So there we were at Wal-Mart stepping up to the register (aka "candy lane") when my four year old turns around with three bags of M&Ms, a Cinderella phone, and some lip gloss and proclaims, "Can I use your card, mama?"

I snickered, explained to her that she had to make a choice and then beamed with pride as she made her purchase. Why was I proud? Because at four years old this child knew that if she asked for "my card" it meant that "her card" didn't get used. Which in a roundabout way meant she was grasping the concept of "saving", right? Ok, ok, I'm teasing. Really what I was most proud of was that she was cognoscente of the fact that there was money behind the plastic.


We live in a world where plastic cards can purchase just about anything. That has gotten many people into a world of hurt because sometimes that plastic doesn't have any cash to back it up. I don't want them making the same mistakes I made. So I tried to teach both of my girls the value of "hard-earned" money early.

My youngest is definitely way ahead of the game without even knowing it - she has her own USAA pre-paid card that I use for her allowance. Yes, my four year old gets an allowance, mostly because my ten year old does. You know how that goes - what one wants the other does, too.

I have found that the USAA pre-paid cards have been a very useful tool. They're easy for me to move money onto, easy for them to see their balance, and safer than cash.

My oldest is obviously much better at it - she understands how to check her balance via the children's version of the website and she can see her debits come out and is learning to balance it all. My youngest needs a bit of help but she does grasp that her allowance is on her card and her card can be used for purchases. Let me tell you, she's a frugal little shopper and has a much higher balance than the oldest. Or maybe it's because she's so good at "using my card".




Do you give your children allowance?

How do you determine the amount?

Do you tie chores to the allowance?

What method of allowance delivery (i.e. cash, pre-paid cards, checking acct.) have you found works best for your family/children?


New Member
Very interesting. I think I would like to try this concept of spending with my little ones. Can you tell how I can get started?
Tara Crooks
Limitless Contributor
ukismom, I am assuming you mean getting started with a USAA prepaid card? It's simple - just contact USAA via the phone or website and set one up. They'll tell you the specifics of starting the account and you'll even get access to a kids only version of the website for your little ones. Good luck!