finance

"I'm a grown adult. So why am I still lying to my mum about my spending habits?"

I’m fully ‘adulting’ these days. I pay my own rent, have a steady part time job, remember to do my washing (sometimes) and can cook myself a nutritious dinner (if pasta five nights a week counts).

So why do I still feel the need to justify or downplay the money I spend to my parents? It’s like every time I enter the shops an internal monologue plays in my head: ‘What would Mum say?’

While makeup shopping recently, I was conned into spending $200 to receive a ‘free gift’. When I left the store I was stressed – not about how strapped for cash I would be that week, but about how my mum would respond to my unnecessary purchase.

“Don’t tell her,” I hear you say. “She’ll never know”.

But she will know. And even if she doesn’t know, I can imagine what she’d probably be thinking.

Then, my stress turned to indignation. I’m an adult – why should my mum have an opinion on my finances, or whether I buy those half price shoes?

I assumed I was alone in this endless thought process. However, after confiding my anxieties to my friends I realised this wasn’t the case.

"Why am I still so stressed about my mum's opinions on my spending?" (via Getty)

“Mum came over on the weekend and found a new pair of $150 jeans I'd just bought. I explained to her that when I got to the checkout, they told me they were reduced to $50,” one friend admitted.

Another friend, who's been living in Sydney's Bondi since she moved here from Sweden, confessed that even though her parents are on the other side of the world, her $350 rent per week is rounded down to $250 when there’s any money talk between them. "I’m embarrassed,” she says.

It's not difficult to see why millennials are facing financial stress.

With the federal government's announcement this year that university fees would be increased by 7.5%, a person on a salary of $42,000 would be stuck with this debt for 59 years.  It's no wonder that in a recent HSBC home ownership survey, Australian Millennials ranked second worst in the world in home ownership, with just over 26% of those aged between 18 and 36 owning their own home.

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Listen: Janine Allis' advice for negotiating a pay rise. (Post continues.)

With these enormous weights to bear that are continuously pulling us behind, it's created an almost state of 'limbo' between being a child and being an adult. As a result, we have young people who are even turning to "adulting classes" to help navigate their way to growing up. These classes help with everything from managing a budget to folding your sheets.

Why are we, as grown adults, seeking this desperate approval of our finances? Why do we feel the need to lie about that expensive night out where perhaps you should have gone home three cocktails earlier, or the impulse purchase made when you went shopping for ‘groceries’?

Maybe we feel like as hard as we try, we're never going to grow up in the way we understood our parents' generation to. And maybe we never will.

It could also be part of the determination to present our lives as being “together” - a life where we budget each week (and stick to it) and construct a healthy meal plan (and don’t just order Uber Eats).

Why do we feel the need to lie about our finances to our parents?
"Why are we as grown adults seeking this desperate approval on our finances?" (via Getty)

On the other hand, it could be a sign that we should listen more to our “judgmental parent voice” in an attempt to fight those 'impulse buy' urges.

In a society that is so quick to adopt the “treat yourself” mantra train, it’s difficult to ignore the “I deserve this, it’s been a tough week” rationale.

Maybe we know deep down that we really shouldn’t have spent that money... but we really don’t want someone to say it out loud.

Do you lie to your parents about your spending? Why/why not?

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