ALEX Lesson Plan


Becoming a Wise Consumer: Creating a Budget

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Briana Morton
System: Jefferson County
School: Jefferson County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 32257


Becoming a Wise Consumer: Creating a Budget


In this lesson, students will learn how to become a wise consumer by creating a budget based on needs and wants. Students will create a weekly budget with a variable income using the interactive app MWB: My Weekly Budget available on iTunes. Other budgeting spreadsheets will be suggested.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Education and Training
HUM (2009)
Grade: 7
Teen Discoveries
10 ) Describe ways teenagers can become wise consumers.

Examples: savings, needs and wants, conserving resources and energy

•  Identifying the role of the media in the dissemination of consumer information
Education and Training
HUM (2009)
Grade: 8
Teen Connections
9 ) Explain the importance of money management for teens.

•  Creating a budget for teen expenditures and savings
MA2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
3 ) Use proportional relationships to solve multistep ratio and percent problems. [7-RP3]

Examples: Sample problems may involve simple interest, tax, markups and markdowns, gratuities and commissions, fees, percent increase and decrease, and percent error.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will be able to:

  • Define needs and wants.
  • Categorize items as needs or wants using a Venn diagram.
  • Create a weekly budget based on variables.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • Equity sticks (craft sticks or index cards with a student's name on each one)
  • Adhesive poster paper (i.e., Post-It Paper) and markers (one poster and two markers per group)
  • Needs vs. Wants Venn Diagram 
  • My Weekly Spending Journal 
  • My Weekly Budget worksheet (optional if technology is available)
  • Calculator (optional)

Technology Resources Needed:


Students should have already been taught about unit pricing (See the ALEX lesson "Becoming a Wise Consumer: Unit Pricing" (32180) for guidance and instruction).

Students will have needed to monitor their spending for an entire week (Sunday-Saturday). Remind students to complete the My Weekly Spending worksheet.

Teachers must have the app set up on all of the personal devices. In case of technical glitches, the teacher should have at least a classroom set of My Weekly Budget worksheets for students to use.


Step 1: Engagement (10 minutes)

  • As students walk in the classroom, place students in groups through the use of equity sticks*.
    • *Equity sticks: Write each student's name on a craft stick or index card. The use of equity sticks creates a "random" assignment of groups for students. As you hand the student a stick, give them their group number. For example, as the first student walks in, place them in Group 1. As the second student comes in, place them in Group 2. Continue to do this for the number of groups that you want (It is recommended to have 4 students in a group, so base the number of groups by the number of students in the class). This is a great way to create the groups because it creates diverse groups needing to come to a consensus on a decision.
  • When all groups have been assigned, instruct the class to create their own definition for "Needs" and "Wants" on the poster paper at their table. 
  • Review the student-created definitions with the class.
    • Definitions should include: Needs- what you have to have to survive (i.e., clothing, shelter, food, water) and Wants- what you would like to have but it isn't necessary to survival.

Step 2: Categorizing Needs and Wants (10 minutes)

  • Continuing to work in groups, students will complete a Venn diagram (see Needs_Wants Venn Diagram attachment) and categorize a list of items as either "needs," "wants," or "both needs and wants."
    • The teacher may wish to include more items based on the age of the students or the culture/diversity of the group.
  • Once the groups have completed their categorization, ask students to share their responses. Students will go to the interactive white board and complete a Venn Diagram as a class through ReadWriteThink. This will provide students to have an open discussion about what they consider needs or wants. Try to come to a group consensus, but remind students that what one person considers a "need" another person may consider a "want"; therefore, a group consensus may not be possible. If an interactive whiteboard is not available, the teacher can use a large sheet of poster paper and markers instead.

Step 3: Define "budget" and get a "reality check" (10 minutes)

  • Ask the students to define budget. Answers should include, "It is something that you keep to monitor your spending" or "It is how to determine what you spend your money on."
  • Explain to the students that anyone can keep a budget; it isn't something that just adults have to do. Ask the students, "How do you currently keep up with the money that they are spending?," "What happens when you don't have enough money or you run out of money?" Answers may vary, but will most likely include, "I just ask my mom or dad for more money."
  • Pull up the "Reality Check" exercise on Explain how to complete the exercise.
    • Click "Enter Reality Check."
    • Read each question carefully and answer based on your needs and wants.
    • For the section where you need to estimate your spending, complete it as you see fit. This is based off of monthly expenses.
  • Students can either complete this as a group exercise (electronic devices are limited) or preferably, as an independent exercise.
    • Teachers could consider putting students in pairs (two pairs per group) and the two students need to make a decision as a "family."
  • Once the students are completed, ask them to share their responses. Poll students and create a tally chart using the interactive whiteboard or poster paper to see the various wages that students will need to earn to afford their lifestyle.
  • Discuss with the class current minimum wage (see United States Department of Labor website for information on your state). How does the hourly pay relate to your state's minimum wage? Can you afford to live on the minimum wage? What can you do to increase your income? What will you need to do to your current spending in order to live on your state's minimum wage? Alter your current budget in order to make it fit into a more realistic budget based on your state's minimum wage.

Step 4: Analyze your weekly spending (10 minutes)

  • Students will use the completed My Weekly Spending worksheet and the iTunes app My Weekly Budget to analyze their weekly spending. 
  • What percent of your weekly spending is allocated to the following categories? Calculate your answer.
    • Food
    • Clothing
    • Shelter
    • Savings
    • Other 
      • To calculate responses, simply divide the amount spent in a category by the total amount of your budget. For example, if you spent $36 on clothing out of a budget of $100, you would write 36/100 = .36 or 36% of your budget was spent on clothing.

Step 5: Discussion/Wrap-up

  • Using polling software (i.e.,, ask the students the following questions:
    • What advice would you give a student about creating and keeping a budget?
    • What is the most difficult part of keeping a budget?
    • Identify ways you can decrease your spending?

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed based on their ability to create, maintain, and stay within a weekly budget. See the My Weekly Budget Checklist for more information.


Allow students to monitor their budget for a period of two weeks or longer. Have them analyze their spending habits over the period of time. Students can then graph their spending to see how it trends.

Challenge students to create a podcast for ALEX that explains to students how to create and maintain a weekly budget.


Students needing additional assistance from the teacher will be helped on a case-by-case basis. Students struggling to maintain a budget, may be given a larger budget to work with. 

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.