Article submitted by volunteer, Susan D’Alessandro
As a 25 year veteran in the financial planning industry, I have seen many sad financial situations mainly due to lack of knowledge on how to manage the family budget. Once I became aware of the existence of Financial Beginnings, I was very excited to come aboard and be a volunteer. I am pleased to say that after teaching 20 classes, I enjoy teaching the Budget Game the most. This class gets the students engaged quickly and keeps them engaged.
Here are a few tips I use to keep the class moving. First I pair up the students or put them in a
group of three depending on class size. I also give each pair a job and salary using the options provided in our workbooks. Instead of posting the monthly expenses sheets around the room, I hold up the expenses one by one and have the pair/groups choose one from each selection for their budgets. This helps me control the timing and keeps the students focused. It also allows me to walk around the room and see if any group is having a problem understanding the exercise. Once the main expenses are chosen, I have them sum up the expenses and see how much is left in their wallets. They usually feel pretty good about this point. Then I continue to add expenses for utilities, entertainment, vacation, cell phone, health insurance and misc. repairs. Usually by the end there is no money left even for the pairs with the higher salaries.
It is at this point that the lights come on in their minds that running a family budget is no easy thing. They begin to make comments about how their parents must have to work really hard to give them what they have. They also see that life is expensive and they get to make choices on how they spend their money. I know that by volunteering with Financial Beginnings I am the one that has helped turn this light on for them and have helped them start down the path of making smart decision with their money.