Guest Post: Balancing Personal Finance & Family Obligations

Hello! I am SavvyFinancialLatina! I write about learning how to manage career, life, and money in a savvy way. I am 21 and about to graduate with my Master’s in Supply Chain Management. I recently started writing about my personal experiences and have quickly fallen in love with the personal finance world. Bridget has given me the great opportunity and honor to write a guest post this week. 

I got married this past August with the love of my life. He is a college senior, and I am about to finish my Master’s in May. We are the same age by the way! :) We have been living on a very student budget this year. Our inflow of cash consists of his paycheck ($1,000 per month) and my scholarship stipend. In addition, we have some money saved up for those perky emergencies like the $615 we had to pay for car maintenance early this month. I manage the budget, and try to stretch our dollars as far as possible. Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t eat out or splurge here and there, but it’s definitely not as frequent as we’d like! We know that as soon as we graduate and get jobs we will have a little bit more money coming in. I am so looking forward to that by the way!

Now, we live close to his family who is only about 35 minutes away, so we see them more often. But, my parents and little brother live farther away (about 6 -7 hours roundtrip). I have been feeling a lot of pressure from my parents to come visit them more often. I understand my family misses me, but there are two reasons we don’t frequent them as much. First, because we are pretty busy with school, and second, because we spend about $200-$300 per visit. Gas, dinners, and little gifts add up quickly. When I mention this to my mom, I just get a respond that money should not matter and should not keep me away from family. Plus, if we really need money, they could give me some. I don’t want my parents to give me money. I think that we are doing okay surviving on our own. Not to mention that my dad is currently between jobs, and my mom is working more hours. I just don’t know how to breach the subject with her. Every time I mention money, she turns it around on me, and makes it seem like all I care about is money and not family. I am also facing pressure from my family in Mexico to come visit them. Now that visit will be $1,000 (airplane + other expenses) just for me. I have mentioned to my grandparents that right now we are not in a position to spend, and we need to wait until we are more secure. My grandparents, who come from humble roots, also have offered to pay for me.

Some of you are probably wondering why I don’t take the money from my parents and grandparents. After all, we are only 21. But, I want us to be independent. How else are we supposed to grow up, unless we realize how to take care of ourselves?

It’s definitely a dilemma I will be dealing with the rest of my life. My parents want me to be independent, but they expect a behavior of a person who’s not smart with their money. It’s funny too, because my parents are always criticizing their relatives who financially support their older children. I have married cousins who have kids, and still live under the same roof as my uncle and aunts.

I have spoken to several people about what to do, but I am still at a loss. We are going to visit my parents this weekend, even though honestly we can’t afford it. We have already dipped into our savings this month! So, at what point is it okay to ignore the budget for family? Do you have any personal experience you could share?

If you want to keep up with me, you can follow me on Twitter @SavvyFinLatina! Thank you for reading! Or check out my blog http://savvyfinanciallatina.wordpress.com/