My sister: The morning after

My sister finally arrived yesterday. It has been an eventful 24 hours to say the least.

We got her to her community college and she did her orientation. The plan was to get her assessments done and registered for classes, but because it was finals week they weren’t doing assessments so we’re going back monday morning to do that. She can register after the assessments are done.

They came back to my place and unloaded all her stuff (she brought everything, even summer clothes) and I went back to work. When I came back my sister was unpacking her room and her mom was cleaning my stuff (she’s my half sister, I’m not related to her mom). She cleaned the bathroom, dusted and reorganized by entertainment stuff, my kitchen. Lemme tell you guys, I cleaned WEDNESDAY. The stuff was not dirty. But she just couldn’t stop herself. Which is annoying. I don’t like it when people clean other people’s places. But in her mind she was cleaning her daughter’s new home. Still. Annoying.

We all sat down last night and had a discussion of the rules, and we changed a few of them and amended some of them. We agreed to monthly apartment meetings where we discuss the finances of the apartment, any issues we have, grades, school work, ect. It is an anything goes meeting where the main focus is money.

The discussion went well and here are the final “rules” we laid in place for her/us. She is the “I” in these statements.

  • I agree to participate in weekly chores as assigned or chosen.
  • I agree to not partake of any alcohol, smoking or drugs until she is of the legal age (if appropriate). If I am found to have done any of these inside or outside the apartment I will be asked to leave and sent home.
  • I agree to get a part time job of at least 15 hours per week within 2 months of arriving, if not sooner. If a job is not found within 5 months with inadequate action taken to find a job, I will be asked to leave and sent home.
  • Until I get a job I will pay for my food, my portion of the apartment food fund and toiletries with the money that my mom sends me every month. After I get a job I will contribute $20/week to the apartment food fund and may pay for the other items as I wish.
  • Once getting a job each paycheck I will contribute 25% of my take home salary to paying for living expenses in the apartment up to a maximum of $375/month. The money will be used as follows:
    • 15% of my take home salary (up to a max of $225 per month) will be contributed to paying for bills (rent, electricity, water).
    • 10% of my take home salary (up to a maximum of $150 per month) will be contributed by SS4BC to an emergency fund for me. This will be given to me at SS4BC’s discretion to pay for emergencies. Emergencies include things such as emergency airfare for funerals, medical payments, etc. Emergencies will not cover vacations, entertainment, new clothes, etc. Upon turning 18 the emergency fund will be given to me to use at my discretion.
  • The remainder of my take home salary after the above mentioned “bills” are paid can be used at my discretion for entertainment, clothes, food, toiletries, vacations, etc.
  • The child support money from our dad will be used to pay for college expenses such as tuition, books, school supplies.
  • I agree to meet at least once a month for apartment financial discussions.
  • I agree to take a personal finance class at the local community college and attend Financial Peace University with my sister.
  • We both agree to not have more than 1 or 2 friends over without at least 24 hour consent of each other.
  • I agree that while living with SS4BC I will continually be working towards my college education, taking at least 12 credit hours of classes in the Fall and Spring semesters and at least 6 credit hours in the summer. If I elect to work more than 30 hours per week in the summer at my job, I can reduce the number of credit hours I take to 3.
  • I agree to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, but strive for as high of a GPA as I can.
  • I commit to studying 3 hours per week outside of class for every 1 hour of class I have. Thus, a 3 credit hour class requires 9 hours of work per week outside the classroom. 12 credit hours of classes (considered a full load) would thus require me to commit to 36 hours of study per week outside of classroom hours. The key to success in college is putting those hours of study in whether you think you need it or not.
  • I understand that it is MY responsibility to make sure that I get to class, get to work, and keep my end of the deal in this living arrangement. I understand that my failure to follow through with the above listed items is unacceptable and I will be asked to leave. By signing this I agree to these conditions and their consequences.

Some of the rules, especially the money ones, were unclear to her how they would be accomplished. It will also be at least a month it seems before she even starts looking for a job. The next step is to get her a checking account, since her mom will be sending her checks. Made difficult by the fact that neither she nor her mom know her social security number.

She also forgot to bring any form of ID aside from her high school ID, so her mom is going to mail out her passport and social security card – so she can qualify for employment.

It is really strange having another person living with me again. I knew this was coming… eventually… it is just weird that the day is finally here.

I’d love to say that this will be financially benefitial for me as having a roommate means getting rent. But it won’t be. Any money she gives me for rent I’ll be giving right back to her (plus some) to help pay tuition. Tuition alone for the first semester will be around $2,000 since I don’t yet have residency in the state. Our dad is switching his residency to Kansas so that she will qualify FOR SURE (since her residency is based on where her parents live, not where she lives, until she’s 18).

All in all, $2,000 for a semester of school isn’t bad. Especially when the cost is being split between myself, her mom, my dad, and her grandparents. That is only $500 for each of us a semester – very doable.

My hope is that I can find some sort of website where we can post her tuition (know the goal money that we need) and then have people contribute to it (like via paypal or something). Does anyone know of a site where I can do this? It would be nice to have that available to send to her family so they know exactly how much money she needs for tuition.

The other option (which we’re considering) is just reducing the number of hours she takes in the spring until my dad gets residency (would could in June if he got it in January when he’s here for a month). If she took a 3/4 load the cost would be quite a bit less for sure.

The nice thing for her is that I have access to just about any math or science book she would need for her classes. That eliminates a huge burden of cost right there!

13 thoughts on “My sister: The morning after

  1. Let me just say one more time: I think that what you’re doing for your sister is so, SO great.

    Second: I think with Smarty Pig you can set up an account with a goal amount and allow others to donate. I also think that it has a decent (for right now) interest rate.

  2. Smarty Pig has some kind of sharing ability for your savings goals. It takes 3 business days for incoming cash to register or outgoing cash to show up in a bank account, but you do earn interest.

  3. That would drive me absolutely insane if someone who wasn’t related to me was cleaning my home. My own mother does it when she comes over, and it makes me want to scream. Do they not understand that they’re making us feel two inches tall? Like our homes are THAT dirty that they can’t stop themselves? UGH! Major pet peeve.

    Also, does she not have a driver’s license? You said she only brought high school ID with her, but surely she has a license and didn’t leave that at home. Bizarre.

    I hope your sister knows how lucky she is to have someone looking out for her financial and academic interests like this! 🙂

    1. She has a driver’s permit, but not a licence. She won’t get that until she gets six months of driving with the permit. Probably when she goes home after spring semester.

  4. Did you talk about what would happen if she can’t get a job? From what I’ve been reading, it seems that the job outlook for teenagers are pretty dismal right now, given that many college students / college graduates are applying for jobs that in better economic times would have gone to high schoolers.

    1. Absolutely! The goal is just that she TRY to find a job. We know that there is a possibility that she won’t find one. But she has to be trying. Getting applications. Turning them in. Being diligent about checking back. Thankfully she’s very bright and will most likely be able to get a tutoring job at the school if nothing else. She scored in the 96 percentile in their writing exam, so she can be in the honors compositions classes, which means that if she wants a job in the writing center on campus she’ll be able to get one after she finishes her first English comp class.

      So we have talked about the “what if she can’t” and also know that “if nothing else” getting a tutoring job starting in the fall (when they hire new tutors according to the woman who runs the place).

  5. I was going to suggest Smarty Pig, also, but it looks like a lot of people already told you about it!

    I’m really impressed with what you’re doing for her. I hope she learns a lot from you, about personal finance, responsibility, and life in general. Good luck!

  6. I’m glad you got everything so clearly laid out on paper like that – it might not be clear to her exactly how it plays out right now but at least she has a set of guidelines to follow as she encounters interesting life situations. Best of luck on taking these first steps!

  7. Awesome! Good luck 🙂 The only part of smartypig is you have to pay tax on the interest, even if it’s a small amount. That’s why I prefer using banks such as ING direct or other online banks to earn more interest without paying tax. But for your purposes I think smartypig would be the best option.

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