Budgeting Lesson Plans

Budgeting Lesson PlanBudgeting 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 HowTheMarketWorks!

Budgeting Lesson Plans For Kindergarten

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

  • Topic: Money
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Saving and Spending (Standard 1) – Develop a plan for spending and saving
  • Source: EconEdLink, by Mary Suiter
  • Description: In this lesson students will define saving, spending, opportunity cost, and savings goal. They will learn why it can be hard to save money. They will count to 100 by 2s and recognize that $1 equals 100 cents.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Toys for Me: A Lesson on Choice

  • Topic: Scarcity
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Financial Decision Making (Standard 4) – Make criterion-based financial decisions by systematically considering alternatives
  • Source: EconEdLink, by Cindy Crain
  • Description: Students will learn why they cannot have everything they want because of scarcity, they will describe why scarcity is characterized by “this OR that” and not “this AND that” and define opportunity cost.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

How to save and spend money wisely

  • Topic: Money
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Saving and Spending (Standard 1) – Develop a plan for spending and saving.
  • Source: Brainpop Educators
  • Description: This lesson plan will help your students learn how to save and spend money wisely. You will be able to empower your students with the skills to be conscious consumers. Help them understand the difference between needs and wants and teach them ways to budget and plan. Practicing financial management skills will help them become more responsible and organized.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Budgeting Lesson Plans For Elementary School And Up

Goods and Services: Some are Private, Some are Not

  • Topic: Private Business
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Saving and Spending (Standard 1) – Develop a plan for spending and saving.
  • Source: Econedlink, by EconEdLink Staff Council for Economic Education
  • Description: Students will distinguish between goods and services provided by private businesses and those provided by government, explain why governments provide certain goods and services and explain that taxes collected by governments are used to pay for goods and services provided by governments.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

How Much Is that Doggy?

  • Topic: Ownership
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Financial Decision Making (Standard 4) – Make criterion-based financial decisions by systematically considering alternatives and consequences.
  • 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
  • Using HowTheMarketWorks: Building a budget is important with investing too! Create your contest on HowTheMarketWorks with a small starting cash balance, like $1,000 or $10,000. Next, have your students pick which stocks they want to buy, and determine how much they can afford after subtracting the commission fees. This can be a great way to demonstrate how extra costs can have a big impact, and how buying more of one thing means less of another.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Allowances and Spending Plans

  • Topic: Budget
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Spending and Saving (Standard 1) – Develop a plan for spending and saving.
  • 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
  • Using HowTheMarketWorks: Learning to build a budget is a key part of HowTheMarketWorks! Once your students have joined your class contest, have them divide up their starting cash between different companies that they recognize using the Trading Ideas page. There is even a slider built into trading to help them visualize how much of their available cash they are allocating to each company!

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Click Here For The Student Activity Sheet For This Lesson Plan

Budgeting Lesson Plans For Middle School And Up

Understanding a Balance Sheet

  • Topic: Balance Sheet
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Financial Decision Making (Standard 8) – Use a personal financial plan.
  • Source: EconEdLink, by Mike Fladlien
  • Description: Students will learn the components of a balance sheet by working through many problems to strengthen their understanding.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Budgeting And Income

  • Topic: Accounting
  • 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 HowTheMarketWorks: Try including our Home Budget Calculator in your Assignment for your contest. 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!

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Staying Afloat

  • Topic: Budget
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Spending and Saving (Standard 1) – Develop a plan for spending and saving. 
  • 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 HowTheMarketWorks: After using the Budgeting Calculator and building a portfolio on HowTheMarketWorks, 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!

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

The Art Of Budgeting

  • Topic: Saving Plan
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Spending and Saving (Standard 1) – Develop a plan for spending and saving. 
  • 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 HowTheMarketWorks: 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! Since it is all integrated into our Assignments feature, you can assign this exercise as homework and track all students’ progress using the Report Card.

Access This Lesson Plan: Teacher Resource, Student Activity, Presentation

The Higher You Climb, The More You Pay

  • Topic: Budgeting
  • Source: EconEdLink, by Suan Toohey
  • Description: This is an exercise in budgeting, exchange rates, and budgeting. Students will need to virtually climb the Eiffel Tower, starting with less than $13 in their pocket, and pay for admission, the telescope at the top, and water along the way (which gets more expensive the higher you go!).
  • Using HowTheMarketWorks: There are two great ways to integrate HowTheMarketWorks for this kind of lesson. First, you can have your students build a budget using our Home Budget Calculator, but while your students are buying stocks on HowTheMarketWorks, they will get a very clear feel for how certain stocks will get much more expensive, with lower returns, over time, and timing your budget decisions can be almost as important as the budget itself.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Budgeting Lesson Plans For High School And Up

Using An Excel Checkbook

  • Topic: Excel
  • Source: EconEdLink, by Mike Fladlien
  • Description: This shows students how to build and organize a checkbook, reconciling outstanding payments and deposits
  • Using HowTheMarketWorks: Most students will want to blow off reconciling checkbooks, but by using HowTheMarketWorks, 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.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Banks And Credit Unions

  • Topic: Financial Institutions
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Spending and Saving (Standard 2) – Develop a system for keeping and using financial records.
  • 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 HowTheMarketWorks: To get your students thinking about where they should be saving their money, have them take their HowTheMarketWorks 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.

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Buying Versus Renting

  • Topic: Budgeting
  • Personal Finance Standard Covered: Spending and Saving (Standard 4) – Apply consumer skills to spending and saving decisions.
  • 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 HowTheMarketWorks: 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. You can even track their progress with our built-in Assignments!

Click Here To Access This Lesson Plan

Do you have a great lesson plan you would like to share, or know where we can get more to feature here? Contact our Support Team and let us know!