June 1994 // Volume 32 // Number 1 // Ideas at Work // 1IAW3
Money Management Teaching Tools for Low Income Audiences
An Indiana Extension team developed, piloted, and delivered money management lessons for Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) audiences. Materials include a calendar for record keeping, reading and activity sheets for clientele, and a curriculum guide for program assistants. While use of the materials by EFNEP continues, other organizations, working with low-income audiences, also use the materials and training.
The need to deliver money management information for Indiana's limited resource clientele was expressed by Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) assistants. With the help of Indiana special funds, a team developed, piloted, and delivered money management lessons for EFNEP audiences.
In August 1990, EFNEP program assistants in southwestern Indiana provided input into the design of program content. Program assistants made lesson suggestions based on their observations as well as clientele requests for information. Materials including a calendar, reading and activity sheets for clientele, and a curriculum guide for the program assistants were developed. Materials were piloted with EFNEP clientele and in an adult reading academy in 1991 before producing the final product. Training was delivered in December 1990 by Extension Specialists. Pre- and post-test data provide an on-going research base for understanding the audience and evaluating the success of the program and materials.
Lessons revolve around a basketball theme. The theme is visually appealing to a variety of audiences and helps to emphasize goal-setting and the choices needed to successfully reach money management goals. Topics and subsequent lessons include goal-setting, savings, discussing money with family members, costs of eating out, catalog shopping, costs of rent-to-own purchases, cost of credit purchases, reviewing money management plans, using advertisements for price comparisons, and appropriate consumer complaints. Combining low-level, short topical readings and corresponding work sheets allows clientele to apply what they learn to personal situations.
One of the successful aspects of the program is the record-keeping built into the calendar system. Daily expenditures can be recorded on the calendar (now in its fourth year). The book-style calendar allows the user to chose to keep the information private. The calendar's card-weight paper allowed each month's calendar page to be expanded with a pocket to file receipts. Budget categories printed on the pocket assist users in recording amounts spent in each category monthly. The pocket can be detached and filed in a shoe box.
Although use of the materials in EFNEP continues, county-based staff are now offering the materials and training to other organizations working with low-income audiences such as Head Start, Community Action, and prison transitional programs throughout Indiana. Materials can be used in one-on-one or small group educational settings. Impressed with the materials, local banks have supported the program by purchasing the materials or supplies for the afternoon or evening training sessions. Portions of the materials are also in use with the state's IMPACT program that offers money management skills, parenting education, job skills, and child care to assist welfare recipients in becoming successful and productive employees.
These successful money management tools are an example of what can be achieved by the combined efforts of staff at all levels and content preparations in a state system. As a result of their efforts, creative and appropriate materials reach audiences with high need while providing much needed research information.
EFNEP money management materials can be ordered from ACS Media Distribution Center, 301 South Second Street, Lafayette, IN 47905-1092.