Budgeting Lesson Plans

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Budgeting is perhaps the most essential skill a person can have as they begin living on their own. Whether it is the simple act of balancing a check book, managing bank accounts, or deciding whether it is time to buy or rent, building a budget is the basic core of personal finance. Browse this collection of lesson plans, and find great ways to incorporate the trading simulation!

Budgeting Lesson Plans For Elementary School And Up

How Much Is that Doggy?

Source: EconEdLink, by Kent Steen

Description: This teaches student about the total cost of ownership, brainstorming the total cost it will take to buy and keep a dog or cat, and decide which is best for them

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Allowances and Spending Plans

Source: Practical Money Skills For Life

Description: This lesson plan helps students build budgets for their allowance, dividing up their money between things like lunches, video games, movies, savings, clothes, and donations to charity

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Budgeting Lesson Plans For Middle School And Up

Budgeting And Income

Source: Northwestern Mutual, via TheMint.org

Description: This is a basic lesson plan to help students understand the differences between fixed and variable costs, different sources of income, and even some basic accounting terminology so they can prepare their own budgets accounting for their living expenses and income

Using This website: Try including our Home Budget Calculator. This will give your students practice in building a workable budget in a variety of scenarios, with breakdowns showing how much they have left for savings and investing after taking expenses into account!

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Staying Afloat

Source: EconEdLink, by Michael Koren

Description: This is very similar to the lesson plan above, but also has students work through several financial scenarios that will cause impacts to their income or wants and needs. They can then discuss how to best accommodate different strains on their budget.

Using This Website: After using the Budgeting Calculator and building a portfolio, have your students re-evaluate their budgeting based on any extra income, or losses, that they have experienced in their portfolio. This can help show that truly workable budgets always require some extra wiggle room for unexpected costs!

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The Art Of Budgeting

Source: Practical Money Skills For Life

Description: This lesson plan is designed to help students build a step-by-step plan for saving, starting with a fundamental budgeting process. Students will monitor their spending habits in writing, and learn to make realistic savings goals.

Using This website: Once students have built a basic budget either on paper or by using our Home Budget Calculator, they can take their savings goals to our Millionaire Calculator to see how much their savings can grow over time. This can help show how even a bit of savings every month can really add up!

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Budgeting Lesson Plans For High School And Up

Using An Excel Checkbook

Source: EconEdLink, by Mike Fladlien

Description: This shows students how to build and organize a checkbook, reconciling outstanding payments and deposits

Using this website: Most students will want to blow off reconciling checkbooks, but you can show how important it can really be. Have students place trades at night, while the markets are closed, and reconcile their cash balances with the purchases they have outstanding. Then when the markets open the next morning and their trades execute, see how close their estimations of their full value were from what they see in the morning.

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Banks And Credit Unions

Source: EconEdLink, by Melissa Smith

Description: This lesson plan works to give students a distinction between different financial institutions at a basic level. Your class will work through some of the fundamental differences between two of the most common lenders that people face in their daily lives, and what the differences between them can mean to you.

Using this website: To get your students thinking about where they should be saving their money, have them take their portfolio and put some of their starting cash in mutual funds, some in ETF (Exchange Traded Funds), and hold some just as cash (which works like saving it in a long-term money market account). They can then watch their different investments grow at different rates, with different risk, to see how these similar investment vehicles can have very different outcomes depending on what they are looking for when saving.

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Buying Versus Renting

Source: EconEdLink, by John Clow

Description: Here we have a simple process to use when someone is thinking about moving out on their own, and deciding if investing in their own property is a better long-term decision than renting.

Using this website: We make it interactive! Have your students use our Buy Vs Lease Calculator, and answer the quiz at the end to see the tipping point between buying and renting in different scenarios.

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