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Ages: 10-13
Length: 1.5 hours




  1. What is a budget?

  2. Do you think you need a budget? Why?

  3. Is a budget fixed?


Budget Categories

Create four posters labeled Housing, Transportation, Personal, and Entertainment. Think about the expenses associated with each of these budget categories and write them down.




Monthly Budget

Print the monthly budget worksheet, budget calculations worksheet, and the cards. Look at the monthly budget worksheet and discuss some of the expenses that were not mentioned in the previous activity. Then, begin the monthly budget scenario in partners. Each group will make a monthly budget for one person:

  1. Randomly assign job cards. Use the annual salary on the card to calculate the net monthly income using the budget calculation sheet. Enter the numbers into the budget worksheet.

  2. Use the calculation sheet to find the rent/mortgage goal number. This is designed to be a guideline.

  3. Look through the house cards and pick a house! Try to find one with a rent/mortgage payment close to your goal number. Fill out the housing section in the budget using your house card. Allocate $50 for the phone and $50 for the internet categories.

  4. Pick a transportation card and fill out the transportation section of the budget. There is no guideline/goal number for this part, just try to estimate!

  5. Calculate your remaining income for the month by subtracting the totals for the housing and transportation section from the net monthly income.

  6. For savings, I suggest that you save at least 10-15% of your remaining money for the month. This is very important as it allows you to save towards goals such as retirement, paying off debt, buying certain items, going on vacations, etc. You decide the exact percent, but if you are earning more money, try to save more. Calculate this number and put it into the total for the savings category. For the individual sections (Retirement, Emergency Fund, Savings account), you get to decide how to split it up. Make sure it all adds up to the total in the savings category.

  7. Fill out the personal category. I suggest that for a budget for one person, allocate around $75/week for food, or $300 per month. For the rest of the personal category, it's up to you! Be realistic and make sure to keep the remaining money in mind.

  8. Look at the entertainment cards. See how much money is left after the personal category and decide which entertainment cards you want. You can always think of other things that are not on the cards. Remember: you do not need to spend all of your remaining money in entertainment, you can always put more into savings!

  9. Now, your monthly budget is complete!

  10. Optional: randomly assign bill cards to the groups. Ask what they would do if they were hit with that bill next month: how they would adjust the budget, where they would get the money to pay for it, etc. Emphasize that a budget is a plan, and actual expenses can deviate from it. As a result, budgets should be updated accordingly and it can be helpful to track spending habits.


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