877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #:AELP-APM0001
AUTHOR: NIE Curriculum Guide – The Montana Standard – Butte, MT.

Date: 1994

Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Mathematics/Applied Math

OBJECTIVE: To help students understand principles of budgeting


  • newspaper
  • Worksheet M (see below)

TO START: Ask students to list things they have wanted that their parents have said they couldn’t afford-say, designer clothes, games, bikes, stereos, etc. Explain what is meant by the high cost of living.


This exercise on budgeting should help students understand that parents aren’t necessarily putting them on when they say they can’t afford something. Divide the class into pairs of roommates. Give a newspaper to each pair. Students are to imagine that they are high school graduates who have chosen to live together for a while. They plan to get jobs before deciding whether to go on to college.

Using the newspaper and Worksheet M, students will learn to budget their money. (Students will need to ascertain salaries for jobs they might find in the newspaper. If salaries are not available in employment ads, teachers can estimate them for students.) After the worksheets are completed, discuss the activity with the class. With what sum of money did each pair of roommates start out? How much was left at the end of the activity? What weren’t they able to afford? Did the roommates have any disagreements about how to spend their money?


Even though parents can’t always afford things, students sometimes can if they work to earn the money. Ask class members to think about ways they might earn money: babysitting, mowing lawns, newspaper routes, etc. The help wanted section might offer some ideas!


DIRECTIONS: Use the newspaper classified ads to answer the following questions. If you run out of money before number 5 below, start over-and be more careful with your money!

1. You and a friend want to share an apartment. Each roommate must find a job for a high school graduate. Look in the help wanted section of your newspaper’s classifieds. List name of job and monthly salary. (If pay is not given in the ad, as your teacher for an estimate.)

Roommate 1: _______________________________ $___________monthly
(Name a job)

Roommate 2: _______________________________ $ ___________monthly
(Name a job)

Total income for two roommates $ _______________________

Minus 25 percent for taxes: $ _______________________

Final income: $ _______________________

2. Using the total monthly income above as a guide, find an apartment you can afford. Look in the real estate or apartments for rent section. List number of bedrooms and monthly rent below.


3. Water, electricity and gas cost money. Estimate their cost as 10 percent of the rent money. Cost is $________________________ a month.

4. You will probably want a telephone. Plan to spend a one-time fee of $4 for a phone and the hook-up. How much will you allow yourselves to spend each month for call? $____________________

5. Your apartment needs furniture. How many pieces will you buy with the money left over after rent, utilities and telephone calls are subtracted from the income figure above? Buy the pieces you can afford and list them below along with their prices. What is the total amount spent on furniture? (Hint: Don’t be afraid to ask your parents to let you have old furniture that they are no longer using. You might save a lot of money!)

________________________ $________________________

________________________ $________________________ Total for furniture

________________________ $________________________ $_____________________

6. Do you have any money left over for food and entertainment? How much? $_____________________