Thanks, but I’ve Got It from Here

Are you still depending on your parents for car insurance or cell phone service? Does your mom still make your dentist appointments or remind you when it’s time for your yearly physical? Do they still sign your name on gifts to your other family members at Christmastime? Stop. It’s impossible for you to become the adult you think you are while still keeping one foot in your childhood.

The people who once complained about their curfews, computer limits, and other “too-strict” rules are the same people who are now lingering on their parents’ cell phone plans and car insurance policies, largely avoiding the final leap into adulthood while taking advantage of their parents’ desire to help them “find their way.” I’m not saying your life has to be boring—you just have to stop treating yourself like a child.

I’m the first to admit that I call my parents once a day or more, especially when something goes wrong, to tap into their wisdom, learn from their experience, or simply to vent. I also have friends who are getting a little extra support from their parents as they get multiple degrees, working their tails off to become our generation’s doctors, lawyers, professors, etc.

That being said, there’s a huge difference between relying on your parents for guidance/support and relying on them for your livelihood. Your parents have done enough raising you for 18+ years—they don’t have to continue paying your bills after college graduation, too.

If the excuse is that you simply can’t afford your own cell phone plan, it might be time to reassess your other spending habits, or consider supplementing your income. It’s not okay for your parents to pay for your cell phone bill while you continue to upgrade your phone, buy that new tablet, or treat yourself to a vacation. Chances are if you have the iPhone 5 or newer, an iPad, a fancy car, or go for dinner/drinks a few nights a week, you can afford your own cell phone plan.

Anyway, it’s about so much more than a cell phone plan. It’s about growing up and moving on with your life. Your parents want to see you standing on your own two feet, figuring out a way to pay for your own essentials, starting your career, and growing into the adult they’ve been helping you become since you took your first steps. They will always want to help, which is probably why they’re helping too much, and it’s your job to say “thank you, but I’ve got it from here.”

I am lucky to have parents that would help me if I were having a tough time making ends meet—but they also know that I’m not going to ask until Ihave to. For example, my husband and I downgraded our cable to “basic”—yes, that means we don’t get NBC Sports, HBO, or even HGTV anymore, but that is what we had to do to maintain our current lifestyle and pay all of our bills.

My husband actually got rid of his smart phone, since he can’t use it at work anyway. Can you imagine? No smart phone!? If you want your parents, your boss, and the rest of the world to see you as the adult you think you are, cut yourself off. Figure it out. You might not be able to get a new phone this year, and you might have to eat Lipton soup a few nights a week, but you’ll be a hell of a lot closer to becoming the person you (and your parents) have been working towards your entire life.

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[Sidenote: I recommend that everyone reassessing their spending tries Mint.com – I use the app on my android phone to keep track of my expenses, investments, and debt. It’s free and super easy, categorizing every charge on your credit/debit cards and check you write so you know exactly where your money is going each month.]

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