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NIU and community organizations partner to celebrate Money Smart Week

April 18, 2018

April is Financial Literacy Month, which culminates in Money Smart Week, April 21 to 28. Throughout the month, free programs in DeKalb, LaSalle and Lee counties will cover many facets of economics and personal finance, from establishing a budget to estate planning, taxes and saving for college.

Dozens of individuals, businesses and other organizations are partnering to provide Money Smart Week programming, including Econ Illinois, the NIU Center for Economic Education and the NIU Center for P-20 Engagement.

“Money Smart Week includes financial literacy programs for all ages, from children to college students, adults and seniors,” says Dr. Judith Dymond, coordinator of the NIU Center for Economic Education.

Northern Illinois University helped to usher in Money Smart Week with several public events as part of the ECONference on Wednesday, April 18, which were sponsored by the NIU Department of Economics. Dr. Bhash Mazumder, a senior economist and research advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, talked about intergenerational mobility in America in his public lecture, “Is there upward mobility in America?” Later that evening, the Economic Student Association presented “So what the heck is Bitcoin?” – a lively discussion of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies and the changing financial system in a global economy. Both events were free and open to the public.

On Earth Day, Saturday, April 21, children and families are invited to a story and craft time at 10 a.m. featuring the Money Smart statewide Big Read book, “Little Critter: Just Saving My Money” by Mercer Mayer. After that, families can stick around for Earth Smart = Money Smart from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a hands-on activity demonstrating how upcycling and repurposing unleashes creativity, saves money and protects the earth.

Adults will get smart about money and enjoy food and conversation during events at DeKalb area restaurants. On Monday, April 23, participants are invited to learn about the video game economy and the viability of eSports from 7 – 9 p.m. at Fatty’s Pub and Grille in DeKalb. The NIU Economic Student Association will highlight economic concepts in both our world and the virtual world and discuss how the eSports economy affects the general economy.

On Wednesday, April 25, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Eduardo’s Restaurant in DeKalb, assistant professor Kevin Martin of the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology will explain the science behind money saving smart meters and will give consumers hands-on tips for lowering their electric bills.

Other free public events, on topics ranging from understanding your credit score to preparing for retirement or making the most of new tax laws, will take place throughout the week at a variety of locations.

A full schedule of events is available at