ON MY OWN – Real Life Simulation

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Since 2008 every eighth grader in Cannon County has participated in the On My Own simulation. The UT Extension FCS Agent partners with the Cannon County School System Guidance Counselors to implement two hours of preliminary education about how banks work, writing a check, reconciling a checkbook, and managing income. Students explore their lifestyle goals and what salary they need to reach those goals. Once they see this it helps them to understand the importance of education toward the career needed to reach those financial goals.  They also see how having a family affects those goals.

What is On My Own?

On My Own is a hands-on, real-life simulation that gives young people the opportunity to experience their futures in a fun and exciting way. They are encouraged to make healthy and wise lifestyle choices similar to those adults face on a daily basis. Eighth graders assume they are 25 years old and are the primary or sole support of their household. After exploring careers, participants receive a monthly salary for their chosen career and a family scenario. Then they proceed through ‘real life,’ deducting taxes, determining a savings amount, and spending their monthly salary on the necessities and luxury items that reflect the career and lifestyle they have chosen.

How does it work?

Using sample checks and registers, participants learn how to record and manage their bank accounts. After making their deposits and deducting taxes, participants make spending choices from the following categories:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Groceries
  • Utilities
  • Entertainment
  • Childcare
  • Health & Grooming
  • Medical & Dental

After each choice, participants write a check and subtract the amount from their registers. They may also receive a chance card that represents unexpected expenses and incomes encountered in real life. Participants complete their experiences by evaluating their choices and considering alternatives.