H&R Block and DoSomething.org are targeting teens with a financial literacy campaign.
Only four states require at least a one-semester course in personal finance for high school graduation, three in four students say they don't know enough about personal finance and the average student loan debt for new college graduates is nearly $27,000.
Inspired by studies that show increased engagement and retention in lessons that interject humor, the campaign relies on laughs to get teens talking about financial literacy.
"The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money" encourages young people to share stories about the quirky and offbeat things they have done to save up, while receiving real-life advice about managing finances without going to such extremes. Teens can participate through a Facebook experience, text-messaging game, humorous videos and opportunities to win more than $30,000 in scholarships.
Downtown Los Angeles-based electro-pop group Far East Movement lent its sense of humor to the campaign by participating in a public service announcement.
Several New York-based improvisational comedians also were enlisted to create video shorts touching on themes from cheap dates to spring break on a budget. The videos will be released weekly throughout the campaign, starting with a video about dating on a budget being released today.
"Research shows teens really do want to learn money management skills while they're young -- they know it will help them avoid costly mistakes after graduation," said Susan Ehrlich, president of financial services for H&R Block, which provides financial education for teens through its H&R Block Dollars & Sense philanthropic program. "This campaign is a fun way to address the issue of personal finance and help teens make smart choices about money."
Through April 30, teens can to participate in The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money and potentially win a scholarship. On the Facebook app, young people can upload photos, stories and advice to share with their friends and receive advice on smart ways to save money. Participants have the chance to win a $4,000 scholarship.
By texting "WYR" to 38383, teens can weigh in on ridiculous ways to save money and receive more reasonable money-saving advice. More than $30,000 in scholarships is up for grabs for young people who use the "Mind On My Money & Money On My Mind" toolkit to teach their friends about personal finance. The toolkit includes interactive activities, an online personal finance game and additional resources.