What to Do When Overspending on Adult Children Leads to Debt

Donna and her husband got caught in a common trap for parents.

As parents, we want to give our children everything. That’s relatively easy when they’re young, but as they get older their tastes get more expensive. But parents usually continue to do everything possible to give them what they want, even once they become adults. A common credit card trap that parents fall into is taking on debt while overspending on adult children.

If this sounds familiar, you may in the same boat that Donna and her husband were in a few years ago. If you ask Donna how she got into debt, she’ll answer in two simple words: “Stupid Stuff.”

Donna admits their debt was all their own doing…

There are plenty of situations where consumers may be forced to take on debt or rely on credit cards – divorce, unemployment, a death in the family. Still, in many other cases, the debt is simply generated by a lack of budgeting that leads to overspending. You see, you buy.

“All I can say about what we were spending on was that it was for stupid stuff,” Donna says.

Unfortunately, overspending was all too easy. Donna says she and her husband had at least a dozen credit cards. With all those open credit lines, it was easy to overspend

“I wish to God I had never let these credit card companies talk me into getting these cards because it was horrible, horrible.”

Most of their overspending was for their adult children

Donna says the main source of their overspending was the kids. They always paid for everything. For holidays and birthdays, the kids got whatever they asked for.

Luckily, Donna found Consolidated Credit and enrolled in a debt management program. The program reduced and even eliminated the interest rates applied to her balances in some cases. She made one monthly payment and got out of debt in a few years.

Donna says that the program made it easy to stop overspending on the kids because her credit cards froze her accounts when she enrolled. As each account was paid off, it was closed. For Donna that was a good thing because it was easier not to have the cards. Otherwise, she and her husband would be tempted to use them.

“We stopped spending the kind of money we thought we had to spend on our grown children. They’re grownups now and we don’t need to spend $1,000 on Christmas. It’s just outrageous.”

As they worked to get out of debt, Consolidated Credit’s team was there to help…

“Every time I called Consolidated Credit, I didn’t have to stay on hold for 30 minutes like other places,” Donna says.

“Consolidated Credit is wonderful, and I would recommend them to anyone going through a debt crisis. That staff is very friendly and if I had a question or problem, they were informative.” – Client, Donna G. #creditcounseling Click To Tweet

Donna and her husband took advantage of Consolidated Credit’s financial education resources. As they paid off their debt, they learned better ways to budget and how to have healthier relationships with credit.

“If I could do anything different,” Donna says, “I would only get one card for emergencies and never ever get more than one. I don’t know whether or not you can, but I would set the limit where it could not be raised any higher.”

Donna reports it feels great to be debt-free…

“Upon making my final payment, I said ‘Hallelujah, praise the Lord, Amen!” she recalls and then jokes. “My husband and I went out and had a nice dinner to celebrate. We didn’t take the kids.”

Donna says she also shared their experience with the kids and told them that they’d start setting boundaries on gifts and trips. Their children got on board immediately. They hadn’t really ever thought about the burden they’d been placing on their parents. Once they knew, they were happy to adjust.