Reality Store is a simulation or game that helps students experience a tiny bit of real life as it applies to budgeting and making financial decisions for everyday life. In this game, students are approximately ten years out of high school or around 28 years old. They live in or around Scott County and work in the Louisville Metro area. Prior to Reality Store, the students worked with their Guidance Counselor to identify a career in which they are interested. Based upon their current GPA, their school attendance record, and there area of interest, they are assigned a “job” for the game.
When students arrive on game day, they go to the Statistics Booth. Here they randomly select whether or not they are married or single, if they have children and the ages of the children. From there, they go to the Banking Booth. At the banking booth, they find out how much money they have to spend after taxes based on their job/career and if they are married or single. If the student’s job or career involved higher education of some sort, they first pay their “student loan” to the bank. Next, the students are encouraged to place 10% of their income into a savings account.
From there, students go to the various booths that include: housing/utilities, groceries, furniture, clothing, child care, transportation, insurance (health, life, and auto), legal, medical, life’s unexpected (like the Chance card in Monopoly), and Pets/Entertainment/Charities.
The goal is to make it to all the booths and have some money left-over, however little that might be. If students find themselves in financial trouble before finishing the game, they may go to the financial aid table. Here volunteers help the student problem solve how to either decrease their expenses or increase their income in order to complete the game.
Through Reality Store, students develop the knowledge and skills needed to use in practical, real-life situations involving the use of dollars and “sense.”
Reality Store is coordinated through the Scott County Partnership and implemented at Austin Middle School for 8th graders, at Scottsburg Middle School for 7th graders, and sometimes again for 10th graders. Reality Store requires MANY volunteers from the community.