5 Free Tools to Help Students Learn Real World Financial Skills

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real-world financial skills
Aside from “Home Economics 101,” most students don’t have a chance to beef up their financial skills. As a result, they’re often unprepared to leave the insular environment of academia and transition into fiscally independent adulthood.

“Becoming financially literate early in life is fundamentally important to your financial well-being as an adult.

I was pinching pennies at 5 years old, calculating the cost of grocery items per ounce, refusing to buy expensive clothes unless they were on sale, foregoing scoops of ice cream from the ice cream shop so that I could buy multiple gallons at the grocery store, etc.,” says Micah Fraim, CPA. He continues, “As an adult, I still have that same mindset and live well below my means.”

Help your students better prepare for the real world with these free financial tools. Use them to simulate true life experiences and ensure students grow up with the real-world financial skills they need to succeed.

5 Free Tools to Help Students Learn Real World Financial Skills

Cash Course

Funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education, this website equips students and young adults with the financial skills they need to responsibly manage their assets while planning for a secure financial future.

Upon creating a free account, you’ll receive access to customizable resources including video tutorials, skill assessments, budget calculators and articles written by experts in the personal finance sector. If your goal is to teach them how to balance living expenses and saving objectives with the occasional “just because” splurge, Cash Course has you covered.

Intuit Mint

Available for Apple, Android and Google devices, this free mobile app enables users to consolidate their monthly expenditures with one simple-to-navigate tool.

Once students have downloaded the app, give them time to learn how to use it, and talk about the various pieces of data they can look at, like their credit score or monthly spending breakdown.

While you need real accounts to actually make the app work, it’s a great way to show students how simple financial management can really be.

Hands On Banking

This website can be described as your virtual guide map to achieve financial stability throughout any stage of life. Young adults who begin utilizing this resource will develop frugal habits for long-term money management.

Whether you want to teach students about paying off student loans, purchasing a new home or vehicle, investing in a business venture or jet-setting across Europe, the free courses available through Hands On Banking can make those dreams more feasible.

Prosper Daily

Similar in form and function to Mint, this free mobile app––formerly known as BillGuard––is accessible on Apple and Google devices. Masterminded by self-described “financial wellness experts” in Tel Aviv, consider this digital arena your one-stop-shop for teaching fiscal savviness.

From tracking account balances and monitoring all transactions in the Smart Inbox to categorizing each purchase with Spend Analytics, Prosper Daily is an essential adjunct for students’ arsenals. Similar to Mint, this will be a hard one to use with fake numbers, but it’s still a great way to break down financial literacy in a real-world setting.


This online course provides free enrollment to those who need a foundation––or even just a refresher––in the basics of personal finance. Money SKILL covers topics like maintaining your credit, obtaining a bank loan, implementing a realistic budget, and saving for those inevitable transitions, unexpected events or future ambitions.

Consider offering students extra credit for taking this course, or make it a required part of your financial skills unit.

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Jessica Thiefels

Jessica is an education blogger and has been featured in publications such as EdTech Digest and Daily Genius. Her favorite books growing up were My Side of the Mountain and The Giver, and she hopes to inspire a similar love of reading in students and educators.

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