An aerial view of historic B-Building

Student's Learn Importance of a Balanced Budget at Reality Fair

Logan is shocked to see the actual prices of things

About Reality Fairs

A Reality Fair (or “Financial Reality Fair”) is an interactive financial literacy tool for high school students. The Reality Fair concept is a unique opportunity for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own. It’s a hands-on experience in which students identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Additional expenditures such as entertainment and travel are factored in as well. Throughout the event, additional chance rewards can earn them extra money, or another child.. Thus changing their financial outlook.

Throughout the fair, there are many temptations for additional spending, and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own. After the students have visited the various booths covering components of independent living, students balance their budget, and then sit down with a financial counselor for review.

Student Reflections

(Thomas, Bartender w/Spouse and Child) - "I realized that my occupation wasn't suited for family life. It might be fun, however, seeing how its a late night job, not only will I have to secure my own form of transportation to my workspace, i would have less quality time with my family. I would have to sacrifice time during the day to take a part-time job. Childcare and food is vital, and you can't skimp on it."
Thomas going through the fair
(Madison, Registered Nurse w/Spouse and 2 Children) - "I learned that I need to budget money and that not everything is cheap. Health is expensive, and family life. During the event, I spun the wheel and, "gave birth" to another child. I had to rethink my entertainment budget because after getting another child, I wouldn't have enough money to spend. Even down to my car choices, I had to choose a car that would be suitable for a family"
(John, Hotel Manager with Twins) "I was Mr. Moseby. I had twins. I lived the cheapest life, even though I had the highest net pay, so I could so I could have a Ford Mustang. My financial advisor wasn't very happy."
(Cheyenne, Paramedic w/Spouse and 2 Children) - "I learned that saving money is crucial to living life. I went $2,000 over, all because they oversold me on a vehicle I didn't need"
Cheynne spending too much of money
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