I’ve been pretty broke since September, when I started a Master’s degree. I’m not doing too badly - I’ve cut my expenses down and I’m short about $100 dollars (or maybe $200) every month. Okay, maybe some services are going to be cut off this month if I don’t find extra money for the bills, but I’ve been there before, and I can live on rice and instant noodles for a month or twelve.
I mentioned the shortfall in passing to my parents, and they mentioned it to my grandmother, who wants to give me $500 a month toward my schooling. I’m torn about what to do. I need some money, but not that much. Really, I can make do with just an extra $100, and the decision to pay so much for a Master’s degree was mine, and nobody else’s. She is insisting that the money (about $6000 until I finish my degree) must be a gift, not a loan, and the amount is non-negotiable. My parents say her feelings would be hurt if I don’t accept.
I know why she’s insisting - she’s been acting like the family bank every time someone comes across an unexpected expense. My cousins have made some pretty bad decisions (dropping out of high school, having children out of wedlock, supporting a live-in unemployed boyfriend…) and have been relying on handouts from my grandmother every month to survive. I don’t want to be like them - I don’t want to take advantage of my grandmother’s generosity.
The reason she won’t let me pay her back is that she’s 87 years old, and she doesn’t figure she’ll need the money. She said if it makes me feel better, she’ll write me out of the inheritance instead. Also, as soon as I finish this degree, I plan to get married, and she doesn’t want me to go into marriage in debt. And she thinks it’s unfair that my cousins get rewarded for making bad decisions, while I struggle to get an education by myself.
I really appreciate her offer, and I really need the money and would love to accept, but I still feel bad about it. Maybe I’ve been living in Asia too long - the role of grandparents is to be supported and looked after by their children, not to be an ATM for their grandchildren’s budgeting errors. I should be sending her money every month, not the other way around.
Anyway, do you think I should graciously accept charity from my 87-year-old grandmother, or should I try to make it on my own? I’m leaning toward accepting the money and sending her a lovely hand-written thank-you note, but I’ll still feel bad about taking her money.