It's A Money Thing
Watch helpful videos on financial literacy and download some handouts and infographics. It's A Money Thing is a great classroom resource, or if you need a refresher on financial topics!
The lesson plans include learning objectives, instructions for teaching the lesson, group activities, and quizzes with answer sheets to bring financial literacy into your classroom.
Whether you're planning your first budget or re-evaluating your current budget, these ground rules will set you up for success. It doesn't matter if you manage your budget on your smartphone or if you prefer good ol' pen and paper—these budgeting basics can be applied to every budgeting system.
Building a Budget
No two budgets are alike. The same expense—whether it's a book, a phone bill or a tank of gas—can mean different things to different people. To explore this concept, take a look at how even the simplest categories can be considered a need, a want and/or a savings goal.
Saving with New Skills
Mastering domestic skills can save you money—the more you can make or repair yourself, the less you will have to spend on goods and services. When you do need to buy things, skills like budgeting, couponing and deal-hunting help you get the most bang for your buck.
Navigating Income Loss
Responding to Financial Emergencies
Avoiding Lifestyle Creep
Lifestyle creep is the tendency to spend more money as your income increases. Lifestyle upgrades can quickly become part of your routine spending, blurring the line between "luxury" and "necessity." This means that the dollars that could be going toward your savings goals get swallowed up by your day-to-day spending instead.
Paying for Pets
Emergency Fund Boot Camp
An emergency fund is an essential part of your personal finances. Its importance is stressed in almost every personal finance book and budgeting blog, and yet 26% of Americans currently have no emergency fund in place. Of those who do have an emergency fund, up to two-thirds do not have the often-recommended six months' worth of expenses saved up.
Good vs Bad Spending
If you're waging an inner battle of good vs. bad every time you whip out your credit card or peek at your monthly bank statement, it's probably time to give your views on budgeting a shake-up. There are good and bad ways to spend money, just as there are good and bad ways to save it. Following that logic, there are good and bad ways to budget.
Living On Your Own
Living on your own for the first time can be empowering. It means having independence and all the things that come with it. Some of those things—like not having to share a bathroom—are wonderful. Others—like killing spiders yourself—are not so fun. And leading the pack in the not-so-fun category: bills.
Common Money Beliefs
How did you decide where to open your first bank account? Where did you learn to budget? If you have a money question now, what do you do? Most young adults don’t receive any kind of formal financial education. So, it's likely that you'll need to seek guidance when it comes to money management.
How to Save on Groceries
Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is a simple but effective strategy for saving up for your long-term goals. As soon as you get paid, put money into your savings account first — the size of that contribution is up to you, but even small amounts will add up over time.
Breakdown of a Credit Score
Boost Your Credit Score
Credit scores are an area of personal finance that seem a lot more mysterious than they actually are. Many people believe that improving them is a matter of trial and error and, as a result, there's a lot of "credit score advice" floating around that can end up doing more harm than good. This video will help debunk four of the common credit score myths that you might come across.
Buying a Used Car
Leasing vs Buying a Car
Predatory lending can also take the form of car loans, sub-prime loans, home equity loans, tax refund anticipation loans or any type of consumer debt. Common predatory lending practices include a failure to disclose information, disclosing false information, risk-based pricing, and inflated charges and fees. These practices, either individually or when combined, create a cycle of debt that causes severe financial hardship for families and individuals.
If you're considering financing your college education with the help of a student loan, the smartest thing you can do for yourself is to only borrow what you truly need. Pursuing post-secondary education should be an exciting time in your life. You're making decisions and opening up possibilities that will shape your future—a future that is adventurous and fulfilling and that decidedly does not include years of crippling debt.
Using Your Credit Card
By using credit responsibly, you're contributing to your credit history, which will make it easier and more affordable to secure a loan in the future. By paying in full and on time, you avoid carrying a balance on your card, which means the credit card company cannot charge you interest on your balance.
Strategies for Debt Repayment
Debt is stressful, it's expensive, and it limits the amount of money you can put toward your life goals. To pay off your debt, get organized by making a list of all your debts, choose a strategy which affects the order in which you pay off your debts, and follow a monthly payment plan that is generous and realistic.
Compound Interest Mind Bending
Even though compound interest is easy to understand—compound interest = more money for you! Those who can potentially benefit most from it (those in their teens and 20s) don't seem to be taking advantage of it. Savings contributions and retirement savings participation rates are falling among young adults.
Investing can seem like a very risky, complex and fast-moving process. With endless combinations of investment vehicles to choose from, it can be difficult to take your first step as an investor—especially with the knowledge that all investments carry the risk of losing some or all of your money. So why bother?
Inflation refers to the rate of change or increase in the average prices of goods and services typically purchased by consumers. When the price level rises, every dollar you have buys a smaller percentage of a good or a service. While prices may seem to rise slowly, the effects of inflation really add up over time!
Compound Interest Rule of 72
If you want to be realistic about your investment earnings and help plan for your future, the Rule of 72 is a handy tool to quickly estimate how many years it will take to double your investment at a given rate. The Rule of 72 works with investments that have compounding interest. You simply divide 72 by the rate of annual return (that's your interest rate). What results is an approximation of how many years it will take for you to double your investment.
Trends in the Stock Market
Saving for Retirement
Saving for retirement poses some unique challenges: How are you supposed to prioritize retirement savings against the long list of more immediate goals? How are you supposed to find the motivation to prepare for something that's decades away? How can you quantify the amount you will need to save when you have no idea what your future will look like?
After Grad: Work or College?
Let's Talk Taxes
Your pay stub is more than just proof of income. It allows you to better understand your personal finances and to make informed decisions when it comes to budgeting and tax time. Although all pay stubs contain the same basic information, the layout and wording can vary from employer to employer. There may also be additional taxes and deductions unique to your city or state.
Foiling Identity Theft
Identity theft is nothing new, and yet it still manages to cost its victims billions of dollars globally each year—not to mention the time and hassle involved in recovering a stolen identity. The good news is there are tons of things you can do to deter identity thieves. The bad news is that many of us do little beyond choosing a decent password. Here are the top five information jackpots for identity thieves, along with helpful tips on what you can do right now to protect yourself.
How to Spot Scams
Whether it's online, over the phone or in person, scammers are always coming up with new ways of influencing their targets to act in ways they might not otherwise. By staying calm in high-stress situations and by giving ourselves a little extra time to think, we're better able to spot recurring scammers' favorite tactics, to avoid a state of amygdala hijack and to save ourselves from making costly mistakes.
Intro to Insurance
Organize Your Finances
Every year, it's nice to do a bit of "financial spring cleaning" and declutter your filing cabinet, your desk drawers, and the various hiding places where miscellaneous scraps of paper tend to accumulate and multiply. Find out what you should be saving, and what's OK to shred.
Credit Union Myths
Choosing Your Financial Institution
Banks and credit unions offer essentially the same products and services, but there are huge differences in the way they operate. Despite this, many people put more thought into building their Netflix queue than they do choosing their financial institution. Whether you're just starting out or rethinking your current financial setup, here is what you need to know.
Working From Home
Know Your Checking Account
Balancing your checkbook gives you power—the power of knowing exactly how much money is available to you. Whether you use a checkbook register, a spreadsheet on your computer or an app on your mobile device, balancing your checkbook is a good habit to form.
Earning Money Online
It's hard to ignore the appeal of making real money online — after all, we live in a world where bloggers land book and movie deals, where top YouTubers are multimillionaires, and where celebrities collect thousands of dollars in exchange for a single sponsored tweet. While some of us dream of a wildly successful Internet career, the rest of us are happy to settle for online earnings that are a little more modest. Thousands of money-making opportunities are just a web search away.
Acing the Job Interview
In preparing for a job interview, it's easy to focus on how you're meeting others' expectations of you, instead of considering what expectations you have for your next job and future employer. Despite its unknowns and stresses, the job interview is ultimately an empowering experience that brings you closer to your career goals, and your life goals.
Grow Your Money Locally
How to Save on Tuition
Owning vs. Renting a Home
There are key differences between owning and renting a home. Owning a home gives you the peace of mind of having a permanent place to live. As a renter, it's relatively easy to move around; you're not responsible for finding a new tenant to take your place. There's no right answer for whether it's better to own or rent your home—look to your personal goals for guidance.
Writing a Business Plan
Writing a business plan is an essential part of building a successful business. At its core, a business plan is a road map for your project: it establishes your purpose, it sets goals and expectations, and it forecasts the relationship between cost and revenue.