SPOTSWOOD, N.J. – New Jersey credit unions held their first Financial Reality Fair of the school year at Spotswood High School on Friday, December 9th.
This Fair was provided to Spotswood High School at no cost to the school because of the hard work and dedication of New Jersey credit unions like Raritan Bay FCU, who organized the Fair, and with the help of grants provided by the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation.
Students stop by the Credit Union booth to finance a car.
After choosing a career and finding their starting salary in that field, students were provided a monthly budget worksheet. They then entered the “real world”, pretending they just graduated either high school or college and they’re starting over with nothing—no car, cell phone, clothing, etc. Students walked through the Fair, stopping by booths set up in the school’s media center to purchase cars, rent homes, finance furniture, etc. Their goal was to stay within budget and have money left in their pockets after paying all of their bills for the month.
Around 130 students took part in the Fair that was spread over the whole school day, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The students visited the 14 booths manned by about 25 N.J. credit union volunteers. Students spent the time financing cars and furniture, figuring out living situations, and sometimes making some extravagant purchases along the way.
Financial Counselors take time to go over the students' purchases.
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. At the end of the Fair, Financial Counselors took time with each student to go over the students’ expenses, offering advice and guidance.
All of the students enjoyed the hands-on, interactive experience of putting their financial literacy skills to the test. The two teachers who helped Raritan Bay FCU organize the Fair were also impressed with the event, and even took time to go through the experience themselves.