Students at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center Link Education with Future Lifestyle Choices.


Recently, students from the Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) participated in a Real Money. Real World. simulation. Each student visited the various booths making spending choices based on their family situation hoping they would have enough money to make ends meet at the end of the month. “Overall, this has given me a very big view on life.  I now know not to overspend my money on cars - I now know to put my money into savings so I have enough money to eat,” added Jack Berter.  


The program includes four classroom lessons to prepare students to assume the role of a 27-year-old adult who is the primary income provider for a family. They received an occupation of their choice, monthly salary, and the number of children they are raising. Students learned to subtract savings, taxes, and other deductions from their monthly income. The amount of money left over is what they spent during the simulation activity. Students spent their money at booths on items typically found in a monthly budget including housing, utilities, groceries, insurance, child care, and transportation. Throughout the activity, students kept track of their finances and attempted to complete the simulation with a positive balance.  “This program has given me a very good explanation on how I should manage my money,” noted Nikolai Catey.


The program is a product of The Ohio State University and was organized for the community by Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pat Holmes in collaboration with MVCTC Instructor, Lindsay Griffin.  90 students participated in this program.


During the post-simulation lesson, students reflected on their experience and what they learned by completing a self-assessment. The students thoroughly enjoyed their experience but were shocked at how hard it was to meet a monthly budget. Many had newfound respect for their parents and what they deal with on a daily basis. At the end of the experience, student comments included, “Kids are expensive,” “I need to stay in school and graduate in order to get a better job later,” “Life is a whole lot harder than I thought,” and “I need to get the important stuff out of the way first.”


As reported in a Real Money. Real World. follow-up study, students reported significant changes in their financial behavior after the program. Over 80% of participants reported changes in the extent to which they now repay money owed on time, set aside money for the future, and compare prices. Over three-fourths of students indicated they now think more carefully about spending money.


If you would like more information about the Real Money. Real World. program, please contact Pat Holmes at the Montgomery County Extension office, 937-224-9654.