Bills, bills, bills. Can you pay your telephone bill? Can you pay your automo’ bill? If you can, then you might have a shot with Beyoncé. Queen Bey has long since sung the importance of independence and financial stability in her chart-topping hits–a message that not just the Beyhive should heed.

In the spirit of the Independent Woman herself, Give Back’s “Why We Strive” fall programming centers around personal budgeting. The programming was developed collaboratively by Illinois Manager of Mentor and Student Services Kelsey Novak and Domenic Merendino, Assistant to the National Executive Director. Together, they developed a plan that highlights a core competency, sub-competency, and personal learning objective of economic stability, financial literacy, and personal budgeting, respectively.

“It’s never too early to create some financial plan,” said Domenic. “Even if it’s a short term plan or something all the way to retirement–it’s good to have some type of budget and plan.”

Over the past month, Give Back coaches across the nation have worked with their students on personal budgeting using a variety of online and in-person tools and games–from Finances 101 to Money Prodigy to The Mint–to help them understand why budgeting is important and prepare them for successful management of their future or current bills, rent, everyday expenses, unexpected costs, and more.

“It’s important for students to get exposed to these types of skills because it’s something that isn’t taught in school,” said Kelsey. “And if it’s not taught in school or at home then you don’t know how to do it and you’re on a spinning wheel that never gets anywhere. You don’t have to start off as an expert, but it’s important to know because it’s going to get you to the goals you want in life–whether that’s starting a family or going on vacation. Knowing how to manage your money sets you up for a really good future.”

The Why We Strive programming leads up to a culminating Scholar Saturday in November that serves as a final event to wrap-up the skills, tools, and knowledge acquired over the past month. The national virtual event will feature a guest speaker  who is expertly qualified in the field of finance. Students will get a chance to learn from the speaker and break out into groups for activities and discussion.

“What’s most rewarding about working with the students and helping them map out their futures is watching them utilize the tools they are given to figure out their problems,” said Domenic. “It’s great to be able to watch them figure things out themselves with the skills they learned and were exposed to.”

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