Food & board dilemma with 19yrs old son

This is my fist post on the forum and I hope I am posting in the right place.

I'd like to hear how others might handle this situation please. I live with my 19 yr old son who is an apprentice and has a well paid Saturday job, earning close to £1000 pm. He has never paid me money for food and board. Initially, I gave him a chance to get established in work with a car and didn't ask for money. Since he turned 19yrs, three weeks ago I have ask for £20 pw to contribute to bills and food, etc. I researched this amount on this forum and its certainly in the range of what others parents are requesting. (Seems very fair to me as I paid £40 pw 25 yrs ago!)

However, my son says he won't pay and can't afford to, which isn't strictly true. He owns three cars and pays insurance on two of them and a monthly repayment on the third. Plus running costs. He regularly buys alcohol and will buy takeaways once or twice a week. Clearly, he is taking the mickey by saying he can't pay. Rather, he is choosing not to. I have supported him to the tune of hundreds of pounds which he's never repaid - always says he can't afford to. I am blaming myself a bit for his attitude and his lack of responsibility as his dad but he can afford to run three cars, so he's not that bad with budgets. I've wanted to help him out but he has to take some responsibility.

I'd like to hear how others would handle this situation and appreciate your response, thanks.
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  • HappyMJ
    HappyMJ Posts: 21,115
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    Tell him to pay no less than £60 a week (a much more reasonable amount as £20 a week is nothing as that barely covers food only) or find somewhere else to live. Simple as that. Give him a week to pay then start packing his room up whilst he's out at work. It's your house. Refuse to feed him and refuse to do any chores for him. He earns more than me and I pay £475 a month rent plus all bills, can't afford to run a car (yes I'm 40 walk and catch the bus) and certainly can't afford alcohol and takeaways. Once he's out on the street he'll soon find the money in his current account and when he pays you I'm sure you'll welcome him back. You got to be hard sometimes....anyway that's how I'd handle it.
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  • ToriP
    ToriP Posts: 168
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    He owns three cars but won't pay you £20 a week?
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  • I agree with the others. Isn't the old rule of thumb that board should be 30% of wages? £20 is more than reasonable, it probably barely covers food.

    It's probably time to sit down with him and explain your point of view and request in a calm Manor and why you believe he can pay but is choosing not too. I'll also explain it's not optional, hos choose is either pay up or find somewhere else to live and give him a date to move by.

    Sometimes you have to set the boundaries and keep them.
  • £20 a week is not fair. You should make a list of the household costs - council tax, gas electric food etc. Then sit your son down and show how much it actually costs to live. Explain you won't expect him to pay half but he does need to contribute. I would think about £70 per week would be fair. It will cost him a lot more than that if he moves out. If he can't afford it then he will have to sell one or more of his cars. A car is a luxury, food and a roof over your head is not.

    My husband had exactly the same issue with his, then, 19 year old daughter a couple of years ago. The only difference being she refused to tell him what she was earning. His mum, her gran, told him to tell her straight you either pay or you leave. He did but at first she didn't take him seriously. He gave her a deadline and on the day he forced her to pack and leave. She now flat shares with a friend but still affords clothes and a social life. It made her grow up a bit.

    You're not doing him any favours in the current situation. Budgeting, prioritising, and taking personal responsibility are all skills we need as adults. How do you expect him to develop these skills?
  • GwylimT
    GwylimT Posts: 6,530
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    I charged my son various amounts depending on the job/hours he had. The most I charged him was £40 a week, I used half of this for his food bill and I saved the other in an for him. When I was charging £40 he was earning around £130 a week.

    No matter what I charged I always saved half, so when it came to him buying his house he had an extra £4k to add to his deposit. When paying rent he wasn't aware any was being saved. He was saving a good chunk of money to support himself through uni, if he wasn't doing this I would have charged more.

    If he had refused rent I would have emptied his room, stopped feeding him and enjoyed my wait for humble pie. Which I did do once when he didn't pay his rent for two months straight.
  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,514
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    have a look at room only ads on gumtree or equivalent for your area and show him these...often these have utility bills included but obviously food etc is on top...use the room rent figure as a starting point...this will be his alternative if he no longer gets free board
    £20 per week is way too low
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,226
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    If your son hadn't been warned in advance that he would be charged I can understand and accept that an extra weekly bill coming up immediately could indeed be a shock and hard to afford this month. I believe commercial landlords are supposed to give at least a month notice of rent increases. I would offer to sit down with him and go over his budget to work out how he can afford a reasonable and fair keep (and agree £20 a week is low), either to you or commercially if he prefers to move out. If he is paying you keep do also discuss how you will be increasing it so he knows what to expect. (Some options for increase would be up to commercial rent in 2 years/ in line with his wages/ in line with your costs.)

    With all of his wage to spend on himself does he have more spending money than you do after the household costs? That seems definitely unfair.
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  • pogofish
    pogofish Posts: 10,852
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    Agree with all the above - he's taking the len of you and twenty quid a week is a very reasonable amount to ask for.

    Give him fair warning to allow him to rearrange his financial affairs, grow-up and either start paying or to rethink his living arrangements. I'll bet when he looks around and finds-out how much even a flatshare will cost him, he will find the money for you! :D
  • I do feel for you, I went through something similar with my son it caused a horrible feeling between us. Please know that you will get through this and he will need to pay. I told my son that he would need to buy his own shopping, it sounds petty but I removed the toilet paper and washing powder, shampoo also taken in and out of the bathroom anything that showed him where money goes. He lasted a week and then realised just how expensive everything is, he realised he needed to pay his way. He tried it on a few months but now pays £250 per month direct to my account on payday, he earns slightly more than your son and doesn't run a car he is hopeless with money so ends up getting £50 back one way or another throughout the month which is at my discretion, if he asks me for money to go out with then he pays that back on top of his rent. I hope that you get it sorted, I sat my son down and calmly told him how much my outgoings were and that I didn't need such a big house anymore so I would consider selling it if he didn't contribute. I now have a lodger who pays £300 pm so my son feels he is getting a better deal.
    My son was about the same age as yours when he wasn't paying, my daughter on the other hand always paid keep when she was at home, it must be a man thing. Good luck.
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  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,753
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    Personally I wouldn't charge board to my children to live with me, unless I was short of money.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
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