Update: And the winner is…
Alicia K Livivua C. I have sent the winner an e-mail, and he or she has 48 hours to respond with contact information or I’ll have to choose another winner. Thanks to everyone who entered!
While I was growing up, my parents worked hard to teach my sister and I how to manage money.
Starting in kindergarten, we each received a small allowance, and we had to manage that money to buy any toys or do any extra activities (that they wouldn’t normally have paid for). Plus, once we hit high school, my parents gave us a set amount of money for our clothing allowance. We could choose to either blow that money on a few outfits or shop the clearance racks and stretch our money as far as it would go. It was a great lesson in sticking to a budget.
I wanted more money than I got from my parents, so I worked a paper route in 6th through 8th grades, babysat, and worked in fast food in high school. In my college years, I worked every summer and Christmas break as well as several steady babysitting jobs. I learned a lot about working hard for my money.
Although I think my parents did a good job of teaching my sister and I about money, not everyone’s parents did that. Did you know that 1/3 of parents are more comfortable talking with their kids about smoking, drugs and bullying than about money?
Because of that, H&R Block has funded H&R Block Dollars & Sense, which provides personal finance curriculum to high schools and scholarships to students nationwide, helping to further financial literacy in youth.
And since April is National Financial Literacy Month, they have teamed up with DoSomething.org to encourage young people to share stories about wacky things they have done to save money – and they can even win a scholarship by doing the following by April 30th:
- Facebook App: Using the Craziest Thing I Did To Save Money Facebook app (dosomething.org/crazy), young people can upload photos, stories and advice to share with their friends and receive advice on smart ways to save money. Participants have the chance to win a $4,000 scholarship.
- Mobile: By texting “WYR” to 38383, teens can weigh in on ridiculous ways to save money and receive more reasonable money-saving advice.
- Toolkit: More than $30,000 in scholarships is up for grabs for young people who use the “Mind On My Money & Money On My Mind” toolkit to teach their friends about personal finance. The toolkit (dosomething.org/save) includes interactive activities, an online personal finance game and additional resources.
The H&R Block Dollars & Sense Team has some great tips for parents for teaching their children personal finance, including:
- Prepare a budget and don’t spend more than you earn. While this may seem simple, more than half of adults don’t have a budget[i] and 4-in-10 families spend more than they earn each year[ii]. Encourage teens to prepare a budget that includes income from allowance or jobs, regular and expected expenses, and a savings plan. Each month, help them track their expenses and learn tips to stay on budget.
- You must pay your bills on time. Defaulting on a loan can have dire consequences – and paying just a few bills late can have a big impact on one’s credit score. Yet, many young adults do not pay their bills on time each month. Teach your teen to be timely with bill payments by tackling the chore together around the same time each month. Getting teens in the habit of a monthly bill-pay day will pay off in the long term.
- Before taking on debt, determine the cost to repay any loans. Two-thirds of students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees have student loans, with the average debt of about $27,000[iii]. During your child’s junior year of high school, develop a student loan plan with your teen. Consider how long he will be in school, discuss subsidized versus unsubsidized loans, and use online student loan calculators to estimate his monthly payment after graduation.
- Big investments often come with unexpected costs. Homes, cars and other investments come along with a range of expenses that are unfamiliar to teens. If your teens have access to a vehicle, require they play a role in the auto’s payment, insurance and maintenance.
- Save now and spend later. Studies have shown people spend up to 30 percent more on purchases when using credit cards instead of checks or cash[iv]. Rather than start with a credit card, have teens open a checking and savings account, then help them develop a savings plan for their next big purchase. Teens should save at least 30 percent of everything they make from allowance, jobs or gifts.
- If you must use credit cards, pay in full each month. Nearly half of households carry a balance on their credit cards, with an average debt of more than $15,000[v]! If your teen takes out a card, help her set a realistic credit limit, then require she pay the balance in full each month. Be sure to discuss interest rates, default rates, annual fees and payment schedules.
H&R Block has offered to give one (1) lucky reader a $50 Emerald Card (a prepaid Mastercard).
You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. resident to win.
1. What is the craziest thing you ever did to save money? Leave a comment on this post with your answer.
3. Follow H&R Block Dollars & Sense through Facebook and leave a comment on this post.
You have until Tuesday (4/30) at 11:59 pm ET to enter the giveaway. I will choose a winner at random using the “And the Winner Is…” plugin, and send the winner an e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond with his/her contact information or I will have to choose another winner. After the giveaway is over, I will update the winner’s information (first name and last initial) on the top of this post.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of H&R Block. H&R Block is providing the gift card for the winner.