BOSTON (CBS) — We know online banking and mobile apps are convenient but they can keep your kids from seeing you dealing with cash or how to manage money.

Now, with the help of a local credit union, Mansfield students are learning real world dollars and cents.

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They are tough lessons with big payoffs. It’s not history or chemistry but cold hard cash.

Krysten Carlson is a 17-year-old senior.

“I didn’t realize how much rent and car payment was and everything,” she said.

Carlson and her classmates are getting a peek at their not-so-distant future.

Matt Hammond is a 16-year-old junior.

“You learn about things that are actually going on in your real life once you get out and you’re by yourself,” he said.

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Gross pay, net pay, gas and groceries; the kids see how fast it all goes.

Some students say their parents talk to them about finances and how to balance a checkbook but they didn’t really listen until they saw it first-hand.

Teacher Jacqueline Prester was a financial software consultant before she found her real calling.

“These students need to know how to manage money and there are a lot of adults out there who know how to do it and we need to reach them earlier in their life,” Prester said.

Sharon Credit Union President Jim Carlson thinks it’s money well spent.

“One of the things our young people don’t know is how to manage a checking account, how to budget and live within their means,” Carlson said.

If you have an Eye on Education story that features something great going on in your school system, let WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben know about it.

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Paula Ebben