A group of business majors from Freed-Hardeman University assisted local 4H leaders last Friday in teaching seventh graders how to manage their money. “On My Own,” organized by local 4H leaders Brian Signaigo and Amy DeLeon, was the culminating activity of a project local seventh graders had worked on since the beginning of the school year.
Eight stations, manned by FHU volunteers, in the junior high library enticed the students to spend their money. Students had been given a monthly salary based on a career they had previously chosen. Their task was to purchase a place to live, a means of transportation, utilities, food, clothing, insurance, and entertainment within their budget. They were required to write checks for each item they purchased and to balance their checkbooks. Finally, they faced the “Curveball.” This station offered surprises for the new consumers. Some were pleasant, such as a birthday check. Others, not so pleasant, required additional expenditures.
Kyle Brown first purchased food with his athletic trainer’s salary, then went for a green Pontiac Firebird. “You have a lot of responsibility,” he said, “if you don’t spend your money wisely, you’ll go bankrupt.”
Oliver Smith chose a bus pass over leasing a car. “If you don’t have a lot of money, you have to be thrifty,” he said. “You have to save for the future.”
Haley Hughes found this to be true as she exhausted her funds before buying food. She wisely returned to Motor Mania and traded her used compact for a bus pass.
Wilson Miskelly, calculator in hand, purchased food, clothing, and housing first. With his sports announcer’s salary, he still had $1,000 left for the remainder of the items on his list. Ryland Eskew spent a large amount of his money on his residence, but, he explained, it had 25 acres of land with it. He planned to raise food on his land.
FHU students found the exercise educational. Ray Baker, a senior management major from Jefferson, Ga., helped students purchase food and personal care items. “They’re realizing how expensive food is,” he said. “It’s good for me to brush up too.”
Brad Andreas, a senior marketing major from Visalia, Calif., said, “A lot of kids don’t know how much things really cost. I wish I had had this experience.”
Amanda Cook, a sophomore from Roanoke, Va., concurred. “I wish we had had something like this when I was younger,” she said.
FHU students who volunteered are all enrolled in Dr. Lee Hibbett’s Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategies classes.