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Big Decision

April 12th, 2015 at 12:35 am

DH and I had to make a big decision this month. At the start of the month we still owed my mother $50,000 of the $110,000 we borrowed from her years ago to pay off medical debt. Since that time we have been paying her $1000 a month and paid off $60,000. She charges no interest and refuses to.

At the start of the month we were on track to have that paid off in 4 years and 2 months. But my mother came to us last month and offered to let us pay it back at a rate of $500 a month on the condition that we took the other $500 a month and put it in our down payment fund, which would put the repayment at 8 years and 4 months.

I (and DH to a lesser extent) went back and forth on this several times. This is the last debt we owe. When this is gone we will be debt free, at least until we buy another house. So I want it gone and I want it gone yesterday. But at the same time, I want to move as soon as we can which means having a big down payment, because I want reasonable mortgage payments (i.e. $1500 or less a month).

Mom, on the other hand, wants the loan to last as long as possible and by cutting in half the payments, she will be assured of some income beyond her social security for the next 8 years, instead of a higher amount for 4 years, and without having to keep much money in the bank. So I understand her motives.

But, my mother is a negative commenter. As in every time I buy something she makes some comment on it. For example, I finally replaced our wok that I threw out two years ago. I didn't want to buy a teflon one because we won't use it anymore and they flake so badly after a year or so.

Cast iron woks are way, way too heavy for me to manage. Hard anodized steel woks are also too heavy. Stainless steel is hard to clean. So when I finally found the ceramic coated one at Costco I bought it. It was not very expensive, though not cheap, and I had set money aside that I had saved out of our food budget. I waited 4 months from when I first saw it to when I bought it.

My mother's comment on seeing the new wok was, "Wow, it must be nice to be rich enough to afford to buy whatever you want whenever you want it."

We aren't rich, by any means, though DH does have a very good income. We've been paying off massive medical debt for years, and not just to her and she knows that. We lived below the poverty line for many years when we were first married (though we were fine because our mortgage was so low). But she still makes comments like this every single time we bring something new into the house. When we bought a $30 rice cooker, she made a snarky comment. It was part of our Christmas presents.

I found steak on a really good sale a couple of weeks ago and we've been eating it a fair bit. "Wow, you sure eat steak a lot. That's almost every night!" Umm, no, it was twice that week and twice the next, and we hadn't had steak for 4 months before that and anyway, it was chuck steak, not ribeye or something. She eats steak more than we do because she bought a quarter of a steer which goes very far when you are feeding 1 person instead of 4, but that doesn't matter, of course, because it is her and not us doing it.

I snuck my new camera into the house in my purse instead of in a bag, even though I paid for it with my birthday money and some of my leftover Christmas money that was given to me by my in-laws, just so I didn't have to hear her comments about a fancy expensive new camera (it is not fancy and based on camera prices not that expensive, either, but she'd think so).

Or if we bring home take out at all she comments. We do this maybe once a week. She does it, too, but that's not the same thing, either.

So I told her if we were to agree to the lesser amount she couldn't make all those negative comments every time we buy something we budgeted and saved up for. Or ate out. She said she'd try. At times I'm not even 100% sure she knows she's doing it because it is so much her nature, and other times I'm convinced she knows exactly what she is doing.

She does like to play the martyr and the poor me thing and pretend she is super poor. But she has a good social security income, plus what we pay her each month, and we pay for all of the electric, natural gas, garbage, water/sewer, and the internet. We do a lot of the upkeep here. The only thing she pays for besides taxes on the house and her groceries, gas, and insurances, are her land line phone which we don't use and her two satellite dishes, which we don't use. So she has plenty of money, and her savings. And she owns the house free and clear and it's worth $400K to $500K and she owns her two vehicles free and clear.

Anyway, even after she offered this we went back and forth on it a lot. But we ended up deciding to take the offer and cut our payments down to $500 a month and bank the other $500 each month we'd been paying her for the down payment. Because that means we will be able to get out of here much sooner. Though it is still going to be two years at least until we have enough saved to do so.

6 Responses to “Big Decision”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    For what it's worth, I think you made a good decision. Cutting the payments in half will help you reach your ultimate goal so much sooner - which means a lot less time having to deal with the negative comments.

  2. DeniseNTexas Says:

    For me that would be a tough call because even if I got out of there sooner I'd still owe her money and that debt might prevent me from saying what I really wanted to say, which would be something like "It's none of your business so butt out." Of course, that's just me! It sounds like you two made a good decision. Good luck with all of it!

  3. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I think you made a good decision too because you and your family will be in your own home much sooner. Your mother may not be able to control her comments because for some people it is their nature, but by moving out earlier you will be able to control your own living environment and it may work out better for family relationships.

  4. Ima saver Says:

    I think you made the right decision too. Sometimes we just can't change our mothers, we just have to love them! (and put up with them.)

  5. JulieAlbright Says:

    Amen on the mothers and not being able to change them.

    Put the $500 a month away somewhere and you'll have it for the house downpayment. Or, if you haven't bought the house yet and you decide you just can't take the Mom situation anymore, you can just withdraw the money and give it to her and then move out and get some distance between the two of you.

    Hey at least your Mom picks an important topic like money, however wrong she may be about her opinions. I had my Mom out at appointments the other day and she started yelling at me for holding my pen wrong and my bad handwriting as I was filling out forms for her. Really, after about 45 years of these comments I did about finally lose it.

    No matter what I achieve in life, I will always disappoint that woman for not holding a writing implement the way some long ago person declared to be the only correct way to do it and for writing like a boy .. which my 2nd grade teacher wrote on my report card and apparently sent my Mother into such a state of shame and embarrassment that still, 40 plus years later, she has to let me know about this deficiency in my very being, whenever and however possible. Oh, you received a Graduate School Diploma with Honors, a promotion and a raise? It doesn't matter, you hold your pen wrong.

  6. Jenn Says:

    Julie, you made me laugh! Hopefully you aren't trying to please your mother but just finding the humor in the situation.

    LR, I think you made the right decision. You're dependent on your mother for both the loan and the housing. Until you conquer both areas, she might still feel justified in making comments. But at least separate housing would reduce the opportunities to make the comments!

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