amexFinancial expert Jean Chatzky and Stacy DeBroff have recently launched the Safe Spend program with American Express. This program was designed to help parents teach good safe spending practices before sending their children back to school.  The last thing a parent needs is their pride and joy stepping out into the world for their first time and damaging their credit or worse ending up with no money calling for more!

The American Express Practice Safe Spend Program offers tips on how to plan for expenses you know that are coming such as meal plans, college text books, laundry, a mini social life and the ever rising cost of gas. A simple budget of tracking all these expenses and then allotting a said amount and sticking to it is a great plan! The only problem is teens and young adults run into temptation. The American Express Safe Spend Program teaches to talk about these temptations and to share your experiences to help relate. Tell them what to avoid and what they might come across. Sometimes being prepared is half the battle. I even went as far as to put my son on a budget and then took some of his money to show him what would happen if he strayed. We acted like he made an impulse video game buy (which is a very likely scenario) and had him try to manage on skimpier funds. This resulted in him not being able to drive where he wanted for lack of gas and not being able to have the social life he wanted due to lack of funds. Extreme? Maybe. Lesson learned? I hope so. I want to know my son is safe and knows how to make the right decisions. I want to teach him what to do when things go wrong.

I also wanted him to have back up and know how to use it responsibly. A charge card like the American Express Additional card with Custom Limits allows you to give them a base spending allowance, but also allows you to quickly raise that amount in case of a car breakdown or broken leg. All you have to do is go online.

More than half of parents (57%) with kids in high school and college give schools below average or failing grades in teaching kids responsible spending, with more than one-third (35%) giving a straight out ‘F’. This is compared to 37% of parents who give schools an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for teaching safe sex, according to a recent American Express Survey.

affiliatedisclaimerI wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of American Express and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.