Letting your kids graduate from handling cash to carrying a debit card is a big milestone. And that leaves us with a big question: When’s the right time?
With the holidays around the corner and gifts to be bought, we’d venture to say right now is the perfect time. If you’re still on the fence, look out for these 6 signs that your kids are ready for their first debit card.
Sign #1: They’re always asking for cash (or worse, your debit card)
Hand them cash and they spend it. Lend your debit card and they lose it. Okay — we’ll give them more credit than that, but you can probably relate. While these options may get the job done, they don’t give you a long-term solution for sending money to your kids.
With cash, kids won’t learn how to track their balances and set a budget. That’s where a debit card comes in handy — but instead of lending yours, you can get them a special one made just for them.
Sign #2: They’re starting to earn money
Vacuuming once a week or making the bed every day? We’ll leave that up to you. If your kids are starting to earn money — whether it’s an allowance or a part-time job — they’re going to need a place to put it. And no, we’re not talking about piggy banks.
As soon as your kids start to earn, get them set up with the Greenlight card and app so they can complete chores and get paid an automated allowance. Ready for the best part? When they earn on their own, they’ll start to learn why it’s important to take good care of their money.
Sign #3: They’ve got spending down, but they could use help with saving
Alright, so they’ve started spending money. That’s great! Spending wisely is a big life lesson on its own. But we have to ask… How are they doing with their savings?
The good news is you don’t have to have a long lecture about saving. They’ll learn all about it when they get a debit card and start handling money on their own. Plus, you can help them make saving a habit with automatic saving tricks, like Round Ups (so they send extra cents into savings) and Parent-Paid Interest (so you can set an interest rate on their savings).
Sign #4: They’re ready to buy things on their own
When your kids are starting to order pizza delivery or buy things online, they’ve already made the first step at managing their money. The next step is letting it happen — and putting guardrails in place to make sure they’re spending wisely and safely.
Every family is different, so you can use your Greenlight app to set spending limits that will work best for your kids. Let’s say one of your kids is already driving. You can set spending limits for gas only (no sneaky snacks from the gas station). Or maybe you have a child who loves spending at Target. You can set spending limits so those shopping trips don’t get too out of hand.
Sign #5: They’re thinking ahead
Ask your kids if they have anything big they’d like to save up for. Who knows? They may have big plans for their money. If they don’t, help them come up with savings goals. These savings goals can be short-term or long-term.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the most popular savings goals from our Greenlight families:
- Video games
Sign #6: They’re ready for the money talk
They’re asking you the difference between debit and credit. They’re wondering how much money you make. They’re buying you gifts for your birthday.
While these things may feel uncomfortable at first (talking about money is hard!), this is actually a sign that your kids are ready and willing to learn. Kids learn by doing, so there’s no need to sit down and have a napkin-math lesson on money management. That’s boring! Instead, get your kids their own debit card and let the learning happen naturally — with the help of Greenlight’s balance monitoring, real-time alerts and automated allowance to make your life easier at the same time.