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.

How To Talk Money Management With Your Kids

The money talk — not as scary as the birds and bees, but still a lot to think about. We get it and so do other parents. In fact, 49% of parents say they’re not sure how to explain money to their child.[1] Enter: Spring Break. It’s the perfect time to open the conversation, starting with budgeting. 

EXPLAIN WHY BUDGETING IS IMPORTANT

If you’re like 67%[2] of Americans, you keep a budget — nice! Time to get your kids on board. But how? You could start off by explaining why a budget matters, because chances are they’ll ask.

Conversation Starter: “When you make a budget, you know just what you’re spending, and how much you need to save for things you want, like those AirPods.”

EXPLAIN COMMON BUDGETING TERMS

Fixed Expenses and Variable Expenses — ring a bell? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, they’re important words to teach your kids about budgeting. Break it down into Spring Break terms, and they’ll get it.

Conversation Starter: “A Fixed Expense is one that doesn’t change. Like, our plane ticket. A variable Expense is one that does change. Like, meals. It can go up or down, depending on where we eat.”

EXPLAIN WHY SAVING MONEY IS IMPORTANT

Budgeting for Spring Break is one thing — saving for it is another. Instead of simply handing them money (and hoping they stash it away), show them the importance of earning and saving.

Conversation Starter: “Saving money lets you buy things that you might not have enough money for right now. When you add a little bit of money to savings over time, it helps make future purchases possible.” Tip: Name something you’re saving for, and how you plan on reaching your goal.

GIVE THEM THE GREENLIGHT

After you have the money talk with your kids (you’ve got this!), think about getting them a debit card — like Greenlight. Unlike a credit card, they can only spend what’s on it. (More on the differences between credit and debit here.) The best part: debit cards like Greenlight empower your kids to make smart money decisions, long after Spring Break ends.

With the Greenlight debit card and app, your kids can:

  • Set Savings Goals. Even staycations cost money. Teach them to save for it.
  • Learn to Make Trade-offs. Keychain or shark-tooth necklace? It’s their call.
  • Earn Allowance Through Chores. Greenlight kids who earn allowance save 26% more.

As they start learning about money management, you’ll be right there with them. The Greenlight app lets you:

  • Control Access to ATM’s. Are they taking too much out? Set limits.
  • Choose Stores. You decide where they can and can’t spend.
  • Get Real-Time Notifications and Monitor Their Spend Levels. Perfect if they’re vacationing without you.

GET SET FOR SPRING BREAK

Join Greenlight today and help your kids get a head start on budgeting for the break — and for life! Sign Up Now

[1] Investopedia.com [2] Debt.com

Why kids should understand the difference between debit and credit cards

Today, it’s not surprising that Americans have shifted from the traditional use of cash to more modern methods of payment like debit and credit cards. According to Fundera, 70% of consumers prefer using cards as a form of payment and 54% prefer using debit cards. 

Debit and credit cards provide convenience, more security than cash and are accepted nearly everywhere. It’s safe to say that while cash may not be going away, teaching children the basics of what credit and debit cards are now will prepare them to use cards responsibly in the future. 

Prepare them for the reality of credit cards

A credit card is a form of payment issued by a bank or business that allows the holder to purchase things on credit. When making purchases with a credit card, you promise to pay back the money you owe (plus any interest!) at a later date. 

When you carry a balance over month-to-month, the lender charges you interest on top of the amount you owe. Carried balances and interest can add up quickly and many families find themselves in a position where it’s tough to pay credit cards off.

In fact, 41% of America’s households have credit card debt. It’s important to introduce your kids to the concept of credit cards while they’re still in the nest – that way, they are prepared to carry one later in life. 

When it comes to teaching your kids, we recommend starting their money management adventures with a debit card. This protects them from overspending because they can spend only the money they have, and allows them to build healthy habits early before they enter the world of credit.

Teach them to manage money with a debit card

Debit cards provide more security than cash and fewer worries about debt than a credit card. A debit card is a form of payment that deducts money directly from a bank account to pay for a purchase. With debit cards, owners can have easy access to their available funds and can often also put money aside for something special using a savings account. 

Kids need to learn how to manage a debit card just like they need to learn how to drive. Whether your child runs their own lemonade stand during the summer, starts their first job or gets an allowance, a debit card can help kids learn to manage balances, save money, and more!

How Greenlight helps

Greenlight helps kids learn how to manage money and form strong healthy habits that will serve them as adults. According to Greenlight CEO Tim Sheehan, the reason Greenlight is a debit card is to “help kids learn to effectively manage the money they’ve earned, as opposed to spending money they may not have.”

Parents are the primary account holders and have the controls to choose where their children can use the card, manage chores and allowances, set parent-paid interest rates on savings, and more. Kids are able to monitor their balances, create saving goals, and learn how to make financially-smart decisions in a safe environment with their parents’ guidance. 

How parents send money using the Greenlight debit card.

Mistakes are just mistakes

With Greenlight, there is no chance for a child to overdraft or overspend since we decline any purchases greater than the child’s available balance. Mistakes are just mistakes! Parents get alerts when kids try to spend more than they have to spark conversations about budgeting and wise spending. 

Parents are able to allocate funds to their child’s “Spend Anywhere” account or choose specific stores where kids can spend and how much they can spend. They can even help their child create a savings goal and contribute money to meet that special goal. 

Ready to teach your child how to manage money responsibly?

Join Greenlight today to start adventures in personal finance with your kids!