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Budgeting program teaches life skills

The 4H “Your Money, Your Life” program was held again at Luverne High School this year, this time in the auditorium. New 4H Regional Extension Agent Tyler Sanderlin joined with Crenshaw County Schools career coach Haley Kilcrease to hold the event. At Luverne, Mandy Horn’s business students served as vendors this year, while Coach Richard Dorsey’s career prep students participated in the program.

The program will also be held in the near future at Brantley and Highland Home.

The vendors run “businesses” set up as individual kiosks, including housing, insurance, automobiles, utilities, groceries and entertainment.

Participants are given a sheet that randomly determines their career, monthly and yearly salaries, whether or not they have a spouse or children and other factors. With this in hand, students are tasked with creating a livable budget that works for them by visiting each station.

The vendors consist of prices and selections that mimic real life. Students can “purchase” housing that ranges from rented apartments to a mobile home to a multi-bedroom house. Housing, food and childcare are stressed, while many students are given a taste of the costs of insurance, utility bills and the cost of entertainment for the first time.

Another vendor called “Life Happens” functions as a kind of wild card, where students can draw anything from a helpful windfall to an unexpected expense.

The students are able to work out their own budgets and see how carefully an income must be managed. Furthermore, the students later review their experience and have the opportunity to learn about different careers.