By Susan Passmore
Senior economics students in Elizabeth Al-Omairi’s classes at IMPACT Early College High School gained some Common Cent$ recently through a session presented by Community Resource Credit Union, longtime partners with Goose Creek CISD, to help them with financial literacy.
“The Common Cent$ curriculum is part of CRCU’s focus on financial literacy and volunteerism to give us more community involvement,” Britney Samperi, CRCU business development manager.
Samperi and Yvonne Silva, business development officer, provided each student with a booklet containing information about a future occupation, monthly salary, partner’s occupation, household income and financial obligations, such as student loan payments, medical insurance premiums and credit card debt. Students rotated to Common Cent$ displays set up around the room, choosing a home, décor, vehicles or other transportation, food, childcare (if their future life included a child), clothing options and personal care.
They had to include utilities, Internet/cable, gasoline and payments on credit card debt. Entertainment, optional purchases and charitable contributions could be added to the monthly budget, but unexpected expenses had to be considered. Samperi discussed savings goals with the students.
“You can’t be overdrawn or have a negative balance, and you should have no more than $250 in your checking account. Any amount over $250 should be put into your savings account and used to pay down your debt or achieve your goals,” Samperi said.
Students also kept a register of monthly transactions in the back of their booklet.
“With online banking, most people don’t keep a checkbook register anymore, but you’re going to record your transactions in this register so that you can see what you’re spending,” Al-Omairi said.
At the end of the session, most students realized they have more to learn about successfully creating a monthly budget and living within their means. Bianca Garciarivas Torres had participated in a similar activity in junior school and found that she ran out of money, so she tried to make careful choices this time.
“I’ve always been ecofriendly, so I just chose the bus instead of buying a car, but I learned that having a family is expensive,” said Bianca. “My friend spent most of her money and only saved $28 dollars, but I had saved a lot of money at the end. I definitely learned how expensive it is to live.”