Unlocking Financial Literacy Awareness With Free Finance & Accounting Tool and Lessons

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Shouldn't Every Month be Financial Literacy Awareness Month?

April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month. I feel strongly that this should be an essential topic in all High Schools and Colleges. Students need to know how to manage money, it's vital. This post offers tools and lessons to help teachers incorporate financial literacy into an appropriate curriculum. – KW

Most kids really appreciate today's technology. Want to know what the latest must-have phone is? What about the newest game or app? Often, you need look no further than the students in your classes. Many of them are passionate about using the coolest gadgets and tools.

That’s why teaching with cutting-edge technology can be a great way to connect with your students. The right app can make even the most boring or time-consuming subject seem interesting and understandable.

Financial concepts like budgeting, buying a house, or running a business may not be the most exciting subjects for students, but it’s important to teach kids financial literacy starting at a young age. ZipBooks is free accounting software that can help familiarize them with concepts around running a business.

The interface is easy to grasp so students can jump right into the app with little instruction. It’s not overwhelming like a lot of accounting software. Every element is labeled clearly, and there are in-app tips to help newcomers get started. There are lots of ways you could use ZipBooks in the classroom and we have outlined a couple ideas to get you started.

Plan a party

You could ask students to plan a budget for one of their projects and record their expenses for it in ZipBooks. A party is a great project to have students budget and plan for. Here is a step-by-step guide to an in-class exercise that could get students excited about budgeting.

  1. Have the class break into groups and give each group of children the same budget.
  2. Check that each group adds the same payment to their account so that they have some income to work with. Everyone receives the same starting budget so that each student starts on equal footing and they can see the benefits of good budgeting.
  3. With ZipBooks you can simulate how students spend their budget by adding manual expenses into ZipBooks based on the in-class spending decisions that they make.
  4. Have students look up the real cost of different decoration items, rental equipment, and food for a party. Have them make decisions about what the trade off would be, given their budget constraints.
  5. Have each group present their planned party and explain the decisions that they made.
  6. Have the class vote for which party they would most want to be invited to.

Teach Time Management 

Procrastination is a student’s favorite word. Why not help them obtain great time management skills before they get to the real world? ZipBooks has a free time management app that lets you keep track of your time in a simple way. Students can be more effective with their time by creating a new homework task and starting the timer.

Have them set a goal beforehand on how long they want an assignment to take. Once they complete the assignment, they can stop the timer and see how close they got to their goal. That way, students can know how effective they can be with the time they do have. This is also a great way for a teacher to know how much time each student is putting in to do their homework.

Running Your Own Small Business

Teach your students what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. By having students start their own business, they will have more ideas of what they might want to do in their future careers. Below are some great ways to get started.

  1. Assign them to groups and have them come up with their own original small business idea that they can run in the classroom. Explain to them that they have to pitch their idea in order to get funding from the start.
  2. After they pitch their idea and receive funding, have them assign their team members to specific jobs that will help their company get going.
  3. Set up services around the room that they need to help their business grow. The students will be able to learn about the services and find out how much they cost. Have them use ZipBooks to send out invoices in order to receive the services they want for their business.

This will be a great way for students to learn what it takes to start a successful business. If their small business is successful, they will be able to make it to the next round of funding to receive more money for their business.

Working as a Team 

It is almost impossible to find a career these days that doesn’t require working in a team. Collaboration is a widely recognized and sought “21st century skill”. Students will be far better candidates for college if they go in with great team skills. ZipBooks lets you create a team and assign certain tasks to each team member. You can create a project for the students where they work as a team and give each team member a responsibility. Have them use ZipBooks to organize their team so each team player knows exactly what their task is. They can then use the timer to show their team how much time and effort they have put into each of their tasks individually. This will not only help them organize their team, but it will help them gain great time management and project management skills.

For Your Personal Use

It is pretty common for teachers to pay for some school supplies out of their own pocket. If you don’t get reimbursed, you should be keeping track of all those expenses so that you can include them as unreimbursed job expenses to deduct from your taxes.

If you are doing any kind of work on the side as a consultant, speaker, or pursuing a hobby that might turn into a business, ZipBooks makes a great free QuickBooks alternative. It’s also integrated with Google Apps and the Chrome Web Store, a big plus if your school system is already using the Google Apps for education.

You don’t need a manual to start doing basic accounting in ZipBooks. Sign up, explore it for yourself, and see if it’s right for your classroom as a supplemental tool or even for your own personal use!

Brad Hanks: Brad Hanks is the proud father of three daughters, a hobbyist beekeeper, and avid quadcopter tinkerer. He is currently working on ZipBooks, a free accounting software for freelancers, consultants, and small businesses.

View Comments (1)

  • If you are planing for starting business then it’s important to learn financial literacy starting at a young age. Financial concepts like payroll,accounting, or running a business may not be the most interesting subjects . Merrchant is free accounting software that can help familiarize them with concepts around running a business. The interface is easy to learn so anyone can jump right into the app with little instruction.