At 15 years old, Ella is a budding entrepreneur and already a seasoned money saver. Whether it's her babysitting business or selling crafts, she's always looking for ways to earn money as she thinks ahead to her future. Her biggest score so far? Back in the summer of 2019, she earned $500 running her own lemonade stand.
Here's how teen entrepreneur Ella, is squeezing sweet savings from all her hard work with some financial guidance from her mom, Ashley, and her GoHenry debit card.
When life hands you lucrative lemons…
There are lots of ways for kids to make money, but lemonade stands are among the most popular. So Ella decided to give it a try. She set up her stand in an ideal location — at a neighborhood golf course, intercepting thirsty golfers crossing the road to buy drinks from the store.
"If I could make a profit off of this — like serious profit — and hire my family, it could be a great financial opportunity. That's how I looked at it," says Ella.
Between the excellent location, a professional-looking sign designed by Ella herself, and a variety of lemonade flavors, her business took off. She even had her siblings and cousins come work for her.
"My cousins were calling me up asking 'Ella can I get in on this?' and I was like sure, why not?" said Ella.
Unfortunately, the pandemic put a damper on her plans to reopen the stand in 2020. But after her mom heard on the radio that Country Time was offering a “bailout" for all the lemonade stand entrepreneurs who couldn't work, Ella got right on the opportunity and applied. She ended up receiving a $100 gift card!
Finding the right kid-friendly financial tool
Besides seeding her savings, the lemonade stand also encouraged Ella and her mom to start exploring financial literacy tools together. People at the stand were asking if they could pay her via a cash app, and that got them both thinking. “That's what first prompted us to look into how I can let her have access to the funds that she earns responsibly and learn some money management," says Ashley, Ella's mom.
In researching a debit card for kids, they decided to get a GoHenry debit card. "I think it's so neat that they can be responsible, and I don't have to have cash on hand to pay out allowances. For our family, it's been amazing," said Ashley.
Since Ella's siblings also have accounts, instant payments make it is easy for them to borrow and get paid back - especially when her younger brother Daniel needs a few bucks. “He comes to me because I usually have a little bit cash on me, and then he 'GoHenrys' me the money that he borrowed back. I'm like the sister family ATM."
GoHenry has also become Ella's preferred payment method for her various jobs. “I babysat for my aunt and she said, 'I heard you got this new debit card. Can I somehow deposit some money in there for the babysitting?'" Ella generated a Giftlink to get paid for babysitting and continues using it for her other jobs. “It's just so much easier!" she says.
Learning the importance of financial balance
Ella is fortunate that her parents have always tried to model good financial habits, even if things don't always go according to plan. "[It's] just showing them that life happens. You may accrue debt, and that's not the end of the world. You pay it off," says Ashley. "And then that's a jumping-off point for: How do you want to live going forward? Do you want to be in the black? Do you want to be in the red?"
Though Ashley is a self-proclaimed spender, she says her husband Stuart's tendency to save helps strike the perfect balance in their home. As for Ella, she gets her saving preference from her dad. "Saving is really important to learn while still relatively young, so then it will become something you continue doing as you grow up," says the wise-beyond-her-years high school freshman. “The more you do it, the faster your savings can snowball,”
Looking ahead, Ella plans to keep working on budgeting, saving and eventually learn about using a credit card when she gets older - the idea of using credit, versus her own money, makes her really nervous right now.
“I feel like I'm completely financially independent now. It's so liberating having my own money and getting to see it and check it out. I love it!"
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