Meet H&R Block Budget Challenge Scholarship Winner: Joseph Cain
Joseph Cain, a student at Paxon School for Advanced Studies, was determined to win a scholarship through the H&R Block Budget Challenge. He had played last year, but this year Cain made sure he paid his bills, stuck to a budget and took the quizzes. The hard work paid off and this year, he won a $20,000 scholarship!
See what he said he learned from the H&R Block Budget Challenge simulation.
Do you think your peers are financially literate?
I definitely don’t think they are. I talk to my friends a lot about finances and they recognize they don’t really know a lot. Recently, my friend blew his car transmission and was talking to his dad about how he was going to pay for it; I asked if they had a certain type of insurance to cover it because it would help fix that. Turns out he’d have to pay a lot less if they did have it.
What kind of financial education or background did you have prior to taking the Budget Challenge?
I had a little because I’ve been participating in Ms. Loggie’s LifeSmarts club since I was a freshman. Also, my dad works in the financial industry so he keeps me knowledgeable on the subject.
Do you talk to your parents about money ever?
I do. My dad and I talk about it sometimes if the conversation comes up. My parents are really informative.
What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve gotten from your dad?
He’s taught me that it’s really about trying to stay out of debt, but it’s also about managing the risk and reward when spending your money.
What did you think when your teacher introduced the H&R Block Budget Challenge simulation to your club?
Originally last year I thought it was interesting. I didn’t think we had any chance of winning a scholarship or grant this year so I wasn’t excited initially. In the end I’m glad we did it!
What was your motivation for participating in the simulation?
My whole class was actually in it together, helping and motivating each other along the way. It was a team effort.
What was the most important thing you learned from the Budget Challenge?
The most important thing I learned is that there’s going to be a lot of unexpected things that happen to you along the way so it’s important to be prepared for any circumstances.
How did you react when you found out you won a scholarship?
The day before I was in position 30 and so I accepted that it was a bit too far off for me to win. But the next morning Ms. Loggie called me and told me to look at the scores. I was really surprised. I kept checking it for the next couple days because I couldn’t believe it!
What are your plans for after high school?
I’m planning on going to University of Central Florida to study political science and then go to law school after that.
How has winning the scholarship impacted your post-grad plans?
It’s a large sum of money and since I plan on doing extra schooling after I get my bachelor’s degree, it’s really going to help me pay for it.
Do you think the skills you learned in the Budget Challenge will be beneficial to your real life?
Absolutely. The simulation is pretty similar to real life. No matter who you ask, they’ll say it’s pretty accurate and can teach you so many lessons.
What advice do you have to other students who might take the Budget Challenge?
You have to be prepared and just look ahead and figure out when you have to pay certain things so you’re never caught off guard with bills.
Teachers have been using H&R Block's financial education program to help teens learn about money management. Find out more at H&R Block.
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Want a bigger bank account? Learn how smart people save their hard-earned cash so you can start building a better budget today.
St. Clair High School teacher Amanda Volz knows what it takes to lead a class of Budget Challenge masters. Learn more about her at H&R Block.