'I receive $900 a week from my children.' The financial rules 16 parents set for their adult kids.

Parenting might be your favourite role/best job you ever had/etc etc, but it doesn't exactly pay highly. 

Actually, the exact opposite. Kids cost. A fair bit.

And you love them, so it's okay. This is part of parenthood, right? But here's the rub: the job doesn't get any cheaper when they reach their adult years and many parents realise they're still... spending money on their grown children.

Or are they?

It's a complicated, controversial topic. But that's what we're here for, right?  

Watch: Be A Good Mum. Post continues after video. 

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We asked our wider Mamamia community to share the financial boundaries they have in place for their adult children. We wanted to know what their kids ask of them, what they ask of their children, and what lessons (if any!) they want their children to know about money.

Here's what 16 people told us about their parent-related money boundaries.


I started paying a small amount of board to live at home when I started my first full-time job after university. It was only a small amount (I was also on a very low graduate salary), but it taught me the value of contributing as an adult. Fast forward to now, I am 29 years old and last year, I purchased my first home. My parents refunded me all that board I paid over the years as a contribution to my house deposit. It was a very generous gesture.



Three out of four of my adult children live at home and they pay $150 each. Two work full time and the other receives benefits from the government due to an illness that stops her from working. Sometimes she doesn't pay us anything because of medical bills, which usually causes some drama between the kids, but she makes up for it with chores. I'm a grandmother of two adopted babies who we took in as newborns after their parents couldn't raise them. I raise both babies while working full time so it is a rule that the kids must help out financially, or they move out. My husband and I cannot afford to financially look after five kids, so the three oldest must help. Combined, my children pay for the majority of the rent. They also pay about $150 each for groceries and utility bills. 

In total, I receive about $900 a week from my children.


We pay for everything. She is studying at university, and we want her to enjoy her life. Money will consume the rest of her days. Eventually, she will become a big hot shot in her chosen field and she will move out, buy a home and have to think about budgeting until the day she dies. For now, we want her to explore the world while maintaining her good grades. She is very smart and precocious and has always appreciated everything. We give her an allowance of $400 a week to pay for her life and her car fuel, which she has never gone over. We eat the same meals so she doesn't need her own groceries. She's a secondhand shopper so never spends much on clothes and as per our rules, she has to eat dinner at home during the week to be with us. She saves a third of the money as a requirement from her father.


We also give her big monetary gifts on her birthday and I've personally never denied her a bit of extra cash if she asks for it (although she rarely does). My husband and I are gift givers, we really enjoy it and she is our only child so we indulge a little. We don't care. We are just glad she feels safe and protected by us.


Our eldest child is nearly 19 years old. He has worked infrequently in part-time jobs over the years and we have supported him financially until now. He now has a job at a local supermarket where he works up to 36 hours a week whilst studying full time. We have made a deal with him for the first three months he has to pay us 50 per cent of his pay. Then we will wipe the slate clean. He will 'owe' us no more (we have paid for computers, phones and trips away with his mates, so this is more of a token payback so he understands the impact of 'borrowing' money and the importance of 'squaring your debts').

Then, after three months, we have negotiated that he will pay us 20 per cent of his weekly income for 'rent/board' from whatever he earns because we have told him that is a good rule of thumb... Your rent should be 20 per cent of your earnings. This percentage is ideal. It is a little hard these days to live by that rule, but it is a start and we will see how it goes.

I have also set up a spreadsheet for him so he can see what his incomings and outgoings are, what he is committed to and what he is saving. I would like to think that he will have a system when he leaves home.



I’m not a parent, but my parents did not charge me for rent, utilities or food while I was studying full time. I covered my phone, car and other expenses (entertainment, clothing etc). I worked from the age of 14 so had savings and I had a stable part time office job while at university so there were never any issues.

The deal was, once I finished university, I would start paying board, but I moved out of home in my last semester so we did not discuss the finer details. I was financially independent from then on.


Our 19-year-old daughter is at university full time, living at home and saving for a car. We don't charge a board but we do require contributions to household tasks apart from her own room, etc. She has a casual job but we pay for transport and medical bills still.


My 21-year-old daughter studies nursing and lives at home four nights a week. Study means she gets free food and a phone. Increasing savings means free rent. If at any stage she stops doing these things then so does the gravy train! 


We didn't charge board, but they had to start paying for everything else as soon as they started working. My youngest moved home for a while when we were travelling and paid for power and water while here. They are all very competent savers.


My contribution is from personal experience — I am retired and own my home and car outright so I don't have any liabilities. When I was 18 (residing at home with my parents) and began working full time, my parents outright refused to take board (even though I broached the subject a few times). 


Instead, they reinforced the importance of saving money. I purchased my first car, brand new, by the age of 21, and paid for all the associated expenses, paid for my holidays, clothing, cosmetics, shoes, activities, electronic appliances, food shopping (I’m a fussy eater), etc. Basically, anything I wanted or needed. When I left the home, it was in 1996 and because of marriage. I was financially wealthy and independent. My parents taught me the importance of saving and respecting money, and I live by that mantra today.


I’m 22 years old, living at home, and I am working 40 hours a week in the retail and childcare industry. My sister is 18 years old and in Year 12 working a few nights at a pizza shop. We are very grateful my parents are willing to have us at home, even more so that they don’t ask for money for board or anything else. I pay for my petrol, car stuff, doctors and whatever else I need. My sister gets a bit more help from them obviously. I’m in my final year of university so will negotiate once that is out of the way.


I've charged my son board since he was 16 years old and left school to do an apprenticeship. It was only $50 a week, but I wanted to show him the concept of money. He thought I was the worst parent in the world as no one else charged their kids. He didn't know it at the time but I put that $50 each week into a savings account for him to use later in life for a bond on a rental property or deposit on a house.



I never charged board but once they finished secondary school, we split the bills. I found this helped to make them aware of the cost of heating the home and other general costs when it directly impacted their financial input. My adult children also contributed to their own groceries. My youngest and last child at home child just moved out at 25 years old and although very happy for him, I cried all weekend.


We don’t charge board; he is studying so we expect him to work when he can and save his money to invest. We cover his 'reasonable' living expenses and the cost of his fuel and car as long as he is saving and not being wasteful or inconsiderate.

We have a requirement on both of my kids to purchase an investment property when they are 20 years old. We cover reasonable holidays but big, fun expenses (such as a new surfboard) he has to either wait for his birthday or save for and use his 'spending' money from his part-time job. I would rather he was setting himself up for the future by saving and investing, it’s an expensive world for someone just starting out!


My eldest son is an apprentice so has a notoriously low pay. He paid for all his own expenses apart from his mobile until he began the third year of his apprenticeship and then he was charged board and paid for his own mobile. This also coincided with his girlfriend moving in, so she was also charged board. They tend to pay for their own food.

My middle son is also an apprentice, but only started working months ago, so the same rules will apply just as they did with my eldest son – although there has been talk of his girlfriend moving in and he knows that will bring forward the board and mobile being charged. He also pays for most of his own food and all his own entertainment and car expenses. 


My daughter is still at school, but works two jobs and is not being charged for anything.


My 20-year-old son has his first job (been working for more than six months) and it is full time. He pays $100 per week board and pays for all his other expenses, including clothes, doctor, dentist, etc. My daughter is 18 years old and works casually, 30 hours a week. She has negotiated to pay 10 per cent of her income in board and she plans to travel and wants to not pay when she is not at home — but it fluctuates if she gets more shifts. She has to buy all the things she wants and we are negotiating on dental currently.

They still have chores like they used to, but no longer get pocket money for them. I wish I could save their board and give it back to them. At least they know they are 100 per cent contributing to their household living expenses.


I live alone in my family house whilst the rest of my family live two hours away from there. I study online, I work at the local supermarket and I pay $100 rent, and soon I’ll be contributing to things like private health, too.

Feature Image: Getty.

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