Monday, January 30, 2012

Teen Spending - A New Approach

I had a Twitter follow suggestion today that made me laugh! It's a company called Bill My Parents, which immediately got my attention. I mean, what else are parents for?  When I clicked to find out more, its message to teens is - "The SpendSmart Card - Your Friend with Benefits". Excuse me? Now I have to keep reading.

Apparently it's a prepaid card that parents load up with money either manually or by a set amount per month. It then alerts you (via phone app if you want) every time the card is used, and even tells you what was bought with it. You can lock the card instantly by pressing "1" when you learn about a dodgy purchase.

Oh the pictures that ran through my head!

Smart Card Text Alert - The Queenager has just paid $100 for a thigh and shoulder tattoo.

Lock. Oh no she di'int!

Smart Card Tex Alert - The Man-Child has just bought school lunch for twenty five of his closest friends (who all just happened to have lost their lunch money that day. Again.)

Lock. I don't bloody think so!

Then you're supposed to sit your kid down for a "teachable moment." The ad says you can then have that "difficult conversation" then unlock the card when you think your teen will be ready. It will all go swimmingly.

This is how it would look like in our family (with face of Q disguised so as to prevent a messy case of matricide) -

I'm just wondering what planet those "Bill My Parent" people actually live on?


  1. But if the tattoo if already on her, the card wins! And if mine bought lunch for 25,you can bet that 24 of them scoffed before they even got to the table!
    But I really like the idea that it tells you what has been bought. Better then a GPS under their skin ;)

  2. I was assuming that she paid the money up front and it got canceled right there in front of the tattooist's eyes, - meaning that he wouldn't do the tattoo. It would be THAT instantaneous. Better yet, they should make it so that they can anticipate the stupid things teens do and send you an alert!

  3. I have a feeling that if you WERE sitting down for that 'teachable moment' re the abuse of the card, the expression on your face would not be as sweet and sunny as that one in the photo.


  4. Ha, this is a bit like what we have already for Son#1; that is, he has an account which we can access online and see how/where he's spending his money, but (thank God) there's no instant notification every time he spends. I don't think I could handle that information more than once a week.

  5. Clippy - the photo on the web site was just like this - with a mother and teen daughter having a loving conversation about her irresponsible spending. Yeah that'll happen. It brought to mind the photo of me and Q, which I love. So I put it on here. Well, after a fashion!

    MsC - Yes we have one like that, and I don't think I'd really want to know every little transaction. It's bad enough how much I know already with all the e-mails from the college. In my day.....

  6. Wouldn't that be a great App- The 'Stupid Things Teens Do and Parents Want to Know First' App.

  7. My coffee shop owner friend Helen tells me all about my kids ordered hot chocolates and other sugary treats and then I present them with the information...they have no idea how I know. (and It doesn't stop them) But I love that On-High feeling

  8. I love the notion of a "teachable moment".

    I think in my family those were called the "oh, you're gonna get it" conversations, though.


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