We forewarned our girls that this Christmas was not going to be a big one.  The Rooster had changed jobs halfway thru the year and my business was slower than last year. Even if that hadn’t been the case, when we saw the 13 YOs “list” it made us do a double take and realized that these kids needed a severe reality check. I’ve made the comment many times that there is NOT an M.D. behind my name. Sorry for the harsh truth kids, but we are not rolling in the dough.

We “gently” advised her that she should probably sharpen her pencil on her list and get back with us. 

Here were the items on M’s list:

  • Macbook (However, she was willing to take a refurbished one)
  • Uggs
  • Toms
  • Abercrombie clothes and gift cards ($50 or more, please)
  • Hollister clothes and gift cards (ditto on the amount)
  • iPad
  • Other things that blurred together due to the tears in my eyes from laughing

After a final trip to the mall where we were hit every 5 minutes with “can we get” “can we buy” “can I have”, the Rooster and I decided that enough was enough and that the only way she was ever going to get it, was to put her in charge of her money once and for all and get her a debit card. I admit we’re half-ass when it comes to paying out allowance but we also pay for cell phone, activities, etc. We discussed it and realized that we need to commit to paying her but that instead of cash, it was going to be paid to her on a debit card.

I started looking around and what I found is that those things are a ripoff! How can I possibly teach her smart money moves when I’m looking at these kind of fees. Here are a couple that I looked at:

  1. Visa Buxx - Here are just a few of the charges: $12 to get the card, $2 fee to reload money on the card, $.50 for ATM balance inquiries, $1.50 ATM for withdrawals in excess of 2 per month, $5 to renew the card at expiration and a schlew of other charges.
  2. Greendot Reloadable Cards – $4.95 to buy the card, $5.95 monthly charge OR use it at least 30 times a month OR load at least $1,000 in a month on it, ATM free if used at specific locations and up to $4.95 to reload money on it. Other fees here. 
  3. PayPal Student Account – Fees: $1 to withdraw from ATM.

Guess which one I went with? I already have PayPal for both personal and work so it’s going to be easy for me to manage it with her, easy to load money on it – it can be automatically done and there are NO FEES. How much better can that be? One of the cool features that I didn’t know about until writing this is that another feature is that if she runs out of money, she can send a text to PayPal to request more. I will then get a text message from PayPal asking if I want to transfer the money and can reply with a simple yes or no. The money is then piped into the account within two minutes.

I’m looking forward to see how this pans out for all of us. To date, she’s already mentally spent 5X the amount that we loaded on it ;)

Have you tried this method with any of your kids?

Email Me

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