Shelby Patrice, Founder of Budget University

Interview with Shelby Patrice, Founder of Budget University

Contributing Writer: Keeshala Henderson

According to the National Financial Educators Council, “People need to learn money management skills before they manage their own money. Bad decisions about personal finance can take decades to fix. Financially literate young adults stand a far greater chance of leading an abundant life of security from the start. Financial education is important for youth because it provides a powerful head-start in life.”

Shelby Patrice has an undeniable passion for finances, generational wealth and people.  She is the President and Founder of Budget University, an accredited online school for middle and high school youth with a unique curriculum niche focused on financial literacy. Budget University also has resources and programs for adults to actively engage in and learn about the core principles of financial literacy.


SDM:  Hat’s off to you for investing in the financial knowledge of youth and adults, which can lead to pathways for building generational wealth!  How did you gain an interest in budgeting and finances?

Shelby:  I gained an interest in budgeting and finances when my grandmother passed away and I had to do the funeral arrangements. When I sat with the funeral coordinator, she told me that she never saw a black family so organized. I then sat with the financial advisor for our family and learned how money works. Everything they were saying and the terminology sounded foreign. I said to myself, “this can’t keep happening” and took it upon myself to learn financial literacy. I taught what I learned and gave out resources to others. That’s when I noticed that it should be taught in school.

SDM:  What is financial literacy and what are some common principles that people may not know?

Shelby:  Financial literacy is knowing the importance of money and what to do with it when it comes your way. When you have knowledge towards your finances and you are familiar with terminology, you are able to make smart decisions that will set you up for success for years to come. That’s when generational wealth kicks in!

Some common principles of financial literacy are:  Emergency savings – Save for an emergency fund that covers three to twelve months of your monthly bills and try to put those funds in high yield savings account.  Retirement – Roth IRA and 401k are two different accounts that you can have for retirement. Speak with HR to see how much your job matches for 401k. Home buying – When buying a house, try to buy a house under one single income. Therefore if two checks are coming in, money can be used for household bills and the other check for saving and investing.

SDM:  Why is financial literacy essential for youth prior to adulthood?

Shelby:  Financial literacy is essential for youth prior to adulthood because the earlier you start the better you get. It’s like training for a sport, if you start earlier and practice, you’re more likely to know the game and do it with your eyes closed. When it comes to financial literacy, the earlier you learn the earlier you are able to set up success for you and your future. You will know what to expect and will be prepared for hardships at any given time.

SDM:  Budget University was founded in 2020.  How did the concept of Budget University originate?

Shelby:  The concept for Budget University originated when I was furloughed as a flight attendant and the flight crew were reaching out for me to do their budgets. I was known as the flight attendant that read financial books on the jump seat and for budgeting my expenses. In the meantime, everyone was asking the same financial questions, so I started a Facebook group with like 25 flight attendant friends. They started bringing their friends into the group and I said, “Okay this is a business”. I feel like everything we do has to do with a budget. If we are going to the store, we look at something and we feel like it’s over-priced, that’s budgeting. If we are planning a trip and looking at amenities with the price, that’s a budget. If we are figuring out how much our health insurance is going to cost for the year, we are figuring out a budget. So I came up with Budget University because it’s about learning.

SDM:  How does your curriculum for middle and high school students differentiate from the traditional math, reading, English, science, and history currently offered in school districts? Shelby:  Budget University’s curriculum differentiates from the traditional core courses because we place emphasis on financial literacy and planning. For example, Shakespeare quotes money 21 times in his script. Students will do a project around a certain number of money quotes. Another example, students in history will explain the history of entrepreneurship and legacy that has created generational wealth through one of their public icon figures.  We are the one-stop shop to learn about generational wealth.  Additional examples are funeral funds and arrangements, how to fill out a will, understanding franchise businesses and the method of saving money and investing money. We teach all of this in our core courses for history, science, English and math.

SDM:  Your original intent to partner with local school districts to offer the curriculum transitioned into the accreditation of your own school.  An accredited school is a major accomplishment!  How long did the accreditation process take and what did it entail?

Shelby:  Yes an accredited school is a major accomplishment! THANK YOU!  Yes, my original intent was to partner with local schools and districts. The journey was long, hard and full of “No’s”. I then pivoted my journey and turned my curriculum into an accredited organization. It took us about five months. It entailed a virtual visit since we are an online school. The accrediting body thoroughly reviewed our curriculum by subject, assignment, syllabus and also our custom Learning Management System (LMS).  They checked our features which are: discussion boards for students and teachers to share articles and discuss, grade appeal process for students, communication levels for students and teachers, typing test, custom calculators and break out class sessions.

SDM:  What is the cost to attend Budget University and how does a student enroll and start in the program?

Shelby: The cost to attend Budge University is $750 for one grade level per year and $75 a month if you would like to pay monthly for 10 months.  Next enrollment for students opens on January 9, 2023.

SDM:  Currently, Budget University’s website offers resources, but will launch the basic banking, real estate, 401k, investing and life insurance courses for adults soon.  When will the launch take place?

Shelby: The launch for the adult community programs will take place February 6, 2023 and the cost is $9.99 a month.

A couple of resources that are currently available is our free app available on Apple and Androids.  Download Budget University and you will have access to the financial word game and a monthly budgeting calculator. Another website resource is our custom calculators for basic banking, life insurance, student loans and investing.

SDM: Let’s circle back to generational wealth, which is a common topic on platforms such as Revolt TV network, banking and financial sites, books, etc. What is generational wealth?  How can it be attained and sustained?

Shelby: Yes it’s a very common topic. Generational wealth is when assets are passed down from generation to generation. I define it as a torch that is lit and passed down from the past to future. It’s important that you clean up financial mess so it doesn’t hinder you in the future and then start working on what’s ahead of you so you can maintain it. It can be attained and sustained by holding open communication with family and financial advisors so everyone is on one page. Also, by educating yourself and building things that will last long-term.

SDM: Thank you Shelby for your dedication to the education of others and desire for others to succeed financially!  Is there any additional information you would like to share?

Shelby:  Thank you!  Budget University has free tools for you to take advantage of, so, download our app and also check out the website,  Also, sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of our announcements.

SDM:  We are wishing Budget University students, teachers and staff a successful academic year and look forward to the launch of program courses in February!

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