Students learn budgeting skills at school expo event

'It teaches kids that being an adult is hard'

OVIEDO, Fla. – Just how far can you stretch your budget? That's what Tuskawilla Middle School eighth-graders learned in the Living on My Own exercise during a career expo.

Each student receives a profile,detailing their career, salary and number of children for the exercise.

Justice Rowell, 14, said his assigned career was an insurance agent, and he nets about $3,100 a month.

"I'm learning that child care is costly and there are a lot of expenses. There are more utilities than I thought you'd have to pay for," he said.

Each student travels to 10 stations. At the housing station, they decide whether to rent or buy a home.

The "fun" station offers vacations. Students must make a purchase at each station and balance their account after each stop.

Assistant Principal Melissa Laudani says this exercise is eye-opening for students.

"He was at the fun station and trying to find if there was something fun that he was going to have money in his budget to do, and he realized, 'I'm married with two children. I don't have any money for fun.' He stopped a minute and said, 'I sound like my mom.' So they're really realizing how difficult it can be to stay within a set budget," Laudani said.

Justice said the exercise gave him a new respect for how hard his parents work.

"It teaches kids that being an adult is hard, that they need to work to do better to make enough money to support themselves financially," he said.

Living on My Own is part of the school's entrepreneurship program.

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.