On Wednesday, April 3, Holy Spirit High School students were given the opportunity to put their financial literacy skills to the test by participating in a Financial Reality Fair. It was a fun, interactive one-day event that allowed students to get a feel for real-life budgeting and understand the importance of saving and spending wisely.
Jersey Shore Federal Credit Union sponsored the event at no cost to Holy Spirit High School with the help of a grant from the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation, which covered half of the fair expense. It was the first time Jersey Shore brought the Financial Reality Fair to a high school.
Prior to the fair, students chose a career and found their starting salary in that field. Based on that information, students were provided a personalized monthly budget worksheet. They then pretended to go through life, stopping by booths to purchase clothing, food and cars, rent homes, finance furniture etc. Their goal for the fair was to stay within their budget and have money left in their pockets after paying all their bills for the month.
Students then spun the Wheel of Reality, a wheel that could either help or hurt their finances with real-life situations such as having to pay for car repairs or receiving a bonus at work. Financial counselors met with each student at the end of the fair, going over the students’ monthly expenses and one-time purchases, offering advice and guidance.
A total of 35 volunteers, including student volunteers, staff from other area credit unions and the New Jersey Credit Union League spent the school day manning booths and interacting with close to 200 juniors seniors, providing them the hands-on experience of completing a monthly budget.
Anne Musto, COO for Jersey Shore, participated in the fair and said, “We are excited to bring the Financial Reality Fair to Holy Spirit High School students who will be starting life on their own within the next few years. I am confident this exercise will have students thinking more about their career choices, spending habits, and saving for their future. Feedback from faculty and the students was very positive.”