How to Get Adult Kids to Pay Their Share

Not quite ready to push your adult fledglings out of the nest yet but getting fed up with their lack of contributions to the household budget? This article will provide you with some ideas on what to do to make the budgetary cycle in your household a little fairer on everyone, as well as getting them to do more of their share around the house.


  1. Image titled Get Adult Kids to Pay Their Share Step 1
    Have a family fiscal meeting. It is definitely time to stop babying now. They're adults and they can take the hard facts. Explain to them the costs involved in keeping them, ranging from food, electricity, gas, maintenance of the home, clothing, cooking services, cleaning to providing a rent-free room. If you have been offering these things free-of-charge, it may well be that your kids just don't see the harsh reality of the costs involved.
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    Ask for rent contributions. Make a family agreement that everyone living in the home is responsible for its upkeep and that includes financial upkeep, as well as regular cleaning and maintenance. Set a weekly rent that covers approximately 30% of their pay, to get them to understand what it costs and how it feels to have to depart with a set amount of pay "just to have a roof over your head". Put all of this down in writing and draw up a budget if needs be.
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    Ask for all-family household duties. No single person is responsible in a household for taking on all the chores. Everybody who is there must lift their weight to help keep the house in great shape. Allocate cleaning, gardening, shopping, pet feeding, mending/repair and general chores to every family member able to perform tasks. It is probably also a good idea to throw in cooking at least two meals a week as part of the deal. Write all of this up as a weekly schedule and pin it up where everyone can see it. Make it clear that getting out of a task means negotiating with another family member rather than just not doing it.
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    Expect some resistance and respond with good, hard facts. They have been living it easy, so they might complain. Be ready for this, armed with visual evidence of the costs for living away from home. This takes step one a little further; rather than just explaining, demonstrate clearly where the costs come from. Show them how much average rents are in your area, show them the grocery bills for an average shopping trip, the electricity costs for an average home, and the costs of things such as fuel, mortgage payments and interest rates. Their awareness will soon increase, and even if they still feel resentful, they will realize that their situation is a good one.
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    Overcome guilt. If one or more of your adult children is living with you, it's probably because you want to help them; perhaps they've hit a rough patch, and more than likely, you enjoy having them nearby. You might feel guilty when you demand contributions, especially if you see your child as being in a difficult position. When this happens, keep the following in mind:
    • Sheltering them from the harsh reality of life isn't helping them. Your job as a parent is to teach them how to become independent adults who can survive and thrive on their own.[1] Having them pull their own weight in your home will teach them that there's no such thing as a free lunch. It's better for them to learn responsibility from you, than from a boss firing them or a spouse divorcing them.
    • You're not the only one struggling with these issues. Children who come back home as adults are called "mammoni", or "mama's boys" in Italy; "parasaito shinguru", or "parasite singles" in Japan; "boomerangs" or "twixters" in the US; "KIPPERS" (short for "kids in parents' pockets eroding retirement savings") in the UK; and "Hotel Mama" in Germany. There are parents across the world who will identify with your struggle to give tough love.
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    Be grateful. When your adult children do start contributing more, let them know how much you appreciate their contribution to the household and family and thank them. And sometimes, you may need to give them some slack during periods of redundancy, or saving for a big-ticket item such as travel, etc. You'll be able to judge this as the occasions arise.


  • Put the rental money aside in a special savings account. You can use this for a rainy day, a vacation, or even to help them later on with education or rough patches in their lives.
  • Share transportation where possible and encourage use of public transport and bikes by all of the family. If you can keep down the level of cars needed, everyone benefits with less fuel costs, less maintenance costs and more healthy walking or riding.
  • If you're lucky enough to have a child who does live out of the house, ask them to come home and explain to the sibling who is leeching off of you. The sibling who has a job, bills, and expenses will not feel guilty or have a problem telling them how it is in the real world.


  • Keep in mind the things your kids might already be doing that actually could be saving you money. Include such services as chauffeur, companion, gardener, dog walker, personal shopper, practical nurse, etc. Remember that every door swings both ways. If you are unfair, they may well decide that their hard earned cash is better spent elsewhere or that they would prefer other roommates. In that case you will have to pay for these services and they do not come cheap. If you choose to reduce a relationship to dollars and cents, you will not get anything for free that you are not willing to give for free. Be sure to do both sides of the balance sheet before you begin.

Things You'll Need

  • Budget
  • Written agreement
  • Evidence of costs (from your bills, newspaper rental rates, internet examples of costs of living etc.)
  • Patience

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