A visit to the Nearly New Thrift Shop capped off a day long budgeting workshop with our Educational Opportunities department for 14 young ladies from 11-16 years of age. After learning the basics of how to produce a budget, learn the terms and ideas surrounding a budget, and the benefits of bank accounts and savings accounts in maintaining a budget, it was time to shop! The girls received instruction on selecting a complete school-appropriate outfit on a $20 budget. All the girls got to keep the outfits and any extra money they had left over, and every single one came in under her $20 limit!
The young women were also introduced to free entertainment around town including library programs, free movies, and craft classes to cut back on discretionary expenses. All of the young ladies went home with a basic budget worksheet that pertained to their individual financial situation and information on opening savings accounts.
Since May 2014, 9 college scholars have undergone financial consultations. Six were incoming college Freshmen trying to determine their first year budgets for financial aid and personal spending. They also learned about seeking scholarships, starting savings accounts, and the benefits and risks of loans. Three graduating seniors have met with staff members to discuss “real world” budgeting and how to balance a budget on a fixed income while trying to pay back student loans.
Six parents of college scholars also came to staff members seeking financial advice and advocacy. They discussed the difference between loans and scholarships, and important topics like interest rates, the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans and allowing your children to get school sponsored credit cards were covered in detail.
The Financial Literacy Program teaches young people and their families that if they plan ahead and show discipline, they can make ends meet, reduce debt and even have a little left over for savings. This program funded by PNC and State Farm is a great way to empower our clients to be self-sufficient!