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Prepaid Cards Are Like Digital Piggy Banks

Prepaid Cards Are Like Digital Piggy Banks

*This post was created in partnership with Starbucks, and as always, all opinions expressed here are our own.

When our girls were very little, we introduced the idea of piggy banks – with a twist.  We gave each of our daughters three piggy banks, marked on their sides with a sharpie: “Save”, “Spend” and “Give”.  These days, those piggy banks have gone online, and now prepaid cards are like digital piggy banks that help kids save, spend and give through the use of tools like the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card.

Prepaid Cards Are Like Digital Piggy Banks

In this modern world of online banking and finance management, we are teaching our girls the value of money by allowing them to use our Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card. The idea of saving, spending, and giving is still the same.

girl in Starbucks with Starbucks mobile app

Sophia and Ava can both check their balances from their phones, and make Starbucks mobile purchases in any Starbucks location


As little girls, Ava and Sophia learned the value of saving for what they really wanted. The piggy bank marked “Save” collected $2 of the $5 we allowed each girl per week. With these two dollars accumulating per week until a small fortune (at least in the minds of young kids), they could witness what saving for something was all about.

We would ask them what they wanted to save their money for. Usually the answer was a new Malibu Barbie or Play-doh, or some fun toy. Then we would go online or show them in the store how much the item cost. We’d then help them tally their savings until they reached their goal amount. The reward for patience was to take the money and purchase the toy that had been saving for. Reward system!


Granted, the money in the “Spend” piggy bank did not last very long in that piggy’s belly. These $2 per week was designed for immediate gratification. Ava and Sophia could go immediately to the store and spend their $2 on whatever they wanted that week.

There was another benefit to this system – they also learned that $2 does not go very far. In fact, $2 does not buy very much at all. More the once, they would get a dissatisfied look as they held a few small pieces of candy or a Japanese eraser in their hand. To them, the rewards of saving for something bigger started to seem like a pretty good idea.

corner Starbucks store exterior

Our neighborhood Starbucks is within walking distance, and we’ve been going there with the girls since they were babies.


Our girls have been fortunate to have the opportunity for a weekly allowance. The “Give” piggy bank was designed to help them understand the power of sharing with those in need.  One dollar of the five each week was placed in this piggy bank, collecting until there was enough to make a gift of some kind.

As the money accumulated over a couple of months, we asked the girls where they would like to donate the money for that round. Sometimes their answer would be to help homeless people; sometimes it was school supplies for kids that couldn’t afford them. Heartbreakingly, one time it was for the janitor at school who had lost everything in a fire.

The look of pride on their little faces was priceless, as they realized their “Give” piggy banks had helped in some small way.


Now that the girls are teens, they’ve obviously outgrown the piggy banks. However, the concept of Save/Spend/Give is something we still talk about.

Starbucks Rewards Prepaid Visa Card

We felt like the cool kids in our local Starbucks store, whipping out our new card when no one working there had seen it yet.

We’ve shifted our conversations to how prepaid cards are like digital piggy banks that help kids save, spend and give. Through the use of tools like our Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card, we can use the card to help them learn about the value of money with an added bonus. Although far more sophisticated and powerful, cards like this can still operate in a similar fashion. We give the girls the choice to spend it all, or save it to amass for a larger purpose.

Once or twice a week, we sit with them in front of a laptop to view our card balances online. We talk though each purchase, the price of what they paid, and whether or not they feel that purchase was worth the cost. So far, the eye rolling and heavy sighs have been kept to a minimum. Instead, they actually seem interested in how it all works.

For The Love of Starbucks

A huge added benefit of the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card is the ability to earn Starbucks Stars with each purchase we make on the card (some restrictions apply, so see Starbucks.com/terms for details). We can earn an easy 125 Stars the first time we use the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card to load $10 or more to our registered Starbucks Card. Purchases outside of a Starbucks earn 1 Star for every $10 spent, but purchases made with our registered Starbucks Card at Starbucks stores earn 2 Stars for every $1 spent!

original Seattle Starbucks with Starbucks prepaid Visa card

We even visited the original Starbucks location across from Pikes Place Market in Seattle, and yes the card works there too.

We have no illusions as parents that their interest in talking finance with us will continue, but we are gaining confidence that the habits will last.  As digital piggy banks help kids save, spend and give through the use of tools like the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card, these old habits will die hard.

And in this case, that’s a very good thing.


At participating Starbucks stores. Some restrictions apply. See Starbucks.com/terms for details.

Debit cards are provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.  Member FDIC.

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Prepaid Cards Are the New Allowance

Prepaid Cards Are the New Allowance

*This post was created in partnership with Starbucks, and as always, all opinions expressed here are our own.

Do you hand your kids cash? We’ve been talking with several of our friends with kids the same age as ours, and we all grapple with giving our kids cash money. We all ask ourselves the same question. If you hand your kid a $10 bill in the morning to go get a snack after school, do you really know exactly where they spent that $10? Yeah, neither do we. That’s why we decided that prepaid cards are better than cash.

Oh, and good luck trying to collect the change leftover from that $10. Not that we don’t trust our kids – it’s just they can be a little…..careless with the cash.

In our family, we’ve got a Saver and a Spender. Ava is our little Saver, and she often squirrels away her allowance to save up for a big purchase. She has a goal in mind, and she will work towards that goal until she achieves it. On the other hand, Sophia is a spender. She neeeeeeds thiiiiiiings, and she must have them right now. (Kind of like a sweeter, kinder version of Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory – “I want an Oompa Loompa NOW, Daddy!”)

Either style works, we tell them, as long as they keep responsibly within budgets. Honestly, it’s important for both routes to keep track of how many dollars are actually available, whether saving or spending.

girl in Starbucks with app

It’s easy to check our card balances online, and manage our purchases to a set budget while watching our Starbucks Star balance grow.

Prepaid Cards For Kids Are the New Allowance

We’ve been experimenting recently with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card, and it’s been a great teaching tool for us. Helping the girls understand how to manage a budget, we are parenting them in financial responsibility. And best yet, they feel like it’s freedom!

Loading our Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card with their allowance each week, we are able to monitor their expenditures on the cards we got for this purpose. Sitting down at the computer with them on a weekly basis enables us to teach them how to manage their budgets.

Starbucks prepaid Visa rewards card and drinks

This card has brought our family all kinds of benefits, including a Starbucks treat now and then.

Why Cash Can Be Difficult

Cash is so easily lost or misplaced by kids. Our girls shove cash into their pockets without a wallet, crammed and smashed into little balls. Mixed with random coins, these pocket-fountains-of-cash often erupt when being pulled out. Money goes flying all over the floor. Plus, cash is easy to spend without full knowledge of where it actually went. Easy come, easy go – until it’s all gone, that is.

And even though we harp on the girls to carry a purse or backpack with them, they don’t always remember to bring it. However, they do remember to stick our prepaid cards inside their phone cases. Because they never go anywhere without their phones! At least we know the card will never be left behind or forgotten. We can also link the card to the Starbucks App, so they can make in-store purchases directly from their phones.

Starbucks and Chase app on phone

Connecting the card to the Chase App allows us to see the remaining balance, as well as purchases.

Prepaid Cards Allow Insight

One of the tools which automatically come with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card is the ability to check balances online.  We like this card because there are no monthly, annual, or reload fees (other fees may apply) and it’s really easy to reload. For more info on the card, go to https://starbucks.com/starbucks-rewards/prepaid-card?utm_source=media&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=2dadswithbaggage&spid=SPPC&cell=S27.

Through the Chase website we can track the girls’ expenditures ourselves, or better yet so can they. We’re teaching Sophia and Ava how to log on, access their card accounts, and view every purchase they’ve made.

Yes, the first couple of times we sat with them were complicated, as we talked through navigating the site to access the available information. Keeping the conversation under 10 minutes, we found these quick sessions provided great ways to have a conversation about the value of money. How far $10 goes (or doesn’t go) was a revelation to them. We also covered budgeting tactics, and planning for the things you want to buy.

So far, so good. No transgressions so far. We have not seen them go wildly over budget, or misuse the cards. They don’t seem to hate the conversations held over the laptop about budgets and finances. After all, it seems like a good exchange for the freedom of having the cards available for their use.

Chase Visa Starbucks reward card

Win/win! We get Stars towards Rewards for using our card at a place we love, and then redeeming those Rewards for something we also love. Genius!

Racking up Starbucks Stars

All of these financial lessons have a silver lining for Ava and Sophia, and it’s called Starbucks. A place they already love to go for drinks and snacks, Starbucks now brings them new interest. The girls can cash in the Rewards they earn with purchases they make anywhere using our new Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Cards.

Not only do we get 125 Stars after the first time we use our Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card to load $10 to our Starbucks Card, we can earn Stars for using the card to make purchases at Starbucks. And you get Stars when you make purchases outside of Starbucks stores.

Now it’s just a question of what they will get with those Stars. A Strawberry Frappuccino drink? Cinnamon Dolce Latte? Cake Pops or mini vanilla scones?

So many choices….


At participating Starbucks stores. Some restrictions apply. See Starbucks.com/terms for details.

Debit cards are provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.  Member FDIC.

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New Starbucks Visa Prepaid Card Helps Teach Our Kids About Budgeting

New Starbucks Visa Prepaid Card Helps Teach Our Kids About Budgeting

*This post was created in partnership with Starbucks, and as always, all opinions expressed here are our own.

With two teen daughters in the house, their desire for purchasing things is through the roof. We make more trips to the mall than any other location in town! Now that both girls are old enough to shop on their own without us – and our wallets – present, we need to teach our kids about budgeting.

Teaching kids about responsible spending habits is not for the faint-of-heart. There is a great deal written about this subject, with many recommendations from finance experts about various ways to teach important lessons about finance. After careful research, we decided to teach our kids about budgeting using a prepaid card we can monitor together.

Girls looking at computer screen

Just a few minutes at a time, we check in on purchases with the girls so they can see how expenses accumulate.


We chose the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card because, duh! Starbucks Stars! It’s like a built-in reward system for learning about spending responsibly. The kids love to go to Starbucks anyway, so this is a great incentive to learn and earn at the same time.

How We Teach Our Kids About Budgeting

Apply for the Prepaid Card

The concept behind a prepaid card is simple. Triton and I both simply applied online, were approved and sent cards through the mail to begin. The online application took about three minutes, super easy. And better yet, while some other fees may apply, there are no monthly, annual or reload fees to complicate the process. Both parents got cards so that we could share with each daughter as part of the learning process.

Learn more at https://starbucks.com/starbucks-rewards/prepaid-card?utm_source=media&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=2dadswithbaggage&spid=SPPC&cell=S27.

Load the Card with a Set Amount

Okay this post is not about allowance, which we know is a flash point for some parents. For purposes of this post, let’s just disclose that we give the girls an allowance of $20 per week. If they do chores above and beyond, they can negotiate with us to be paid an extra amount. At the very least, we will be loading $20 per girl on the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Cards.

To test this new program, we loaded $100 per card.

Set the Rules With Them Up Front

Before just handing over the cards, we knew it was important to go over our house rules for how the girls would be allowed to use our cards. The operative word here is “our”. We made it clear that the card is ours as their parents, and we are allowing them to use the card under strict rules:

  1. The card can only be used to make purchases we have pre-authorized. They cannot just buy whatever they want, whenever they want. By asking us if they can go clothes shopping at the mall, we can grant them permission to use the cards.
  2. They must keep a balance of at least $20 on the card at all times. Through this, we can teach them about managing to a budget. If we let them go all the way to a $0 balance, there would be no wiggle room for mistakes and overages to learn from.
  3. Each girl must show us their receipts after a purchase, and then we can go over those purchases with the girls online to check against the card balances.
Our Modern Answer to a Checking Account

When most of us were kids, checking accounts were still a thing. We wrote checks to make purchases or pay bills, and kept track of our purchases and deposits in the checkbook ledger.

Now prepaid cards are the new answer. We still teach the kids to keep track of subtractions and additions, but online through the Chase website. It’s easy-peasy, and we can sit with the girls and show them how to track their cards on either laptop or mobile.

If you would like to learn more, go to https://starbucks.com/starbucks-rewards/prepaid-card?utm_source=media&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=2dadswithbaggage&spid=SPPC&cell=S27.

Starbucks Stars

The bonus in this plan is racking up Stars in the Starbucks Rewards program! As we teach the girls about responsible budget management, we can also earn Stars everywhere we make purchases.

Starbucks QR code on phone

Adding the Prepaid Card to your Starbucks app allows you to use it for easy purchases in any Starbucks store.


The first time we use our Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card to load our Starbucks Card in the App earns us 125 Stars (enough for one food or drink Reward). Plus, we earn 1 Star for every $10 spent outside of Starbucks stores, but at Starbucks we earn 2 Stars for every $1 we spend using our registered Starbucks Card. The way our family consumes Starbucks menu items, those Stars will add up veeeerrrry fast.

Our whole family wins, because we can go to a Starbucks and use our Rewards to get free goodies. Win/win!

Venti nonfat iced white chocolate mocha with extra ice no whip, here we come!


At participating Starbucks stores. Some restrictions apply. See Starbucks.com/terms for details.

Debit cards are provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.  Member FDIC.