When your kids were little, you frequently heard requests such as “Will you read me a story?” or “Can we go for a bike ride?” Now that your offspring have morphed into teenagers, their pleadings often involve asking for money—your money.

How can you tame their cash demands and avoid the money wrangles, while also instilling a sense of financial responsibility? Here are a few ideas:

• Make the most of “teachable moments”—Look for opportunities in your day-to-day interactions with your teen when you can slip in a money “lesson.” For instance, if you’re out shopping together, you can talk about your own shopping choices or why you’re delaying a purchase.

• Provide hands-on experience—These types of experiences have more impact for teens than just listening to you talk. For instance, have your teenager make the grocery list for the week. At the market, he’ll see for himself how big a chunk of the family budget goes toward groceries.

• Model money monitoring—Sit down with your teen to go over her list of expenditures for the week. Discuss the following: Were these wants (things that just made you feel good) or needs (things like a new jacket to replace the one that no longer fits)? How could you have spent your money differently?

• Introduce plastic, perhaps—You’ll need to decide if your teen is mature enough to manage a debit card. You could give your teen a Mid Oregon Credit Union prepaid debit card with a spending limit. Again, go over transactions together.

• If a Debit Card works—We not only have the free checking account, mobile app and 30,000 ATM surcharge-free network they need, but you could use CardNav℠ by CO-OPBy downloading CardNav to your smartphone, you can:

  • Turn the debit card on or off
  • Limit locations where the card may be used
  • Set thresholds for transaction amounts
  • Specify the types of transactions and merchants where the card can be used

You can also choose to receive real-time alerts:

  • When the card is used in a location other than those specified by the member
  • When transactions are made over, or balances fall below, a pre-set amount
  • When the card is used for an unapproved transaction type. 

• Talk about the future—What will come after high school? If it’s college, what portion of expenses will the teen have to cover? Older teens also begin to think about career choices. This is a good time to talk with them about saving for retirement. It’s never too early to have that conversation.

Let us help at Mid Oregon Credit Union. We can set your teenager up with his first debit card and a Simply Free Checking account. Getting teens established with these tools can help them learn to manage money now—while the stakes are small—so they don’t get into financial trouble later. Call us today at (541) 382-1795, visit www.midoregon.com or stop by today.