Money Smart Week in the Upstate

Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. Businesses, libraries, schools and other organizations across the country come together once a year to better inform the public by providing free educations seminars and activities throughout the week. Here in the Upstate, the Spartanburg County Library is assisting in getting the word out to local residents with a series of events the week of April 20th through the 27th.

History of Money Smart Week

Money Smart Week began in the Chicago area as a coordinated effort of the Money Smart Advisory Council, a diverse group of more than 40 organizations working together to promote personal financial literacy. At the first meeting, members agreed to share resources and ideas to achieve greater public awareness of the programs and services available in the city of Chicago.

The result was Money Smart Week 2002 - six days of focused presentations by community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations, and financial experts, all designed to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances. The effort showcased different programs and helped consumers get information.

Today, Money Smart Week is much broader in scope and continues to expand throughout the country. The Money Smart Week model has grown beyond Chicago with successful campaigns taking place in more than a dozen states, including South Carolina. National partnerships with the American Library Association and the Financial Planners Association has increased the effort's reach and accelerated its growth.

National Scavenger Hunt

Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank, host of Money Smart Week, Scavenger Hunt with Friends is a creative photo scavenger hunt happening during the month of April. It's a free, nationwide, photojournalistic, scavenger hunt that uses the Scavenger Hunt with Friends mobile application. All of the tasks require participants to demonstrate how they are financially savvy and instead of collecting physical items, participants upload photos of the found items. The hunt started April 1st and runs through April 27th.

Money Smart Events in the Upstate

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago began partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) in 2011 as part of the expansion of Money Smart Week and Spartanburg County Public Libraries is a proud partner. "This will be the second year Spartanburg County Public Libraries have participated in Money Smart Week. Last year, our most popular program was Couponing in the Upstate. I think MSW is important because it provides a free educational opportunity in the area of financial literacy.  Whether you attend a program on saving money or how to protect your identity, you will definitely walk away with practical advice on how to be a smart consumer", says Christina Calitri, Reference Librarian. The library system is hosting several Money Smart events this year. Here are a few, but be sure to check their website for many more.

Monday, April 22
How Money Works
Autumn Payton, Independent Representative, Primerica
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Headquarters Library, 151 S. Church Street, Spartanburg, Barrett Room (main level)
Money Smart Week (MSW) Event: Learn the basics of how money works. All MSW workshops are free.

Tuesday, April 23
Financing Your Small Business
Beth Smith, Spartanburg Area Manager & Business Consultant, SC SBDC
Eddie West, Counselor, Piedmont SCORE
9:15 am - 11:15 am
Headquarters Library, 151 S. Church Street, Spartanburg, Hoechst-Celanese Classroom (bottom level)
Money Smart Week (MSW) Event: Representative from the SC SBDC and SCORE will discuss how to finance your small business. All MSW workshops are free.

Setting Budgets
Autumn Payton, Independent Representative, Primerica
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Headquarters Library, 151 S. Church Street, Spartanburg, Barrett Room (main level)
Money Smart Week (MSW) Event: Learn the basics of how money works. All MSW workshops are free.

Wednesday, April 24
Tackling Debt
Autumn Payton, Independant Representative, Primerica
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Headquarters Library 151 S. Church Street, Spartanburg, Barrett Room (main level)
Money Smart Week (MSW) Event: Learn about managing your debt and making smart money choices. All MSW workshops are free.

Thursday, April 25
Identity Theft
Edris Tucker, Community Outreach Counselor, CredAbility
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Headquarters Library, 151 S. Church Street, Spartanburg, Barrett Room (main level)
Money Smart Week (MSW): Edris Tucker, CredAbility, will discuss identity theft and steps you can take to protect yours. All MSW workshops are free.

Couponing in the Upstate
Tammy Parris
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Headquarters Library, Barrett Room (main level)
Money Smart Week (MSW) Event: Tammy Parris will show you how to save the most on your next shopping trip! All MSW workshops are free.

Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine,Entrepreneur.com, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, See the South, Beckett Media, The Simpsonville Sentinel and many other print and online publications. For clips and examples of her work, please visit her website at www.dragonflyventures.com.