Most people don’t know how to budget their finances, and more than 50% of teens say they wouldn’t take the time to learn, but to let teens experience how it is to budget and manage money, Pattonville High School set up a budgeting simulation in the school library.

Here, every student in a personal finance class was given individual careers, incomes, spouses, children, student loans, debts, and everybody there was considered to be 21 years of age. Some were better off than others, but the main objective was to have at least $100 after the simulation was over.

Even though it was just a simple simulation, students felt a lot more informed on how to wisely spend their money.

It felt as if it were the real world, many were struggling, already in debt the first 20 minutes of receiving their monthly payment, and some had no trouble at all. Some people paired up, which was the smart thing to do, while some went solo and they were the ones to struggle first.

Posts were set up, providing various items and products such as housing, transportation, electronics, housing appliances, clothing, childcare, savings, and a couple more.

Some went straight to housing and transportation, which were necessities, and the jaws of a pressuring salesman at the mall post captured some right away.

“Come on man, you definitely need that!” Grant Black, a professor of economics at UMSL, insisted to almost every customer he reeled in.

And there was also a foam finger used to touch the students, and if touched by it, you would either receive a random gift or an unexpected expense. So budgeting was pretty important, and you never knew who had the foam finger because the volunteers switched it off every now and then.

By comparison, this was a much more beneficial experience that could make students go the right direction in managing money when they’re out on their own in the real world than just having a teacher talk about how to manage money the smart way.

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