bill my parents or our kids can’t make our mistakes

Last weekend I attended the BlogHer conference in San Diego. And by weekend I mean I milked that crap for everything I could get out of it and hit the road on Wednesday and didn’t return until Sunday. I did, after all, have to do our SDMOMfia segment on NBC California NonStop and how could I drive all the way home (20 WHOLE minutes) and get up the next day and drive all that way back? You see what time waste this would have been. Yes?

A few weeks prior to the event I got a call from the loveliest of lovlies Erika at the PR agency bailey gardiner (they don’t capitalize so why should I?). She wanted to pick my brain as the parent of a teen about a brand they were working with. 

The product, Bill My Parents, a pre-paid debit card designed to prepare your teens for life after sucking every last dime you ever made out of you. A.K.A. when they finish college and move out on their own into the big bad world of retail temptation. (Or? Your basement. Depending on how well you have done.)

As you all know I do not use this blog to do reviews and this is no exception. This is not a paid review. (See disclaimer below) I do, however, use it as the mother of a teen to tell you what I see in the world of teendom. Good or ugly. Far too often it’s ugly. This time, it’s brilliant.

I am writing about this product because it rocks and you should use it. 

Keenan and Noah were so excited to have their own “credit cards.” It’s way cooler than whipping out mom’s card. I remember when I got my first card and I too felt cool. Until? I got my first bill. Wait? What? I spent how much on how many pairs of shoes and jean skirts? How is that possible?

So? I paid the minimal amount and then went on spending. Ultimately? I was BEYOND upside down and had no idea how to bail myself out. Which is pretty much the base line problem of our economy. Yes?

I was telling my brother the concept of Bill My Parents the other day and he said, “Isn’t that everyone’s rite of passage with credit cards to burn the first one?” 

Yes. I suppose in the past it has been for far too many. But? It doesn’t have to be. We can teach our kids something different. They don’t need to have a sucky first experience with cards. We now have an amazing tool to teach them to use responsibly. 

Both of my boys upon receipt of the card asked, “What if I don’t spend all of the money in one month?” 

“It rolls over,” I explained feigning support (thinking instead not a snowballs chance in H-E double hockey sticks would there be any rollover). And? There wasn’t. Au contraire mon frere.

Here is where it gets really cool for you, the parent. Bill My Parents sends you a text every single time your child spends a dime. Which is how I knew within hours there would be no rollover.

*ding* Your child just spent $15.00 dollars at the candy shop. 

Ten minutes later. 

*ding* Your child just spent $12.00 at McDonald’s. 

Two hours later. 

*ding* Your child just spent $11.00 In-n-Out. 

Oh yeah. Day one and we have crashed and burned. Just like that we were discussing money, credit and budgeting. Look at me being a responsible parent. *pound dog. blow it up* You too could be as cool as I am. Get the card.

Bill My Parents Hilarious Video

There are many other fabulous perks to this card. Anyone can load it, parental controls, immediate shut down via text if lost, fraud protection, pin only…the list goes on and on. Check out their site for all of the benefits and to get your teen started today. You won’t be sorry.

Disclaimer: I was paid to work at BlogHer on the convention floor for six hours over the weekend by Bill My Parents. My time ended there. No one asked me to follow up with a post on my site. I did that all by my lonesome because I feel that strongly about this product. If you haven’t noticed, our economy is in the crapper and the reason is because far too many have not been taught to live within their means. This cards starts that process.

In other news. I was part of a flashmob at BlogHer which was so many counts of awesomeness I can’t even explain it to you. Thanks to @mamamaryshow for not letting me pansy out. Thanks to @rockonmommies for her amazing choreography. You gals glorified my world

Thursday on Ooph: New Facebook privacy settings for you and most importantly your kids. Don’t miss it.

Friday: A new column called Songversation. Where I bring you lyrics of a current song your kids are surely listening to and how to work that into a conversation that will have meaningful raminfications. First up? LMFAO and their hit song, Yes. In the words of Jeannie Darcy, “Don’t even get me started.”


  1. Thenextmartha says

    Love this idea. Though my kids are still a little young, it just reinforces that even at this age they need to learn how to make money decision. And no Tegan, you actually don’t need your 456th matchbox car.

  2. says

    I heard about the flash mob! Edge of Glory, right? Now I am REALLY sorry I couldn’t get down there.

    I looked into this – and here’s the thing – doesn’t it cost you a fee every time you reload it? This could get really expensive for the parents, really fast, right? When you are a single mom like me I just couldn’t justify signing up. Yes, it’s an awesome tool if you have the money to give to your teens like that. And yes, I have lots of friends who have that luxury so this seems like a great way to teach them how to manage a credit card & track expenses. Maybe. Is it their money they are spending, or yours?

    Alex is working this summer and fall and I opened a teen checking/savings account for him that comes with a debit card. Which he leaves at home more often than not. OTOH, he isn’t out spending at all (yet) since he cannot drive and his days are literally eaten up by football and his dog sitting job.He bought himself a new snorkel this weekend for his scuba diving lessons, but that’s it. At the end of some pay periods, he has more money to spend than I do :-)

  3. Erin Rehill-Seker says

    This is an interesting solution to a problem, I agree, has potential long-term ramifications for our children (and our future economy). My daughter is eleven, so she has never even touched one of my credit cards, but I worry about her perception on money. She has been saving her money (birthdays, holidays, lemonade stand, etc.) and recently she really wanted sushi for dinner (she has expensive tastes—something that makes me crazy). I refused to buy it, so she said she would. I drove her down to the Japanese restaurant. and she ordered 1 roll and an order of Chicken teriyaki. The total was $17.00. At first she was proud of herself, but when she got home and realized that it wasn’t as good as she thought it would be, she didn’t want to eat it all—and an hour later she was hungry once again. I restrained myself from telling her "I told-you-so" but I think she got a small lesson about spending hard-earned money on something frivolous—something I’ve been trying to get through her head. We’ll see . . .

    You raise a lot of interesting points, and I think a lot of parents would benefit from reading this. Thanks!

  4. says

    At least they were trying to think responsibly in the beginning. I’m sure your kids truly thought they wouldn’t spend all of the money LOL. Sounds like a great service. Wish it had been around when I went off to college.

    Please tell me there is video of the flash mob!

  5. says

    Thanks for the comment Christina. It does have a fee of 75 cents per load. We load it at the beginning of the month with their allowance for the month. Which includes movies, dinners, lunches, and any other things they want to buy for the month. The only time we add money to the card is if they earn it babysitting. Usually a couple of times per month. The lessons are invaluable and the 2-3 dollars per month is worth it. My kids have their own banking accounts as well. They can load their card via that account which means I am still able to watch their money. With a regular debit card they can spend and spend and I forget to check their account. I really love the text component of this card.

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