5 money tips for parents with kids going back-to-school online

A year ago, back-to-school shopping was predictable: erasers, pencils, binders, you know the drill. This year, parents are doing the unimaginable. On top of back-to-school shopping for regular supplies, you’re searching for masks, desks, new WiFi packages and maybe these crazy new things called pandemic pods

Not sure what to do about it? Start with these 5 money tips for all you families going back-to-school online.

1. Address (but don’t stress!) the “what ifs” 

You and your kids might be playing the “what if” game right now, and a lot of your questions may be about money. Plan a day to hold a family town hall, and use this time to explain how virtual learning is affecting your finances. 

Answer your kids’ questions, ask them questions, and talk it out until you’re feeling ready to take on the new school year. You don’t need to pull up your master budgeting spreadsheet. Just show them how you’re cutting costs to afford new ones — or follow this helpful guide to make the conversation easier. 

2. Make savings goals as a family 

Young girl thinking

A recent Deloitte survey shows us a new spending category for back-to-school shopping this year: personal hygiene products and desks. You probably never thought you’d be buying masks and computer accessories for the new school year, did you? To make these new costs possible, saving will be important. 

Show your kids how you’re saving money. Then, set goals as a family! Maybe your goal is to limit spending on takeout or to put more of your paycheck in your emergency fund. Or maybe you’ll ask your kids to chip in for their school supplies — just have them set a savings goal in their Greenlight app. 

3. Divide and conquer (the house) 

Let’s be real — when you have a lot on your plate, one of the first things to take off your to-do list is household chores. You’re trying to work, teach, babysit, entertain and stay sane… and on top of that, you’re supposed to clean the house?!

Hand some chores over to your kids — we’ll get them all organized for you in your Greenlight app. Tell them they can earn more money if they double up on chores for the week (hello, negotiation skills!). Or explain to them that it’s part of their contribution to the house. 

This will save you time and give you a squeaky clean house. More importantly, it gives your kids a glimpse of the real world. They’ll have to choose how they want to manage their time, and they’ll get practice juggling different responsibilities. 

4. Team up with other families 

School supplies and calculator

It helps to know that you’re not going through this alone. Reach out to classmates’ parents, neighbors and family members for support and ideas about how to handle a semester of virtual learning. There are socially distanced ways to save money, time and hassle together — here are a few: 

  • Buy in bulk. Anything from school supplies to desk wipes can be bought in bulk so you and other families can save money. To keep your distance, you can quickly organize a bulk shopping drop-off. Smile and wave from afar!
  • Swap ideas. Some families are making private Facebook pages or group texts to chat about ways to save money and make virtual learning (and life!) easier. 
  • Join our Facebook group to connect with and learn from like-minded parents and Greenlight team members.
  • Start a group Pinterest board. Spread the knowledge with pictures, money-saving recipes and digital coupons. 

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

This goes for you AND your kids. We’re all experiencing challenges in different ways, and a lot of these challenges impact our money situations. We’re here to make saving easier, help you manage chores and set savings goals with your kids — but here are some additional resources that might be able to help. 

  • See if your family is eligible for benefits. There are lots of resources available on Benefits.gov.
  • Keep your kids busy, without extra work for you. We pulled together a list of resources that have worked for our Greenlight parents who are spending more time at home with their kids.
  • Access free books online. Wilbooks is a site with more than 2,000 free books online. They’re sorted by grade and language so you can quickly find books that are right for your kids. 
  • Use virtual afterschool programs. Mizzen by Mott is a free app that gives you lessons and fun activities to keep your students busy and engaged even when the school day is over. 

A hug from us to you

The best tip of all: take a deep breath when you need to. It’s hard to stay calm with questions and worries, but you’re not alone. We’re sending virtual hugs your way. Check back often for more tips on going back-to-school online — and if you haven’t already, download the Greenlight app and get started!

Spotlight Story: William B.

Every kid has a dream car, but how many end up owning it? We know one Greenlight driver who worked hard, saved up and bought his dream car at the age of 16. 

Today’s Spotlight Story takes us on William B’s financial journey, from “Dad, can I have…?” to a part-time job that will eventually pay off his Mustang. If you’ve got a story about your kids doing big things with their cha-ching, reach out with a direct message on Instagram or Facebook, or email us at social@greenlightcard.com.

Meet William 

William, September Spotlight Story, driving the mustang he bought with his own money

William is a junior in high school who plays soccer, hangs out with friends and does normal high school things. But what most people don’t know about him is he’s a money managing machine. 

That’s because William made a big goal for himself: He wanted to buy a car. Before coming up with this goal, he didn’t have a ton of experience handling money on his own. When he needed to buy something, he’d ask his parents for some cash or he’d mow the lawn on a Saturday to earn a quick allowance. But that quickly changed when he set a savings goal for a sporty white 2016 Mustang in his Greenlight app

How William got started  

We’re going way back to William’s first concept of money: “Dad, can I buy that?” To help William learn more about money, his parents looked for something that could make budgeting fun and easy — and something that could do the work for them. They found Greenlight, got William a custom card and the rest is history. 

To start saving for his future car, he set a savings goal to reach $1,000. After getting a part-time job at the local Walmart as a personal shopper, he reached his goal pretty quickly. Plus, his dad promised to match him dollar-for-dollar to reward his hard work. (Psst, this really works. Dollar matching or setting Parent-Paid Interest encourages your kids to keep up the good work!)

Bold fact about William: As a personal shopper, William can pick 178 items per hour.

Being a personal shopper means being quick on your feet! For William, it means picking 178 items an hour and then hand-delivering them to customers who are waiting outside. This was particularly helpful for shoppers who wanted to be safe and distanced in the pandemic. 

Advice from September Spotlight Story, William: Don't let your goals out of sight.

William’s advice goes for all ages (parents included). His two cents: Set a goal, work hard for it and don’t let it out of sight. $1,000 may seem like a lot — especially for a student — but when you chip away at your goal and keep your eyes on the prize, it’s a lot more doable. 

What’s next? 

Now that the ‘stang is in his hands (er, driveway?), William is tackling his monthly car payment using his Greenlight card and hard-earned money skills. Next on his list of savings goals? He wants to blackout the rims of his sporty ride. Kudos, William!

Greenlight announces Series C fundraising to help millions more parents raise financially-smart kids

With more than 2 million parents and kids by our side, today we announced our Series C fundraise and a shiny new valuation.

We’re grateful for the families and investors who have helped us reach this point, and we’re beyond excited to continue to grow. Full press release is below.

Greenlight Raises $215 Million at a $1.2 Billion Valuation To Help Millions More Parents Raise Financially-Smart Kids

ATLANTA, (September 24, 2020) – Greenlight® Financial Technology, Inc. (“Greenlight”), the fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids, announced today a valuation above $1.2 billion after raising $215 million in Series C funding. The series was led by Canapi Ventures and TTV Capital with participation from new investors BOND, DST Global, Goodwater Capital and Fin VC along with Greenlight’s first institutional investor Relay Ventures. 

Since launching its debit card for kids in 2017, Greenlight has experienced explosive growth. The company now serves more than 2 million parents and kids, helping them manage their family finances and navigate the world of money together. To-date, Greenlight kids have collectively saved more than $50 million.

“Greenlight’s rapid growth is a testament to the value they bring to millions of parents and kids every day. My wife and I trust Greenlight to give us the modern tools to teach our children how to manage money,” said Gardiner Garrard, Founding Partner at TTV Capital. “TTV Capital is thrilled to provide continued investment to help the company empower more parents.”

Greenlight is the comprehensive, all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families. Its parent-managed debit card for kids with companion apps give parents the ability to pay allowance, manage chores and set flexible, store-level spend controls. Kids explore lessons in earning, saving, spending and giving with a debit card and app designed just for them. 

“Greenlight’s purpose-based mission of bringing financial literacy to families is massively impactful.” said Neil Underwood, partner and co-founder of Canapi Ventures, “We’re super excited to back this amazing leadership team who is introducing financial services to an entirely new demographic.”

“Greenlight’s smart debit card is transforming the way parents teach their kids about responsible money management and financial literacy,” said Noah Knauf, general partner at BOND. “Having achieved phenomenal growth year-over-year, this is a company on the fast-track to becoming a household name. We look forward to working alongside the Greenlight team to support their continued growth.”

The Series C funding will accelerate Greenlight’s mission, propelling the company to reach more families and provide them with new ways for kids to learn about the world of money. In the coming months, Greenlight families can look forward to a completely reimagined app and new investing tools made for kids.

“We’re honored to partner with both new and existing investors for our Series C round to continue inspiring future generations to be financially happy and healthy,” said Johnson Cook, President and Co-Founder of Greenlight. 

“Our vision is to help all families worldwide to be smart about personal finance, providing innovative ways for kids to learn, so that every child can reach their full potential. We look forward to continuing to grow with our families.” said Tim Sheehan, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight.

For more information on Greenlight, please visit greenlightcard.com, or follow Greenlight on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Greenlight:

Founded in 2014, Greenlight Financial Technology is an Atlanta-based fintech company that’s committed to empowering parents to raise financially-smart kids. Its groundbreaking family finance product, Greenlight®, is a debit card for kids that parents manage by app using flexible parental controls. Patent-pending technology enables parents to choose the exact stores where their children can spend, manage chores, set parent-paid interest rates on savings and more. Kids monitor spending, watch their savings grow and learn to make real world trade-off decisions.

The Greenlight Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. For more information, please visit: www.greenlightcard.com