Financial Literacy Programs for Teens


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Financial Literacy Programming for Teens in Public Libraries: A Presentation for the 2013 CYPD Conference of the Indiana Library Federation

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  • These ideas worked for us and they might work for you, too!
  • CCPL, in partnership with the CCPL Foundation, was one of 20 libraries nationwide to receive a grant fromthe Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the American Library  Association (ALA) in 2010. The grant is part of the Smart investing @ your library initiative. What is the purpose of the grant? To provide the community with effective, unbiased financial education resources, including, but not limited to, near and long-term money management, goal setting, investing, budgeting, credit, retirement planning, taxes, investment protection, and identity theft protection. Where do grant funds come from? The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) levies fines against violators in the securities industry. The FINRA Foundation then uses the funds to educate the public on financial literacy through its directed programs and through grants to other organizations. What is Smart investing @ your library? Smart investing @ your library is a program developed collaboratively by the American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The program addresses the growing need for unbiased financial and investor education at the grassroots level. Money: From A to Z is for children, young adults and adults (including senior citizens), with programs and information relevant to the various age groups.Where do I fit into the program? Application for this grant is by invitation-only. See Smart Investing @ Your Library for more information.
  • Public libraries don’t have a captive audience.
  • We kicked off our financial literacy programming for teens in November 2011 with DIY Holiday Gifts and it was so successful, we repeated the program in 2012 and are looking forward to hosting it again in a few months. It is a drop-in, after-school, 2-hour program the week after Thanksgiving that teaches teens in grades 6-12 how to make fun and easy crafts that are nice enough to give as gifts. One of the messages is: Savings add up quickly when you make things yourself! Pay $35.24 in stores or make these gifts yourself for a grand total of $6.43.
  • The key financial tool for DIY Holiday Gifts is our 2-sided Holiday Gift Budget Worksheet which is small enough to fold and fit in a wallet for convenience while shopping. Side 1 is a cost comparison that lists each craft and how much it costs to make it compared to how much a comparable item would cost in retail stores. Tissue paper gift bows can be made for pennies, but a bow bought at the store would cost $1.99 or more. Side 2 of the worksheet lists 3 easy steps to setting a budget: 1) Before you shop, set a limit for overall holiday spending: $_______________. 2) Plan ahead to decide how much money you want to spend for each person on your list. 3) Keep track of your actual spending. Side 2 also includes a fill-in-the-blank form to list gift ideas for each person on your holiday shopping list along with budgeted amount per person and amount actually spent.
  • We evaluated DIY Holiday Gifts with a survey that got a 61% response rate. Survey results were overwhelmingly positive and included comments like this one, “Thanks for coming across these wonderful crafts and letting us have fun with it even after having a hard time at school.” Statistically, when teens were asked to rate various statements on a scale from 1 to 5 where 5 is strongly agree, “I enjoyed making DIY Gifts” earned a perfect 5 out of 5 possible points, “I plan to use these ideas to save money” earned 4.5 out of 5, “I learned about the cost of DIY items compared to store-bought ones earned 4.1 out of 5, and “I learned how to set a budget for holiday spending” earned 3.9 out of 5 possible points.
  • Easiest to learn: I’m Debt Free! Most Educational: Visual Brain Storms. Most Fun: Wits and Wagers. Best Overall: Five Crowns.
  • Our Signature Program – Monthly Series called Dine on a Dime. One of the first ways almost any financial planner will tell you to save money is to cut back on eating out.  $4.00 coffees each day can really add up. One of the major financial decisions teens are in control of is how to spend or save the money they are given. Teens need to learn how to spend money wisely. Each month the Young Adult Department will take a look at common restaurant treats to learn how much they cost at the restaurant and how much they cost to make at home. Teens will learn how to take control of their spending and how to start making smarter purchasing decisions.
  • Dine on a Dime reinforces Standard One of the statewide School Financial Responsibility and Decision standards:Demonstrate management of individual and family finances by applying reliable information and systematic decision making. Indiana DOE Financial Literacy Education Standards can be found at:
  • The SUCCESS Program includes ten 5-minute web-based financial literacy videos on topics like saving money, banking, credit cards, and debt. James Langford was an Indiana teenager when he created the SUCCESS program. In 2012, he was a college student who made the drive to Carmel to attend one of our Dine on a Dime programs where he played financial football with some of our teens. We used the videos and key concepts for the first year of Dine on a Dime which was the duration of the license we purchased.
  • We printed key concepts from the SUCCESS Program and displayed them in Plexiglas stands throughout the program room.
  • The key financial tool is a collectible recipe card with the featured monthly recipe on the front and a shopping list and cost comparison on the back. Dine on a Dime is a drop-in program, but we have a sign-in sheet to help us record attendance statistics. At the sign-in desk, we always have a full set of recipe cards so that teens can pick up recipes for any programs they might have missed. The recipe cards are sized to fit a standard recipe box and have proven very collectible for both teens and some of their parents.
  • With a Dine on a Dime recipe card in hand, teens who enjoy designer sundaes at the ice cream parlor can see how much money they could save by making sundaes at home. Savings add up quickly when you make things yourself!
  • Pictured is our Carmel High School Greyhound Graduation cupcake. One teen made these as gifts for her friends who were graduating: one dozen for each friend in the colors of the college they planned to attend in the fall. Cupcakes are easy to decorate to look like graduation caps by stacking a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup, a square of Hershey’s chocolate, and one m&m “glued” with dabs of frosting. Tassels made with frosting writers add a finishing touch. One of our easiest programs was cookie decorating. We decorated sugar cookies to look like emoticons. Our most affordable program was sweet tea which demonstrated a terrific cost savings; $1 at a restaurant seems cheap until you learn you can make it yourself for 7 cents a glass! Bubble tea is only slightly more expensive than sweet tea and was one of our most creative recipes that gave teens a chance to try something new. S’mores = restaurant food? Yes! A local restaurant sells s’mores for $4 and we bought one as research. It was good – but so are ours at a fraction of the cost. Per s’more, we calculated a savings of $3.59 each.
  • We plan our programs with an expected attendance between 5 and 25 teens. We have done DIY Holiday Gifts twice: November 2011 (29 participants) and November 2012 (23 participants) for an average attendance of 26. Our monthly Dine on a Dime series has averaged 51 participants per month for the past 16 programs. In the same time period, our other regular monthly series programs have averaged 15 participants per month for the past 15 programs each of DIY Mondays and Whatever Wednesdays. In the first 6 months of Dine on a Dime, attendance totaled 366 and of those, 260 were UNIQUE visitors. The audience at Dine on a Dime changes over time so the program (and its financial literacy messages) are reaching different teens.
  • Overwhelmingly positive survey results. Teens completed surveys in exchange for one raffle ticket for a chance to win a $5 gift card to Carmel’s Simply Sweet Shoppe.
  • When asked an open-ended question to “name one thing you learned today,” 75 teens of 192 surveyed participants during the first 6 months of the program identified a financial literacy concept. Some were basic such as “how to save money” while others were more complex such as “compound interest can double your money.” The fact that this was a completely open-ended question makes this result even more meaningful. Teens could have written down anything such as “I learned how to make smoothies” or “I learned that I like bubble tea.” Survey response rate was 52% during the first six months: January through July 2012. We attribute the low response rate to the fact that there is no downtime in this program. Total attendance during first 6 months was 366. “Plan to use this idea to save money,” “plan to try recipe at home,” and “learned about cost of groceries” are important results that show learning is both cognitive and affective. Teens know more about money and they are motivated to use what they know as a result of Dine on a Dime.
  • Earth Fare is our new Dine on a Dime partner. As of August 2013, Earth Fare is underwriting the program by providing supplies to the library free of charge. Teen volunteers are the KEY to our success. We schedule at least 6 teens per program who spread invaluable word-of-mouth publicity, staff food stations (teaching other teens how to make featured recipes), and carry trays of samples throughout the library (directing other teens to our program and raising awareness). Plus, our volunteers clean up and do dishes. Dine on a Dime brings in teens we have never seen before in the library - lots of them! Increased attendance at Dine on a Dime helps us market our other YA programs, services and collections.
  • We always have 3 food-making stations and we have found that displaying recipes in Plexiglas stands keeps them clean and improves readability while cooking. A sign-in table is a good place to display signs about upcoming programs. We always make all of our different recipe cards available at each program. Teens often pick up recipes for programs they missed. A book display table helps raise awareness about the library’s financial education resources. We displayed both financial literacy titles and cookbooks. We also provided financial literacy bookmarks which were picked up by lots of parents. Talking to teens as they were signing in about the difference between restaurant prices and DIY prices makes a big impact! “Money Smart Week @ Your Library” is a national initiative between the ALA and the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago) to provide financial literacy programming to help community members better manage personal finances. Learn more at: and
  • Financial Literacy Programs for Teens

    1. 1. FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAMMING FOR TEENS Jamie Beckman & Karen Steinberger Carmel Clay Public Library August 26, 2013
    2. 2. Background Information • Received financial literacy grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation in partnership with the American Library Association • Smart Investing @ Your Library® funds efforts to provide library patrons with effective, unbiased financial education resources • Money From A to Z is the financial literacy initiative of the Carmel Clay Public Library
    3. 3. Goals for YA Quality Financial Literacy Programs for Teens in Grades 6-12 Practical and Relevant • Teens can (& will want to) use what they learn right away Social and Fun • Teens are excited to attend on their free time Wise Use of Library Resources • A signature program library staff can reuse on a regular basis with only slight adaptations
    4. 4. Teaching Teens about Money Program kickoff November 2011 • Still going strong in 2013 Annual • DIY Holiday Gifts Passive • Board Games Monthly • Dine on a Dime
    5. 5. Annual – DIY Holiday Gifts Spend less this holiday season by handcrafting personalized gifts for family and friends! Hot Cocoa Cones Holiday Poppers Tissue Paper Gift Bows Sock Snowmen Printz Charmings Duct Tape Lanyards
    6. 6. HOLIDAY GIFT BUDGET WORKSHEET • Cost comparison between storeSide 1 bought gifts and DIY alternatives • Steps to shopping on a budget Side 2 • Form to plan and track spending
    7. 7. Holiday Gift Budget Worksheet
    8. 8. Passive – Board Games
    9. 9. Monthly – Dine on a Dime Treating Yourself – and Your Wallet! Learn the secrets of making your favorite treats at home for a fraction of restaurant prices.
    10. 10. Inspiration and Details Last Wed. of each month Drop in anytime • School year 3:30 – 5:00 pm • Summer 12:30 – 2:00 pm Staffing • 2 Librarians • 6 Teen volunteers
    11. 11. Financial Literacy Tools • • • • • Collectible recipe card Bookmark Book display Board games Financial Football web-based game • The SUCCESS Program by James Langford of Financial Education Solutions Supports Indiana Academic Standards
    12. 12. The SUCCESS Program Financial Education Solutions 10-part series: videos • activities • lesson plans by James Langford
    13. 13. Example of Key Concepts: Debt “Debt is money owed to someone else.” “The total cost of the loan varies with the interest rate and the length of the loan.” “You never take out a loan for something that you consume—period!” From the SUCCESS Program by James Langford
    14. 14. Recipes that worked for us! Bubble Tea Milkshakes Chocolate Strawberries Nachos Coffee Drinks Retro Drinks Cookie Slurpees® Decorating Cupcake Smoothies Decorating Edible S’mores Arrangements® Hot Chocolate Sundaes Italian Sodas Sweet Tea
    15. 15. Average Attendance Dine on a Dime doubles & triples participation 60 51 50 40 30 20 10 26 25 15 5 0 Min Max Other Series Programs DIY Holiday Gifts Dine on a Dime
    16. 16. Survey Says… “Helpful class” “It was awesome! I have been looking forward to this all month!” “Making frappuccinos is easy” “Will def. use the recipe card in future.” “Homemade = Cheaper” “Do again!”
    17. 17. Name one thing you learned today 75 Respondents named a financial literacy concept • out of 192 surveyed participants during first 6 months • open-ended question! Average Ratings out of 5 Possible Points 4.7 Enjoyed making recipe 4.3 Plan to use this idea to save money 4.1 Plan to try recipe at home 4.1 Learned about cost of groceries 3.2 Noticed interesting book on display 3.2 Learned something from video
    18. 18. Other Outcomes • Community Partnership • Volunteer Opportunities • Connecting with non-library users • Marketing YA programs, services & collections
    19. 19. Tips and Tricks • • • • Money Smart Week: April Cookbook: Top Secret Recipes Blenders: get some – worth it! Ice Cream – Walmart & Target brands = good – Soften for 30 minutes – Put carton in large bowl for less mess • Marshmallows: get one bag halal • Music: Support high school radio stations – WHJE 91.3 FM celebrating 50 years on the air!
    20. 20. Resources • Carmel Clay Public Library “Money from A to Z” • FINRA Investor Education Foundation • Indiana Academic Standards: Financial Literacy • Money Smart Week • Smart Investing @ Your Library®
    21. 21. QUESTIONS? Jamie Beckman jbeckman (at) Karen Steinberger ksteinberger (at)