Debit or Credit: Banking Resources and Savings Guide For Teens and Kids

Managing money is one of the most important skills to have when you reach adulthood. Learning to manage your credit, keep a budget and to live within your means will help you to build wealth and prevent financial stress later in life. The habits you form as a child and teenager will follow you throughout your life. There are many programs available to help you succeed financially. Understanding how financial products work is just one aspect of being able to successfully manage your money.

What Is A Credit Card?

A credit card is a revolving line of credit you have with your bank. You access the line of credit by using your credit card at a store or an ATM. The bank lends you the money and you agree to make payments on a monthly basis as long as you owe money on the credit card. Generally the interest rate on credit cards is much higher than they would be on a personal loan or a car loan. It can take years to pay off credit card debt if you only make the minimum payment.

What Are The Benefits Of A Credit Card?

One benefit of a credit card is that it allows you to build credit if you use it responsibly. To do this you need to pay off your balance in full each month, and avoid putting too much money on it. A credit card can also help you out if you do not have money set aside for a financial emergency such as a car repair or a trip to the emergency room. With careful planning though you can avoid needing to use your credit card for emergencies.

What Is A Debit Card?

A debit card is linked directly to your checking account. Any time that you use your debit it card it will debit or take money out of your checking account. You can also use your debit card at an ATM. Most debit cards are issued through Visa or Mastercard and can be used where those cards are accepted.

What Are The Benefits Of A Debit Card?

A debit card offers the same convenience as a credit card, but you do not run the risk of charging up large amounts of debt. You can use a debit card at most merchants, which allows you to save time at the register. It prevents you from needing to use checks. It is a safer alternative if you are focused primarily on staying out of debt.

How To Earn Money

Earning money as a teenager will allow you to buy the things that are most important to you. There are the traditional jobs at stores and fast food restaurants available to teens, as soon as they are old enough to work. However, you may want to look at other alternatives if you are not old enough. Working at home or in your neighborhood, mowing lawns or as a tutor are some easy ways to earn money. You can also work as a companion for an elderly person to earn some extra money.

Save Money!

Once you begin earning money, it is important to start saving it. You should save a portion of what you earn for school or to make a big purchase. If you put the money in a savings account it can earn interest, which can add up over time. Starting the habit now will help you to continue it when you are older and you need to save for retirement. If you save up enough money now you can begin investing it in the stock market with the help of your parents and make real returns on your money.


It is natural to want to spend your money, once you have earned it, but you can do a lot to start spending money wisely. Once you figure out how many hours of work something costs you, you will begin to look at certain items differently. If you shop sales, and look for deals online, you may be able to get a lot more for the same amount you would at a department store or a boutique. Learning to plan and budget for your expenses will help you as you assume more financial responsibility when you are older.


More Helpful Links:

  • Money Math Lessons: The treasury direct website offers four lessons designed for middle school students to help them understand how they will use math in real life.
  • Ideas for Teachers: The Mint offers lesson plans for middle school and high school students to teach them how to handle their finances.
  • Practical Tips for Raising Money Smart Kids: This is a list of suggestions to make it easier to talk to kids about money. It can be adapted for the classroom as well.
  • Planet Orange: This site teaches financial literacy to kids through games. It has resources for parents and teachers too.
  • The Great Piggy Bank Adventure: Disney offers a website that teaches financial literacy to kids.
  • Practical Money Skills for Life: This site offers several games to teach financial literary to kids.
  • My Savings Quest: This is a savings game to help kids learn about saving money.
  • HIP Pocket Change: This is the official site for kids sponsored by the U.S. Mint to help kids learn about money. It has resources for teachers as well.
  • Rich Kid Smart Kid: This is the website sponsored by the author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” It offers games and situations to help kids learn more about financial literacy.
  • Finance in the Classroom: This site has lesson plans for teachers to use to teach about financial literacy.
  • Fun Activities that Teach Kids About Money: This website offers several different activities for parents or teachers to use to teach kids about money.
  • Teaching Your Child Basic Economic Principles: This website has ideas to help children teach children to manage their money wisely.