Kid-friendly personal finance tips from a former banker

This is a guest post by DiAna Kelley, founder of the Giving Me Life Foundationa nonprofit organization that teaches strategies about monthly budgeting, credit, and financial retirement to teenagers and young adults in order to create healthy financial lifestyles.

Below, DiAna focuses on tips about earning money for things they are good at, the importance of saving early, and talking to their parents about opening an account so that they can see their money grow. 

So you and your student are getting ready to think about high school and all the excitement it may bring. High school is a once in a lifetime experience for many students. Many will begin to think about school dances, extracurricular activities, colleges, but what about saving money?

It’s never too early to think about saving and budgeting money. With all of the costs associated with school activities and the rising cost of college, many students and parents are thinking about the best ways to save for the costly years ahead. Here are some tips to help you and your students save money for those expenses.

1. Look at what your student is good at and help them earn money for it. Is your child good at babysitting, dog sitting, mowing lawns, tutoring? Whatever gifts they have can help them earn money. The best part is your child can set their own hours and prices for doing the things they love.

2. Get the Greenlight card and app. The Greenlight card is an excellent way to teach students about budgeting money and managing an account using a debit card. It is also a great tool to help parents monitor how and when their students are spending their money. As parents you can transfer money onto your child’s Greenlight card instantly anytime. You can also monitor how they spend, approve or decline requests for money from your kids, and even determine which stores they can use their Greenlight card for purchases.

3. Set a goal to save money each year you are in school and stash it away into a savings account.

4. Learn how to create a budget. See if your student can write down all the things that they would need money for during the school year and the cost of it. Then total up the amount you would need for that year. Your student may need an adult to help with their budget. Once you know how much you need for the year, then you can divide that amount over 12 months and set aside an amount you have to earn for all of your expenses.

Let me give you an example: If all of your student’s expenses for that school year comes up to $500, then divide it by 12 which is about $42. So if your student completes chores around the house and charges your neighbors and friends for doing what they are good at, your student could easily get $42 a month. Say you rounded that amount up to $50. Then your student would have enough money to cover any expenses and save money into their account. It may take some practice, but trust me your student will see their money grow.

Stay tuned for more personal finance tips from DiAna to come!

Interested in Greenlight? Download and sign up here.

More about the Author:

DiAna Kelley, a native of Boston Massachusetts, has over 10 years of experience in retail banking and financial services. Working in the area of banking, she saw a great need to teach teens how to understand budgeting and money management. Her passion is to teach students money management skills early, so that will have the tools to make smart financial decisions in their future. She uses her combined knowledge and experience to provide resources and host workshops in the community through her nonprofit organization Giving Me Life Foundation, Inc.

More about the foundation:

Giving Me Life Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that teaches strategies about monthly budgeting, credit, and financial retirement to teenagers and young adults in order to create healthy financial lifestyles. For more information about this organization please visit www.givingmelife.org.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 with Greenlight

18.5% of Greenlight kids have spent money at Amazon

So by our predictions, your kids are probably already buzzing about Amazon Prime Day next week (July 15-16). Maybe they’ve been reading rumors of most epic tech markdowns or set up fancy price alerts to know as soon as their prized item is down to their savings goal balance. (Want price alerts of your own? Here’s one way to set them up.)

As always, we’ve been thinking about how Prime Day can fit into money talks, plus how Greenlight can help you manage spending safely. 

Time for budget talks

What makes a good deal? Fortunately, most kids are expert Googlers. Before they click for the checkout button, work with them to search for competing prices and to balance the value of the newest version of the computer or sneaker they’re eyeing vs. last year’s model.

Set up greenlights

Set up greenlights to control how much your kids can spend at Amazon. No shocking credit card bills. No overdraft fees. No surprises.

Amazon Prime Day 2019

Back to school is upon us

For some districts, school is back in session in July. Now is prime time (see what we did there?) to think about clothes, supplies and electronics your kids need for the next year. 

Bring kids into the conversation. Set a budget for each child and talk with them about Amazon deals fit into that budget. 

Pro tip: Scary Mommy will be live blogging the best back to school Amazon Prime Day deals next week. And we’re on the edge of our seats. 

We’re sitting on some great ideas on how to bring kids in on back to school shopping without getting in the way. Stay tuned – more on that topic over the next couple weeks.

Haven’t joined Greenlight yet?

Get started by signing your family up today.

Summer Spending & Saving with Greenlight

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.

Family Vacations

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.)

Summer Jobs

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? 

Get started by signing your family up today.

*2019 AAA Travel Survey

**Deloitte 2019 Back to School Survey