The hard truths of budgets and debt came to life for Southern Oklahoma Technology students Thursday.

“The hardest part was trying to not go over your budget because I like to spend money a lot and I want to get too many items,” said Amanda Cesa from Plainview.


Students from office administration, banking and finance and entrepreneurship and video programs participated in Mad City.


The hard truths of budgets and debt came to life for Southern Oklahoma Technology students Thursday.
“The hardest part was trying to not go over your budget because I like to spend money a lot and I want to get too many items,” said Amanda Cesa from Plainview.

 

Students from office administration, banking and finance and entrepreneurship and video programs participated in Mad City.

 

Mad City is a reality simulation where students are given jobs, incomes, spouses, children and debt and then have to purchase necessities such as housing, transportation, clothing, food and child care.

 

Entertainment, travel and mall stores also tempt the students, such as stores would in reality, while a credit union provided savings options.

 

Students used checks to pay for their purchases and had to maintain a checkbook, which proved difficult for some.

 

“I learned you have to keep up with your money and make sure you write down everything you bought to keep up with your balance,” Cesa said.

 

Mad City was sponsored by MTC Federal Credit Union and staffed by MTC workers and local volunteers.

 

“We hope that they learn how to budget and what things cost, how life will be after the get out of school and about balancing family and entertainment,” said Callie Baldwin, MTC marketing specialist and director of education.

 

Students had a wide range of experiences in the city.

 

By the end of the exercise, Dustin Rife from Marietta had racked up $7,000 in debt.

 

“We’re living the high life — a big house, two luxury cars, nice furniture and cell phones,” Rife said.
However, Rife admits that he already has a checking account in real life and was taking advantage of the simulation.

 

“I saw a bunch of stuff I wanted, and it’s fake, so I bought it,” he said. “In real life, I would probably spend money more wisely.”

 

Nycole Ruedd from Marietta also found herself in debt by the end of the exercise.

 

“Wow, I guess we are going to have to work on the side,” she said. “I learned that it is hard to balance a checkbook.”

 

Other students used their real life experiences to master the system. Jacob Gibson from Dickson managed to finish with $600 into a savings account and still have $57.26 in checking.

 

“I kept checking how much I had every time I made a purchase,” Gibson said.

 

Meanwhile, Chance Meyers, an adult student from Dickson, found balance by carefully choosing what he would purchase.

 

“You’ve got to be cheap, not go to London. You take free walks and read free books. Just do free stuff and eat meatloaf everyday,” Myers said.

 

However, that didn’t mean he didn’t splurge on something.

 

“My kids have name-brand clothes. I don’t need it, but it’s good for the self-esteem,” Myers said.

 

SOTC instructors were satisfied with their students progress in Mad City.

 

“It’s a reality check. It teaches real life concepts such as balancing debt, child expenses and wants,” said Jodi Frazey, administration and finance instructor.