Mom wants me to buy her things that I can’t afford. What can I do?

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My 82 yr old mom has only SS & SSI as her income. I work, am her only child but am struggling to pay my bills & my rent. She lives alone a few minutes away from me. Has a caregiver who comes 4 hours a day, Mon-Fri. My mom will call me every few days asking me to bring her fast food, cleaning supplies, salt for the front porch for the snow etc. I can’t afford to buy her these things so what can I do? When I tell her I don’t have much money to spend she says “but your working everyday aren’t you? You’re making money.”

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"Unfortunately, not enough mom, I have a hard time paying my own bills. Sorry"
Helpful Answer (25)
Reply to cwillie
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You do the same thing she did when you were little and wanted every doll, toy or candy that you saw in the store or on TV.
I can't buy that for you now.
We can't afford that now
You already have one just like it and you don't use it.
And a thousand other phrases that she probably said.

Often "we" equate "things" with how much a person loves us. And how well off we are. A loving gesture, a hug, a smile can help ease the disappointment of not getting what we want. Maybe deflect with some home made cookies or other treat that you can bring next time you visit.
Just remember that "NO" is an appropriate word to use.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Say "Maybe next week." Not worth fighting dementia. Think of how you might respond to a child's unreasonable request (after you tried logic the first dozen times). It works reliably when my Dad asks to renew his drivers license or buy something he can't afford or go on a frivolous 'errand' I cant spare time for...
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Reply to IsntEasy
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My, aren't we judgmental and don't we jump to conclusions! Dighby10512, what makes you assume that Hangingon61 necessarily spends money on beer and cigarettes (unless this is the norm in your environment)? Sorry about the situation you had with your siblings, but unless you know the poster I don't see how you can make this assumption. Furthermore, I doubt the poster's mother is counting on an inheritance given the mother's situation.
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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Just say, I can't! Maybe later after I pay my bills.
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Reply to Chattgranny
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Dighby10512 - I see you posted later comments, which I will address first. The last of those is more in line with suggestions or normal comments for this forum. Despite the contrition in that last post, your first post still stands and is very hurtful. For that first post: Who peed in your cheerios this morning (or is it like this every day for you? If so, I feel sorry for you.)?

There is NO call for you or anyone else on this forum to post judgmental comments like yours. As others have stated, you have NO idea what the financial circumstances are for either woman. THINK before you post!!! Also, do NOT assume that everyone else's situation is the same as your own. Perhaps instead of jumping to conclusions (wrongly!) you could start by inquiring to get a better feel for the situation. Ask and learn something.

Using the analogy of taking care of your child/baby does NOT equate to this situation. Babies do not have jobs or income and are dependent on the parent(s) to provide for them. When money was VERY tight when my kids were little, necessities were covered first, even if it meant I did without something; the WANTS were often denied or perhaps came later as funds were available. There are PLENTY of times that one has to say NO to children. We do not want to, but sometimes that is life and they need to LEARN that!

ASSUMING the poster wastes her own income on beer and cigarettes is presumptuous. Again, you do NOT know her circumstances, income or expenses and you have NO business passing judgement on her. If she has a minimum wage (or even a bit better than that) job, normal necessary expenses can easily exceed that income. It is NOT always about wasting one's own money.

The mom has SS and SSI income. Mom DOES NOT NEED fast food to survive. She should have enough money of her own for cleaning supplies and salt as those are NORMAL expenses, and as noted in your last post, these items are not that costly. What is MOM spending her money on? Perhaps she is the one who spends it on beer and cigarettes or other wasteful things? Did you even consider that? It is clear that the poster is concerned and doing her best to help care for her mom. She was just looking for advice on how to stop mom asking for things she may not even need.

Using salt has NOTHING to do with shoveling BTW - I have shoveled and plowed my own stairs and driveway, however the intense cold has left behind ICE everywhere - I am NOT buying salt for myself and plan to use what is left sparingly on the stairs.

You say: "You people make me sick." - People like YOU are the ones who make me feel ill. Congress is full of people like YOU (Sen. Grassley was recently quoted saying that we are not millionaires like them because we spent every darn dime on booze, women and movies - as if.... I sent him a wake up call on that!) Others who are well-to-do in the country are also clueless. Not everyone makes the big bucks, raises are mostly non-existent and costs are always going up... It is only getting worse.

As others have said, obviously there is no inheritance to be had if mom is living on SS and SSI. Projecting your own experience onto others is WRONG. If you want to spew hateful comments, go find a hatedotcom site and stay off this forum!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I think the problem is they don't realize how the cost of living has risen in the last few years. Being on SSI does she get food stamps? Big help. Try to explain that what you make just meet ur bills. That you aren't able to afford little pleasures like fast food. My husband retired in 2009. At that time a BK meal was maybe $5. Now it's $8. I buy FF when I have coupons. Set boundaries now or u will have bigger problems later.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Does she forget that she's asked if you don't bring them? If so, perhaps when she asks you could vaguely say, I'm going shopping in a few days without actually saying to are going to get salt or Christmas lights or whatever.
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Reply to meallen
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Digby10512; I am sorry for you that you are so stressed you need to vent as you do. Caregiving is hard enough without climbing all over someone who is doing the best they can with no money.

Hangingon61, as most people have said, If she is In her right mind, just say "no". If she has dementia tell her you will get it the next time you go shopping or something else.

I remember one time my mother, who was in her right mind, was mad because she had a hard time getting in and out of my car. She told me to get one she could get in and out of easier. I just flat out told her "This car is paid for, it is all I can afford and you should be grateful I even have it and pick you up in it". I said it in a calm tone of voice, no need to yell.

My dad used to lie to her about how much things cost because he didn't want her to bitch about cost. She never worked outside the home. When he died it was a HUGE wake up call for her. She was yelling about how much a motel cost. With, "Well, I am not going to stay in something that cost that much money! Jake always found cheaper hotels." I just told her, Dad lied to you because he didn't want to hear you bitch.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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Remind her she has a caretaker every day and that you work, so she will have to ask the caretaker to run errands for her.
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Reply to corinna
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