Budgeting Activities

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

MATH: Graphing a Budget Equation

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Practice comparison shopping
  • Create a budget equation 
  • Graph the budget equation and interpret the points on the graph in context of various situations

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

CALCULATE: Unit Price

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Calculate unit price and then use their answers, as well as other factors, to make decisions about grocery shopping.

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 5 US cities to compare using cost of living and economic growth measurements.
  • Choose which would be best for them and do an apartment search to determine where they could afford to live.

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 Common Core Standards-aligned project, students will assume the role of roommates deciding how to split costs of a shared apartment. The project focuses on negotiation, clear communication, and budgeting with a spreadsheet.

  • Available in English & Spanish

PROJECT: Plan a Friendsgiving Dinner

In this Common Core Standards-aligned project, students plan a potluck Friendsgiving dinner, comparison shop for ingredients, and create an expense report via spreadsheet to track their “spending.”

PROJECT: Rein In Your Wants (Sp)

In this Common Core-aligned project, students will track their spending (using a spreadsheet) for a defined period of time, and then will track their spending a second and third time using small interventions aimed and reducing their spending. They’ll reflect on their process as well as on spending habits as a whole.

  • Available in English & Spanish

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