During my senior year of high school, I took a course called Independent Living. The class taught us things like how to balance a checkbook, a task I still struggle with (shut up), and how to manage money so we understood the steps in the Financial Order of Importance:
Step 1: Earn paycheck
Step 2: Pay bills
Step 3: Buy necessities
Step 4: Pad savings
Step 5: Enjoy whatever’s left over
Step 6: Freak out upon realization BARELY ANYTHING IS LEFT OVER
I thought the class would serve me well since I was about to embark upon my college career, and what’s more independent than college?! You know, having your parents send you money and pay your bills and stock your apartment fridge with Dad’s spaghetti and a little extra “just in case.” Sooooo independent! College looked a lot like secret Step 7, which is: Repeat Step 1, charge Steps 2 & 3 to credit card, forget Step 4, multiply Step 5 by as much as humanly possible.
Independence kinda eluded me.
I’ve shared the story about how when I married my husband, I married his bachelor debt. We spent our first few years together paying off credit cards and building up our savings. Since then, he has become a faithful disciple of Dave Ramsey and my Target sprees have been compromised. While I’m not a fan of the latter, I will say Husband and Mr. Ramsey are setting us up nicely for the future.
We got lucky, though; we wised up sooner rather than later, and that’s not the case for everyone. H&R Block understands people like us. People who want to find financial freedom, but need some guidance. Their Budget Challenge is that guidance.
Teachers: put on your listening ears. Reading eyes? Whatever, just take a look at this:
By learning strong budgeting skills and fiscal discipline early, kids can gain the knowledge and confidence to manage their own financial future. Our free H&R Block Budget Challenge encourages students to learn personal finance in a fun, engaging way while competing against other classrooms and students for $3 million in classroom grants and student scholarships.
Money smarts + classroom grants + student scholarships = 1 challenge worth taking on
If you need ideas to implement the Budget Challenge in your classroom, H&R Block is on it. Click HERE for lessons and activities. And be sure to say thank you because someone just took care of your lesson planning for you. For FAQ about the Challenge, click HERE.
The Challenge isn’t just for public school students, either: participation in the H&R Block Budget Challenge must be facilitated by a classroom teacher at an accredited high school or home study program. Students do have to be at least 14 years-old, though, and enrolled full-time in grades nine through 12 with teachers who have registered them. Students may play one simulation per semester (Fall and Spring) but they are only eligible for prizing on their first attempt. Home school students may play one simulation per school year.
H&R Block will award $3 million in classroom grants and scholarships throughout the competition including a $100,000 GRAND PRIZE SCHOLARSHIP.
60 opportunities for classroom grants up to $5K132 opportunities for student scholarships of $20KGrand prize scholarship of $100KStudent incentive during game play
Registration is quick and easy. Class creation closes one week prior to the simulation start date and for this round the deadline to create your class is January 7th (with rolling deadlines up to February 4)! The Challenge is a fantastic way to engage your students and throw some accountability on them. Ahhh, I love the smell of student accountability in the morning. It’s a mix of body odor, anxiety, and hope. Good luck to you and your school!