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Check It Out

Overview | Activities

Introductory Activities | Learning Activities | Culminating Activity
Cross-curricular Extensions |

Introductory Activities-Reality Check

1. DEVELOP a plan for your life. Budgets are about more than just money but also about time. On a piece of paper, brainstorm a list of things that you absolutely need in order to live and other things that you want to make your life more comfortable. Even though it might be hard to predict everything, consider a few of these things: a place to live, a means to get to work, clothes, food, and entertainment.

2. LOG onto the Jump\$tart Coalition: Reality Check Web site http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org/madmoney/pgv_money_rc_form.html and complete the exercise to determine how much money you need to earn in order to maintain your selected lifestyle.

3. CALCULATE your income requirements for an entire year based on the information generated in Step 2. Multiply the weekly income by 52 to determine the annual income; record your annual income here: ___________. If you calculated your annual income on the basis of there being four weeks in every month and twelve months in every year would you come out with the same thing? No, if you used these definitions, you would be multiplying your weekly income by 4 x 12, which would be equivalent to multiplying by 48. This calculation is off by four weeks.

4. DETERMINE what type of education is suggested in order to generate your lifestyle-supporting income. Match your weekly income with the chart on the left side of the screen (http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org/madmoney/asproot/pgv_money_reality.cfm or see table below). Use that information to determine what kind of job you think you need in order to meet your lifestyle demands.

 \$5.15 to \$9.46 Minimum Wage \$9.47 to \$12.49 Less than a High School Diploma \$12.50 to \$14.60 High School Graduate \$14.61 to \$15.23 Some college, no degree \$15.24 to \$19.27 Associate Degree \$19.28 to \$24.03 Bachelor's Degree \$24.04 to \$29.99 Master's Degree \$30.00 to \$34.94 Doctoral Degree \$34.95 and above Professional Degree

Learning Activities-Personal Budgeting

1. LOG onto The Mint: Tracking Money, Where your paycheck goes Web site http://www.themint.org/tracking/whereyourpaycheckgoes.php. Enter your annual income (see Introductory Activity: Step 3 above) in the "Annual Salary" field. Notice that an estimate of your monthly salary (after some of the taxes are withheld) is automatically calculated in the "Monthly salary after taxes" field. Enter an arbitrary amount in the savings field and click on the "Add Information to Budget."

2. GENERATE a description of fixed expenses (rent, transportation, savings, long-term debt) and variable expenses (food, entertainment, personal needs). Allow the Web site to determine where your paycheck goes.

3. COMPARE your "Total monthly expenses" to your "Total monthly income". Do you have any money left over? Have you overspent? If your expenses add up to more than your income, repeat the activities making adjustments in your choices.

Culminating Activities-Connecting to the Bank

1. REVIEW the steps needed to make bank account deposits. There are some real advantages to transacting financial business with a bank rather than a local check-cashing shop. Many check-cashing shops charge fees that quickly add up and surpass fees charged by banks if used more than one or two times per year.

2. LOG onto the Practical Money Skills for Life: Banking tutor Web site http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/english/
resources/tutor/statements/deposit.php
to access information detailing how to fill out a banking deposit slip. Roll over the terms listed on the right side to learn what the field is and what is required for you to do when completing the form.

3. COMPLETE each tutorial by clicking on the "Continue" button at the bottom left-side of each page. What is the least secure type of endorsement accepted when trying to deposit a check? There are three types of endorsement: (1) blank endorsements which only contain a signature, (2) restrictive endorsements, which stipulate a specific account to which funds should be credited, and (3) full endorsements which have a signature and indicate a third-party depositor.

4. REVIEW any unfamiliar financial terms/vocabulary by accessing the "Glossary of terms page" http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/english/resources/tutor/terms.php.

5. PRACTICE balancing a checkbook belonging to someone else before you work on your own. Access the fictitious person's check register by logging onto the "Keeping track with a check register" http://www.themint.org/tracking/usingacheckregister.php webpage or by printing the BALANCE A CHECKBOOK handout. Read the descriptions provided above the chart and fill in each line accordingly. Check your final answer against the Web site. The final balance in the fictitious account is \$321.71.

Extension Activities-Making Money by Saving Money
Cross curricular connections

MATH: Use compound interest formulae to practice figuring out future value of investments. For a challenge, visit the "Compound Interest" page http://www.moneychimp.com/articles/finworks/fmfutval.htm to verify Java calculations or complete the calculations long-hand using the formulas. Access the "Time Value" document (http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=4607) to figure out how much money you can earn by saving if interest is compounded annually at a rate of 12% if you don't want to do the calculations yourself.

RESEARCH: Build your research skills by investigating the differences between bank fees, pay-day loan service fees and check cashing service fees. Find out what other consumers have to say by searching for blogs; find out what banks have to say by visiting bank sites (http://www.merrickbank.com/Financial_Education/bank_on_it_checks.aspx); find out what these bank alternatives (http://www.soniccash.net/) say and compare your findings to what the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/pdayalrt.htm) has to say.

Community connections

HOME ECONOMICS/CIVICS: Set a fund-raising goal with your family or by yourself; plan to use these funds for a specific investment, home improvement project or charitable donation. Make a budget that will help guide your savings toward this goal.