DoverPhila Offering Award-Winning Financial Literacy Program for Free

Area residents are getting a free education in how to manage their money. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program, to make the curriculum available to the community and 10 schools in Tuscarawas County, completely free.

"Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Kids have their own bank accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life," Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said. "But because DoverPhila is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it's important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world. DoverPhila realizes that, and they're doing something about it."

Banzai is an interactive, online program supplemented by printed workbooks which aligns with state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 35,000 teachers and available in all 50 states.

“We’ve offered time, money, industry experience, and a variety of credit union resources to help our schools teach personal finance in the classroom,” Shana Simmons, Director of Marketing & Member Services, said. “Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they learn to pay bills and balance a budget – but it’s not always easy. Students must learn to manage unexpected expenses such as parking tickets, interest charges, and overdraft fees. The educational program also introduces students to auto loans, bank statements, entertainment costs, savings, and more.”

“Too often students get out of school and they just aren't ready for the financial roller coasters life can give us,” Vandagriff said. “Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top. We're excited to work with DoverPhila to improve financial literacy in local schools.

Those interested in using the Banzai program can click here for more information.

Shop Smart and Save This Back-to-School Season

It is getting to be that time of year when most families are thinking about purchasing school supplies for the upcoming year. Back-to-school shopping is the second-largest consumer spending category after holiday shopping, according to statistics from the National Retail Federation and Research Now. An additional survey conducted by Deloitte found that 32 percent of families expected to spend more on school supplies this coming year because either their children needed more items, because materials were increasing in price, or because students needed more expensive supplies.

An increase in back-to-school expenses can be a strain on family budgets. In a 2016 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending climbed to 55 percent over the past 10 years with the average family spending $107.76. A family could end up spending an estimate of $674 on back-to-school shopping when including other expenses such as clothing, shoes, and electronics,

Despite rising costs, back-to-school shopping does not have to be a budget-buster. A little pre-planning and early shopping can help avoid extra spending. Nationally, 73 percent of back-to-school shoppers plan to shop a month to three weeks before the start of school.

Here are some ways to shop smart during the back-to-school season:

  • Timing Matters: Look for end-of-summer sales and tax-free holidays, especially on big ticket items. In Ohio, the tax-free holiday starts on Friday, August 4, 2017, at 12:00 a.m. and ends on Sunday, August 6, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. To learn more about this tax-free holiday weekend, visit the Ohio Department of Taxation website.
  • Plan Ahead: Before making new purchases, take an inventory of supplies already available around the house. From there, make a list of items still needed. Two-thirds of consumers are likely to buy more than what is on their list, so be sure to stick to a shopping plan.
  • Avoid Fancy Supplies: Instead of spending money on the brightest, shiniest, and glitteriest supplies with a licensed logo – which adds cost – create do-it-yourself art projects for kids to decorate their own supplies.
  • Use Technology to Find Deals: Let technology help save money by doing an online coupon search, monitor favorite stores’ website and social media accounts to get advance notice of sales, and sign up for coupon links.
  • Stock Up: If there are good deals for certain supplies that have an on-going need then stock up on those items in case something runs out, gets lost, or breaks.

To learn about credit unions and how they can help plan for the back-to-school season, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org.