Children are a joy, but they can be a pain in the wallet.
From food and clothing to expensive schooling, the costs never stop for at least 18 years. And unfortunately, some parents continue to spend on them well into their children’s adult years.
While it’s great to help adult children stand on their own two feet, it’s easy to go overboard. That can result in Dad and Mom saving little or nothing for retirement — a surefire recipe for miserable golden years.
Fortunately, it’s possible to help grown kids financially without spending money on them. Here are several ways to do it:
1. Let them use your car
When you aren’t using the car, let your adult kids have it. However, don’t give the keys to the kids if they won’t contribute to your car expenses
Owning and operating a vehicle costs thousands of dollars a year, as we detail in “How Buying the Wrong Car Can Cost You an Extra $3,725 a Year.”
One idea is to charge your grown kids a set dollar amount per month or per mile driven to offset wear and tear. Or, ask them to keep the gas tank full so you never have to fill it. That way, it’s a good deal for everyone.
If your kids have kids, offer to babysit — especially while your children are working to earn some money of their own.
Even if you charge your kids a little money for your services, you could still save them money. The average babysitter’s rate is $16.25 per hour, according to Care.com, a website that connects parents with local babysitters, nannies and other types of caregivers.
Check out Care.com’s babysitting rates calculator to get an idea of how much you could charge.
Whether you charge $5 or $10 an hour or babysit pro bono, though, the only cost to you is your time. And you’ll be spending it with your grandchildren.
3. Share your cellphone plan
The per-person cost of an individual cellphone plan is generally more than that of a family plan. So, putting adult children on your cellphone plan will likely save them money.
Just be sure to make them pay you for their part of the bill — their fair share. You don’t want to be losing money paying an adult child’s cellphone bill.
4. Open up your home
Letting an adult child live in his or her old bedroom can easily save them hundreds of dollars on rent every month.
It costs money to have another loved one under your roof, however. For example, your electric, water and grocery bills will go up.
So, make these boomerang children pay for some things, whether that means picking up the household grocery tab or making a small “rent” payment. Asking a son or daughter to contribute means you won’t lose money.
5. Allow them on your car insurance
Offer to add your kids to or keep them on your car insurance policy — if they pay their part of the bill.
It will likely be cheaper for them to pay for their share of your policy than to get their own policy. But it won’t cost you money.
6. Add them to your health insurance
If your medical insurance plan covers dependents, you generally have the option to have your adult children on your plan until they reach age 26, according to Healthcare.gov.
So, allowing them on your health insurance plan and then having them pay their share of the cost is another way to help them save on insurance without it costing you.
Plus, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones have medical insurance coverage if anything should happen.
Have you ever tried any of these options? Leave a comment below or share with us on our Facebook page.