CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union’s “Reality Store” teaches Francis C. Hammond Middle School students how to balance a household budget

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CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union holds yearly “Reality Store” where Francis C. Hammond Middle School students learn how to budget for rent, car payments, insurance, groceries and more.

Students at Francis C. Hammond Middle School got a “dose of reality” during CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union's "Reality Store" activity on November 17th, 2011.

The "Reality Store" is a yearly event that CommonWealth One along with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Agency put together at Hammond. This activity is designed to give students a chance to learn what it's like to balance a household budget. Participants are assigned careers with their corresponding incomes, and given fictional families of varying numbers. Using their monthly income as a guide, students must find a place to live, decide what vehicle they can afford to purchase, buy insurance for themselves and their families, save at the credit union, shop for groceries, etc. There are also random circumstances assigned to each person, so they may receive a "surprise IRS refund" or incur "an accident that generated $1,000 in medical bills."

CommonWealth One's role is to help students understand how to manage their finances, including utilizing credit union services such as checking and savings accounts, and stay within budget. Each year several CommonWealth One employees volunteer to sit at the various industry stations and help students make their choices.

This year the U.S. General Services Administration was there to film the students participating in the Reality Store. Their website,, is the official kids portal for the U.S. government. It links to over 2,000 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, and they are all geared to the learning level and interest of kids.

In addition, a representative of the T.C. Williams High School TV station was there to film and interview students and the credit union during the event. For more information about CommonWealth One, please log onto

About CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union
Since 1944, CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union has grown to become one of Northern Virginia’s top credit unions with over $295 million in assets serving more than 36,000 members. CommonWealth One is a full-service, member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to being the lifetime financial institution of its members.

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union offers Checking Accounts, Mortgages, Home Loans, Auto Loans, Savings Accounts, Money Market accounts, IRAs and more in Washington, DC and Virginia. We have remained true to our philosophy of "people helping people" - providing members with loans, savings plans, and special services to achieve their long-term financial goals and help them enjoy a better way of life. Our excess earnings are returned to our members in the form of higher dividend rates, lower interest rates on loans and low or no fees. For information, visit


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Ashley Baldeon
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