High-school students in the Sacramento, Calif., area got a taste of life in the adult world of budgets, debt and tough choices recently when they played "Mad City Money," a role-playing game of personal finance. Students made purchases and paid down debt with fictional debit cards linked to fictional salaries. "It's a safe environment to make mistakes," said Shannon Heaps, financial-literacy coordinator for SAFE Credit Union, the sponsor of the event.

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