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CU Center sponsors high school budgeting seminar
MADISON, Wis. (6/18/09)--Local high school students got a taste of what life will soon be like in the “real world” Wednesday as they participated in a hands-on budgeting simulation at the Credit Union Center in Madison.
During Wednesday's Mad City Money simulation in Madison, Wis., local high school student Sandrea, on right, receives help balancing her checkbook from Heartland CU employee Josie Matuszak, who is posing as an employee of the Mad City CU. (Photo provided by CUNA)
During the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) “Mad City Money” simulation seminar, each student received a job with corresponding salary, a family, and debt. Students then visited nine merchants’ shops to shop for and select necessities such as housing, child care, food, transportation, clothing and more. Their options, which ranged from basic to luxury, allowed students to determine between wants and needs while building a budget, writing checks, and balancing a checkbook. The "merchants"--who were volunteers from Heartland CU in Madison, the UW Cooperative Extension, the Wisconsin Credit Union League, and CUNA--were trained to sell their wares to the students, not to assist the students in their decision making process. While making their way from shop to shop, some students received a visit from the Fickle Finger of Fate, who presented them with an unexpected expense or windfall. At the end of the simulation, the students’ goal was to have less than $100 in their checking accounts. Many of the volunteer merchants were surprised that the students chose inexpensive or modestly priced items over luxury items. “I think these kids may have more awareness of the current recession than I had originally thought,” noted one volunteer. For more information about the Mad City Money simulation kit, use the resource link.
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