NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The topic of teens and money is no laughing matter: only four states require at least a one-semester course in personal finance for high school graduation, three in four students say they don't know enough about personal finance and the average student loan debt for new college graduates is nearly $27,000. Inspired by studies that show increased engagement and retention in lessons that interject humor, a new campaign from DoSomething.org and H&R Block Dollars & Sense relies on laughs to get teens talking about financial literacy.
Kicking off Feb. 28, "The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money" encourages young people to share stories about the quirky and off-beat things they have done to save up, while receiving real-life advice about managing finances without going to such extremes. Teens can participate through a Facebook experience, text messaging game, humorous videos and opportunities to win more than $30,000 in scholarships.
Downtown Los Angeles-based electro-pop group Far East Movement lent its sense of humor to the campaign by participating in a public service announcement. "We totally get the stress and frustration around dealing with money – or the lack of money – when you're in high school and college," said Far East Movement's Kev Nish. "We have some insane stories about what we did to save a buck, and we can't wait to hear stories from teens that have been in similar situations." The group recently released a new single, "Turn up the Love."
Several New York-based improvisational comedians also were enlisted to create video shorts touching on themes from cheap dates to spring break on a budget. The videos will be released weekly throughout the campaign, starting with a video about dating on a budget being released today.
"Research shows teens really do want to learn money management skills while they're young – they know it will help them avoid costly mistakes after graduation," said Susan Ehrlich, president of financial services for H&R Block, which provides financial education for teens through its H&R Block Dollars & Sense philanthropic program. "This campaign is a fun way to address the issue of personal finance and help teens make smart choices about money."
From Feb. 28 through April 30, teens have the following opportunities to participate in The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money and potentially win a scholarship:
- Facebook App: Using the Craziest Thing I Did To Save Money Facebook app (dosomething.org/crazy), young people can upload photos, stories and advice to share with their friends and receive advice on smart ways to save money. Participants have the chance to win a $4,000 scholarship.
- Mobile: By texting "WYR" to 38383, teens can weigh in on ridiculous ways to save money and receive more reasonable money-saving advice.
- Toolkit: More than $30,000 in scholarships is up for grabs for young people who use the "Mind On My Money & Money On My Mind" toolkit to teach their friends about personal finance. The toolkit (dosomething.org/save) includes interactive activities, an online personal finance game and additional resources.
"Most people wish they learned more about managing money when they were younger," said Greg Thomas, campaigns manager at DoSomething.org. "With the Craziest Thing campaign we hope to create a community around these shared experiences that leads to teens becoming more financially literate while having some fun."
To participate in The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money and view Far East Movement's PSA, visit dosomething.org/crazy.
We love teens. They are creative, active, wired...and frustrated that our world is so messed up. DoSomething.org harnesses that awesome energy and unleashes it on causes teens care about. Almost every week, we launch a new national campaign. The call to action is always something that has a real impact and doesn't require money, an adult, or a car. With a goal of 5 million active members by 2015, DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US for teens and social change. Join us at www.DoSomething.org.
About H&R Block Dollars & Sense
Funded by H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB), one of the world's largest tax services providers, H&R Block Dollars & Sense provides personal finance curriculum to high schools and scholarships to students nationwide. Since 2009, H&R Block Dollars & Sense has donated more than $3 million in grants and scholarships. For more information, visit www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com.
 Council for Economic Education  Project on Student Debt