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An emergency fund is great to have

November 15th, 2011 at 07:06 pm

Well, in a perfect world it would have been - wouldn't it?

A little background:

A lot has happened in the last couple of years. My mother got a live in boyfriend. My brother went through a NASTY divorce and landed on my mom's couch. These both are important points to know.

(Fast forward to now and my brother signed the lease on an apartment LAST WEEK! My mom doesn't know this yet. YAY for him!)

Before the BF moved in, I had things under control for my mother. All bills were paid, she had $1400 in savings for emergencies, plus a little extra to spend. That's what she seems to do best - SPEND. It's all gluttonous spending too. Clearance deals where she works. Gifts for everyone under the sun because "it was a good deal!"

One thing I learned a long time ago is that the concept of money completely escapes my mother. She will spend money on whatever she wants and ignore everything else. If it's not FUN, she's not interested. That's why this struck a nerve for me last week:

Yup. I can relate. I'm certainly no fun when it comes to finances.

So the BF moved in and that didn't work out financially as expected - does it ever? Then my mom had someone to dote on and buy things for! He didn't ask for anything - not mooching at all - she just WANTED to buy him things. That's how she is. Wasn't it nice she got approved for a store card (after sending the first one to charge off years ago) and could now buy whatever she wanted? I mean... credit is just free money, right??

BF responded by telling my mother she "earned" this, "DESERVED" that, etc. My mom's car (perfectly fine, paid for) developed an exhaust leak. She was quoted $1000 to fix it. We asked her to crawl under the car and take a picture of the exhaust. My DH was going to order the parts for her to get installed by a small repair shop. BF convinced her she DESERVED a "new" car instead - an overpriced, V6 (why??) Ford Taurus. Oh, but it has leather seats and a sunroof! Side note: it's a piece of junk and falling apart - but it should be paid off in March!

I lost it. I had told my mom to run this decision by me before doing anything. She promised she was just going to LOOK. She signed papers instead. I basically told her that her finances were her own problem now if she didn't care about my input.

This worked until my grandfather needed heart surgery and my mom had to go to Tennessee to be with him. With things up in the air, I volunteered to step back in. That's when I learned all her bills were two months behind...

I decided I just couldn't "save" my mom anymore. I've done that before - more than once. Thousands of dollars I'll never see again. Learned my lesson? You bet! My mother feels "entitled" for some reason. Entitled to what, I have no idea. She just can't be bothered by anything financial - or important. Well, things *I* think are important at least. She wants to do what she wants and just have FUN! After all... she *deserves* it.

So if I can't give her money - where does that leave me? With knowledge. That's something I have plenty of to share. So I stepped back in to "fix" the situation - with knowledge only.

Nearly impossible!! It's just a constant battle between what needs to be paid and what my mother would rather spend money on. I can't physically stop her from doing so. So I sat back and did the best I could to get bills paid, watching things spiral rapidly downward. I knew as we approached winter, things were going to get UGLY. I just couldn't convince her of this. My pleas fell on deaf ears.

Then Hurricane Irene hit.

This picture was taken the following morning. See the water line on J.C.Penney? It's about 5 feet up the building. It had subsided quite a bit by the time this picture was taken. It's still hard for me to look at pictures - hubby and I were shopping in this plaza the WEEK prior to Irene.

My mom works in this plaza and has for many many years. While most stores are (THANKFULLY) open again, two remain closed. Yes, she works at one of those. She was fortunate enough to receive emergency pay for a few weeks, then get placed on a Leave of Absence. Unfortunately, the store is scheduled to reopen a month after the LOA expires.

So this is life as we know it now - or rather, as SHE knows it now. I am a bit displaced from things, but it still affects me greatly. I'm the one that gets the phone calls nearly every day. I'm the one that has to deal with the requests to pay for this, buy that...

Just getting my mother to file her unemployment claim in a timely manner has proved to be a nightmare. She can't be bothered!! I was SHOCKED that she filed it this past Sunday - and I hadn't said a word to her. She can't comprehend that the sooner you file - the sooner you get the money.

I've also had to deal with "Oh, I'm going on a retreat in a month and I'll need money for that. But don't worry, it's in a month so there's time!" Smile Uh... No money now means no money in a month means NO MONEY for things like this. Yet somehow she makes it happen. She got a check from her FSA and she used that money for the trip. I only offended her and got a sigh of disgust when I asked how the hospital bill was going to get paid - you know, the one the money was FOR? That doesn't fit in her plan.

And the guilt I have over all this? Oh boy... let's not go there. I just can't set myself back any further financially - with nearly $20K in student loans and under water in a mortgage on a place we want to sell. I just can't.

Besides, there are currently two guys in her house that could step up to the plate a little more than they have. I did get my brother to cough up the cash for the property taxes that are due. The BF has been paying more toward things - not happily though. Great team player.

Ah but don't worry about my mother. She's going to retire in a few years! All her friends have convinced her she DESERVES this. It's going to be GREAT! My brother got mad at her one night and said, "Don't you even CARE about your future?!?" She replied, "My future is fine. It's just getting there that's a problem."


8 Responses to “An emergency fund is great to have”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    Your mom is a grown woman who needs to learn accountablity for her actions. Sometimes experience is the best teacher. You are a good daughter and your mom is blessed to have you.... but your history shows that you cant fix this one cause she isnt ready to hear you. Just my opinion- Hugs!!!

  2. dmontngrey Says:

    Thanks Ray. Smile
    I know I can't fix anything. I don't think she's ever going to learn at this point. Frown All I can do is try my best to hold things steady.

    I'm certainly not going to do anything to hurt myself financially! The stress is a bit much some days though. You say she's a grown woman, but she's so CHILDISH. If she doesn't like what I'm saying she just hangs up on me. :/

  3. whitestripe Says:

    You're not alone. My mother, and DH's dad, are exactly the same. They run a business together, and are as bad as each other. Some things they 'deserve':
    - lunches out. okay, I actually agree people sometimes need to have a nice meal out. But the meal out turns into $200-$500 in gambling each time as well (they usually go to a club where they can play pokies)
    - DH's dad once swapped a perfectly good motorbike for a crappy boat which sat in the backyard for years before he sold it for around $1k (the motorbike could have easily sold for over $10k).
    - He then bought a crappy motorbike for $1500
    - He then bought another boat for $1000
    - DH's dad bought my mum a laptop, because her 'old' one was slow and not working (read: she never did any virus scans, never defragged it etc).
    - When renovating his house, he asked my mum for help on interior decorating. Gave his approval for $20k worth of stainless steel kitchen fixtures which now sit under his house because he spent the rest of his money on god knows what and can't finish his renovation.
    - he has finally managed to convince the bank to lend him a further 30k to finish his house. he's roughly $330k in debt and expects the sale of his house to 'solve everything'. Completely oblivious to the fact that the market is bad and he might get 20k on top of the loan. When you try to explain, he waves his hand as if to say 'you don't know'.

    - my mum buys stupid crap whenever she gets a chunk of money. for instance, a new tv and a new fridge, even though the ones she has are perfectly fine (albeit older - but still work!).
    - Or, she gets into her arty phase (she was an artist back in her heyday) so she spends money on easles, paints, canvas and framing, but makes no move to sell or exhibit them.

    I know how you feel! I have contemplated getting a loan to help DH's dad. His problem is he is far too generous and gives his money/buys things for people, as well as feeling as though he 'deserves' things all the time. Alas I cannot do it. Neither of them will learn until they are at rock bottom. I have accepted it. I can't drag myself down with them and as hard as it is for DH to admit it, he is starting to agree with me.

  4. Looking Forward Says:

    Oh boy! I'm soo sorry for you. I agree with ThriftyRay here; your mom has got to go it solo on the money issues. Such a shame you have to watch the slow downward spiral. Frown

  5. Miz Pat Says:


    Your mom is nuts. Keep yourself safe.

  6. MonkeyMama Says:


    Unfortunately, I know SO MANY people going through the exact same thing.

  7. Jerry Says:

    That is a mess, but you can only do so much. She will lead herself to her own set of problems, and you will lead yourself to a much better financial place. I'm so sorry though, because that must be incredibly frustrating. It would be so much easier if we all had some insurance that the people we love would be intelligent with their money...

  8. choose best Says:

    The concept of money is a very serious matter for everyone. The financial side effects literally every sphere because of its importance.

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