HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — We may have seen a glimpse of the world’s first trillionaire right here at Hill Air Force Base among the more than 100 fifth and sixth graders at Hill Field Elementary.

On March 12, as part of an extended Military Saves Week, the Airman and Family Readiness Center coordinated a kid’s money saving workshop at Hill Field Elementary called Kids Marketplace conducted by Utah State University Extension and volunteers from Hill AFB.

The Kids Marketplace is a simulation for children to teach them the importance of budgeting and saving. The kids are given a job with a monthly salary and an opportunity to spend that salary at several different stations.

“All the feedback I heard from the teachers was positive. They thought it was a fun, yet realistic, manner of teaching financial literacy,” said Doug Forsgren, principal of Hill Field Elementary. “We do a lot to teach math concepts and principles, but opportunities like the Kids Marketplace workshop really help bring those concepts to life.”

The Kids Marketplace was held after a successful Teen’s Marketplace workshop that was held two weeks prior on the first day of Military Saves Week at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

One of the stations was a housing station where they have to decide between renting a one bedroom apartment, a two bedroom apartment or buying a home. They look at their monthly salary and decide what they can afford. The objective is for kids to try to put as much of their money into their savings account after they have gone to every other station.

Event organizers said the students at Hill Field Elementary did wonderful with the Kids Marketplace, and it was fun for the adults to observe how the kids decided to spend their money. In order to save money, some of the students got creative and decided to share an apartment or a car.

“The kids seemed to have such a great time learning about money and the volunteers really enjoyed helping them think through their decisions as they manned stations for this mock reality town” said Tracie Atkins, Hill AFB’s school liaison officer.

They got a little glimpse into what it is like to live in the real world with real life expenses. Great volunteers and teachers made the experience fun for the kids. Afterwards, there was a discussion period where the students made insightful comments on how they saved money or what it was like to budget their monthly salary.

Some of the students shared that they ran out of money and had to go back to some stations and make a different choice. In the end, all the students learned something about budgeting and saving, and most said they planned to try to save more money when they got things like allowance or birthday money.

“It was fun to watch students work individually and together to come up with budgeting solutions. We really appreciate Utah State for providing us with this great learning opportunity,” Forsgren said.

More opportunities to teach kids ways to manage money are planned. In addition to money saving workshops for youth, the Airman and Family Readiness Center offers monthly financial lunch and learn workshops for military, retirees and their families.

For more information, call 801-777-4681.

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