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Should we spend more for Christmas on SD just because she's underage?

katielee's picture

I know I haven't said much in awhile because we've been doing fairly well, but this latest thing really has me irritated.

The past two or three months I have not been getting as much work as before so our household income has gone down considerably. My DD21 and I have been planning a modest Christmas and working real hard at coming up with inexpensive, yet nice and meaningful presents for everybody. My DH has wanted to get my SD13 an iPhone (she had one once before and was not safe with it so we took it away from her and then the phone got destroyed through no fault of her own). Replacing her iPhone is going to be more expensive than what I wanted to spend on any one person for Christmas.

So I suggested a couple of nice gifts for her to my DH... stuff that I am pretty sure she would enjoy, just not as much as the iPhone. He wants to go ahead and get the phone for her. I told him we couldn't afford to spend that much on the kids. He replied that since my kids are all over the age of 18 that we should just get them the inexpensive gifts I had planned but get his daughter the iPhone.

I disagree. Just because my kids are over the age of legal adulthood doesn't mean I don't still want to give them nice stuff. DH wasn't around when my kids were underage, so it's not like he EVER helped provide them with nice gifts or phones or anything else in any shape or form, but they did get nice presents at that age because that's what I could afford. Now we cannot afford presents as nice and I don't believe one person in the family should be singled out to receive an expensive gift while the rest sacrifices.

So I am interested in your opinions...


amber3902's picture

I don't think age should matter in this situation.

SD13 shouldn't get an iphone for two reasons:

1. She wasn't responsible with it before
2. You can't afford it this year

But your DH probably won't see that logic so I suggest you take the money you were going to use to buy his gift and use it to pay for the iphone! }:)

Oh honey, I'm sorry, after I got the iphone I didn't have anything left over for you. I'm SUUUUUUURE you understand. Smile

katielee's picture

I don't think he's suggesting we buy the iPhone because he feels guilty that the other one got ruined. It was permanently taken from her last year after she was caught sending pictures to strangers, as well as giving out her phone number and address. The only reason we would consider giving it back to her now is that she has made some improvement in her behavior and there are new, better parental controls available where we can only allow her to call the numbers we enter into her account. I wouldn't object to her getting the phone back if we could afford it. But we can't. Not right now.

As far as separate funds go, in the past I was always the one who made the money....double or triple what he makes. At this point, however, he is making more money than I am. It wouldn't be fair that we've always considered both our money "ours" and now that he's contributing more it would be suddenly separate. I think he pretty much knows better than to even mention that he's making more money right now because this situation I'm in is not going to last forever. Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon.

katielee's picture

For privacy reasons I don't want to say on here what happened to the iPhone. Since it went out on Facebook when it happened, a lot of people on BM's side of the family know the story. Just suffice it to say that it got messed up and we have to buy an new one.

moeilijk's picture

Sure. If DH accidentally broke it or was responsible for it getting broken, then I'm sure he will save up out of his personal portion of shared funds to replace it. Instead of cigarettes or pop (sorry, don't know his spend-habits), he can put aside money to purchase a replacement.

But he doesn't spend shared funds for his oops... and in doing so show the OP's kids that the family's smaller-than-usual Christmas finances only affect them. That would be a lesson in how to divide a family.

Disneyfan's picture

This is why I'm against joint finances in blended families.

It will be a cold day in hell before I allow anyone to have a say in how I spend the money I earn on my kid. (My money, my kid, my choice)Or before I allow someone to think that they get to decide if/when they can spend my money on their kid.

DaizyDuke's picture

I agree with your DH. And I'm pretty sure if the roles were reversed and we had a SM here complaining that DH wanted to spend just as much on his adult kids as he wanted to spend on minors at home, everyone would be calling him a schmuck.

But let's see what transpires......

katielee's picture

Because we've always purchased together when I was making a good salary. So now that he's making more money we should purchase separately? I don't think so.

Disneyfan's picture

He may take the I don't think so stance as well since you're trying to keep things equal between a minor and adults. Hell, many here have said adult kids shouldn't receive anything.

There's no way I would agree to skip giving my kid a certain gift in order to give my SKs a gift. The SKs would be SOL. Adult SKs wouldn't even be on my list.

katielee's picture

He may take that stance but I wouldn't recommend it. I'm not going to be in this financial situation for long.

And kids will always be on my Christmas list. I don't care how old they get.

DaizyDuke's picture

I think the part that bothers me is the part where you and your adult daughter already discussed that you were doing a simple, small Christmas. But then when you found out that your DH wanted to get SD an expensive gift, you want to match it with your kids. Christmas should not be a competition. Whatever happened to "it's the thought that counts?" Sad

katielee's picture

Actually I just want consistency. If we're going to have a small simple Christmas, we should ALL have a small simple Christmas as a family. No ONE person should be singled out to have an expensive Christmas while the rest of the family has a modest one.

Disneyfan's picture

I'm with you 110% when it comes to always having your bios on your Christmas list. My son is 23. I will always give him gifts. That rule goes out the window when it comes to SKs. My exDF has a 23 year old son, and three daughter-17, 9 and 7. We were together for 51/2 years. I never purchased gifts for his kids (qnd I got along with them just fine).

Evil stepmonster's picture

13 is a bit young for an iPhone. Maybe compromise and get her a prepaid phone. I even saw some nice smart phones at my grocery store that weren't to expensive.

katielee's picture

Unfortunately, her phone is still under contract:( We pay around $40 extra a month already for a phone she doesn't use.

katielee's picture

My DD21 is "still at home" and my DS23 has his own place but he's very financially needy. My oldest DS has kids, so what I take the same amount I spend on the other two and buy gifts for my oldest's whole family. My oldest son is out of college and has what he wants and needs, so I don't mind giving him a more modest gift, but my younger two are not there yet and I still feel the need to give them more.

And I honestly don't give a shit whether they're over or under 18. They're my babies and I want to give them something nice for Christmas. Plus I don't think it's a good idea to have a family "princess" that always takes priority. Before I married DH he could never have been able to afford an iPhone kind of Christmas for SD13. So now that his standards have been raised he wants to do it at the expense of everybody else in the family (me and my kids)??? I don't see how that is right.

MissElphaba's picture

I agree...full price for one of those phones is CRAZY! If it's an upgrade - that'd be nice.

I guess IMHO, I don't understand why your DH would suggest that...knowing that you've been the one who has backed the spending in the past, and for right now you can' he needs to understand that for the time being that kind of spending is on hold. I don't think it's fair to all of a sudden separate finances and everyone buy for their own...because in a few months, when your circumstances have changed- he won't accept that. IDK, half of me says let him go and separate out of spite, then remind him of this in a few months when he wants to merge again. The other half says - put your foot down about spending on the kids now.

It certainly wouldn't be ok in his mind if your kid was the one getting "the", I understand your feelings.

I'm not much help, sorry. I hope you two can find some common ground on this.

No saint's picture

Christmas is like the sun: it's for everyone. No chance in hell I would get the iPhone!

moeilijk's picture

One option I know some families consider is a total Christmas budget. Using imaginary money, I might budget $1000 for Christmas.

Out of that comes food, present, parties, travel, decorations, etc etc.

One year the family goes on vacation. No presents, just sun sun sun.

Another year, a big feast and all friends, family & neighbours visit. Very small presents.

So if ONE person gets, for example, 60% of the entire family's Christmas budget spent on a gift for them... I can see how it might be difficult to create the Christmas feeling with the remaining 40%.

katielee's picture

Thank you!

Before all this controversy, we were having a wonderful Christmas. We decorated on a shoestring. My daughter found several crafts on Pinterest that she made with tree limbs and twigs and pinecones she found outside and old ornaments she found in the attic. Our house looks gorgeous. We came up with several nice gift ideas that doesn't cost too much. For my oldest son, we planned to make home baked goods. Since he is able to afford many of the material things he wants but doesn't cook at home, we felt he would enjoy a box of home baked goodies. My younger son was probably going to get underwear and maybe shoes, since that is what he seems to need. SD13 already has more than everybody else under the tree and we were going to get her a video game she wanted and a beginners guitar as her "big" gifts.

Now all that has gone down the drain and Christmas is on hold because DH thinks our plans weren't good enough for Princess. I don't really even know where to go from here.

moeilijk's picture

I think the conversation is about why he would allow his feelings to dictate finances. Especially your (singular you) finances.

Maybe you could say - if you have personally put aside this money, outside of our family budget, then that is great. But we have to find a way to make it clear that this gift is from you and not for Christmas per se.

If this is the case, then maybe he can give the gift at another moment during the holidays.

If he is expecting you to just cough up for this gift, then perhaps you could ask him to pay an equivalent percentage for the gifts you'd LIKE to be getting your kids.

In the meantime, I'd be very slow to get my wallet out of my pocket on this one. There's too many strange feelings going on for throwing money at the situation to solve this.