Santa Barbara Middle School Students Enroll in Financial Literacy 101

Seventh grade student Brad Besserman learns the ways of the fast-paced restaurant life during his week of work at Via Maestro.
6th grade student Nico Laurie calculates his monthly budget.

As an extension to their Career Study Week, SBMS students got the additional benefit of learning how to handle the profits of their labor in a financial literacy course. Career Study Week is an in-depth study on local careers providing students with firsthand experience of the working world.

Santa Barbara Middle School partnered with Montecito Bank and Trust to bring this lesson to life. Brianna Aguilar, Montecito Bank and Trust associate, provided students with some hands-on lessons on the key components to creating a balanced budget.

In the interactive workshop each student was given a “fictitious” job and received their first paycheck. Aguilar then had the students learn about taxes, fixed versus variable monthly expenses, savings accounts, credit, and loans.

“This is one of the best topics we have learned about all year,” remarked 7th grade student, Ryan Godges. “It really applies to our lives and answers so many questions.”

Using their new knowledge, students created a personal budget based on the notion that they were living independently and away from home. Surprised students laughed as they totaled the first draft of their “hypothetical” budget and quickly realized that their paycheck did not cover their desired expenses each month.

Sixth grade student Hixon Foster was taken aback to see his final budget. “As I budgeted things individually the cost did not seem that much, but when I totaled everything it sure added up!”

Aguilar instructed the students to re-work their budget and figure out a way to be more efficient to stay within their allotted income. The discussion was elevated when students inquired about social security taxes, their credit score, loans, and banking options.

SBMS Life Skills teacher Caroline DeLoreto remarked, “This was truly a life skill that I hope the students can use again and again.”


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