The Personal Finance class of Chadron High School has been participating in the H&R Block Budget Challenge to better prepare the students for budgeting outside of high school.
On the first of December, the budget challenge ended for the class of personal finance. For the past three years Chadron High School has participated in the H&R Block Budget Challenge under the guidance of personal finance teacher Mrs. Budler. The purpose of the budget challenge, Mrs. Budler said is "to give as close of a hands on experience as possible." The budget challenge is meant to challenge students to take on the real life issue of creating a budget around expenses they will most likely have while also saving money for emergencies and eventual retirement. The senior students, Pamela Fisher and Clayton Vahrenkamp, of personal finance agree, with Mrs. Budler that the challenge is an effective teaching tool that high school students will eventually use in their real life.
The most difficult part of the challenge Pamela said was "keeping the credit card balanced." According to Pamela the simulations' biggest lesson was that "using a credit card is not good" and can cause many issues. The personal finance class had previously been taught about the dangers of credit card use, but the budget challenge really brought the dangers to light. Even in the simple simulation, students were stressed out and wishing they could just get rid of the credit card. The most stressful portion of the challenge for Clayton was managing the reckless spending of the owner of the credit card as well. What Clayton learned from the challenge was similar to Pamela with keeping credit cards away from his life. According to Pamela the challenge has helped her "to get a real life experience of budgeting."
According to Mrs. Budler, this year's personal finance class has been one of the highest ranked classes since the school has begun participating in the H&R Block Budget Challenge. This year, overall, the majority of students have had positive participation.
Mrs. Budler plans to continue teaching with the H&R Block Budget Challenge in the future. The challenge teaches students that life can't always be so easily planned out. Even if you set aside money for emergencies it might not be enough. It teaches just how easy it is to go crazy and overspend with a credit card without realizing it. This challenge is an important learning tool that teaches high school students a few of the difficulties they will face outside of high school.