10 Apr Financial Literacy Money Challenge
Did you take a personal finance course in college? Does your college or university currently offer financial literacy and wellness courses or workshops? Well, my college did and I am better for having taking the course. Perhaps that is where some of my passion to financially equip others to pursue their dreams and goals through financial literacy comes into play.
But, let’s be totally real – creating a budget and saving money can be difficult for our students given the many challenges they face as young adults. Nevertheless, it is manageable with increased financial knowledge and willingness to change bad spending behaviors. Understanding WANTS vs. NEEDS can also improve the ability to save towards any financial goal or plan. Financial literacy programs can help you with supporting your students with becoming more financially savvy while in school as well as prepare them for life after college.
April is Financial Literacy Month
April is known nationally as Financial Literacy month (also sometimes referred to as Financial Wellness). The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) defines financial literacy as: “Possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family and global community goals.” Building finance knowledge, changing financial mindsets, and improving financial decision-making can help lower the amount of unresolvable situations that lead to increased student debt, money issues and dropout rates. Sharing financial wellness information and resources with your students can:
- Increase retention and graduation among your students
- Help prepare them for life in and out of school by enhancing their working knowledge to develop a healthy budget
- Help them learn how to monitor their spending behaviors and habits
- Lead them to discover resources for financial goals and planning
To jump start your efforts to engage students in financial planning, take the money challenge. I found some exciting money challenges online that could help anyone with saving money toward personal or financial saving goals. However, I will warn you that it takes commitment, so students may need to set a goal, stick with it and maybe even enlist a friend or classmate to take the challenge with them. Trust me, the dedication and patience will pay off in the long run. Students will see how rewarding it can be to learn about their own personal money or spending hang-ups and discover new ways to strategize while saving toward a financial goal. Hopefully they will be inspired to continue their saving efforts and increase their financial wellness.
Challenge your Students
Here are just a few money saving challenges. GO AHEAD….. I challenge you!
- Fiscal Fast Challenge
This may seem a little daunting, but for one week, don’t spend any money. If you think you’ll have a hard time accomplishing this, ask a friend to do a fiscal fast with you or make it a challenge within your group of friends: who can spend the least money? People who accept this challenge typically save $100 or more!
- The $500 Savings Challenge
Over the course of a 31-day month: stash away $1 on day 1, $2 on the second, $3 on the third and so forth. On Day 31, you’ll have put aside $31 with hardly any effort. Don’t just stop at one month! Repeat the challenge each month to grow your savings.
- The Automatic Transfer Challenge
An easy way to save without cutting a single expense is to set up an automatic transfer of $25 per week, or $100 a month (you can do more or less) from your paycheck or checking account to your savings account. You won’t miss the money, but you WILL reap the benefits.
- The 52-Week Challenge
This challenge is for an entire year, but it is worth it. To do this challenge, deposit $1 into a savings account during the first week, $2 the second week and so on. Continue increasing the amount you deposit until week 52. By the end of the year, you will have saved almost $1,400. You could also reverse the challenge by saving $52 the first week, then work your way down to $1 the final week.
- Spare Change Challenge
Never spend another penny, nickel, dime or quarter for at least one year. After paying cash for purchases, collect any coins you receive and put it in an empty jar or container. Deposit your collections into your savings account each month. You will be amazed at how much money you will save in just a months’ time.
- The “Elimination” Challenge
Consider giving up a guilty pleasure like (smoking, alcohol, sweets, snacks, chocolate, specialty coffees, shopping, shoes, etc.) for a month, 3 months, 6 months, a year (your choice) and see how much money you could save toward your financial saving goal. You will also feel much healthier and lighter.
GO AHEAD…..Take a challenge or two, or three, and grow your money!
Assistant Director K-12 Outreach and Financial Wellness
University of Colorado Denver
CAFAA Membership Chair