Every day we deal with money and finances. But how many of us received any formal training in the daily management of our own personal finances? Keith Lund, a teacher at the high school takes that idea seriously and has been teaching personal finance for the past fifteen years. Each year for the past ten years he has partnered with Financial Horizon Credit Union to present the Bite of Reality program to his students.
This week his students were able to take part in the program and learn what it is to budget their monthly salary to meet the needs of housing, transportation, entertainment, and shopping.
Several administrators and school personnel along with volunteers from the community assist with the program by staffing the various tables and “selling” services and products to the students. Students are assigned a career, a family, a monthly salary, a credit card, and a credit score and then they have to go from table to table figuring out how to make their monthly salary stretch across all the requirements of a family.
Angela Guthrie is with Financial Horizons, she explained to the students their task was to figure out how to get through the month. “If you have less than a 700-credit score, you’ll see when you go to the car dealership that your monthly payment is going to be higher.”
In years past students would use paper and pencil, however, the program has evolved with the times and students now download an app that they use to complete the exercise.
One of the students who had been assigned to be a lawyer during the program decided to take his two-year-old for a walk rather than to the zoo because the walk was free. He also decided that $1,000 for a trip to London was outside of his budget for the month.
Teri Pearson has been volunteering to help Lund for several years and loves the experience. “My very favorite line from a student was a couple of years ago when one of our girls said when she got home, she was going to tell her mom thanks because she had no idea how much went into running a family and how expensive it was.”
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