Teen Financial Reality Fair: Planning Toolkit

Financial Reality Fair is an immersive budgeting experience that gives students a glimpse into what it costs to live independently.  Students learn how take responsibility for personal financial decisions with the use of a Monthly Budget Tracker.


Junior high and high school students will have the opportunity to encounter some of the financial challenges they will face as an adult, such as cost of housing, entertainment, and transportation. This toolkit is flexible and can be used in a variety of educational settings, such as a homeschool cooperative or public school.

The Financial Reality Fair consists of two parts:

1. Job Choice & Income Planning (In classroom or done at home)
Students must complete the Student Pre-Fair Packet before the fair.

The Pre-Fair Student Packet Includes:

  • Career and Personality Quizzes

  • Pick their job option from list of entry level positions

  • Income Planning Sheet- calculate their monthly take home pay after taxes


You can use the given job salaries, or research local starting salaries in your area. Their job choice also includes information regarding the education level needed to obtain that position and if health benefits are provided, which is data they will need as they visit the reality fair booths.

2. In Person Reality Fair
The second part of the curriculum involved an In-Person Financial Reality Fair.
On the day of the fair, students will first go to the bank to receive their Monthly Budget Tracker. Using their predetermined job and monthly net income from the Pre-Fair Student Packet, students will have about an hour to go to all booths and complete their monthly budget. Each booth represents different adult spending obligations: housing, food, entertainment, transportation, etc.

This toolkit provides:

  • Prefilled Booth Informational Pages, with costs of independent living

  • Blank Informational Pages, with links to help you research costs of living in your local area.

You may use the prefilled booth informational pages in this toolkit or research costs in your local area, using blank informational pages also included.

When students have visited every booth at the fair, they will bring their completed Monthly Budget Tracker back to the bank. The goal is to successfully complete and balance their budget.