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Teaching Students How to Set Up a Budget

August 9th, 2017 Mike Gecawich

“Academic qualifications are important and so is financial education. They’re both important and schools are forgetting one of them.” Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is one of many experts who adamantly believes that schools should focus more on teaching financial literacy to students.

The Great Recession is one of many events indicating that Americans of all ages don’t fully understand the implications of their financial decisions.

Additionally, student loan debt is at an all-time high of $1.3 trillion dollars nationwide with 44 million Americans owing money for their higher education.

Managing one’s finances is complicated, and it’s imperative that we equip students with the skills they need to be financially savvy decisions in the real world.

Why Teach Students Financial Education

High school students are well on their way to making important financial decisions. Many of them work part-time jobs and pay taxes. Many more will soon be entering the complicated world of financial aid and student loans as they consider their options for college.

We want to make sure that students are prepared to manage their finances and make informed choices when it comes to money. Whether it’s taking out a loan or opening a credit card, the financial choices that young adults make can have lasting impacts on their financial stability.

Additionally, financial literacy can be fun! It’s always especially satisfying as a teacher to help students access knowledge and skills that they can apply to their own lives.

Read on for some ideas about making budgets fun to learn and exciting to teach.

How to Teach Students About Budgets

While it would be impossible for students to learn everything there is to know about finances in less than a year, one has to start somewhere.

What’s a great user-friendly starting point? Creating a budget!

Budgets are a useful place to start with teaching financial literacy because it’s a skill that everyone can use.

Start with basic terminology, making sure students understand the differences between earned and unearned income, fixed expenses and variable expenses, etc. You can have students keep an income/expenses journal for a few weeks to catalog where their money comes from and where it goes.

Show kids examples from your own life (totally ok to use fake numbers here), so that they get a sense of what sorts of regular expenses adults need to consider when budgeting.

Finally, let students dig in and apply what they’ve learned to their own finances. Do they have a part time job or get an allowance? What do they typically spend their money on? Is there something that they want to save up for?

Consider taking budgeting to the next level by having your students participate in an online course.

Budgeting Exercise to Do With Students

With the iAcademy course Budgeting in the Real World, students use Google Apps to develop and manage a real personal budget.

Throughout the course, students will use easy-to-follow, self-paced projects to develop financial literacy skills in an authentic context. From creating a spending plan to justifying financial choices in a report, students will build financial responsibility while also honing their computer skills.

After having completed this online course, you’ll be able to rest assured that your students are ready to enter the working world with the tools they need to make informed and responsible financial decisions.


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