Learn to Get the Stuff You Want

VACAVILLE, CA - You’ve just been transported into the future with your friends. Some of you have just graduated from college or technical school. You already have families of your own. You’ve just started your first full-time, professional job. You’re earning money and have bills to pay. Now you have to select housing, transportation, food, household necessities, clothing, day care, and other wants and needs. Lots of choices to make. Oh, and you need to build a budget based on your income and debt. Welcome to Mad City Money!

“If I buy an expensive car and house, I can’t afford clothes and food.”

That’s the lesson learned from one teenager who participated in Mad City Money, a simulation and financial boot camp for high school students that teaches basic money management in a safe, fun setting.

Face it-a presentation on budgeting likely will put teens to sleep. Yet the 3 hour hands-on simulation appeals to teens and gives them a taste of the real world-complete with occupation, salary, spouse, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. Teens get an instant family and then move about the stations to purchase housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, day care and other needs.

What’s included in the simulation? A mall for “wants,” a pushy car salesperson, a commission-based realtor, and the Fickle Finger of Fate. You guessed it-life happens. And in addition to several other merchants, there’s a credit union for financial services.

Bottom line: Teens learn that erasers and calculators are important tools for creating a monthly budget. “It’s like a puzzle,” said one teen. “You have to use all the pieces and they all have to fit.”

The financial boot camp is Tuesday, July 10, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Travis Credit Union Community Room located at One Travis Way, in Vacaville. Refreshments, prizes and a drawing for an iPod Shuffle will be provided.

The merchants and organizations who committed to participate in the simulation are:

  1. We Got It, Non-Profit
  2. New & Used Consignment
  3. Kathleen Ramos, Realtor with Kappel & Kappel
  4. Randy Nelson, President of Sunrise Vacaville Rotary
  5. Solano Public Library Staff
  6. Solano County Office of Education
  7. The PC Doctor, Robert Doge
  8. Green Tree Golf Club
  9. Vacaville Honda and Volkswagon
  10. Travis Credit Union


Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving those who live or work in Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Merced Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo Counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 11th largest credit union in California with more than 177,000 members and more than $1.9 billion in assets. As one of the leading financial institutions in Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo and Merced Counties, Travis Credit Union’s strength lies in its faithful commitment to its members and the community; its solid, secure history; and its long-standing track record of dedicated service.

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This credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

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