Students learn to budget income

Published 2:00 pm Friday, February 8, 2013

Students learn to budget income

By Jeremy Pittari/Item Staff Writer

Budgeting can be a tough challenge for those who have never tried it, so one class at Picayune Memorial High School is teaching freshmen what it will be like when they enter the real world.

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On Thursday, first year high school students in the school’s Science Technology Engineering and Math program participated in an exercise that gave them all a budget based on their grade point average, the higher the grade point average, the more money they would have in their budget, said PMHS Assistant Principal Pat Smith.

With those “funds” the students were tasked with securing things in everyday life, such as a place to live, a vehicle, food, utilities and of course the non-essentials such as a cell phone and cable television.

In classic Monopoly fashion, there is also a section where students will meet with the unexpected expenses or windfalls in life, such as higher taxes, or a monetary present from family called “Chance,” Smith said. In that section, the student will pick a card just like in the classic game that could lead to an unexpected expense, or extra income.

Check books provided by BankPlus help the students balance their budget, although there are no real funds to back up the checks they write, Smith said.

With each chance to spend their money, there were several options. Vehicles had four to five options, either a new vehicle or a used one with different tiers of prices for male and female buyers to reflect the differences in insurance premiums, which are a part of car ownership. The same was true with food and other expenses, minus the gender related price differences.

Some things the teachers sponsoring the program noticed were that the students were willing to spend less on food in order to afford less crucial things such as a cell phone or cable television. Not one student opted for the highest food bill. Instead, nearly every student chose the lowest.

Instead of foregoing the non-essential items, the teachers noticed students were willing to sell their car in order to keep a home and utilities hooked up.

“It’s been an eye opener for a lot of students,” Smith said.

While this was the first year the school has conducted the exercise, Smith said the school plans to hold one every year from now on.