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Spending Frenzy designed to give students money management skills


Octavio Alejandre holds up a lot of play money during the Spending Frenzy at Lake Roosevelt High School Jan. 20. - submitted photo

Financial Literacy is an important skill, but is not usually "fun" to learn about. Not so for 193 Lake Roosevelt High School students who took part in a "Spending Frenzy" last week, learning about money management and having fun while doing it.

Spending Frenzy is an interactive, life-sized version of the board game called "Life."

Students were given a check, which they took to the bank and cashed in for a return of $40,000 in play money. They were then given certain tasks to complete. By the end of the learning session, they were expected to have purchased food, clothing and shelter for a year; invested at least 10 percent of their money; purchased some "fun stuff" and purchased a vehicle and insurance.

The purpose of the event was to expose youth to the concept of budgeting and subject them, in a safe, non-threatening environment, to the risks of poor money management decisions.

"By using 'play' money and real-life scenarios, the teens were able to experience spending without the dangers of actually losing their money through poor investment choices," said Linda McLean, director of the Colville Reservation WSU Extension, which helped put on the event.

OST (Office of Special Trust) has helped coordinate these valuable money management events all across the United States. This is the first Spending Frenzy that has been held on the Colville Reservation. The local FTO (Fiduciary Trust Officer) for the Colville Reservation is Margie Hutchinson. She, along with Raylene Swan, FTO for 27 tribes in Nevada, Idaho and Utah have coordinated other Spending Frenzy events, but with 193 students participating, the Lake Roosevelt High School Spending Frenzy is the largest event held so far.

The Spending Frenzy was made possible through a collaborative effort by Lake Roosevelt High School, Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, Office of Special Trust and Colville Reservation WSU Extension.

As the event calls for real-life scenarios, many local businesses, individuals and tribal programs volunteered their time and expertise to help. The Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union, NCNB Bank, Key Bank, Chase Bank, Jess Ford, JR Newhouse, Farmers Insurance, Grand Coulee Medical Clinic, CCT Enrollment, Colville Tribal Credit, Colville Reservation Attorney, NNDF fund, CIHA Housing, CTEC/CTFC, CCT Diabetes, CCT K-12 program and Omak Marine all came forward.

More Spending Frenzies and money management workshops are being planned for the future. If you would like to volunteer to help, or if you would like more information on this or other Extension programs, contact McLean at 634-2305 or

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