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Take Charge of Your Finances 2 hours 10 min

  • Level 2

Additional Materials: Access to the Internet or a Printed Version of the Article


Take charge of your finances 1A

Interactive Preview

The Price is Right!

Note: Assign this activity a few days before starting the presentation of materials giving the students enough time to follow up with parents, guardians, or their mentors to complete the assignment.

Ask students to create a list of items a single person (or family) pays for on a monthly basis (e.g., house/apartment bills, gas, clothing, groceries, etc.). Then challenge students to estimate how much each of the items cost during one month.

To check for accuracy, students should interview their parents, guardians, or a mentor to help give an accurate answer to each listing to check to see if their “Price is Right!” The mentors should also fill any blanks (e.g., specific bills or taxes, investments, cell phone, internet, savings, special events, medical expenses, etc.) students may have not thought of when making their lists. This gives students the opportunity to think about the reality of expenses and will help set them up for learning about the importance of budgeting their money.

Presentation of Materials

 During this activity, discuss the following with students– to take charge of their finances, students will need to think about the lifestyle they are planning to have. Tell students that it is surprising how much different lifestyles cost. Have them think back to the beginning of this unit and the FYG mentor video with Bear Degidio that was shown in Lesson 1 Activity 1. Say:

It takes hard work and planning to afford the life you really want. Encourage students and remind them that they can reach their goals. The point of this activity is to see the relationship between expenses and the income they will need to support their lifestyle.

  1. Have students read the following article, individually: 5 Questions to Ask before You Prepare a Budget
    • While reading the article, have students write key takeaways, comments, and questions they have for each section of the article. 
    • Have each student write on an interactive board or on a post-it (to add to a whole group board in the classroom) a question or comment to discuss as a whole group. These comments can be “aha moments” or clarification questions. 

      Teacher Aid

  2. Using a sample budget, have students annotate and define the following bolded terminology (included talking points).
    1. Budget
      1. Explain that a budget is a planning tool that is used to help individuals, families, and companies manage their money. A long-term budget can create strong financial footing for your future – keeping expenses down, saving money for retirement, investments, or emergencies. Budgets help create your financial power and can help increase a positive standard of living. 
        • What do you envision as a positive standard of living? 
        • Follow-up: What steps are you going to take to reach that vision?
    2. Income
      1. Have students think of and discuss other sources of income (e.g., gifts, tips, commissions, etc.)  that could be added to the sample budget. 
    3. Expenses
      1. To start tracking expenses, create a log of monthly expenses. These expenses can sometimes change over a span of a year. It’s important and helpful to write these down when starting to budget. 
        • Fixed Expenses
        • Variable Expenses 
    4. Make comparisons: expenses and income. In the sample budget, the balance should be zero (income and expenses should be equal). 
      • What if your expenses exceed your income? What would you do?
      • If there was money left over from your income after deducting expenses, what could you do?

        Take charge of your finances

        Interactive Preview
  3. Setting Budgeting Goals
    1. Pose a whole-group discussion question: Reflecting back to the article, what steps do you need to take? 
    2. Walk through the following as a whole group, but work individually. This encourages time for discussion, questions, and clarification for students. 
      1. Set a goal for your savings. This should be a percentage of your overall income each month and not an actual dollar amount. 
        • (Remind students of the recommended savings percentage: 20%.)
      2. Do your best to write down all expenditures you could have over a time period of a month.
      3. Write down irregular expenses that may occur quarterly,  bimonthly, or annually such as property taxes and auto insurance. 
      4. Review your expenditures and identify any unnecessary expenses. You do not have to remove these from your spending yet, but labeling helps point out items that can be removed immediately, if necessary to meet budgeting and savings goals. 
      5. Once you are finished outlining these items, reevaluate your savings plan. Is this a realistic approach for your lifestyle?
    3. Let students know they will be using this information in the next activity.

Bear Degidio - Long

Play Video - 5:03

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