This week students in Mrs. Dent's Financial Literacy class attended the Get Real-Here’s the Deal! workshop. Get Real-Here's the Deal! is a hands-on experiential simulation that gives young people the opportunity to experience their future in a financial decision-making mode.  During the workshop this week students made financial lifestyle choices similar to those that adults face each month.  As they moved from station to station they made decisions based on their family size and affordability.  There were 12 simulation stations where they made decisions about housing, transportation, food, insurance and other real-life financial choices. The facilitator of this workshop is Sarah Stone, 4-H agent at the U of A Crittenden County Extension Agency.  She also brought other 4-H volunteers to help guide the students through the stations.  

Household Income: Each participant was assigned a Family Matters label. There are 31 different family scenarios – they could be single, married, or divorced.  They could be childless or have several children.  Children’s ages will vary.  Divorced parents could pay or receive child support.  Married couples could have one or two incomes.  One spouse could work part-time or not at all.  Participants will read the Family Matters scenario carefully to determine any additions to or deductions from income. The Family Matters label was on the inside cover of the account register.  Each participant received an account book that's used throughout the simulation activity. 

Age: For the purpose of the Get Real personal finance simulation, participants will imagine that they are on their own and are 18 to 25 years old.  Each person is the head of a household and must make all of the financial decisions. 

Occupation: Occupations and monthly income are based on estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Each participant was given an account book.  The account book includes a worksheet for calculating net income.  Participants recorded their gross monthly income and follow the instructions on the worksheet. 

Checking Account, purchases, and paying bills: Participants wrote checks to make purchases during the simulation.  These were located in the account book.  Net income was be the beginning balance.  All checks, debits, and deposits were recorded in the transaction register.

While working through each station the students were faced with the reality of what it takes to be on their own.  They had to think about what was needed at each station and if it fit their family's needs.  This class and workshop is a step in helping our students make healthy financial decision.