Students fail to apply knowledge from class when managing money

Freddie Wilhelm | Staff Writer

See how Mason High School teacher Andy Goetz budgets his income to meet the needs of his family.
One of the most prevalent skills in adulthood is managing money and balancing a budget; however, apart from Financial Literacy, this skill is rarely taught at Mason High School through hands-on experience. Business teacher Jennifer Striker said that creating a budget is imperative to everyone in the world.“You would never build a house without a blueprint, so don’t spend your hard-earned cash without a budget,” Striker said. “A budget is your spending plan, your blueprint for spending finances, to ensure you are living within your means.”

Freshman Jack Gerus said although he plans to get a job, his parents will still provide him with his means.

I’m going to get a job at some point in my high school career in order to start saving for college and make some extra money for myself,” Gerus said. “I don’t really think I’m going to do food service, but definitely a clothing store, Kings Island or something like that, but my parents will be paying for a lot of what I do even after I get a job.”

As taught in Financial Literacy, saving money is always a smart choice, whether you’re earning minimum wage or seven digits, Striker said setting a budget will keep earners organized and prepared for expenses that are a part of life.

“Creating a budget will help you plan for expenses, cut your spending, as well as save for a future goal,” Striker said. “If you want to travel, save your money to travel, if you want a Maserati, save your money for a Maserati. Budgeting also helps develop lifelong money management skills and habits.”

However, even with a job, junior Will Morris said he usually spends his money frivolously instead of saving and budgeting.

“I work at Chipotle for extra cash, and usually, I spend most of my money on food,” Morris said. “I enjoy going out with my friends and going to restaurants with them, and that costs money, and it’s where a lot of my money goes.”

In high school, students often do not have to deal with the burden of expenses such as electricity, water service, and phone bills; however, Striker said tracking cash flow is still an important step in balancing any sort of expense with one’s cash intake.

“In Financial Literacy we teach students about cash flow,” Striker said. “Track your money by writing down every purchase, even the smallest expense: where is your money coming from and where is it going and for what.”

Morris said he is going to improve his money management once he is out of high school.

“Right now, my parents pay for all of the stuff that I need, which is going to change once I get older when I start living off my own money,” Morris said. “I’m going to create a budget when I have to pay taxes and buy my own things to better organize my spending.”

The process of budgeting is fairly simple to start, and with money management skills taught at MHS, Striker said budgeting is something anyone can do.”

“There are seven main steps to budgeting, the first two are setting a financial goal and determining your net income (which come after taxes),” Striker said. “You should always pay yourself first by saving 20% of your net income for emergency funds, savings, and investments. You then deduct fixed expenses like electricity, gas, and other necessities. You finally estimate your variable expenses and control impulse buying. After this is all done, record the amount left over and evaluate your budget and adjust accordingly.”

Even though most students don’t create budgets, they know that they will need to once they’re done with their education. Gerus said, although it won’t be easy, he will need to set a budget once he is out of college.

“Once I’m out of college, I think I’m going to try to manage it as best as I can with budgeting and managing where my money goes,” Gerus said. “I’m going to take time out of my day when I have a job and force myself to figure my budget out. It will be tedious, but I think it’s worth it to be better organized with something like money.”