The following resource is a one-stop cheat sheet for those applying for grants including Money Habitudes. If you’re not already planning to use Money Habitudes, it is used by those looking for a money personality assessment, money conversation starter or ice breaker, or module on financial behavior, attitudes, behaviors and values. As a grant applicant, please feel free to use the language below directly, or adapt it to your specific grant application.
Money habits, emotions, values & financial behavior change
- Money Habitudes is a versatile, game-like tool that’s one part money personality assessment and one part money conversation starter. It’s a hands-on card game activity that helps to build trust and rapport — even when people are anxious or resistant because money is such a difficult topic. With a focus on the emotional, behavioral and attitudinal dimensions of personal finances, it’s used in a variety of programs. It is often paired with skills-based modules such as budgeting, getting banked, money management, or conflict resolution. Covering emotions and financial habits and attitudes paves the way for more effective behavior change.
- Money Habitudes is an easy, interactive activity that is non-threatening and allows for self-discovery and money conversations without judgment.
- Although all programs will include the financial literacy skills to budget, manage credit and debt, etc., the skills don’t tap into the emotional and practical issues that cause people to react in ways that appear to be irrational. Research by behavioral economists such as Dan Ariely, Ph.D., at Duke University consistently conclude that in the moment, financial decisions are typically motivated by emotional needs, not logical knowledge. Money Habitudes cards quickly help participants and facilitators uncover whether in-the-moment choices are motivated by emotional needs for instant gratification, status, acceptance, security, success, enabling or caring for others or reaching goals. Being able to individualize the strategies and supports for each person makes it more likely they will be able to overcome obstacles and stick to their financial plan more successfully.
Grant-funded programs that include Money Habitudes
There are a variety of grant-funded programs that use Money Habitudes materials. The following are a typical sample that do:
- Financial literacy grants
- Financial capability grants
- Financial education grants
- Bankruptcy education grants
- Investing program grants
- Marriage education grants
- Relationship education grants
- Career counseling grants
- Domestic violence grants
- Parenting skills grants
- Life skills grants
How Money Habitudes is used: ice breaker, class, module
Sometimes classified among money management games, using Money Habitudes is sort of like playing cards. Instructions are available in each deck of cards as well as on the website. Doing the activity typically takes 15-30 minutes. It can be used as:
- ice breaker or money conversation starter (5-30 minutes)
- stand-alone class (30 minutes to 2 hours)
- module in a larger class (30 minutes to 2 hours)
Although the decks can be shared among multiple people, best results come when each participant has her or her own deck. Therefore, use two decks with a couple or 10 decks with a group of 10 people. Money Habitudes is often used as a first class in a series of financial education classes. After learning how they relate to money and make financial decisions, people then tend to be more open and engaged with classes like budgeting, credit, banking, etc.
Money Habitudes: versions in English and Spanish and for different ages
Different versions of Money Habitudes are designed for different audiences. If you are doing a program for adults, use the same version of the cards, regardless of whether the program is for unmarried participants, married couples, newlyweds, relationship education, or financial literacy.
- Adults (available in English and Spanish)
- Young Adults
- Teens (High School)
All versions of Money Habitudes cards were designed to be easy to read and understand. Each deck contains 54 short statement cards, usually one or two sentences. The newest version of the Adult cards was, however, specifically tested and edited to be at 5th grade reading level or below, according to the Flesch–Kincaid grade level formula. This makes the activity easier to do with low-literacy audiences (notably including prison re-entry) and generally faster for all audiences.
Pricing for Money Habitudes materials is available in the online store. Note that bulk discounts are listed on the individual product pages with a link for “buy in bulk and save.” Packages of materials are also available. Again, although the decks can be shared among multiple people, best results come when each participant has her or her own deck. Therefore, use two decks with a couple or 10 decks with a group of 10 people.
Prices do not include shipping charges. We accept major credit cards; purchase orders are accepted for orders above $200.
The durable materials are designed to be reused, resulting in dozens or hundreds of uses per deck of cards.
Download the Money Habitudes logic model for grants. Although it includes boilerplate text and examples, it is meant to be edited to fit your own programs.
Grant funding guidelines and national standards
- For a comprehensive approach for economic stability and financial literacy, money management skills alone will not typically cause behavior change. Money Habitudes cards can identify specific behavioral patterns related to money so individualized programs can be developed for a higher rate of success.
- Finances are consistently ranked as the number one cause of conflict within couples and a top reason for divorce. Money issues are one of the most commonly cited triggers for domestic violence. The Money Habitudes activities help couples talk about money in a more effective, non-threatening and calm way.
A comprehensive outline delineates how Money Habitudes aligns with national financial literacy guidelines. In general, Money Habitudes fulfills grant requirements having to do broadly with:
- talking about money; a money conversation starter
- psychology of money
- family of origin influences, especially around personal finances, habits and attitudes
- financial decision-making
Relationship Education and Responsible Parenting
- Communication skills
- Empathy and emotional understanding
- Conflict resolution/management and problem-solving skills
- Expression and discussion/negotiation skills
- Self-esteem building and assertiveness
- Stress and anger management
- Enhancing family relationships
- Managing conflict and handling anger
- Rebuilding and/or developing trust
- Clear and consistent limit setting
Financial Education and Economic Stability
- Making a budget
- Career counseling/development
- Financial wants and needs
- Behavioral economics
- Financial goal setting
The activity is also often used as a means to increase voluntary participation in programs, with it being used as an introduction to a series or other learning modules.
Why organizations and funders like Money Habitudes
- easy to learn and easy to teach; teach out of the box (additional resources include a guidebook for facilitators, a curricula manual for teachers and a training DVD; additional training may also be arranged)
- does not require additional funding for training and certification
- no per-use license fees for decks of cards; purchase once and use over and over
- durable materials can be reused over and over; reusing materials often drops the per-participant cost to less than a dollar
- can be used (or shared) in a variety of programs within one organization (for example, one community agency might use the same decks of cards in: a budgeting workshop, entrepreneurship class, life skills seminar for prison reentry, conflict resolution class for newlyweds, one-on-one financial counseling, etc.)
- increases engagement; makes classes and counseling more appealing than lecture, worksheets, or PowerPoint
- improves retention and behavior change, especially when paired with modules like budgeting, car buying, goal setting, etc.
- used as a sensitivity training and self-assessment tool for financial educators, money coaches, marriage mentors, etc. to help them relate better to those they work with
- over a decade of use in the field
Case studies: financial education, financial literacy, relationship skills
You may find that our list of case studies includes a scenario specific to your own grant program — or those real examples may spark new ideas about how to use the cards. Case studies may also serve to bolster a case to grant funders to use the materials in your program by demonstrating that the cards are already used in a similar program.
Research and program results
The following are some selected studies, research and academic endorsements for Money Habitudes:
- Reliability of Money Habitudes. National Council on Family Relations. Lucy Delgadillo, Alena Johnson and Samantha Nelson at Utah State University.
- The Financial Education Tool Kit: Helping Teachers Meet State-Mandated Personal Finance Requirements. Journal of Extension. Eileen St. Pierre, Charlotte Richert, Susan Routh, Rachel Lockwood and Mickey Simpson at Oklahoma State University.
- Tips for Service Providers: Healthy Financial Management Skills. National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families. Victor W. Harris at University of Florida and Florida Extension.
- Review: Money Habitudes. International Journal of Consumer Studies. Sue McGregor at Mount Saint Vincent University.
- Get a Handle on Your Clients’ Money Habitudes. Journal of Personal Finance. Syble Solomon.
- A Marriage Made to Last: Integrating Financial Education with Couples and Relationship Education. Philosophical/Issue Paper: Family Living Programs. Nancy Brooks, Associate Professor. Department of Family Development,University of Wisconsin-Extension.
- How to Use the Money Habitudes Cards in Marriage Education Programs. Smart Marriages. William Bailey, Ph.D., (University of Arkansas).
- Evaluation of a Continuing Education Training on Client Financial Capability. Journal of Social Work Education.
Jodi Jacobson Frey, Deborah Svoboda, Rebecca L. Sander, Philip J. Osteen, Christine Callahan & Audrey Elkinson.
- Embedding Job and Career Advancement Services in Healthy Marriage Programs: Lessons From Two Programs in PACT. Mathematica Policy Research and the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families. Heather Zaveri and Robin Dion. April 2015.
- Financial Coaching Training Curricula: Field Inventory and Summary Brief. Center for Financial Security. J. Michael Collins and Hallie B. Lienhardt. August 2014
- Program evaluation for First Things First (federally funded Healthy Marriage Demonstration Grant through United States Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families): The Ochs Research Center surveyed 3,000 high school participants over a six-month period. The program combined Money Habitudes and the Dibble Institute’s Connections. The study found that 89.6% of participants gained budgeting and financing skills and 95.0% said they gained communications skills.
- Starting Productive Financial Conversations. Financial Coaching (University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security). Lee Gimpel. October 2015
- Northwest Family Services “Long” Survey Results from October 2012 to March 2013 for Formative Evaluation of the Community-Centered Healthy Marriage and Relationship Grant from the OFA. Tary Tobin, Ph.D (College of Education – University of Oregon) Services in three tiers will enhance family and economic stability among the participants. Within My Reach or Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program is used as the core healthy marriage/ relationship curricula. Money Habitudes, Credit Smart (Freddie Mac curriculum). Parenting programs include: Parenting Inside Out, Family First , and Love and Logic.
- Budgeting my (our) money is something I am ( or we are) good at doing. For item 6, the average rating before intervention was 3.48. This changed in a positive direction, indicating more agreement, going up to 4. 20 afterwards ( p < .001).
- I can speak assertively about my own needs without being inconsiderate of my partner’s/other’s needs. For item 3, the average rating before intervention was 3.38. This changed in a positive direction, indicating more agreement, going up to 4.25 afterwards ( p < .001).
- Demonstrating commitment to financial responsibilities for myself (or my family) is something I am (or we are) good at doing. For item 7, the average rating before intervention was 3.63. This changed in a positive direction, indicating more agreement, going up to 4.37 afterwards ( p < .001).
- When I/we argue, it escalates into an ugly fight with accusations, criticisms, name calling, or bringing up past hurts. For item 14, the average rating for before intervention was 2.47. Improvement was indicated by a lower average rating of 2.18 for “now” which was after the intervention ( p < .001).
Successful grant awards for programs using Money Habitudes
Many programs seeking grant funding to include and use Money Habitudes have successfully won grants at state, local and federal levels. Some grants are specific to short-term programs for financial education, relationship education, etc. while others are long-term organizational funding. Examples of actual grantees that have won public and private grants include:
- Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants (Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families)
- selected grantees using Money Habitudes:
- Alliance for North Texas Healthy and Effective Marriages – Alliance for North Texas Healthy and Effective Marriages, dba Anthem Strong Families – Community Centered Healthy Marriage
- Children’s Aid Society in Clearfield County – Community Centered Healthy Marriage
- Northwest Family Services – Community Centered Healthy Marriage
- Operation Keepsake, Inc. – Marriage is For Keeps – Community Centered Healthy Marriage
- Money Habitudes – recommended as a resource by ACF in “A Guide to Low-Cost Curricula and Resources for Marriage and Relationship, Fatherhood and Parenting, and Financial Education”
- selected grantees using Money Habitudes:
- Federal TRIO funded programs – outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds; includes programs targeted to assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities
- Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) – provides funds to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities
- Assets for Independence (AFI) –
- Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program (United States Treasury Department) – mission is to increase economic opportunity and promote community development investments for underserved populations and in distressed communities in the United States
Other grantees and Money Habitudes in grants
- NC State University – Money, Money, Money lesson plan (ACF grant funded)
- West Virginia Advocates – training conference sponsored by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services and Mountain State Parents CAN
- High Scchool Life Connections class – Linda Bussart grant
Organizations using Money Habitudes
Outside of specific grant funding, a great number of organizations and agencies use Money Habitudes in classes and counseling. These broadly include banks and credit unions, homeless shelters, housing agencies, colleges and universities, faith-based marriage programs, high schools and afterschool programs. Specific organizations using the cards include:
- Army Community Service, Navy Fleet & Family, Air Force Airman & Family, Marine Corps Community Service
- Head Start
- Habitat for Humanity
- United Way
- Catholic Charities
- Cooperative Extension
- Community Action
Awards and Recognition
A current list of awards won by Money Habitudes can be found at the bottom of the history page.
Press and Media Coverage
Money Habitudes has been covered in consumer and trade publications as well as in academic journals. A full list of media coverage is available in the press section.
Companion and complementary materials for grant-funded programs
When used in grant programs, Money Habitudes is used with a wide range of complementary materials. These change based on whether it’s a grant for financial literacy, relationship education, life skills or career counseling and workforce development. However, the common role that Money Habitudes typically plays is as a way for people to understand their financial behaviors, start healthy conversations about money, and pave the way for other skills-based activities. An incomplete but representative sample of complementary materials includes:
Relationship education, relationship coaches, responsible parenting, healthy marriages
- PREP (Within My Reach – WMR and Within Our Reach – WOR)
- Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages
- Claudia Arp and David Arp’s Marriage Alive and 10 Great Dates series
- Prepare Enrich – Couple Checkup
- National Extension Parenting Educators’ Framework
- The Third Option – on-going group program
- Dibble Institute’s Connections: Dating & Emotions – 15 ready-to-teach lessons for teens
- Dibble Institute’s Love Notes: Relationships, Sex, and Parenting for “At Risk” Young Adults
- Native Wellness Institute – Healthy Relationships Curriculum
Financial education, financial literacy, financial capability, economic stability
- University of Minnesota Extension Service: Dollar Works financial curriculum
- CFED’s Individual Development Account Program Design Handbook
- University of Illinois Extension: All My Money financial curriculum
- Stock Market Game
- FEFE financial curriculum
- FDIC Money Smart financial curriculum
- First Nations Development Institute – Building Native Communities: Investing for the Future
- Cooperative Extension bean game
- Rich Dad’s Cashflow 101 board game
- Stock Market Tycoon board game
- Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University
- The Money Game
- Freddie Mac’s Credit Smart curriculum for credit scores and credit reports
- Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens
Personality tests, personality profiles
- True Colors personality assessment
- Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality test
- Smalley Personality Test (Lion – Otter – Golden Retriever – Beaver)
See why people like using Money Habitudes in grant-funded programs on the testimonials page. The following are a few testimonials that are emblematic of why people include Money Habitudes in their grants:
Money is the number one cause of conflict in marriages—even good, solid marriages. Money Habitudes is a great tool and innovative way to help couples address their money issues.
Diane Sollee, MSW
Founder of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education (CMFCE)
Director of the Smart Marriages Conference
You could literally pick this deck of cards up with no training, with no investment in staff time except for the deck of cards and figure out how to do it – and do something meaningful with it. People are always looking for tools that are plug-and-play. And the cards are just ‘play’ – there’s nothing to ‘plug.’ It’s that fast. To have something that’s a quick pick-up tool, but is this effective is very rare. It’s a minimum investment for a maximum return.
Robin McKinney, MSW
Director and co-founder
Maryland CASH Campaign
It’s been a good fit for us. It seems like people are more receptive to our other financial education materials after we do Money Habitudes. It’s been very positive for us.
Community Initiatives Director
United Way of Henry County and Martinsville