A group of Polk County Middle Schools students learned last week the reality of dealing with life’s financial decisions – and maybe got some insight into what their parents cope with every day as well.

Seventh graders at PCMS took part in the Reality of Money program sponsored by the State Employees Credit Union. Students were assigned a profile – married or single, with or without children and also given a job and monthly income.

Students had to visit different stations set up by SECU and make financial choices such as their type of housing, transportation and groceries, the type of clothes to purchase, whether they should add a credit card or second job and how their credit score affected all of those decisions.

Students also encountered hardships such as getting a flat tire, or adopting a pet and having to pay fees or getting the flu and missing work.

“The students were frustrated through the process because they realized how tight finances could be and why their parents often couldn’t get the extras the students wanted,” said PCMS teacher Shannon Harris.

This eye-opening activity allowed students to get a glimpse of a future with a good education as compared to a future without a high school or college degree.