Money Habitudes in Catholic School Classes

Where: Immaculate Heart Academy, a Catholic college prep high school in Washington, NJ

What: Piloted Money Habitudes cards in psychology and finance classes

Who:

  • Stephanie Licata, campus minister
  • Mary Liz Fuhrman, guidance counselor and psychology teacher
  • Students: primarily seniors

Why: In the psychology class the cards kicked off a unit on stress. In the finance class this activity was the introduction to personal finance.

How: Each class devoted an hour period to the cards.

  • The exercise began with a brief introduction about the role of one’s habits and attitudes related to money relative to spending, saving and lifestyle and was tied into the current classroom topic.
  • Each student was given a deck of Money Habitudes for Teens cards and took about ten minutes to read and sort the cards using the Money Habitudes Solitaire activity.
  • Students then read the interpretation cards in each deck, with the teacher prompting them to identify which of the advantages and disadvantages were most applicable to them.
  • Students were asked to choose a next-step from the list of suggestions specific to their most dominant Habitudes and then work on it over the following week. Total discussion lasted about 20 minutes.

Outcomes:

  • Typical teen concerns came up quite naturally in the discussion including getting a car, saving for college, incurring student loans and the everyday costs of being a teenager, from dating to hanging out with friends. Since the prom was coming up, the financial choices related to that event were also discussed.
  • Many students shared that they were going to talk to somebody in order to create a boundary, exchange information or let someone know how they’re feeling. Examples included comments such as: I’m going to tell my friends that I’m not going out on Friday night or I’m going to tell my friends that I’d love to go out on Friday night but if we can find something that’s less expensive, that would be great.
  • On the written evaluations common themes emerged as many students noted:
    • They saw themselves as too generous and at times felt that they were being taken advantage of.
    • They realized they used money to curry favor with others or smooth over relationships.
    • They were holding on to money so tightly that they were missing opportunities and sacrificing chances to have fun and enjoy being with their friends.

Observations:

Stephanie Licata:

  • Using the cards was definitely centered on self-reflection and evaluation, but as certain commonalities arose within the group, they would relate to each other. There were people who had similar stories or similar points of view so it easily evolved into a conversation with the group.
  • The kids were totally engaged the whole time. Teenagers want to talk about themselves if you let them so this is perfect for them.
  • As teachers, we’re constantly being challenged to come up with activities like this that are interactive, that keep kids engaged and spark conversations. And the cards were so easy to work with it.

Mary Liz Furhman:

  • The best part was that there was no right or wrong or a better category and everything had its pros and cons. It was really an assessment of where do you want to be. I liked that because they’re so used to wanting to be right, to have the right answer in school, to please someone else; this is less about that and more about their own situations.
  • Money is such a form of stress – especially for these kids going off to college. They’re really going to be independent – they’re going to have to take care of their finances to some extent, many of them have jobs –so the Money Habitudes activity was really relevant to where they were in their lives.