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 tradeoffs 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

Materials for in-person activity

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


This guide gives you an overview of the activity and how it works.


There are 50 participant profiles, describing income, career, education and family situations. Below each profile is a budget worksheet, similar to a check register, that participants use to track their spending decisions during the simulation.


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.


The Budgeting Tips handout will help to reinforce the money management lessons taught in the game. We suggest printing this content on the back of the Profiles/Budget Worksheets to save paper.

Materials for virtual activity

The Hands on Banking Experience can also be delivered virtually in an online class or meeting. Use the Profiles with Budget Worksheets and the Budgeting Tips handout from above, but distribute them to participants electronically. Then use this virtual implementation guide and presentation to facilitate the activity.

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 of how to manage their money.