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Create a Monthly Budget

Students will make a list of expenses and create a reasonable monthly budget that takes career, location and other life choices into account.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, discuss what a monthly budget is and how it can be helpful. Discuss reasons why a monthly budget can also be difficult to follow.
  2. Have students create a list of items that should be included in a monthly budget. Then have them conduct research to identify a reasonable amount to allocate for each item in your area or in a place they want to live in the future. If you like, invite them to use the Teleport app featured in the article as inspiration.
  3. Assign monthly salaries or have students conduct research to identify the average salary of a career they hope to someday pursue.
  4. Challenge students to use the data they collected to create a reasonable monthly budget.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to present their budgets to the class. Encourage them to identify places where they splurged and places where they cut back so they could afford to live within their budget.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Complete the activity as a class. Have students brainstorm a complete list of monthly expenses. Then work together to create a reasonable budget for a family of four living in your area. If you like, have the class create budgets for families with different monthly incomes. Then compare and contrast the results.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to brainstorm a complete list of monthly expenses. Assign each group a different monthly income. Then have each group create a reasonable monthly budget for a family of four living in your area.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners brainstorm a complete list of monthly expenses. Then have them conduct research to identify a reasonable amount to allocate for each item in a place they would both like to live. Invite each partner to select a future career and conduct research to identify the average salary for that career in the location they chose. Based on that income, encourage each partner to adjust the monthly budget as needed so they can easily live within their means.
Grades 9-10:
As a class, brainstorm a complete list of monthly expenses. Then have students pick a place they'd like to live and a career they'd like to have in the future. Instruct students to conduct research to identify their average salary and a reasonable amount to allocate for each expense. Encourage students to use that data to create a monthly budget. Then, with the numbers before them, challenge students to make life decisions-such as number of children and type and location of home-that will help them live within their means.