Students Learn Real Life Number-Crunching

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It doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that making ends meet can be tricky at times, but for the most part, it does take someone who's over 18 and isn't living under their parent’s roof anymore. The best things in life may be free.

The essentials in life are anything but. Memorial senior David Bakken used his time at the Real Life Academy to live a dream.

"My dad's an insurance agent, and I'm interested in that field,” says David.

The kids get placed in a scenario where they have to survive on a month's pay in a job they'd like when they're 28, while factoring in transportation costs, insurance, even tickets given by an Eau Claire police officer.

The powers that be have decided David will be making $2,400 a month. If you take out $100 for taxes, about $600 for his apartment, and more than $300 for his car payment, He's left without forty percent of his paycheck, and he hasn't even bought food yet.

In the exercise, David's single with no kids, but North senior Jessica Demotts has a husband, a kid, and she's worth $8,000 a month as a politician.

$200 is the most any of the kids can end up with. David finished in the black by $59.

"He was very frugal with his choices," his teacher Krisan Vine says. "When I looked at his check register, he didn't buy anything extravagant at all."

"When we get out of high school, and we don't have our parents to rely on, we're going to have to do all this stuff on our own," David says.

But they'll be much better suited to live within their means.