I don’t know why, but I’ve always felt a need to spend family gift money. Sometimes I’ve dealt with this in a way of fidgeting with my own money such that I’m spending the family gift money and keeping more of my own in savings.
My parents paid for my college education. They paid the tuition and dorm fees directly to the school and gave me exact amounts of money to cover the specific textbooks I bought, the groceries I bought and my meal plan (the first two years), and my rent and utilities (after the first two years). They simply bought my plane tickets to fly home, so no money was exchanged there. My mom is pretty detailed as well and we both kept pretty good track of what was going on. The money my mom gave me to pay for specific things was used exactly for those things in my accounting and my savings was used for other things.
Since college, there has been money too. I’ve tried to tell them that I don’t need the money and to not take it, but they won’t let me. My mom told me she would just transfer the money to me anyways and that she didn’t want it. So I keep taking it.
They gave me about $8k for my car. It cost me $21k with taxes. They kept encouraging me to buy a fancier car, like one that would cost closer to $30k, but I stuck with my original price range, so with their money, I had more left in savings after buying the car than I would have otherwise.
They gave me more money when I was looking at condos (once I was close to putting an offer in) than they did when I was buying a car. That made it really helpful. One of my tricks though is that I don’t count the money as mine until it is fully in my own bank accounts and they don’t have access to it anymore, which made buying the condo kind of scary in case they changed their mind. (Which they didn’t, thankfully.)
The problem here is that I feel like I need to spend the gift money, not save it. There was some more money after the condo closed, which I put into a “buy stuff for the condo” fund, but I don’t feel like I can use it to pay down the mortgage. And then, recently, I received some more money from a relative’s passing, which is a reasonably small amount as far as the random money goes.
My current idea is to leave the money alone in a savings account and buy something nice with it, like artwork, that I wouldn’t necessarily spend my own money on. But then should I really spend “their” money in a different way than I would spend my own? For example, I would feel comfortable using the money from this relative’s passing to make the last mortgage payment, but not one in the middle, if that makes sense. I want to use the money for something memorable since the relative is no longer around. It would be nice to be able to remember that that piece of artwork came from Grandma or that table came from Mom and Dad.
I don’t know how many of you see family gift money, but this is something that is really difficult to talk about with other people. Most people think “What’s wrong with your parents giving you more money?” I feel so guilty every time they give me money because I don’t feel like I need it and I kept putting off publishing this post because I even feel guilty talking about it anonymously.