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    “iBudget” – a Different Take on the Reality Fair

    We’ve posted a lot about reality fairs in the last year and for good reason – it’s such an effective learning tool for high school students and credit unions are now holding fairs from coast to coast. Some credit unions have definitely put their own stamp on them too. In this post, we’ll take a look at the interesting iBudget program from Land of Lincoln Credit Union in Decatur, Illinois.

    I was at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference last week and met Nicole Bateman, Business Development Manager at Land of Lincoln Credit Union at a session on financial literacy. As the discussion turned to reality fairs, she talked about they have customized their own version that takes place in a classroom setting (ie: no booths and lots of volunteers). I was intrigued and after the conference, she was gracious enough to share more information:

    Land of Lincoln CU reformatted the idea which was received from Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma, which was originally reformatted from CUNA’s Mad City Money reality fair. Our VP of Marketing did all of the design work, and we licensed Mad City Money so that we could use their information. [Click here for a copy of the iBudget classroom presentation slides]

    We typically give the presentation to high school students, but have also given a modified version to 6th & 7th grades. Students receive an Land of Lincoln CU branded folder with info about their adult life, budget sheet, checks, a check register, budgeting charts and CUNA’s “Guide to Money” booklet (for future reading). We also supply them with a calculator and pen/pencil. The entire program takes about 80 minutes and students choose what type of home they will live in, car, groceries, etc. We teach them how to write checks and balance a check register.

    During the first few slides, we mixed in some video to keep the student’s attention. We use a Young & Free Alberta YouTube clip explaining the difference between credit unions and banks. Then on the orange and black slide, we play a video that we created at a local car dealership explaining the features of the different cars listed on the following slide.

    At first, students aren’t sure what to expect, but after we get started, they love it! It takes approximately 80 minutes from start to finish and is administered by one person, so it is much easier for us to do than a reality fair. If the teacher is present, it’s nice for them to help the students double check their work, but sometimes the teachers participate too!


    Click here for an article from the Herald Review on the iBudget program.

DiscussionLeave a Comment

  1. This program is fantastic! Land of Lincoln presented iBudget at our Fall REAL Solutions meeting and received rave reviews from the credit unions at the meeting. It’s a great way to bring the financial reality fair experience to a smaller size group. Plus one person can run the entire program which will make it feasible for more CUs to do.

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