Teen Cash Class. What you didn’t see

For those of you who watched my Teen Cash Class on ITV on Friday, I thought you may appreciate a few quick notes of things that didn’t make the final programme; though there are many more too. After all, the class itself was a full day, with lots of lessons….

  • Richard discovering stoozing. Perhaps my personal highlight. At the end of the credit card challenge, Richard aided and abetted by Josh had independently worked out the concept of stoozing. In other words they’re realised that if you can borrow at 0% and then save the cash at 6% (they’d even found the top accounts) you can make money; asking if it was possible. Sheer brilliance! (read the full Stoozing article).
  • One of the biggest savers was the teacher! Caroline was the supervising teacher and sat, unseen, throughout for all the lessons. She was superb (and is the person who’d arranged for us to be in the School in the first place) and really enthusiastic about the project. One of the sections we didn’t show was training on how to negotiate with companies. This included how to haggle down mobile phone bills and even had a practical test on it; on my return to see how much the class had saved, Caroline told me she’d learned lots too and had knocked £100s off her digital TV bill by haggling, as had others in the staff room she’d passed the info onto.
  • My jokes made ‘em groan. Thankfully judicious editing managed to avoid the reaction to some of my worse jokes. The only one that made it to screen was me saying their history teacher was a “guinea pig” and “you can tell by the whiskers” (he had a beard).
  • They made a good impression. When the producers asked the kids (on camera) about the day, they were all really enthusiastic; yet apparently loved doing impressions of me, saying “forget loyalty” or “debt isn’t bad, bad debt is bad”.
  • The minimum repayment shocker. Perhaps the biggest single impact of the day was showing the class how minimum repayments on credit cards worked; and that by simply paying the minimum even at their age, they’d probably be getting their pension by the time they paid their debts off (see minimum repayments danger article). To understand at 15 that the cost of debt isn’t just a function of the interest rate but also the length of borrowing, and that credit card companies will happily allow you to extend that length, is a huge lesson.
  • The headmaster’s son made the biggest saving. The biggest saving was made by Tom, and his Dad, who saved all the cash, also happened to be the School’s headmaster!
  • UPDATE 31 Oct 07. Now download and print the full Teen Cash Class Guide: Money Lessons for your & your kids.

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