The other day, I volunteered at Hanscom FCU’s CU4Reality Fair. We hosted over 70 high school students as they accommodated a month’s worth of expenses out of a salary from a career they chose in advance.
I found myself pitching beauty and spa services to two young women. “Well,” said one finally, “my mother cuts my hair.”
The second chimed in, “Yes, and she’s going to cut mine, too. We’re going to be roommates.”
“Are you telling me you’re never going to visit a salon?” I asked. They nodded, and left my booth with budgets intact.
Though I did talk some of the teens into massages and deluxe manicures, these two students had figured out something important. Spending $50 to $100 per month to keep your hair and nails in shape is a want, not a need.
That was the point of the day’s activities. The students had just completed a six-week financial management course. The classroom discussions about spending, borrowing and budgeting were put into practice.
The students learned what it’s really like to balance wants and needs against a finite income. Want a fancy car, a pet, or a nice vacation? You’d better choose modest housing and supplement your income with a second job.
I learned something, too. I need to sharpen my sales pitch for next time.