THIS SEEMS LIKE A LOT. IT IS NOT. YOU NEED TO READ FOR UNDERSTANDING TODAY. PLEASE FOCUS ON READING AND UNDERSTANDING EVERYTHING IN TODAY’S LESSON PLAN. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL MRS. WEBER. THE MAIN GOAL TODAY IS TO GET LOGGED INTO YOUR H & R BLOCK CHALLENGE ACCOUNT AND ACCLIMATE YOURSELF TO THE WEBSITE’S INTERFACE. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

GOAL: Before you leave class today you will know about the Budget Challenge and you will begin to choose your vendors for the game.

  1. What is Budget Challenge®? Budget Challenge® is an online personal finance simulation in a competition format. During the 9-16 week simulation, you will receive paychecks and bills in real time and you will be challenged to build a budget that allows you to pay your bills on time, manage your credit card balance, and save money for retirement in a 401(k). The simulation does not use real money, but is extremely realistic including features such as online banking, electronic bill-pay, direct deposit, e-mail bill alerts, 401(k) paycheck deductions, late fees, utilization penalties and more. During the simulation, you are immersed into a financial life of a recent college graduate who has been working and living on their own for about 6 months. All participants compete to best manage the same scenario for their round. This means you will receive the same gross bi-weekly paycheck from your employer, but the net pay will vary depending on your choice to save money directly into a 401(k) plan. Financial commitments include: health insurance (through payroll deduction), rent, renter’s insurance, car loan, car insurance, cell phone, gas & electric utilities, cable, credit card, and student loan. These bills will expose you to a wide array of terms and conditions like billing frequency, fees, penalties, and interest rates. Bill amounts are based on national averages. By playing the game, you will learn:
    1. the importance of budgeting and tracking of payments
    2. the importance of timing of cash flow and scheduling checks
    3. some rules for using a checking account and online bill-pay
    4. about 401(k) and the advantages of saving for retirement early on
    5. how to read bills, account statements, and paychecks
    6. how to negotiate with customer service
    7. how to budget for unexpected events.
  2. You will play the game individually as you would in real-life. The more you invest in playing the game, the more you will learn. This game is automated to enforce the contractual rules for each of the vendors. However, it does not electronically “hound” you. Beyond the courtesy bill notifications and optional push notifications, it merely shows you the consequences of your actions. Mrs. Weber will play a role in Budget Challenge®. Using the game’s analogy of the Road Test for Personal Finance, think of Mrs. Weber being like Driver’s Ed instructor. An extra brake pedal or steering wheel can be used in case of emergencies, but the focus is on you to do the driving. We will have conversations about the simulation, especially when you make a “costly” mistake or when you become disengaged. But I want you to know that you are allowed to make your own decisions and even make mistakes (gasp!!!). Yes! You will learn by doing. Rookie mistakes are better had in this safe environment, than out in the real world.
  3. What is the Budget Challenge
  4. Sign up for Budget Challenge.–Actually DO what they are showing you to get signed up.
    1. Unique Class Code: AINBPYS
    2. Check your SPAM folder for the email from Budget Challenge to verify. If you find any, move them to the Inbox.
  5. Review the Information Packet–located under My Simulations. Read it. We will discuss each one in class together in the future. For now, please just read each one.
  6. Find the Knowledge Base (FAQs) which is located on Student Home>Help Desk (scroll below the form). This Knowledge Base is a great resource where you can find answers to frequently asked questions. Read it.
  7. Read and begin to pick your vendors. We will do activities in class that will hopefully help you have a better understanding of each vendor. For now, remember/do the following:
    1. Help each other!
    2. You must complete vendor selections by 9 p.m. on February 15th to compete in the H&R Block Budget Challenge.
    3. When all tabs on the Student Home> Vendor selections page are green, you are ready to launch.
    4. If you do not complete all of the vendor selections you will not launch with the class. You may be added late to get the simulation experience, but you will not be eligible for student scholarships. Please read the Official Contest Rules for more details.
  8. Once the simulation starts at 9 pm on February 15, everything except the bank account type and the 401(k) deduction percentage are locked down.
  9. In your Google Doc for this class, please tell me what you accomplished today.
  10. Check JMC and get your make up work done, if necessary.
  11. Play the Personal Finance game, if time permits.

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