Burning Money teaches teens to spend smarter, save better

It's almost impossible to have good saving habits without first having good spending habits. That's the problem that Burning Money, a new program from FoolProof aimed at teens, hopes to solve. Like the rest of the FoolProof series, Burning Money is an engaging series of real life issues that teens face, challenging them to complete a spending journal that will help them identify poor spending habits.

The free program is designed to be used in classrooms by teachers tasked with teaching personal finance, but Burning Money can also teach adults a thing or two about being a better spender – so that you can be a better saver. The program is distributed nationwide through credit unions and provides teachers with free tools and resources to teach students about personal finance in a real world manner.

Here's a look at one of the videos you'll find in Burning Money that helps teens understand how spending smarter translates into having more fun and doing more with their money.



As students work through Burning Money they'll be introduced to potential ways that they will "burn money" while making bad decisions that can come back to hurt them later in life. In the first section students get a first hand look at how late payments can hurt their credit score and what that means when they want to buy a job, get an apartment and more.

The program quickly jumps off into a reality game which tasks students with living on their own for one month complete with budgeting, writing checks and buying a car. The program walks students through the decisions and provides tips about how to write a check correctly as well as showing them the affect of their decisions on their bank account.

The first lesson students learn is that their car payment is $15 more a month because they have a bad credit score -- and so is their insurance premium; all because they didn't pay their bills on time. At the end of just the first month students are shown how their credit score, combined with some bad decisions have already cost them over $2,000 for the year in higher payments.

Since it's not just the big items that go into making smart spending decisions students will also face everyday choices like buying new jeans, that can be a money burning experience. The video below shows one way that Burning Money uses humor and video to get the point across.



FoolProof continues to be one of the most engaging and honest methods for teaching teens about money and best of all it is completely free. For the past several years we have seen a focus on preparing our kids for the new economy and as a college professor who speaks to graduates about personal finance the importance of learning good money habits early is illustrated to me every year.

I've seen everything from a student who had already been sent to collections numerous times for bad credit decisions which stemmed from the fact that all she knew about credit cards came from the companies offering them to her. On the other end of the spectrum I have three students right now who are some of the smartest spenders I have encountered with more in their investment portfolios than I do! These aren't "rich" kids, just students who know how to spend and how to save.

The best part about Burning Money and the FoolProof series is that it enables teachers and parents to teach teens how to make the right money decisions and good personal finance habits even if they aren't an expert. If you want to help your teens make smarter money choices, send this article to your teachers and let them know about this free resource for teaching teens about money.

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