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Budget Cents

Real-Life Budget Simulation for Teens and Young Adults

Budget Cents by SAFE Credit Union provides real-world personal finance insights to teenagers and young adults using an engaging budgeting simulation. Participants work within a certain budget to figure out just how much they can spend a month on housing, food, transportation, and incidentals without running out of funds. The Budget Cents program stands out for reflecting the current cost of living in the Greater Sacramento region, so participants obtain a genuine scope of the financial decisions they’ll make as adults. 

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Budget Cents

High school students and young adults are not getting access to quality financial literacy in schools. According to a study done by NGPF, in 2022, only 1.5% of California high school students were required to take a financial literacy course. Nearly 20% had no access to any financial courses at all. SAFE is addressing this shortfall by offering a high quality, immersive program that gives immediate insights into everyday financial decisions. Budget Cents gives teens access to information on topics such as budgeting, saving, how credit cards work, and more.

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Budget Cents provides an engaging and enlightening experience that leads to many “a-ha” moments for teens and young adults. The program begins with each student receiving a persona that includes monthly income, monthly debt payments, and size of family. They visit stations where they choose housing, transportation, entertainment, childcare, and other options. Like real life, surprise expenses or income are included during the simulation. Students conclude the simulation by tallying their expenses against their income to see whether they stayed within their budget and had enough left to put into savings.


Bring Budget Cents to Your School or Organization

Budget Cents can be hosted by schools and organizations serving teens and young adults. Budget Cents is available in-person (recommended) or in virtual formats. SAFE’s Financial Education team will work directly with you on hosting the event, provide the financial educators to lead the sessions, and work with you to arrange volunteers to help staff the event. To get started, please fill out the form below. We look forward to bringing Budget Cents to your students!

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Application Information*


*Must be over 18 years of age and an authorized representative of the high school or organization.

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