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How Teens Can Grow Their Money

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. One of the most important financial tasks for teens to understand is the need to save money. It is vital they understand that without savings, they’re at risk for falling into financial trouble later on in life. For example, a savings account is essential when it comes to recovering from financial disasters such as a job loss or unexpected health emergency. Savings is a safety net for when your income drops; it’s not just for that new car in the future. As parents, it’s important to stress the importance of saving money beyond the ability to buy various wants. Without money in savings, your teen can’t invest money later on, for example. And without the ability to invest, your teen will miss out on prime…

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Summer Job Tips For Teens

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. Working part-time while in school is a great way for teens to build up future savings. Even if your teen won’t be making enough to cover the kinds of expenses they’ll have in the future, earning money through part-time or summer jobs will still make an impact. While this job may not cover their college tuition, it can help your teen finance other student-related expenses, such as textbooks, transportation, groceries and dorm furnishings. These are all expenses that can eat up loan money and add to the eventual interest. When it comes to finding a summer job, have your teen first ask friends and family that may be able to assist them. Maybe it is a friend who works at the local café. Or, perhaps…

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Teens Showcase the Importance of Financial Literacy at DECA ICDC

Highlighting the importance of financial literacy in a showcase of educational prowess, teams of high school students nationwide competed for more than $70,000 in college scholarships and cash prizes during the inaugural H&R Block Dollars & Sense Financial Literacy Promotion Project. Competitors created campaigns designed to educate their peers or the general public on critically important personal finance skills and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of financial literacy. The finals were held May 4-6 at the DECA International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Amanda Guglielmo and Madison Light from South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia won first place and each received a $5,000 scholarship. Second place went to Sarah Cadman, Keegan Tansey and Ashley Cain from Kingston CVI High School in Kingston, Ontario, who each received a $3,000 scholarship. In third place, taking home $2,000 scholarships each, were Jordyn Dunn, Brenna Franck and Brandon Schimming from Penta-Oak Harbor…

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How To Audit Your Teen’s Spending

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. It’s important to talk to your teen about saving some of the money earned from a part-time job or received from an allowance. If they immediately use the income to buy the latest video game or a weekly movie ticket, they’re missing out on a prime opportunity to develop a sense of financial responsibility. Your first step should be to talk with your teen about what they are spending their money on. Help them create a list of their weekly expenses, along with the corresponding amounts for the month. Whether they’re spending on necessities such as school supplies and textbooks or more frivolous items such as fancy headphones, all of their expenses should be counted. Add up all of the expenses and subtract this figure…

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How To Save For A Big-Ticket Purchase

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. When it comes to saving for a large purchase, it’s important to plan ahead and strategize to avoid financial trouble or unnecessary debt. A teen’s first big-ticket purchase is a perfect opportunity to teach them about saving. Whether it’s a video game console, new laptop or fancy headphones, the first step is  determining an estimate of how much your teen will need to save to make his or her big purchase. Next, talk to your teen about how they are going to gather the money to pay for the item. Ask them: Will they be taking on a part-time job? Will they be doing extra chores around the house? Or will they give up the weekly fro-yo splurges to be able to throw that money…

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Three Tips To Reduce Your Shopping Bill

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. Even the slightest reduction in spending, over a period of time, will result in a significant increase in savings. To spend less without spending time clipping coupons, talk to your teens about these strategies: 1. Buy in bulk Whether shopping at a major warehouse store or stocking up on a certain item on sale, buying in large quantities is bound to save you money. This tactic is especially useful when shopping for school supplies. Your teen may not need 30 folders for the start of the school year, but six months later, folders will likely need to be replaced. Buying in bulk ahead of time prevents you from paying full price later on. 2. Use the store’s rewards program Plenty of stores have rewards programs,…

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Teachers and Students Answer: How Big is a Billion?

Exactly how big IS a billion? Well, Emily McDonnell’s class figured it’s 15,432 years worth of lunch trays at Bonner Springs (Kan.) Elementary. The students of Billie Watson’s class at Annoor Academy in Knoxville, Tenn. determined it equals an hourly salary of $114,115.25 for every hour of every day for an entire year. For the sports and history buffs out there, Amanda Bowles’ students at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga., determined that a billion pitches would be thrown over the course of 1,906 Major League Baseball seasons – or, enough to take our national pastime back to the Roman Empire of the second century! These brilliant takes are the grand prize winners of our “How Big is a Billion?” contest. Inspired by the H&R Block “Get Your Billion Back” commercials, we asked teachers and their students around the country to creatively illustrate the concept of $1 billion (the…

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Spending Too Much Money? Here’s How To Curb Your Spending

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. Impulse buying is one of the main culprits of a broken budget for both young and old alike. These are unplanned purchases, rather than well-thought-out expenditures. They come in all forms, from a new pair of shoes to a daily-deals website or a fancy box of chocolates that looked appealing on a display at the grocery store. Regardless of the item, impulse buys can have a big effect on a tight budget. To teach your teen how to prevent unnecessary spending, start by helping them make a list prior to shopping. Should your teen be heading to the mall to stock up on new clothes for the summer, for example, it’s important for parents to help their teens create a proper list of what they…

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Teens and Personal Finance – Surprising Survey Results

At H&R Block Dollars & Sense, we’re constantly looking for new ways to help teach teens about personal finance. Our parents used to call it “knowing the value of a dollar,” but in today’s world managing finances can be a lot more complex. From applying for tax credits online to smartphone investing apps, some of us may not even feel qualified to talk to our own children, or our students, about money. That’s okay. At H&R Block Dollars & Sense, we work directly with parents, teachers, schools and teenagers to provide tips, tools and incentives to make the conversation about financial education much easier. And following the nearly five years of offering advice, grants and scholarships, we thought it was time to check in to see how they’re doing. In February of this year we surveyed over 1,000 teens ages 13-17 and found some surprising results. Whether you’re a teen,…

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Analyzing the Paycheck Beyond the Dollar Amount

This post comes from H&R Block Dollars & Sense’s family finance advisor Scott Gamm. Scott Gamm is the author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottGamm. Your teen will always remember their first job and paycheck. Before they go and spend it, it’s important for parents to use this opportunity to educate teens beyond the dollar amount. The first paycheck will be a great time to introduce the world of deductions and taxes to your teen, including Social Security, known as FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act), along with deductions for Medicare and Federal and State taxes. While examining those deductions, revisit your teen’s W-4 to go over how the amount deducted from their paycheck is determined. And start to talk to your teens about tax season, which will be an annual process as they get older and enter the workforce later on. Also, keep in mind your teen may need to…