Mrs. Major’s Senior Project classes recently completed the annual RU4Real assignment.
Students used their current hourly wage or were assigned a $10 per hour wage, which they used to compute their yearly and then monthly salaries. Students assumed they would be receiving 40 hours per work week, even if 40 hours each week is often not possible in an area of south Alabama dependent upon tourist seasons.
Using their monthly salary, students deducted 10% for savings, and they spent 10 minutes picking out an actual apartment from the Internet from any city of their liking. They could choose to live alone or have multiple roommates to share expenses.
Students used their current car and insurance payments or picked out a new car along with an insurance payment.
They had to pay for gas for the month based on their size automobile, as well as a meal plan, which included eating at home, eating at home and in restaurants, and just eating in restaurants. Most students were struggling with money at this point and chose to eat at home.
Students had lots of necessities they had to pay for, like power and water, but they also had the option to purchase cell phone plans, Internet, and insurance plans.
Students were allowed to accept a loan from Mom, but they understood that if they finished with any money at the end, this money actually belonged to Mom.
Most people did not take Mom’s loan.
Students who did not have enough money to get through the month without going into negative numbers reported feeling anxious or unsuccessful.
If there was an interesting realization gained from this exercise, it’s that most students felt reasonably anxiety free if they completed the month with any money left over. If they had $100 or even $10 left over after paying all their bills, most people (about 70% of each class) indicated they were happy and content with the outcome.
If you ever had to purchase new tires or a new air conditioner, or you wanted to take a vacation or attend a relative’s wedding out of state, then you probably know that quite often, just finishing the month with a little money will not be enough in the long run to purchase everything you and your family need.
Students were encouraged to seek on the job training or take college classes that will allow them to have careers that pay more than minimum wage.
Adulting is hard…make good choices!