Budgeting Activities

MOVE: Build Your Budget

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Move around the classroom to collaboratively build a basic budget including saving, student loans, housing, car payments, food, entertainment, and more
  • Consider the tradeoffs that must be made in order to build a budget that meets your needs and reflects your values

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MOVE: The Average American Budget

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Understand how the average American budget breaks down into different categories and expenses
  • Compare four different budgets based on the same after-tax salary
  • Move around the classroom in a fun budgeting-themed competition!

ECON: What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

Students will explain the concept of inflation, identify goods and services related to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), analyze the CPI report, and hypothesize how the CPI report will look in the future.

ECON: Demand Shifters

Students will demonstrate how consumers’ income and preferences, prices of substitutes, and number of consumers in a market can affect demand.

ECON: Exchange Rates

Students will discuss what makes a currency strong, demonstrate how an exchange rate between two currencies works, and apply what they’ve learned to a real-life situation.

ECON: Inflation, Spending, and Wages

Students will discuss what inflation is, compare today’s purchasing power of the U.S. dollar to previous decades, and learn how inflation relates to wages.

ECON: Shortages and Surpluses

Students will demonstrate shortages and surpluses, analyze what happens when they occur, and discuss how they can impact our daily lives.

ECON: Shrinkflation

Students will discuss how shrinkflation affects consumers and you’ll create their own plan to downsize a product in hopes that consumers won’t notice the difference.

PLAY: The Bean Game

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Practice budgeting basics using The Bean Game
  • Understand the impact a restricted budget can have on their spending habits
  • Reflect on their personal budgeting choices

CARTOONS: Needs vs. Wants

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Examine a number of cartoons about the challenge of identifying needs vs. wants and choose one to analyze in more depth
  • Explain the cartoon's key message about needs vs. wants and how it depicts that message

MOVE: Organize Budget Expenses

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Get up and out of their seats to identify various budget expenses amongst different categories
  • Discuss with classmates about their reasoning for their team's categorizations

INTERACTIVE: Money Magic

In this activity students will:

  • Create a budget to meet a predetermined savings goal
  • Manage tradeoffs when making purchasing decisions 

INTERACTIVE: Living Paycheck to Paycheck (Sp)

In this activity students will:

  • Simulate living for a month with a $1000 budget
  • Make decisions between which expenses they can afford to pay and which to sacrifice
  • Read information and facts about unemployed Americans living through poverty
  • Available in English & Spanish

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INTERACTIVE: Intuit Mint Education Simulation

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Experience what it is like to use a budgeting and financial planning application using the Intuit Mint Education Simulation  

 

NGPF is pleased to share this online simulation created by Intuit Education. For tech questions regarding the simulation, please contact Education@intuit.com. To access Intuit Education's curriculum and other resources for the Mint Education Simulation, simply download the toolkit provided on the webpage linked below.

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COMPARE: Comparison Shopping

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Identify which factors are most important to them when comparing options for three different products
  • Conduct research on different options available to them from various vendors to find the best product for them
  • Explain how comparison shopping can be a useful strategy when making a purchasing decision

COMPARE: Find an Apartment

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Determine an appropriate amount to budget for housing
  • Find an apartment that balances affordability, amenities, and proximity to public transport in a city of their choice
  • Avoid common pitfalls and hidden fees associated with renting an apartment

COMPARE: Needs vs. Wants (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

 

  • Prioritize budget items to determine their needs vs. wants.
  • Consider how their values and budget ultimately determine how they spend their income.
  • Available in English & Spanish

COMPARE: Select a City to Live In

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Choose a US city to compare cost of living and economic growth measurements.
  • Compare data with classmates and choose which city would be best for them.

COMPARE: Select Your Utilities

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Research the cost of utilities for an apartment in the city of their choosing.
  • Prioritize to fit their budget.

CREATE: A Salary-Based Budget (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Follow multi-step directions to complete a full adult budget including housing, transportation, food, insurance, student loans, etc.
  • Reflect on the adult budget they’ve completed and assess how their choices impact their lifestyle.

FINE PRINT: Electricity Bill

With this Fine Print students will be able to:

  • Read an electricity bill
  • Identify various elements of an electricity bill, such as year-to-year electricity use by month, taxes, and supplier billing details

FINE PRINT: Residential Lease

With this Fine Print students will be able to:

  • Read a residential lease
  • Identify various elements of a residential lease, such as length of lease, rent, and utility details

PROJECT: Budgeting with Roommates (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Assume the role of roommates deciding how to split costs of a shared apartment
  • Focus on negotiation, clear communication, and budgeting with a spreadsheet
  • Available in English & Spanish

PROJECT: Plan a Friendsgiving Dinner

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Plan a potluck Friendsgiving dinner
  • Comparison shop for ingredients
  • Create an expense report via spreadsheet to track their “spending"

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PROJECT: Plan a Spring Break Trip

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Work in a group to plan a spring break college vacation
  • Complete a budget and slideshow
  • Present their vacation in competition with the other groups in the class for best trip

PROJECT: Rein In Your Wants (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Track their spending (using a spreadsheet) for a defined period of time
  • Track their spending a second and third time using small interventions aimed and reducing their spending
  • Reflect on their process as well as on spending habits as a whole
  • Available in English & Spanish

PROJECT: The Real Relationship Test: Reconcile Your Finances

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Take on the role of a character who is soon to be married
  • Practice reconciling their finances with a partner on a variety of topics in their financial lifestyles, such as housing, debt, etc.
  • Reflect on the importance of having a conversation about finances with a spouse or partner

READ: Making It in the Gig Economy

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Explore how to adopt new financial strategies when you have a side gig.

RESEARCH: Monthly Cost of Car Ownership

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Do research on car costs such as purchase price, loan payment amount, insurance, fuel, and maintenance.
  • Compare these costs to their estimated monthly take-home pay.

RESEARCH: Online Tools and Apps

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Research various online tools and apps pertaining to payments, saving, budgeting, and robo-advising to discover and compare their features
  • Identify the tools they would like to use in the future 
  • Reflect on why online financial tools and apps have increased in popularity

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