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Tuesday, April 23, 2019
What is Budget Challenge?

Budget Challenge® is a personal finance simulation that teaches teens money management skills. During the 10-week competition, students receive virtual paychecks and bills in real-time and are challenged to build a budget and make financial decisions that help them learn how to pay bills on time, manage a credit card balance, and save money for retirement in a 401(k).

This year H&R Block® is sponsoring high school students to play for FREE and giving away college scholarships to students who excel in the simulation!

New teachers may register at hrbds.org and create a class for the 2018-2019 school year simulations today!

When you register for the FREE H&R Block Budget Challenge at hrbds.org:

  • Your students will experience our 10-week award-winning personal finance simulation
  • Your students will compete for a college scholarship
  • You can sign-up to play in our Teacher Play division for FREE
  • You can earn FREE CEUs


Register today to see why thousands of students and teachers are participating in the H&R Block Budget Challenge!

New teachers can register now at www.hrbds.org.

Returning teachers use their existing teacher account to login.

Need help getting started? Watch our webinar video today!

Simulation Schedule

Budget Challenge® is a personal finance simulation played as a competition over ten weeks. Students receive paychecks and bills in real time and are challenged to build a budget that allows them to pay their bills on time, manage their credit card balance, and save money for retirement in a 401(k). The simulation does not use real money, but is extremely realistic including features such as online bill pay, direct deposit, email bill alerts, 401(k) paycheck deductions, late fees, utilization penalties and more.

To provide teachers with a free online simulation with all the tools they need to prepare teens for a successful financial future. Budget Challenge® aims to make students Real-World Ready by focusing on Behaviors, Knowledge, and Skills.

Registration for the H&R Block Budget Challenge is now open! Returning teachers login to their existing account at hrblock.budgetchallenge.com/login to acknowledge the new rules and create classes. New teachers register at www.hrbds.org.

Other simulations run over the course of days, while Budget Challenge® is played for 10 weeks giving students the experience of two billing cycles. Many simulations are based in the classroom and when the student leaves class the simulation is put on hold until class resumes. Like real life, the Budget Challenge® simulation is a 24/7 responsibility and does not end when students leave the classroom. Students are immersed in the adult world of budgeting, handling unexpected financial events, managing their cash flow to ensure bills are paid on time, all while contributing to their 401(k) retirement account.

Unlike other simulations, Budget Challenge® is also a competition that scores and ranks students based on how well they save, answer weekly open book quiz questions, and manage their financial responsibilities (pay bills and manage their credit card balance). Eligible students compete for college scholarships. Students compete with their classmates and nationally against all other students in their simulation. See the Overview page for more information on scoring and prizes.

Our program is more than a simulation. We provide teacher materials and resources that integrate with the game scenario. Through the use of our Road Map and Starting Line teachers are guided through the simulation week-by-week. The easy to use Pit Stops and Test Drives provide the teacher with a quick refresher on the topic and student activities to use in the classroom.

Budget Challenge® prides itself on providing excellent customer service through our help desk. Students and teachers have access to an online help desk where their emails are received and responded to by live people.

Our program aligns with CEE and Jump$tart national standards and goes well beyond teaching vocabulary and financial concepts by putting these topics into action with simulated real world consequences.

Participating teachers are surveyed at the end of each simulation and their feedback is used to continuously provide improvements to the program.

We provide teachers with student end of simulation survey results giving them a way to measure the success of the program. Compiled effectiveness data is available at www.budgetchallenge.com.

Over 700,000 participants have played the H&R Block Budget Challenge® and we have already awarded over $6 million in scholarships and prizes. Students in every state have played and their response is overwhelmingly positive. They are having fun while developing positive financial habits for the future.

The simulation offers teachers the opportunity to play the game with the potential to earn free CEUs to help prepare them and stay current with the curriculum for personal finance. Teachers can play once per semester to see the simulation and materials from the students' point of view. They can take the quizzes, pay bills, save in their 401(k), etc., just like their students.

The Teacher account comes with a built-in Teacher Play account that becomes active upon completing vendor selections.

Teachers are provided with a variety of supplemental resources including video tutorials, a pre-recorded introduction to Budget Challenge webinar, a teacher Road Map that provides a week-by-week breakdown of simulation topics (Pit Stops), and engaging classroom activities (Test Drives).

Teacher Home provides teachers with materials and tools to assist them in understanding the game, game play, scoring, student game play, and the timing of bills and notifications. In addition, we provide a grading tool in the last few weeks of the simulation that teachers can use to assess their students.

New this year! The Teacher Dashboard that displays information real-time to help teachers stay on top of student registration status, student performance and engagement in the game, while reducing the number of emails sent to the teacher. The Starting Line page that displays the simulation timeline graphically and provides quick links to resources and an new smarter Teacher Home page that provides what you need when you need it.

The mobile app provided for both iOS and Android devices includes functionality for teachers and students. Teachers can monitor student registration, access game play data in real-time, and keep up with their Teacher Play account to earn FREE CEUs all with one login. The app provides students the ability to manage their simulation financial decisions from their mobile phone or other devices. Teachers and students can access the app by clicking on the Get the App page or by going to the App Store or Google Play Store and searching "H&R Block Budget Challenge®".

In this webinar, you will experience the student registration process and daily activities of a student participating in the game through a virtual tour of the simulation presented by an experienced Budget Challenge team member who has facilitated this game in her classroom.

You will be viewing teacher resources, scoring, grading, and benefit from suggestions on how to implement Budget Challenge in your classroom.

*Disclaimer: Simulation dates, prize types, and prize amounts could vary by "Challenge year." Refer to the Official Contest Rules for your "Challenge year" details.

Creating a Teacher Account
Budget Challenge: Road Test for Personal Finance
Introducing the H&R Block Budget Challenge