sitting down and having a serious talk with her regarding her dependence on you and your sister, and let her know it's stressing you both out. If she doesn't want to be more responsible, though, it really won't help.

    This situation sucks. My sister is the same way. Sorry. :/

    edit: I would personally emphasize
    -the benefits of not borrowing money, especially if her current habits are causing her stress.
    -How awesome it will feel to not have to worry so much about money.
    -Challenge her to limit her spending for a day, then 2 days, then a week, and make it a challenge to see how long she can go spending money only on essentials. Eventually it will become easier.

    Dulcius_ex_asperis on
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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    It's an addiction, a disease.

    So to stop it, need to cure the addiction; find something that she wants more than the random crap. Maybe talk to her about how you &your sis love her, but she's hurting herself and you. Ask her if she wants her habits to effect you when you're buying homes or having kids?

    Also, sis should stop giving her money for anything. Don't be an enabler - just like drugs/alcohol, you guys have to cut it out of your lives.

    MichaelLC on
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    UnderwhelmingUnderwhelming myMomIsTheJam July 13, 2013 Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Thank you very much, guys. I feel better after sleeping on it and I'll talk to her more tonight.

    Underwhelming on
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    MandaManda Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    My husband and I both come from families that have had issues with spending. Two things that have worked for us:

    1) Sit down with your mom and tally all the money that she's been wasting. My mom did this and it was a gigantic wake-up call for her. Help her make a budget with reachable goals that make her want to save ("You saved $100 this week by not eating out and now you can afford some new clothes!").
    2) Set a good example. It sounds like your mom is really focused on the short-term. If she sees you working towards long-term goals she can use your successes as motivation for herself.

    Manda on
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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    It might be easier to set up a system for her as well.

    So on payday she pays all of her bills, deposits some into savings and then goes food shopping for the fortnight.

    This way she has everything she needs to pay out of the way. She can blow it all and nothing terrible will really happen.

    Blake T on
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