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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


What Does it Take to Make Ends Meet? Learn Money Management Skills at Farm Science Review

September 14, 2010

LONDON, Ohio – Visitors to Ohio State University's Farm Science Review will have fun learning how far that monthly paycheck really goes through a new interactive display featuring OSU Extension's Signature Program, "Real Money, Real World."

The youth financial management program is a six-lesson curriculum to help middle and high school students become aware of the money-management skills they'll need for the rest of their lives.

Here's how Real Money, Real World works. Students assume the role of a 25-year-old adult. They choose or are assigned one of 108 occupations with a corresponding salary, and find out how many children they're raising. The lessons focus on basic finance principles, including how education and occupation affect income; how expenses and paycheck deductions add up; and how to be smart in using checking accounts, savings and credit.

The program's highlight is a real-life simulation: The students start with their monthly income and visit various booths staffed by community volunteers to spend their income on housing, utilities, child care, transportation costs, insurance, phone and internet access, and groceries typical in a family budget.

Farm Science Review visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a scaled-down version of the Real Money, Real World program. The interactive exhibit will be located in the McCormick Building on Friday Avenue of the exhibitor grounds. Farm Science Review will be held Sept. 21-23 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

Participants begin by spinning the wheel for an occupation, said Patty House, an OSU Extension educator in 4-H youth development.

"One of the goals of the Real Money, Real World program is to help participants understand the connection between earning potential and educational attainment," said House. "Every occupation on the Real Money, Real World wheel is connected to a gross monthly income. Reality begins for participants after taxes, health insurance and retirement savings are deducted and they see what's left to spend."

House said that participants will try to make ends meet as they make important choices for housing, transportation, food and communications.

"Depending on your choices, will you have any money left to spend on child care, utilities, insurance, clothing, entertainment, or life's unexpected encounters?" said House. "We hope that FSR participants take away some valuable lessons on money management and perhaps go back to their counties and share with administrators and teachers how to use Real Money, Real World program in their schools."

As an incentive to participate in the Real Money, Real World interactive exhibit, all players can enter a drawing for a chance to win an iPod. The iPod will be drawn for at the conclusion of Farm Science Review. The winner does not need to be present.

OSU Extension educators and 4-H youth development specialists will be on hand to assist visitors as they participate in the Real Money, Real World simulation. To learn more about Real Money, Real World, log on to

Farm Science Review is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. It attracts upwards of 140,000 visitors from all over the country and Canada, who come for three days to peruse 4,000 product lines from 600 commercial exhibitors, and learn the latest in agricultural research, conservation, family and nutrition, and gardening and landscape.

Farm Science Review pre-show tickets are now on sale for $5 at all OSU Extension county offices. Tickets will also be available at local agribusinesses. Tickets are $8 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21-22 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 23.

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Candace Pollock
Patty House