The Hands on Banking® Experience is a “real-world” money management simulation, designed for high school students and young adults, that helps teach important financial education concepts such as budgeting, comparison shopping, and evaluating needs, wants, and trade offs in a relevant and engaging way.

During the activity, each student will be assigned a profile detailing their career, income, and family information. They will then interact with 13 stations that mimic real life expenses such as clothing, groceries, housing, transportation, and more.

high school girl in front of a computer

During the Hands on Banking Experience, you will set up the 13 stations around the room and students will travel to each station with the profile and budget worksheet.


This guide gives you an overview of the activity and how it works. Read the guide in its entirety to
ensure a successful experience.


There are 50 participant profiles, describing income, career, education and family situations. The document is similar to a check register that participants use to track their spending decisions during the simulation. We suggest you copy the profile and budget worksheet with this article on the back to save paper.


Banners: There are 13 banners — one for each station — which should be displayed. You may want to enlarge the banners or you can simply tape them to the side of their applicable tables/stations.

Station Activity Cards:  Participants will visit 13 stations (bank, childcare, clothing, communication, charitable contributions, entertainment, furniture, groceries, housing, insurance, personal care, eating out, and transportation) and make spending decisions based on their family situation and income. On the back of every Station Activity Card, there are instructions and tips that you can use to help students understand the station. If you have volunteers, these instructions are helpful.

Chance Cards: These cards mimic real life expenses – while there a few “good” cards, most reflect unexpected expenses with some associated cost. The cards should be given to participants at random times during the activity.


After being engaged in this activity, participants will likely have money management questions. The Budgeting Tips article will help to reinforce the money management lessons taught in the game. As mentioned above, the leave behind can be printed on the back of the Profile worksheet.


Feedback is important to us. Please have your student participants and any other teachers that were involved fill out the Hands on Banking Experience Feedback Form.

Young adults around the country have participated in the Hands on Banking Experience. They have enjoyed the simulation and learned important financial concepts. Here are some key insights:

  • 88% reported that the simulation provided them with an increased awareness of making smart financial decisions.
  • 82% will consider their needs and wants before spending money.
  • 76% will begin to save some of their money
  • 70% have a better understanding on how to manage their money