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Mad City Money Simulation Teaches High School Students How to Live on a Budget

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CLARKSBURG -

Robert C Byrd High School business students got the chance to learn about living on a budget on Wednesday.

Each student in Dr. Geraldine Beckett's business and marketing essentials class was handed a packet that showed them their future.

"They've been assigned an occupation and a salary and a life situation, whether or not they have children or a spouse, maybe an elderly parent they're taking care of. They get put into an adult situation with an adult salary and an adult occupation," explained Beckett.

The simulation is called Mad City Money, and is run by volunteers from the Clarksburg Area Postal Employees Credit Union, and was created by the Credit Union National Association.

After students were assigned an occupation and salary they had to make some decisions.

"They're expected to go through and make decisions to say how well they're going to eat that week. Are they going to eat top shelf, or are they going to eat store brands, or are they going to eat ramen noodles all week," said Beckett.

They also had to buy a house, a car, pay for daycare, furnish their house, and more.

There was also one volunteer who handed out both good and bad surprise situations. Some of these included car trouble where they had to deduct money from their budget, or winning a local contest 

In the end the students had to have $100 or less left over.

"They go back to the credit union table and then they are supposed to have some money to save. They can put it into savings, or retirement but the goal is to have money left over to save," Beckett said.

Beckett said the reaction from students is consistent every year.

"Usually the biggest reaction I get is that it was fun, and they enjoyed it, but also a lot of times you'll hear that they didn't' have any idea. They need to realize don't just go out and get any credit card that wants you, don't do things that are going to jeopardize your financial stability," said Beckett.

Beckett has been using this simulation in her classes for almost 10 years.

For more information on the Mad City Money simulation click here.