The new American Express Prepaid Card in my opinion is much like a cross between a debit card and a rechargeable gift card and can help your family keep within your budget goals for the month or year. The funds for these cards can come from your checking account, however, are not linked to it, so once the limit on the card is reached there is no money left to spend…until you add additional funds. So no over-drafting, fees, credit report worries or anything like that, yet there is protection for it if it were to get lost or stolen.
My husband had a similar card through the military when he was deployed in Iraq that helped us know what money was being spent and where since we were living on different sides of the world. This was a really useful tool for us, so I definitely see the benefit for a card like this. Other uses for a prepaid card could be for food budgeting, which I need to start since our spending seems to vary and has obviously increased a little since my son was born. I love to find bargains and get the most for my dollar, so a budget would be a motivating challenge for me to get the best deals and purchases within our budget (and boy am I glad we don’t have diapers or formula to pay for every month, then money could really be tight at times).
Some additional information about the card:
By using the American Express Prepaid Card, you take control over weekly or monthly spending. It can also come in handy while traveling, when you have a child attending college, or for a babysitter – as you can create and manage additional user cards for others. The card has no fees for purchasing the card online, monthly maintenance, activation, balance inquiries, alerts, card replacement, foreign currency conversion or loading via bank account.
The funds you put on the card do not expire, and if you lose it, it can easily be replaced. Users have full control via an online account – with the ability to load money, view transaction history, and set up alerts. Plus, with the Prepaid Card you get some of the same benefits you’ve come to expect from American Express like Roadside Assistance, Purchase Protection and 24/7 Customer Service.
What tools do you use to budget?