THE Reality store®

The Reality Store® is a simulated learning experience in household money management.

Reality Store®


The Reality Store® is a simulated learning experience in household money management.


The goals of the Reality Store® program are:

  • To help all students learn basic skills in financial planning, goal setting, decision making and career planning.
  • To clarify the need for young women and men to examine their attitudes about their futures and their career expectations.
  • To motivate students to stay in school, stay away from drugs, and avoid pregnancy.


The Reality Store® is part of the Women Helping Girls with Choices [WHGWC] projects which INFBPW sponsors throughout the State of Indiana. The WHGWC project all started the day a young single mother came to the Girls Club in Santa Barbara, California in tears because she couldn’t afford to pay her rent and feed her 2 children properly. “Why didn’t someone tell me what it would be like when I grew up?” she cried. Her question made real what we already knew, at least in an abstract sense: that millions of mothers and children in this country are living in or near poverty.   The national program of WHGWC grew out of 1984 collaboration between Girls Clubs of America and BPW of Nashua, New Hampshire. In 1987, a second – and more ambitious – pilot program was designed. This one involved 10 states and 127 local projects, with a collective goal of serving 10,000 girls and young women.   In May, 1990 at our annual state convention in Fort Wayne, INFBPW made a commitment to introduce this program to the young women of our state.   In addition to state sponsored projects, local INFBPW organizations have been actively initiating Choices projects all across the state.   Many Reality Stores® and WHGWC projects are funded with help from local community grants through the Indiana Women’s Education Foundation.

The Need

Between the ages of 14 and 20, young women and men make critical decisions that affect the course of their whole lives; decisions about educational paths, career options, lifetime mates, and family timing. They ought to make these critical decisions with knowledge and a sophisticated attitude about the realities and options for their futures.


The Answer

At the Reality Store®, students will be able to select an occupation they would like to have as a 28-year-old adult. They will then be given “play” money equivalent to the average monthly salary in that occupation. The students go into a Reality Store® to spend their salary on the necessities and luxuries they envision as part of their adult lifestyle. Representatives from the housing industry, utilities, grocery stores, department stores, financial institutions, auto dealerships, medical profession, child care centers, travel and entertainment industry, etc. will be present to help the students determine how much of their income will need to be spent in each category in order to provide them with their desired lifestyle. The goal of this exercise is to help students learn whether their selected occupation will provide the financial resources needed for the lifestyle they want.   


IWEF Reality Store® manuals are available free of charge to schools within the state of Indiana by requesting one from the Indiana Women’s Education Foundation, PO Box 134, Knightstown, IN 46148 – phone number 765345-9812 or email at inwomeneducation@gmail.com.

 IWEF Reality Store® manuals are available to schools outside the State of Indiana for a charge of $50 for a digital manual. A check for the exact amount with complete mailing directions should be sent to the Indiana Women’s Education Foundation, PO Box 134, Knightstown, IN 46148.