Studies have shown that financial health is strongly connected to physical and mental wellness. There’s no better time than now to start routines that set your kids up for financially-healthy and happy futures. Let Greenlight help you set new year resolutions that you’ll actually keep to jumpstart your progress.
Resolution #1: We all need a bit of balance (tracking)
Our goal at Greenlight is to make sure all kids are empowered to make financially-smart decisions. We think empowerment starts with knowledge — working with kids to make sure they understand how much they earn, how much they spend and how they should save.
Tip #1 is all about making sure kids take the time regularly (dare we say it, daily?!) to track their spend history and account balances. This new year resolution will naturally spark conversations around trade-off decisions, teaching your kids responsibility in budget management.
Within the Greenlight app, kids are able to monitor their spending, earning, saving, and giving history. This allows kids (and parents!) to track:
- How much to expect in allowance
- How much is available to spend
- Progress toward their saving goals
“I have two teens (13 & 14). Being able to see their spending and balances digitally via the app has made them much more mindful of how and when they choose to spend their money.”Antoinette K, Greenlight mom
Resolution #2: Save! Save! Save!
We know it’s hard for kids (especially the young ones!) to understand the difference between wants and needs. Starting kids out with a savings account early can teach them to save for what they want and be prepared to cover what they need because unexpected things happen.
Consider mapping out a monthly plan with your kids to help them articulate, save for and reach their goals.
The most popular saving goal for Greenlight kids in 2019 was a car!
If your kids earn an allowance based on grades or chore completion, write out how much each grade or task is worth. That will help them calculate what they need to do to accomplish their goals.
Parents are also able to help their kids reach their goals by setting aside a portion of allowances into their child’s Greenlight save account, helping reinforce wise saving habits.
Setting up saving goals within the Greenlight app helps kids visualize what they’re saving for and regularly track their progress.
Greenlight kids who create saving goals save 29% more than kids who don’t.
Once a week, consider having a family meeting to talk about how close your kids are to reaching their goal. Reviewing their spend history can help kids rethink a plan for the next week on how to spend less and save more. This regular routine can turn into a long-term habit that magically reduces the number of times you get asked for money.
Resolution #3: Watch savings grow with Parent-Paid Interest
After you get your family into the habit of saving, it’s time to learn about how to make your savings grow. Greenlight helps teach the power of compound interest by offering parents the ability to pay a parent-paid interest rate on top of their child’s savings.
On average, Greenlight families set a parent-paid interest rate of 18%.
Once your kids understand the concept of compound interest, you can set your parent-paid interest rate to a more realistic one and have conversations around what grownup savings accounts typically earn.
Resolution #4: Have you done your chores?
Chore routines can be a great way to show your kids that money has to be earned. A recent poll of Greenlight parents showed that 73% give allowance, and 47% say their kids have to earn it.
Use the beginning of the year to reassess your family’s chore routine. With age may come new responsibilities, changing the chores typically assigned to your kids.
However, if ever, you choose to reward your kids for chores, Greenlight can help with task management. With the Greenlight app, you can set one-time or weekly chores based on the routines you set for your family.
In 2019, Greenlight helped kids finish 1.8 million chores!
If your child does dishes weekly, Greenlight allows parents to assign tasks and regular deadlines. If your child contributes to other household responsibilities by cleaning the gutters once a month, one-time chores may be assigned with an optional monetary reward upon completion.
Whatever your goals, Greenlight is here for you.
Greenlight is here to help your family feel empowered to talk about money and form smart habits with all the tools to raise financially-smart kids. Not a Greenlight member? Sign up today!
XBOX, PlayStation, Nintendo, Steam. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard your kids talking about these video game consoles and platforms along with their favorite games like Madden, Fortnite, Mario Kart and Minecraft. With 75% of American households having at least one gamer in the house, we’re not surprised by the wave of Greenlight families sharing their gaming experiences with us.
Whether your kids prefer mobile gaming or they kick it old school with Nintendo, video games can quickly become a favorite pastime and a recurring cost. Americans spent $43 billion on video games in 2018 and the numbers keep growing, which is why we think video games can be leveraged as an excellent tool for parents to motivate their kids to make smart money decisions.
Knowledge is power
With so many different consoles and video game franchises on the market, teaching young gamers to do their research develops smart habits that can apply to future large purchases. Important questions to consider include:
- How much does each gaming console and individual game cost?
- What are the differences between each video game platform and what makes them special?
- Which games interest them the most? Which platform is the right fit?
In Greenlight mom Natalie Jensen Young’s house, her three kids (ages 14, 16, 18) make the best decisions for their individual gaming interests.
“My kids each have different gaming preferences. One loves his Switch and the Xbox. One loves his PS4 and Xbox. One loves her Wii U. They all love the 3DS. They have all saved up for these machines, doing their research, and finding out which games are on which platforms. They get a set amount of money each week for jobs completed around the house — they save up for the games they want.”
It’s never too early to study the fine print
Since video games often feature in-game purchases for accessories or level boosts, it’s critical to teach kids vigilance when it comes to downloading games with monthly fees. By linking a Greenlight card to these in-game add-ons, kids gain visibility into miscellaneous charges that are often associated with mobile purchasing while parents protect their own credit cards from these charges.
“My kids have the cards attached to their XBOX, PC and phone accounts. It’s so much better than having my card attached and them accidentally buying stuff. Plus, it taught them to be careful of things like recurring charges or hidden fees. They are much more careful of what and how they buy now,” shared Greenlight mom Alysson Browning.
Level up with a video games budget
Due to the fast pace of the gaming industry, new trends can keep prices steep. Use these updates as an opportunity to talk about a magical thing called budgeting. Discuss how your child can’t get the latest game in their favorite franchise without the proper savings or budget.
With Greenlight, parents have the ability to limit how much kids spend on games, which helps eager gamers from going overboard.
Ohio mom Heather Renee Gilbert shared the secret to her game-loving son’s success.
“My son uses his Greenlight card for Xbox games. I created an Online Gaming greenlight for him where I put money specifically for that purpose into it. He earns that money with grades at school and his behavior. Having the greenlight specific for gaming is amazing because if I didn’t set a limit on what he spent on games, he would blow through all the money I gave him on just that. Now he knows exactly what he can spend on his games. No game money in the greenlight means he can’t spend more than what he has.”
Talk that gaming and finance talk with your kids
Raising financially-smart kids sometimes means getting crafty with teaching opportunities. The more relevant the topic, the more engaging the conversation can be. If your kids are into video games, why not start money talks around one of their favorite things?
Greenlight can help
Sign up your family for Greenlight today to explore your own lessons in earning, spending, saving and giving.
We’ve heard from many of you that you’d like the ability to set up child accounts for your kids without phone numbers. Our newest update solves this by enabling parents to register their children with a username and password. No phone number required.
With this update, kids with iPods, tablets, or other smart devices can log into the Greenlight app and explore lessons in earning, spending, saving and giving.
How to set your kids up
Kids can monitor their own balances
With the trend toward more digital purchases, kids no longer see their wallet getting smaller as they spend cash. Greenlight gives your kids the ability to check and manage their balances to make sure they’re within budget.
Greenlight tip: We recommend setting time to talk with your kids whenever you give them allowances. Together, discuss distributions of allowances between Spend, Save and Give and discuss why you’re making these choices.
Kids can send requests, also known as Greenlights, when they want to make purchases outside of their Spend Anywhere account or any of the Greenlights you currently have set up.
For kids, this gives them a path to request money if they’re in a pickle. And for parents, this gives you the ability to safely distribute funds for purchases you’re comfortable with.
Showcase the power of saving
Saving for short and long-term goals can be challenging, especially when the satisfaction of taking a full piggy bank to the local teller is a figment of banking past.
With the Greenlight app, kids can see how they’re progressing toward saving goals line-by-line. They can watch that money grow as you add Parent-Paid Interest and see balances update in near real-time. Bet your old piggy bank couldn’t do that. 🐷
Greenlight kids save 3x more than the national average. It’s never too late to kick off conversations, and present kids with real world scenarios to encourage saving.
Don’t have Greenlight yet?
Summers are busy. Between visits to grandma, beach trips, summer camp, and the inaugural summer job (!), your kids may be spending tons of time away from home. Throughout the coordinated chaos, Summer offers great opportunities to continue money talks with your kids.
Many families go on summer trips. In fact, 68% of you fine American families* will hit the road before school starts.
Use this as an opportunity to talk to your kids about the value of saving. Discuss the tradeoffs you made throughout the year to fund your excursion and talk about the specific costs associated with you trip.
Scholastic has a lesson with a couple handy worksheets – including a trip cost calculator in case you need a bit of help. (Don’t worry – we also learned a thing or two.)
For parents of teens, this summer may be the first one employed, and may it be the first of many. Before your kids pull out their Greenlight card to spend all of their Friday paycheck on Fortnight Battlepacks, remind them of the practice of saving.
Work with them to develop a distribution plan for their paychecks. How much will they put into Save, Spend and Give accounts on a regular basis?
The first job is probably the first time your kids encounter the not-so-simple world of income taxes. And before you click away from this page in search of safer waters, know that the earlier you approach the subject of Uncle Sam with your kids, the more prepared they’ll be when the leave the house.
Going over their pay stub is a great way to show teens how taxes impact their take-home pay. Talk with them about the purpose of social security, medicare, federal, state and local taxes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a simple guide to the anatomy of a paycheck that may help. Remind them that smart budgeting (see savings tip above), helps you account for the tax you pay.
(Side note: did you know teens can directly deposit their paychecks into their Greenlight accounts?)
Back to School
In 2018, Deloitte estimated families spent $510 per child**, on average, on back to school expenses. Between clothes, electronics and general supplies, that’s a hefty penny. And also an opportunity to reinforce the conversation of budgeting, especially when it comes with the price tag of a new school year.
Later in July, we’ll talk about how to instill healthy money habits into routines as the kids go back to school. Follow us on social media for the latest tips and tricks about money talks and recent updates to the Greenlight app.
Don’t have Greenlight yet?
*2019 AAA Travel Survey
**Deloitte 2019 Back to School Survey