31 Mar Ideas for National Financial Literacy Month
By Brenda McCafferty, Sr. Financial Literacy Trainer, ECMC
A glass piggy bank, a tooth fairy pillow, allowance, or birthday cards—what is the first memory you have with money? We all have one. Mine was the glass piggy bank with no stopper. What went in wasn’t coming out without getting into trouble for breaking the bank. What a concept! To spend all the money you would have to break the bank.
April is recognized as National Financial Literacy Month. The National Endowment for Financial Education first introduced Youth Financial Literacy Day in 2000. In 2003, the U.S. Senate designated April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. Then in March 2004, the Senate passed Resolution 316 recognizing April as National Financial Literacy Month.
Since that time, individuals, financial institutions and higher education institutions have embraced the month and celebrated in various ways.
April is a good time to review your budget for the upcoming months and make adjustments where necessary. There are two easy steps to develop your budget.
- Track your expenses for the next 30 days. Make sure you write down everything you purchase on a daily basis—include meals out, shopping, daily coffee, etc. Don’t miss any purchase, because often the little things are what create an unbalanced budget. At the end of the month, review your expenses and divide the purchases into categories of your budget. For added effectiveness note if each item was a need or a want.
- Based on your expenses from the previous 30 days, create a monthly budget worksheet. List your monthly income and line items for each expense category. It works well to have a budget line and an actual line to easily reflect at the end of each month how well you are doing. Good habits can be contagious and over time your family will buy in to the technique.
During April, be encouraged to spend time reflecting on financial goals and think of ways to save, reduce debt, increase retirement, and teach children or grandchildren about money. Start one new habit for the month of April—save all single bills or coins for a special event or vacation, track four weeks of spending, or open a new holiday savings account. Think of ways to celebrate individual success by hosting events at your institution, such as a thrift store fashion show, a financial literacy scavenger hunt, or a financial literacy fair that can be built upon year after year.
Remember, don’t break the bank! Instead, focus on success. Attend Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, or introduce college students to a new money management technic. Share your institution’s Financial Literacy Month activities with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s time to share financial success with the world around you.