rebelling against low expectations

Giving Teens Credit


Giving Teens CreditMuchMusic teams up with MasterCard to launch a new payment card aimed at teenagers as young as 13. Andrea Gordon, family issues reporter for The Toronto Star, wonders whether prepaid cards and credit cards aimed at the youth market are really about conditioning kids to accumulate debt.

This article raises many important issues in the area of teens and financial responsibility and gives a glimpse into some of the traps our society has set for teens who don’t know how to manage money. There are big companies making big bucks off of a culture that encourages instant-gratification and self-indulgence in its young people — whether they can afford it or not.

Alex and I are planning to get credit cards soon, but we’re going to use them sparingly and strategically, paying them off in full every month, with the goal of building our credit rating. Hopefully the following article will help spark your thinking as you develop similar strategies of money management.

Giving teens credit – Andrea Gordon – 08/28/07

Meet Danny, a typical teen. Except when he first flashes across the TV screen, he’s kneeling in a playpen. A caption introduces him as “Recovering Momma’s Boy.” Seconds later, Danny is in a highchair, protesting, “I’m not a baby, mom!”

Switch to voiceover and Danny sums up his problem: “I really wasn’t in control of my life.” Enter the MuchMusic Prepaid MasterCard. The baby equipment disappears. Danny, now a big boy, tells us his new card means freedom. Money matters are “as easy as loading it and spending it.”

MuchMusic, which joined forces with MasterCard this spring to launch the new payment card aimed at teenagers as young as 13, sure knows its target market. The last thing adolescents want is to be treated like children. They are struggling to exert their independence. And they’re also bigger spenders than ever before, online and in malls. Both companies are hoping to cash in on that combination.

Not long ago, financial institutions didn’t much care about the under-18 set. But younger teens, now acknowledged as the driving force behind family spending decisions on items ranging from cars to fast food, have become a sought-after group in a card-saturated marketplace.

As well as being big consumers, today’s kids have been raised in an era when debt at a young age is considered inevitable rather than something to be avoided, especially for post-secondary students. So it’s not a surprise that lenders want to build brand loyalty early with these future borrowers.

Read the entire article »

Once you have read the entire article come back here and join the conversation. Below you will find some discussion questions to get you started.

We would also encourage you to have a discussion with your family about this issue. Ask your parents what they wished they’d known about money at your age and discuss what the Bible has to say about all this.

It is never too early to develop a biblical view towards money — especially in a culture that is coming after us early. If you have never really thought or read about this issue before, now would be a good time to start.

  • What is your financial situation? Do you have a steady income? Do you spend much? Do you save much? Have you ever invested your money?
  • Do you have a credit, debit, or prepaid card? If so, how have you used it? What do you think about teens using them?
  • How do you manage your money? Have you ever created a budget?
  • What do you think about going into debt?

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • I had a steady income for a while, until I quit my job after realizing that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. My dad does give me a stipend for the work I do for AP Roundtable, however. Some of my money is in a CD, but most of it was left me by my grandparents and is currently invested in an extremely diversified portfolio with my parent’s broker. (Basically, their strategy is to buy every stock that exists, including foreign stocks. It’s pretty low risk, and the rate of return is excellent).

    I don’t have a credit, debit, or prepaid card. I’ll probably pick one up in about a year, but right now my checkbook is all I need.

    Right now, I could probably manage my money a little better. I tithe 10%, but I don’t have a budget at the moment.

    I hate the idea of going into debt. I *might* make an exception for a house, but, that’s about it.

  • When I turned 18, my parents encouraged me to get a credit card, for the purpose of getting a credit rating. I was very anti the whole idea! It took them a few months to convince me that it was important to start learning to handle money wisely NOW and not when I get married etc. I pay it off almost every fortnight (if not than always within the month) so I do not pay interest on it. What I try and do now, is put money onto the credit card before I use it (so I actually never owe any money at all).
    I have found though that it is so easy to go to the shop and spend more than I would normally, because I have a credit card! And so while I have always paid it off in full every month, I found that I was not saving properly because all the money I was earning was paying off the credit card. Thankfully now I have mastered the art of using it more wisely…I guess thats why its called a Mastercard…hehehe…coz you have to ‘master’ it……Ok thats my lame joke, but at least I am laughing…

  • Oy vey! What next?

    What is your financial situation? Do you have a steady income? Do you spend much? Do you save much? Have you ever invested your money

    Financial situation would be that of any college student: pretty poor. 😛 I had a steady income over the summer, and will have a steady income during the fall as well – but that is at a significantly decreased rate. I don’t spend a great deal (beyond “necessities” such as gas and school expenses). However, I don’t invest either, since I don’t have that much to invest. But I’ll be looking into investing sometime in the next year.

    Do you have a credit, debit, or prepaid card? If so, how have you used it? What do you think about teens using them?

    I have a debit card and am currently trying to convince my parents I should get a credit card (for the same reasons that you have named). I use my debit card when I’m getting gas or paying for anything high-price (or whenever I don’t have cash in my wallet…often enough, anymore). But since it’s right to my checking account, it’s still knowing fully how much I’m using (and my, it hurts to fill the gas tank!).

    How do you manage your money? Have you ever created a budget?

    I have never created a budget, but I manage my money by evaluating ever prospective expenditure in light of what I will definitely have to pay for in the future – and what I’m trying to save up for. If it is necessary or worth the delay in savings (I’m trying to reach a certain amount before I get married and, God willing, I shall).

    What do you think about going into debt

    Personally, I hate it. In terms of debt, I’ve learned to think of the verse “Owe no man anything, except love.” Right now, I have one Stafford loan to repay and that will, God willing, be entirely paid in full before I’m out of college. I only had to take it my freshman year and God has since provided for me to go to college debt-free. Now, in getting a car (in the future) or buying a house, I think it’s mostly inevitable that there will be some debt involved because such is the system. In terms of a car, it’s actually a protection to have a payment, because your insurance will give more money if, God forbid, something happens (because they have an investment in your vehicle). It’s reality and, granted, an ugly one – but until the system of this country changes, we’re rather stuck with that parallel (unless someone is well-off enough to purchase everything, in which case, God bless them).

  • I tend to be a bit scatterbrianed when it comes to my money, and had never really set up a budget for myself. About two years ago, I decided to sit down and make myself a budget, and start handling my money more wisely. I can’t tell you how that budget has changed my life! I know what I have, what I can spend, where my money is going. Having your finances in order brings peace of mind, amongst many other things. 🙂

    I too am reluctant to get a credit card, and as of right now only have a check card. I don’t carry it with me—I use it for online purchases only, with few exceptions. I find, as Sheridan also found, that it is easy to spend a little too much when you’ve got a card (or even a checkbook!). When I am using cash, I can see how much I have, and I am always more careful what I spend it on. I do plan on aquiring a credit card someday, and when I do, I will probably treat it the same way as I treat my check card.

    Thanks for sharing the great article. It is murder what these CC companies are getting away with—and tragic what young americans are falling for (and getting themselves into).

    In Christ alone,

  • Mom and Dad just got a cell phone for my twin and i to share, and that took quite a long time to convince them that we even needed that… so it’ll probably a good three years for them to give us a credit card…

    Some of my friends want or have credit cards, and that seems so incredibly unnecessary. It is just an invitation to send oneself to the poorhouse…

    “What do you think about going into debt?”

    I think it sounds absolutely terrible, but inevitable if a person has poor budgeting and spending habits…

    I am excited that we will be learning how to budget and that kind of stuff during homeschooling… I want to learn it now than when I am in $8,000 in credit card debt.

    Great article… It is so necessary that teens learn how important financial stability is.

    ~Elisabeth Gruber

  • I teach praise ballet during the year, so I earn money through teaching, as well as through babysitting. I try to be wise in the way I spend my money, and save as much as I can. I’ve never invested my money, though I get to hear my siblings talk about doing it quite a bit! =)

    I got a debit card around a year ago. It uses the money from my checking account, and I find it’s very useful. When I’m driving the car and need to get gas, for example, I can use it, speeding up the process by not having to go inside to pay, and giving dad the ease of paying me back by simply transferring money from his account to mine using online banking. It’s also useful when running errands for the parents like grocery shopping, and nice to not have to carry around a lot of cash.

    Currently, I don’t have a budget, though my siblings and I used to create ones when we were younger. I’ve always tithed, and am thankful for my parents teaching us to do this. It probably would be good for me to create a budget… but for now I simply try to keep track of how I spend my money.

    The idea of going into debt doe not appeal to me – there’s so many dangers to it!

  • To get a good credit rating you don’t really need a real credit card. You only need a one time credit card. Buy a pair of socks, pay them off, and presto! You have a rating.

    I’ve had a credit card for over a year and I’m only 16. My parent signed up for an account, (so I don’t really have a rating) but I put the money in and take it out. I can say that it is really a challenge to keep in control, but it is really just a matter of keeping track of your spending.

    Personally I don’t like the idea of this new credit card because it is going to give kids a big chance to give themselves a bad credit rating.

  • I don’t have a credit card yet, that’s because I don’t have a steady income yet. I do make money through odd jobs and I do have a savings account. I am currently saving for a car.

    I don’t plan to get a credit card until I have a steady income and my parents have taught me that when I do get a credit card to never use it unless I already have money in the bank to cover the charge I’m making. This way I will always have the money to pay off the credit card when I get the bill.

    I understand the building credit idea, but I think it’s a good idea not to go into debt if you can help it. I know that there may be a need to have some debt when purchasing a home and maybe a car, but if you can avoid it, do.

  • Teens and credit cards. Been there, done that, and got the t-shirt . . . on the card. Just a few words of advice: Don’t do it. “Do Hard Things,” save up and pay cash and listen to Michelle here. For more info check out Dave Ramsey at He has sections on kids and money, teens and money, etc.

  • My Dad actually set up a credit card for me when I was 16. His thought was that I should start working with money as soon as possible just to get used to handling it and managing it. I did not feel ready for it, but now I feel as if I’ve adjusted and can handle it quite well. I don’t use it very often, but the regularity of the bill that comes every month has helped me grow in maturity.

  • I find this very interesting and sad that credit card comapies are targeting a younger and younger age group.
    I am admittedly a compulsive spender, and when I don’t keep the balance between my ATM card and the checkbook, things have gotten pretty messy. My parents and I are working on a budget for me. I am 17 and have a relatvely steady income, but the money burns a hole in my pocket! I would really appreciate prayer in this area. It has been a struggle fir me for the past 2 years. With God’s grace, I havn’t gotten into debt, but it is certainly on the horizon if I don’t shape up!

    1 Cor. 10.31

  • Hello again,

    I wanted to recommend an excellent book on finances from a Biblical perspective. It is called, “Your Money Counts: The Biblical Guide to Earning, Spending, Saving, Investing, Giving and Getting Out of Debt” by Howard Dayton. It is good for us to study and learn about these things while we are young, so as to establish healthy habits for the future! 🙂


  • Michelle,

    I couldn’t agree with you. I do plan to avoid getting a loan for a car as much as possible. My own parents have set the example of this. However, if I do get a loan for a car it would not be for more then year. Meaning I have paid for the majority of the car, but only needed a little bit more then what I had. I also do not recommend buying a brand new car, because they depreciate as soon as you have signed the papers and drive them off the lot.

  • I tend to be bad at saving my money; when I see something at a good price for my friends or siblings, I pick it up! I’ve been better lately, though. I want my dad to get me a bank account, but we have to get all the papers and stuff, though.
    I hate being in debt, even for five dollars! That’s part of why I want a bank account, so that when I go to college or buy a house, I can stay out of debt as long as I can.

  • I am nearly sixteen, and have occasional web-mastering jobs. I see no reason to get a credit card, but probably will once I am living on my own.

    Currently, nearly all of my income goes towards building a reserve for college.

    I hate going into debt, and will be working through college, although it will probably take a couple extra years.

    My philosophy is to never go into debt for something that won’t appreciate. Cars, electronics, &c. will all be worthless soon after they are bought. The main exception is housing. It is much better to be paying on a mortgage than to be throwing money away by renting. If you rent for ten years, you are that much poorer. If you paid on a house for ten years, you will still have most of the money in the house.

  • I saved for several months to buy my car, and when I went shopping, I had to work hard to convince various salesmen that I actually intended to pay for my new vehicle. I really didn’t want a loan. Not even a small one! 🙂

  • When I was really young and earning a meager $2.00 every two weeks in allowances for the exciting deeds of vacuuming the livingroom, I drew for myself a pie graph on a piece of paper and figured out how to tithe $.20, spend $.80, and save $1.00. Well, at least I felt cool doing it even if there isn’t much you can do with $.80.
    At my older siblings graduations I made two promises to myself. One of them was that I would graduate college with zero debt.
    I have a steady income (full time hours during the summer), and my college has been paid for the past two years through scholarships. I’m sorry to say I don’t save as much as I should. I take my brother out to hang out with our friends from church and usually pay for both of us, no matter what it is.
    I do have a debit card through my bank. I had to get it because I opened my first bank account before I had my liscence (parental rule of 18) and as I could not write checks without a photo ID, I used the card. Most restaurants do not accept checks anymore either.
    I don’t have a credit card, but like you guys I have to get one soon. As of right now I have zero credit, and I know that for the future it is wise to build it up. In the next few weeks I plan on getting a Discover card (5% back!) and using it only for gasoline. I too will pay it off in full every month.
    I don’t think it is wise to be in debt (beyond the obvious necessities of car loans, home mortgages, or even college loans). And I think that a credit card for thirteen year olds is unecessary. There are other ways to teach them responsibility.

    I’ve noticed some mentions of cars. I didn’t really want to get a car loan, like Michelle said, because of the fact that cars depreciate in value. However, I live in an area where a cheap car either won’t run for you or is only considered cheap by the rich doctors and lawyers. Also, I live 30 minutes away from my church, which I go to at least twice a week, so I needed a car that wouldn’t just take me around town but that would take me far down the highway.

    As a suggestion to anyone thinking of going in to debt- pray about it first! God is our provider, and He will supply all of our needs according to His riches and glory. Seek His will and you will find that He can provide a way for you. He certainly has for me, especially for my education! I am constantly amazed at His mercy and provision!

  • For the past year, I’ve kept track of expenses for everything. My parents give me a weekly allowance, which I can spend however I like – or save it or whatever.

    I guess i’ve always been pretty good at managing my money – I’ve always had enough when I need/want to buy something, and when I don’t I save up for it. Before I buy anything I think through it.

    We’ve never done any sort of “budgeting” and stuff, but we help my mom with shopping, and lately I’ve started paying attention more and more to how much things cost – just for the future, getting a good idea on what’s a good deal for something.

  • What is your financial situation? Do you have a steady income? Do you spend much? Do you save much? Have you ever invested your money?
    Well, I’m in collage getting a degree that costs $80,000. I have two $250 per quarter scholarships so that’s $6,000 off the loan meaning a total of $74,000 not counting interest (which might eat all the scholarship money). I do not have a steady income as I’m a full time student and at the moment I would not be able to work well while doing the college work as well as I am able. I spend alot more than I used to between textbooks and supplies. But I have recently had to combat my tendency toward vending machines(comfort food) by packing a granola bar so I don’t have an excuse to buy peanut MM’s. When I had a job, I putmost of what I earned into savings (after tithes). But I have never been good at leaving the money in the bank. I had aboout $1500 when I started collage and now If I counted textbooks as money probably have about $1200 (considering the depreciating value of textbooks)
    Do you have a credit, debit, or prepaid card? If so, how have you used it? What do you think about teens using them?
    I have a debit card and have recently begun to manage it like a checkbook. Which has helped me spend my money more wisely, as I know I’ll have to write the expense in the book and some things I just don’t want to write down (like peanut MM’s).
    How do you manage your money? Have you ever created a budget?
    Not very well, although writing down the income and outgo in my daytimer has helped. No, I have never created a buget, by the time I wanted the check on my spending habits there didn’t seem much point to one as I had no income.
    What do you think about going into debt?
    The idea terrifies me. My father was hurt rather badly when I was 6 making him unable to work for about a year and then it was necessry for him to go back to collage and learn a new career. During those five years my family lived on SS and the bounty of the Church. I still remeber how scornful the people at the store were whenever we bought food with the food stamps, they never said anything that I can remember but their looks really hurt. Anyway, ever since then my dad has usually only had jobs last 2-5 years as his field is computer support (very high turnover rate). One of those in between times lasted a whole year, when we were rentig a 1 bedroom apartment in an expensive housing area(4 people, 2 cats, and 1 dog, Thank God the animals got along!). Through all of it, God was faithful to provide what we have needed, but my family has never been completely debt free since dad was hurt. Debt is probably my biggest fear and I wrestle with trusting God in the midst of debt every time I have to buy something, possibly why God has so far foiled my attempts to work through collage.

  • What is your financial situation? Do you have a steady income? Do you spend much? Do you save much? Have you ever invested your money?
    I currently am working a 3-week job in a community college bookstore during “book-rush”. I don’t have any other “steady job”…but then, I don’t really “need” one right now because I don’t spend much, or have anything that requires payment, so I don’t owe anyone anything – except perhaps to bless my parents or others. I generally don’t save much for too long, because, by the time I GET the money, I know what I need to get with it. With the money from this 3-week job, I am going to invest in a professional-quality digital camera, and hopefully get into photography in a way that will allow me to make a little extra money with it.

    I don’t have a car yet, and am not especially crazy about the idea, because, once you get one, you need to keep it up, and to keep it up, you need money. I have several things that I want to do before I get a car (and thus, get a steady job), like finishing my book that I’m working on, learning homemaking skills etc…things that I wouldn’t be able to do as easily if I was giving all my energy to making money (which I rather struggle with giving my life to that pursuit…but I guess that, sooner or later, I am going to need a car…).

    Do you have a credit, debit, or prepaid card? If so, how have you used it? What do you think about teens using them?
    No…I don’t, though my parents will probably advise me to get one soon, just so I have a god credit score, if I ever need it. I don’t think it is wise for younger teens to be thrust into that kind of “power”. If their parents are godly and wise teachers of stewardship, and the teens understand the power of destruction or wise usage within them…then they might be ok. Older teens (aka. 18+), I think are fine…they are ready to make choices on their own, and see how those choices affect them.

    How do you manage your money? Have you ever created a budget?
    What do you think about going into debt?

    Well, so far I have just saved my money until I am sure of what I want/need, and then find the best deal that I can…and buy it, if I have a good reason to buy it…or if it is needed. I have created “mini-budgets”, but at this point, with the little money I have, it doesn’t make as much sense. However, my dad would like to see me create a budget of sorts and work on my money managing skills. (He mentioned having my mom teach me her skills with the checkbook, and budgeting etc….and then letting me run the finances of our household for a month. That sounds a little scary, but I learn best by DOING things…so I have a feeling it would be very helpful.)
    I am adamantly opposed to being in debt…it’s just something my parents (and “Pa” Ingalls from Little House on the Prarie) have drilled into my head: Cash on the barrel-head. Period. Why buy a “thing” (or go to a secular college for 4 years just to get a peice of paper) with borrowed money…a transaction that could potentially keep you in a bondage of sorts for the rest of your life, when you could use your money for much nobler purposes?
    Well…perhaps there are some exceptions, but ’tis true that the borrower is a slave to the lender.

    ~Lady Tai

  • Jeff is right when he said, “Do Hard Things”. It is far better to go without while saving up to pay cold, hard cash. All of you–DO go to! Run to it. Learn from him.

    I am terribly saddened by the credit card company’s disingenuousness regarding their statement that “the company doesn’t consider prepaid cards the gateway to credit cards”. The spokeswoman goes on to say, “Certainly, that was not our intent”. Call me pessimistic, but I don’t believe that for one moment! In my opinion, they have been waiting those fifteen years for when the time was ripe to reap what they can from unsuspecting kids. Parents, if you are going to get a card for your child, stay on top of it(and your child), having weekly talks about their use of the card, the responsiblities that come with it.

    Our story in a nutshell: We started our marriage without credit cards, got our first one during our first year, accrued high limit, got more cards with higher limits, having “fun” the whole way. By our eighth year, our debt was so high we couldn’t control it anymore (though it was always controlling us–we learned about that later). Went through credit “counseling”(they talked to the card people for us, but we didn’t receive any advice on managing our credit), took another five years to pay everything off, then proceeded to accrue more debt, this time through our business. But there is good news! We finally got it! After listening to Dave Ramsey’s excellent advice, we are going cash only. The debit card stays home; the credit cards have been cancelled and cut up. All will eventually be paid off by a smarter, in-charge-of-their-money-and-not-the-other-way-around couple. I am so grateful that our children will get to see the turn around of their parents. I am so grateful that we are now confident to really teach them how to manage their money.

    My advice to those of you considering marriage or getting ready for it–be on the same page with your spouse. Have a plan TOGETHER and stick with it. Don’t change it unless you both agree to it. How much that would have helped us these last eighteen years. Thankfully, our marriage has always been strong in most areas, but weak on communicating about money.

    Sean, and those of you wanting to buy a car without having a loan payment–check this short video out! I can hardly wait until our car is paid off so we can utilize this way of buying a car!

    Thank you for letting me air my opinion.
    Mrs. H

  • “What is your financial situation? Do you have a steady income? Do you spend much? Do you save much? Have you ever invested your money? ”

    I have a comfortable financial situation through piano teaching, accompanying, and scholarship stipends. However, my income is not steady. I am pretty careful, but do spend money on clothes, books, CDs…

    “Do you have a credit, debit, or prepaid card? If so, how have you used it? What do you think about teens using them? ”

    I have a debit card, which I just got this summer. I managed to keep track of it, but it’s hard. Currently I have more money in my checking account than my checkbook says I do, which is a good situation but a little perplexing. I think that a checkbook is a good place to start, after cash, and that credit cards for teens is not a good idea.

    “How do you manage your money? Have you ever created a budget?”
    I mostly use cash, which is good because I can only spend what I have. (my mother likes putting cash in envelopes!) I have made budgets, but have trouble keeping going with them, partly because my income is variable. I would really appreciate any advice on this.

  • “What is your financial situation?…”

    I have maintained a home business for over a year. It’s been an excellent experience and an opportunity to learn how to manage a steady income while trying to keep in mind proper financial priorities. Currently I do save a large percentage of my income and tend to spend conservatively (that’s partly just my personality =)). Although I have invested to a small degree, it’s a subject I want to become more familiar with.

    “How do you manage your money? Have you ever created a budget?”

    Budgeting often compels me to think hard about priorities and about developing a long-term (instead of a merely short-term) vision! For me it is simplest to list out all the areas of my life requiring funds (giving, college, investment, business maintenance, etc.) and then divide up my income into percentages that roughly match the needs in each area. This way I always know that, say, 20% goes to savings, 15% to college, and so on out of whatever I earn. Like Pheobe, I use cash for any areas out of which I regularly spend money. Money assigned to other, less-frequently-used areas is banked.

    “What do you think about teens using [credit cards]?”

    In my opinion, teens owning credit cards is primarily a matter of whether or not they have the character to use them wisely. Without discipline and Godly stewardship, cards often accomplish far more harm than good, and the rationale of “teaching kids responsibility” too frequently backlashes by giving free reign to irresponsible spending.

    Thank you for posting on this topic! It deserves more attention and prayer on my part, since my use of money is often a telling reflection of the standards I’m upholding – Christ’s or the world’s.

    ~ KP

    P.S. Ky, I can really appreciate your transparency and your realizing that your habits need to change. That’s always the first step, and I pray that God will keep directing you!

  • Wow, this is so amazing.

    [i]What is your financial situation? Do you have a steady income?[/i]
    I don’t have a steady income at the moment, however I did work over the summer some, and earned a bit there, and I was teaching piano last year, so then I did have a steady income. This year I (so far) have no piano or flute students, so I don’t have any money coming in, however most money I do get from anything (small allowance, babysitting, birthday gift, etc.) usually goes into my savings account.

    [i]Do you spend much? Do you save much? Have you ever invested your money?[/i]
    No, I’ve never invested. I’m not sure it would be worth it right now. As I said before, most of my earnings go into my savings account, so I do earn a little interest on that. I try to have $5-$20 in my wallet at any given time, in case something comes up, which it occasionally does.

    [i]Do you have a credit, debit, or prepaid card? If so, how have you used it? What do you think about teens using them?[/i]
    No, I don’t have any kind of card, and to be honest, I really don’t think it’s at all necessary right now! 🙂 I’m 15 years old, I don’t drive yet (can’t until I’m 16), and I don’t have anything I have to pay for on a regular basis. I like cash! 🙂 I know how much money I have in my pocket, I can’t spend more than what’s I have on me, and it’s solid. I like the feeling that something actually exists, including money. 😉 I really despise the idea of having to get a credit or debit card in the future, however, in our society today, there’s really not much you can do to get around it. I don’t think that you should have any need for any kind of card until you are at least 17 or 18, unless there is some extenuating circumstance. As everyone else has already pointed out, it just breeds an attitude that says: “If you want it, you can have it.” We sometimes just need to learn to do without something, and most times we learn that it isn’t as much of a necessity as we once thought.

    [i]What do you think about going into debt?[/i]
    It’s goofy. The problem is that the prices never go down, they only go up, and as a young person, it can be very hard to do anything big, like buy a car or a house or post-secondary education without getting into some sort of debt. If you can possibly, possibly avoid it though, stay out of debt. I’m going to try as hard as I possibly can! It’s just this: A debit card without the ‘i’ is a debt card. Stay away as long as you can!

    This is definitely an area I will pray about for my own life. Thank you for sharing this very informative article!

    God bless,

  • I very much agree with Jeff and Mrs. H. Dave Ramsey has really helped out me and my family with managing our money, and I recommend to everyone his book Financial Peace Revisited. I have never had a credit card, and I never will, because I see no good reason to spend money that you don’t have, rather then saving up for something yourself. I don’t know, it just makes more sense. I’ve been using a budget for my money since May of this year, and I love it! I know exactly where every dollar that I earn is going, and now I am saving up for a car. I urge everyone to learn how to handle their money wisely, so that they do not dig themselves into a hole of debt. I’ve never been there, but I sure can imagine how bad it must be! May we all strive for financial peace!

  • I really agree that we need to teach kids to budget properly. I try not to worry too much about it, but keep my financial situation under control at the same time. I am 16 years old and work as a waitress. One catch to that: I have a horse that i pay for entirely. i was working 5-6 days a week over the summer, but now that schools started i only work 2-4 days a week after school. I spend my tips entirely on Gabrielle (my horse) and all my money from my check goes into my savings for college. I want to be an equine vet and college is not cheap. I’d like to be able to give my kids the things they need when and if that happens so i figure i better start planning now. I rarely spend much on myself and since i live with my parents they pay for all the necessities, however i have to say the industry really does target teens! I went to bath and body yesterday to buy 1 lip gloss ($7.50). “Our lip glosses are on sale today, 3 for $15.” so i decide to get 2 more lip glosses. “And now since you’ve spent $15, you’re qualified for this hip denim tote for onlyh $10!” uh…no.

  • Incom? Saving?

    I do not have a steady income. Officiating soccer is good money on my schedule during the school-year, but it varies widely on the month and assignments. Coming out of the summer I have a slightly negative savings rate, no budget beyond taking a buck out of ten for God, and a strong anticipation for soccer season. During the season I mangage to put asside a fair portion, but a bite gets taken during the off-season, and the average balance is financially insignificant. After all, the driving expenses that I am about to incure are but a portion of the cost of future education, a car, and a house.

    Credit card?

    Nope. Never have. Will avoid studiously.


    My budget is in woefull disarray. Summer odd jobs quickly translated into summer pleasures. But generally I only cash part of my pay-checks and try to divide that part into envelopes, in the style of afformentioned mother.

    Thoughts on debt?

    Debt is just dangerous. It can be used properly in starting a business, buying a house, or other ways. But it is like nitroglycerin, very touchy and dangerous even in dynamite form. I want to avoid it. I think I can manage college debt free, but med school afterwards is something I have to put before God.

  • I do have a credit card right now. It has a limit of $250 on it because it’s our bank’s student visa. I think it’s nice to have a visa card because then you don’t have to be constantly drawing money out of the bank, or keeping it in you’re house. But I do see the danger in being able to buy almost anything. I have to keep in mind how much is in the spending money section of my budget. Before I make a purchase (even some not so big ones) I’ll call my mom and ask her if she thinks it’s wise of me to spend my money that way. I think that it is a good thing for teens to have credit cards as long as the point is teaching them how to handle money wisely, and not so that they can spend it more easily.

    I have a part time job and I pay for my own car insurance, gas, and cell-phone bill. My mom is teaching me how to keep a budget and spend/save my money wisely. Ever since I was little my parents made me tithe 10% and save 20% from whatever money we got. It’s still a habit, and I now have almost 2000 dollars saved for sometime in the future…probably a downpayment for a house. I also have a short-term savings section where I save for things that cost more: a laptop, car, etc. Spending money is basicly for clothes, coffee dates with friends, and odds and ends like that.

    As for debt…I think that as far as is possible, we should try to stay out of it. But for things like buying houses there is an exception. In the the northwestern part of Washington where I live, the house and property prices are rising so quickly that by the time people save enough money, the prices are up again and they still don’t have enough. But once you are in debt, you should pay it off as soon as possible. Pinch pennies in other areas until the debt is paid.

  • personnally i don’t want to ever get in to dept for anything but realisticly i will probably have to for car and definitly for a house. i think prepaid cards or debit cards are a good idea for teens as long as they keep track of how they are spending it and preferably have a budget. until a teen is good at managing money they should not be allowed a credit card because, until the bill comes, it feels like they have an unlimmitted budget, easpecially if their parents bail them out when they get to much in dept!

  • Yikes! My greatest weakness! Money! Being one of those poor souls with the propensity to be frequently afflicted with the I-Have-To-Have-It-Or-I-Think-I’ll-Fall-Over-And-Die Syndrome, I find myself facing new debt at every turn. And to think, it’s already this bad, and I’m only seventeen o.O. Every time I read, “No one can serve two masters”, guilt floods over me, and I swear I’ll never let myself walk in another J.Crew or Lilly Pulitzer the rest of my life. But today, for example, I had to go and fall in love with the most gorgeous Jackie O. dress on the entire planet, but alas, I had rather no choice which master I would serve, since I could only afford the button on the front of the dress, and what good is a button without the dress? (Price of dress and charming matching little jacket: an astonishing $548.00) However, the real curse is that I’ve thought about the dress every 10 seconds ever since I fled the store six hours ago.

    Lord Jesus, I need some serious help down here! Surely it must be someone else’s fault I was born with expensive taste! Because a love of clothes and miniscule bank accounts don’t go together quite as well as milk and cookies!

    I’m not sure the Daddy-I-Beseech-Thee-For-More-Of-Thou-Money line is exactly Rebelutionary, either.

    Sometimes I just need God to shake my shoulders and say, “My beloved child, GET A GRIP!”, and my mom to say, “As much as you like it now, you can’t take it to heaven with you!”

    (Just thought I’d mention I’m not applying for a credit card anytime soon…)

  • First of all my situation , I earn money by doing extra chores and other stuff .

    No ,I do not have a steady income i.e. a job.

    Do I spend a lot ? Typically no I do not .

    No I haven’t invested before but I am learning about smart investments in school this year.

    Now for the shaboozie- Should teens ( I’m sorry young adults )
    ever have a credit card ?


    No one should ever have a credit card. If you don’t have enough cash for it then guess what ? You can’t afford it.

    Credit cards are a wonderful way to put you in financial bondage.

    Don’t give the screen that look. Just digest that for a minute.

    I noticed a lot of you said that you would get your cards and control your spending, always pay on time, and only use them for emergencies.

    First there is always going to be an emergency. And second most likely because of that emergency you get behind in your payments and then the cycle of interest and debt begin.

    And that trash about building your credit ? Okay let me get this straight , you want to get debt so that you can get more debt ? That is nuts.

    Obviously , I do not own any credit cards. And I am proud to say neither do my parents.

    How do I manage my money? Usually I’m saving part of my money for something and the rest for charities at church.

    Have I ever created a budget? How do you think I manage my money ?

    Finally, what do I think about debt ?

    I think debt is awful, a black pitiful mess that overtakes your life to the point when you can’t think about anything else but how you are going to make the next payment.

    Hey I’m not the only one either. In Proverbs 22:7 it says and I quote “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”. So God isn’t to hot on it either.

    Also a little fact for your contemplation, 19% of bankrupcies filed in 2002 where made by college students as a result of credit card debt.

    In conclusion I beg you to never ,ever,ever,ever,ever get a credit card or go into debt. Pay in cash and if you still feel the need for plastic get a debit card. That will just take the money from your bank account, thereby keeping you from spending money you don’t have.

    I’m sorry if I come across as too strong but I’ve seen a lot of people in trouble over their debt ,mostly over credit cards and really just handling their money unwisely.

    One great source on how to handle your money in a biblically wise way is Dave Ramsey. Check out his books and stuff if want to know more.

    Right now before I’m an adult I’m committing my life to living free of debt and my big dream that one day when I attend college , that on graduation day I’ll be completely debt free. That way I can be free do whatever God has for me.

    It’s not impossible. After all aren’t we all capable of doing –

    Hard Things ?

  • I babysit so I have a small income.
    I put all of my money in the bank since I’m only in 9th grade. (Except for my tithes) I look at it as, it is growing in the bank so why not put it there so it can work for me.
    No, I don’t have any type of credit, debit, or prepaid card.
    I am trying to save my money for college, so I am not majorly in debt when I get out.
    No, I don’t have any type of budget, but I definately will before I leave home.

    I too hope to come out of college debt free.

  • After discussing this with my mother, I came to a conclusion I would like to bring up:
    There are teens that I know who are very wise with how they spend there money, and there are those who are not quite so wise. If the teen is able to be trusted with the amount given (not buying more then what the amount will allow) , it could be a good way for them to learn how to manage their money. But, if the teen has not earned that money through labour of some sort, they might not realize the importance of handling it responsibly (things that we toil for seem to be most precious)… Would it be possible for you to bring that point up?

    Thank you!

  • Jeff: I agree with you 100%. My dad has indoctrinated us with Dave Ramsey and his plasectomies! I think that debt is one of the worst things for a person to get into. I will do everything in my power (and with God’s help!) to stay OUT of debt, and for me, that means not getting a credit card. I think that a debit card is okay, as long as you don’t spend too much. I like having cash in my wallet, because then I know exactly how much I have (and it’s fun carrying cold hard cash around, let’s be honest!)
    I believe that credit cards are always a bad idea. If you don’t have enough money for it, then save up and buy it cash, all in one shot, with no debt. That’s my opinion on the matter.
    I have a somewhat steady source of income. I have a small business and my client is not always constant about paying us, but she does and she has been faithful to. I have never had a debit or credit card, but I have had gift cards before (usually just Walmart or Target, the usual happy-birthday-but-I-have-no-idea-what-to-get-you-so-here-spend-$25-at-Walmart kind).

  • Lil children are so precious and only should be taken care of in that way! Your blog has allowed me to think up some interesting ideas, so thank you and please keep it going!

  • Bess,

    Thanks for the suggestion! I love to read and I had been looking for something plus I am trying to save money so that would be perfect for me!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Thanks 😀

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  • I have a small monthly income from babysitting. I have never had a credit card, and I don’t plan to. My parents got way into debt when they had credit cards, and I don’t want to go down that road. I think that teens should look down the road. “I can spend this now and get “instant” satisfaction and rack up this debt to pay later (by the way, has anyone noticed that “later” never seems to come) and possibly drown myself in debt or I can save up my “spending” money to get this unecessary object later.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →