This site contains affiliate links. Please see Policies for more information.

We have been giving the boys an allowance for as long as I can remember. At first we would pay them in cash – except, we never carried cash.

So, that didn’t work.

Then, we tried using a notebook. The boys would keep track of their chores and a tally of the allowance we owed them in a small notebook.

That didn’t work either.

It was about then that we realized, “Why are we driving ourselves crazy? By the time these kids grow up, nobody will be carrying cash. We need to teach them how to responsibly use credit and debit cards.”

That’s when we got the boys their first prepaid debit card.

Why Using A Prepaid Debit Card For Teens Is Brilliant

Before I tell you how to get a prepaid card for your teen, let me tell you what we based our decision on:

  • It’s inconvenient to carry cash
  • The boys lose their cash
  • Sometimes the boys want to shop online
  • You can register a prepaid debit card in case it gets lost or stolen
  • No bank account/credit check is necessary – I looked into getting bank accounts for the boys, and not many banks provide that service
  • I can have money automatically transferred from my bank account to their cards
  • The boys can track their spending and balance themselves
  • They can’t overspend – an important lesson for when they get older and have credit cards

The boys also liked the idea of carrying their own debit card, so the choice to use a prepaid card was an easy one for us.

We logged onto the MasterCard prepaid debit card website and choosing a card was the hardest part about it. You can view how easy it is to get a prepaid debit card over on my Google+ page – I made an album for you! They have some fun cards to choose from:

Prepaid Debit Card Designs Prepaid Debit Card Designs


Prepaid Debit Card Designs


Prepaid Debit Card Designs

How Much Money Are You Paying Your Kids?!

In order to use prepaid debit cards with your teen’s allowance, you don’t have to be paying them a boatload of money. My kids have usually received one dollar for each of their years of age after age 6. When Michael was 6, he earned $6/week. Now that he’s 13, he’s earning $13/week. The amount of chores increases as the allowance increases, of course. A prepaid debit card is an excellent way to keep track of the $6 or $14 per week that the kids are paid. And to answer your question… no, we don’t always approve of what they choose to buy. As long as it balances out, though, it’s all good.

Jack spending chore money

What Chores Do Your Kids Do?

Well, everything. We all pitch in around the house. They have routine daily and weekly chores that they are paid for and a chore chart to keep track of what they’ve done. They take care of the animals (2 dogs and a bearded dragon), clean up their areas of the house including their bedrooms and bathroom, clear the dishes after dinner, load them into the dishwasher and more.


Chore Chart For Teens

You’re welcome to view and copy our chore chart for teens. Please note: File > Save As > Excel to save and edit this chart. I can not open edit settings because I end up having to “fix” it all of the time :)

Sometimes the kids want to ear extra money, and I gladly let them dust my plant ledges for me ;)

Teens Doing Chores

Using a prepaid debit card for your teens is a great way to teach responsibility, money management and even organization. It gives your children a head start on their financial life and a safe place to ask questions and even make mistakes. I know many parents choose to not give their children allowances in exchange for chores and that’s ok – it’s right for our family.

Don’t forget to check out my Google+ album for more tips about teaching your kids to use a prepaid debit card!


Similar Posts

Did you love this recipe?

Make sure to comment below so we can chat about it! Or follow on your favorite social network for even more family recipes.


  1. This really is brilliant! I think right now I owe each of my kids money because they have earned it and either I don’t have cash or don’t have the correct change. And as my boys get older, they are also becoming online shoppers. I also think this would be a great way for them to learn that a “credit card” doesn’t have an endless limit, that they can only use it to buy what they can afford at the time. Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks, Heather! It really has taught them to spend what they and nothing more. I was pretty excited when this sponsored post opportunity came up, as we used the debit cards already!

  2. I love the idea on one hand because of trackability and them being empowered. On the other hand, we’d like to teach them to not ever use credit, and I worry it would promote that.

    But great post for getting the wheels turning on teaching them about finances which is so important!

  3. These are two awesome ideas…I’m sharing this post with the families at my church to help teach their children about wisdom and stewardship. Thanks for writing!

  4. Vickie Jones says:

    How do you use the prepaid debit card to let them save money and if you encourage it, donate or share money?

  5. My boys ages 6 and 3 are younger than yours. At this point my husband wants to use only cash because it is less abstract than a card. But I think you have a very valid point that as a society we are really moving away from cash and moving more toward just cards and bank accounts. I’d like to start using something like a prepaid card when my kids get a bit older. I think it will be great training to teach them to use their future credit cards responsibly.

  6. Timely post – I keep going back-and-forth on the topic. The thing is, both of my kids *love* having cash on hand, even though we’ve dealt with lost $1s, $5s and even $10s! They think it is cool to go to the store and hand over the $20 bill. Were either of you boys really into cash and if so how’d the transition to prepaid debit card go? Thanks!

  7. I love this idea – and admittedly it’s because I also have boys and can completely relate! My son would love to have more autonomy and responsibility but he’s so careless and irresponsible with his chores and his things! This might be a good way to bridge that gap.

  8. Can I have one of those cute debit cards for myself? LOL! I love it!

  9. I LOVE this!! Definitely going to check it out. When my kids are older, this would be a great way to give them their allowance and allow them to make their own choices. I love the card designs too!

  10. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says:

    I wish they’d do a study to see how kids who have used these when younger handle their finances when older!

  11. Fantastic idea! We will definitely be doing this for our kids when they are older.

  12. The debit card is a great idea, but too wonder about teaching the concept of bank accounts/savings accounts, donating, etc. So many things to think about as they get older! ;) ACK!

  13. GREAT idea!! I love that they have cards that are “hip” for kids to carry. we don’t do the same money as you but even my just turned 4 year old has chores — it’s important to teach them young!

  14. I LOVE this idea, and would not have thought of it. I like the idea of teaching my daughter responsibility with this.

  15. I love the idea of a pre-paid card and my husband and I were thinking of doing something like that for our oldest until she got a job… now she has her own money! But she still has to learn to be responsible with her money and spend wisely.

  16. Sarah Lee says:

    This is one of those WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT moments! This is an excellent idea and I think I might start using it for my kids. I worry what my daughter might waste her money on, but I know my son would be totally excited to have a card and he shops more responsibly. Maybe we can mix up our routine so they still have access to cash as needed.

    Both of my kids do have savings accounts which they can access in person at the credit union, or have me make deposits in via an ATM card for me or via me transferring from my account to theirs. This is how I usually pay them because like everyone else here I never have cash, or the right amount of cash on me. I do most everything online or via my debit card. I find if I keep cash on me hubby thinks it’s his private ATM instead of going to the bank himself he will take my cash and just figure I’ll get more while I’m out and about.

    I would still want them to have cash access from their bank accounts or from their penny banks at home so that they can use it where cards are not accepted, but I think for keeping the money safe in larger quantities this is a great option. Meaner mom makes my daughter pay for things like dance tickets out of her pocket…but I do this to try and teach her to think about how she spends her money. She will blow it all on the first thing she sees and then get mad later when she sees something she wants more and has no money…making her pay for some normal but extra special expenses makes her think more about hey will I need this later? And so you don’t totally hate me…I did buy her Halloween costume for that dance, and a special dress and sandals for her semi-formal dance!

    My son has been driving me crazy to buy him minecraft…he’s willing to pay for it himself but mom has been tooo lazy to run to the ATM to take the money out and deposit it in her account so that we could go online and buy it for him with my card. I think we will do this first!

    We have two other alternative earning options in our household on top of regular or special chores. We like to have bottle water and my husband drinks cola like it’s an addiction! So if they regularly pick up bottles and cans laying around the house and take them out to the recycling bags, as well as when they are walking the dog or walking home from school pick up bottles or cans they see along the way and put in recycling. Then when the bags are full we drive them to one of the local recycling places and if they were the ones to fill up the bags they get the cash. If they have been slacking then we pocket it. Often my daughter spends hers while my son asks me to deposit it (and being lazy I tend to transfer the amount via the computer and then spend the cash…)

    The other is surveys. If your okay with your kids taking surveys expressing their opinions about products then they can earn checks that way too. They use Kidz Eyes (6-12) and Teens Eyes (13-17). They both enjoy doing this and cashing their checks out when they hit over $10.

  17. Sara @ says:

    I actually have never thought about this till recently. I mean, it makes SO much sense! My tween could actually pay her own phone bill with this!! Thank you for that chore chart, I will need to update the Clever Tween’s chores and pay and look into getting one of these!

  18. Prepaid cards are indeed fantastic for this. They’re great training wheels for future checking accounts and credit cards. We happen to offer a “family pack” of prepaid cards that integrates the chore and allowance tracking online, but there are lots of prepaid card offerings out there to consider. Compare fees and functionality and pick one that works for you. Here’s a list of the ones focused on families/teens/kids that we’re aware of:

    Funny that you have a picture in the candy shop. Here’s a picture of my son on a similar outing: He blew his budget big time!

  19. Love this idea. My eldest is 10 and this is something that would be perfect for her in the next year or so!

  20. Hi Becca,
    Love your blog on this and the neat idea you came up with on the prepaid credit card/chore system. I have 4 tweens (girls ages 14, 12, and twins (boy/girl) that are 10)…Just as you described in your intro, we have crossed those bridges too – with many different chore charts and reward systems. As they get older and get more involved with school and community activities, it has been hard to find a balance for their teenage house responsibilities, school work, and social life =)
    I love this idea for the older kids as it seems like it will prepare them for the real world and help them balance their schedules out. I greatly appreciate you sharing this wonderful idea with all of us and look forward to future blogs (especially about tweens) as you have some great feedback!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *