In the News

Liberty Students Use Program to Face Real-Life Financial Experiences

LIBERTY, Ill. — Beau Barry isn’t a fan of the budgeting techniques his subject uses.

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“What this guy is doing is not working out,” the senior at Liberty High School said. “He spends a lot of money on silly things like concert tickets and stuff, when he should probably be spending it on rent and food — more of the necessities.”

Students in the personal finance class at Liberty High School use the online financial literacy program Banzai to provide them with real-life financial experiences they could face after they graduate.

They were all following the same person who didn’t make the best financial decisions.

Senior Ashley Lefringhouse said the subject kept putting himself in bad situations, such as spending $80 on a concert ticket; getting injured during the concert, requiring a $450 hospital visit; and incurring credit card debt.

“They’re just not budgeting very well,” Lefringhouse said.

The weeklong program included games that provided students with a paycheck, and they had to budget the money for rent, car payment and other expenses.

Teacher Jonette Guinty said the seniors in the class respond to the program because they will soon be facing on-their-own experiences.

“Next year they’re going to be heading out into the real world, and they’re going to figure a lot of this stuff out, especially if they’re not going to college,” Guinty said. “They’re probably going to find a place to live pay rent and all that kind of stuff.”

She said she looks for programs that she knows students will respond well to.

“I think the main goal in a lot of my classes is to prepare them for the future and college,” Guinty said.

Banzai came to the class courtesy of Members First Community Credit Union, which provided the program to 10 to 15 classes in Quincy and the surrounding area.

Melissa Clopper-Lord, business development representative for the credit union, said starting a good foundation of financial literacy younger provides a step up when students enter the adult world.

“It really gives them that information ahead of time, so they can establish a strong financial history starting out,” Clopper-Lord said.

Clopper-Lord said the credit union has always promoted financial literacy and became more involved with different programs to reach more young people and the community as a whole. The credit union has also hosted the “Mad City Money” educational event since 2010 at John Wood Community College.

Banzai interactive courses are fun and FREE. Go ahead.