“Mom, you’re still writing checks?” says the 21 year old (with a bit of sarcasm.)
“Grandma, why don’t you use your debit card so you don’t have to carry all that cash,” says the 30 year old.
All of us at different stages in the game use our accounts differently. My grandmother who is now in her 80s is using her credit card for everything and just keeps a little cash on hand. She says “As long as you have the money in your checking to pay for what you spend, use your card.” She is absolutely correct on that one. (I fail sometimes, but she is correct)
My mother still writes checks and my sister and I give her crap for it, but it works for her. On vacations she uses her card. She has NO idea what her pin is to this day.
My little neighbor girls don’t know what a check is because their parents use online bill payer and the debit card.
So, what is best for our kids is the question to ask ourselves. My child has seen me write a check once a month, but he has no idea what I’m doing because he’s so young. Checks are a great learning tool: teach your kids how to write a check, what is on the check, and why it’s SO important to keep the checks in a safe place.
The personal side of a check:
It has your name, address, phone number, route number and bank account number. So yeah, we want to make sure they are not lost. If your checkbook gets lost then everything needs to be blocked. A stop payment on the checks that were lost/stolen, and having your account converted, just in case.
The learning aspect of a check:
If you absolutely don’t use checks for anything anymore, then when your child gets old enough, say around 12ish, you can show them how to write a check. Checks are a good responsibility technique for the tweens. They have to keep track of the checks, write them out, log the check in the check register, and keep track of where the money is going. Then they can see where there money is actually being spent. You can do this for the debit card as well, but for some reason unknown to me, writing it out sinks in more.
Checks are becoming a thing of the past. Not a lot of companies will take checks anymore–the bounce check charges are just not worth it for them. Take old checks you don’t use anymore and have a little fun teaching and buying with your teen.
They wants those designer jeans, or $100 pair of boots. You buy them and tell them they are on layaway until they buy them from you. With their allowance, or if they have a job, they write “YOU,” their lender, a check. It goes towards buying “their” pair of jeans. You’re showing them how to write a check, how to earn their money, and how to earn their reward. They might even appreciate it and thank you for it. (You can spin that idea any way you can)