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Finance Park at Thomas Edison High School by Daniel K.

When you finish your schooling, you might think you’d be well-educated about finance, but the harsh truth is that many adults do not know how to create budgets or fill out tax forms. Many people will not learn about finance in school because classrooms do not teach it since it isn’t part of the curriculum.


Finance Park is an optional field trip that is highly recommended for 7th graders. Julius West

students traveled to JA Achievement at Thomas Edison High School (TEHS) where they learned how to withdraw, save, plan, and also earn a salary from different jobs. The dates were November 30th, December 1st, and 2nd. Students were dismissed from their first period and grouped with eight students along with a chaperone until they got into a new group. The buses left at 8:30 AM, and the estimated time to get there was 9:25 AM. The bus ride was a 15-20 minute experience, and once students arrived at the destination, they listened to chaperones and teachers for directions.


The program experience began with weeks of classroom instruction, which eventually built up into a day for Finance Park, where students were immersed in a reality-based but also decision-making process that addressed budgeting, health care, investments, philanthropy, and banking. The classroom work culminated in a trip to Finance Park, which allowed students to put their learning into the practice of a real-life simulation.


During the day's activities, students shopped for what they needed to live and work while staying within their budgets. It is important to know how to save and spend money carefully, such as spending money wisely on things needed for daily use. Students may have also been able to apply for credit and debit cards. Once they start spending their money balance, they were to look at their credit card statements.


Below are some handy tips to help you get started with knowing some facts about finance. This list could be very helpful for students who go on the field trip next year.

  • Checks and Checking Accounts: Know your account balance. Your check will “bounce” (the bank will notify you that it is not valid) if you write a check for more money than what is in your account. Overdraft and bounced check fees may apply. Keep track of your account with a written or online registration.

  • Budgets: Having been made aware of the need to spend wisely, you are required to learn about using a budget, which is a record of income and spending and a plan for managing money. Here you will identify the parts of a budget to keep track of your expenditures, and you will practice adapting a budget to your needs. After first putting money aside in savings, the “Pay Yourself First” (PYF) concept you learned about earlier, you are ready to pay your expenses. You must calculate your fixed expenses, those that do not change from month to month, such as auto insurance or rent. Then you need to determine your variable expenses, the spending that varies from month to months, such as entertainment, car repairs, or bills.

  • Fun Parts: Once savings have been subtracted and both fixed and variable expenses have been paid, you are left with your discretionary income. This is the money available for spending on goods and services that are not essential. This is your fun money, which you can spend immediately on things you want or save to spend on more expensive things you want.

If students here at Julius West learn anything from the article, it means that you have learned useful knowledge to use later on in life.


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