The Education Credit Union Council is now offering the "Burning Money" financial literacy curriculum to all U.S. high schools for free.
"Teachers in every state are being pressured to teach financial literacy at the very time school budgets are being slashed," said Sally Fontenot, president of the not-for-profit council, which has worked with high school teachers for more than 38 years. "Burning Money comes to the rescue of any teacher searching for a tough, turnkey, no-cost curriculum."
Developed by the FoolProof Initiative, a group of young consumer advocates, Burning Money uses individual spending habits as a key teaching tool. Students are required to keep detailed records of their spending for a week, which are then evaluated using software.
"Most students are stunned by the amount of money they throw away," said Will deHoo, one of the creators of the program.
Interactive exercises also explore the differences between impulse buys and planned purchases and variable and fixed expenses, as well as whether to believe a product's seller or an independent reviewer.
More than 1,300 schools in 46 states have signed up for FoolProof's modular programs as of Nov. 15.