Money is a tricky subject and every family manages it differently. I’m trying something new with Greenlight.
My oldest is 32. Not to sound all nostalgic, but money was simpler when she was growing up. No phones. Lots of chores done for the sake of our homeschooling family. No allowance, but we met needs as they came up. She and her siblings earned money babysitting and later had jobs.
There is a 20-year span between my oldest and youngest – a lot has changed.
My youngest kids are now 12 and 14. They’re growing up in a radically different world and somewhat different family. They go to school, play lots of sports, go to the local pool and gym with their friends, attend athletic camps, and are generally busy outside of our home.
We’re trying something new.
Last weekend I set up an account with Greenlight. Their website says, “Greenlight® is the debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.”
[After I started writing this, I found out I can refer friends! When you use this special link, we’ll both get $10!]
This is different from a standard debit card because I preloaded my parent account and now I can transfer small amounts (even $1) as often as I like. The money is immediately added to their cards.
We don’t pay them for basic household chores, but when I offer an extra chore, like vacuuming my car, I can pay them without scraping together loose change! That’s a game-changer for me.
And with a wedding at our house next month, there is plenty of extra work to be done, which means money to be earned.
Want to go to the movies with your friends? Ask mom for a paid chore.
Need money to pay for lunch at a basketball tournament? Mom can put extra cash on your card. If you want to spend more than she gave you, check your balance and see if you have enough.
With a smartphone, kids can check their Greenlight app to see the current balance on their cards and track their purchases.
How many times have I asked, “Where did that $5 go?” and been met with, “I don’t know.” Now we’ll know exactly when and where it was spent.
There are lots of other features:
- Money can be put in permission-based categories such as “spend anywhere” or spend only at a specific place.
- Track chores and pay automatically.
- Money can be divided into categories of: spend, save, give.
- Real-time notifications so you know where and when your kids are spending money.
- Lost cards can be turned off with one tap on the app.
When my boys have cash, it disappears quickly. I hope this slows them down because they’ll see more clearly the value of their work. How many weeds did I pull for this money? Do I really want to spend it on candy at the pool?
They’ll also see how quickly money is gone if they forget to pack food for an event and spend it on snacks.
This could be even more useful for kids who struggle with impulsivity or who are easily tricked into giving their cash away.
We’re trying it for free for 30 days. Will it be worth the $4.99/month fee per family? We’ll decide at the end of the summer. I expect it’s going to be a bargain for the stress it lifts off me.
We’ve had a lot of tension over money because situations pop up all the time and I never have cash. I hate being the mom whose kid rides to an event with someone and they end up buying food for my child when they stop after a game. Or I scrambled for cash but didn’t send quite enough.
This will help with birthday money from grandparents too. A portion can go on the card for spending and the balance will be saved for something special.
Greenlight is brand new to us, but I see the potential for it being really positive.
If you decided to try it, you can use this special link and we’ll both get $10!
I’m curious, how do you manage money with your kids?