An Ohio State University Extension program aims to give area students a trial run at adult spending decisions. Real Money. Real World., a program developed by allows high school students to make life choices and get a taste of the real world.
In April and May students from the Archbold, Evergreen, Pike-Delta-York, Fayette, Pettisville and Wauseon school districts have an opportunity to experience first-hand how expenses for necessities, as well as luxuries, must be balanced with the reality of monthly income. Students will be given an occupation, monthly income, credit card debt, and even a child or two.
“Real Money. Real World. helps youth realize that their career choice, the education required for a career and potential lifestyle are related,” said Melissa J. Rupp, family and consumer science educator at the Extension.
School officials and the local program coordinator invite community business representatives and other volunteers to staff spending booths at the school. The booths provide various services and monthly obligations such as banking, groceries, transportation, childcare, and utilities. With their monthly “paychecks” in hand, students are required to visit each station to purchase goods and services.
Those who spend wisely may have money left over at the end of the month. Students who make lower salaries or make expensive purchases barely break even or may even go bankrupt. For those who can’t make ends meet, there’s a Financial Advice booth where advice and options are offered.
It’s all just make-believe, but it carries a serious message.
“A lot of teens have big ideas about buying a fancy car or a big house, but they really can’t afford it. Going through Real Money. Real World. and seeing for themselves how expensive life can be makes a big impact with the students,” said Sara Lewis, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development.
Real Money. Real World. is planned to simulate real life as closely as possible. Students select or are assigned a career, and number of children. Careers all have various education requirements and payments. Some students may want or get assigned a minimum wage job. This job may sound like enough money to someone who is 16, but we want them to ask themselves if minimum wage will meet their needs when they are responsible for a family as an adult.
As the day begins, students quickly learn how childcare is one of their biggest expenses. They also must visit the “chance” booth where “life” deals them something unexpected. It could be good, like winning free groceries or bad, such as having to buy new tires for the car.
Simulations will be held on:
· April 29 – Pettisville High School
· April 29 – Wauseon High School
· May 4 – Evergreen High School
· May 6 – Archbold High School
· May 12 – Fayette High School
· May 18 – Delta High School