Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.
As a high school personal finance instructor, finding the perfect projects to use with your students can be challenging. Choosing suitable personal finance projects is critical to ensuring your students understand the differences between business and personal finance and apply what they’ve learned to become good money managers.
But where can you find personal finance projects? And how do you fully cover the topic of personal finance in your curriculum?
Thankfully, there are some great projects available to help teachers cover this important topic in ways that will enrich their students.
In this article, we’ll look at five of the best personal finance projects for high school students:
Finance and Capital Markets from Khan Academy
Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project from the Classroom Sparrow
Economics Personal Finance Budgeting Project from Mrs. P’s Interactive Classroom
Personal Finance Simulation Semester Project from Business Girl
Personal Finance Project Ideas from Study.com
When you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a more complete picture of the projects out there and if one or more may work in your classroom.
1. Finance and Capital Markets from Khan Academy
Khan Academy founder Sal Khan made a name for himself in the early days of web-based education, offering free educational resources that learners can readily access through the internet.
Today, Khan Academy continues to offer high-quality educational resources for students and adult learners alike. One Khan Academy course that’s particularly relevant to a high school personal finance class is the Finance and Capital Markets course.
The Finance and Capital Markets course covers these related topics:
Interest and debt
Accounting and financial statements
Stocks and bonds
Insurances and retirement
Money and banking
Options and derivatives
Students will find a series of instructional videos that explain each concept and related subconcepts in more depth. All of the videos include closed captioning and are fully accessible, so you’ll be able to use them with all of your students. Plus, since the material is readily available on the internet, it can be assigned as homework just as easily as it could be an in-class assignment.
While the videos alone aren’t enough to teach an entire course, the material is sufficient to introduce students to each subject and spawn further class discussion. Plus, you can use it to help learners review before their cumulative exams.
How Much Does Khan Academy Cost and Who Is It For?
Khan Academy and its resources have always been free for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to learn.
It’s great for teachers who want students to receive interactive video content covering many personal and business finance topics. It’s also a great resource to use in a flipped classroom since students can easily watch the videos before class and come prepared to discuss the main concepts.
Khan Academy isn’t for teachers who want to avoid large amounts of video content or who aren’t covering some of the more complex topics like options and derivatives.
2. Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project from the Classroom Sparrow
Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is a popular website where educators can buy, sell, and share curriculum and instructional materials with their peers.
The Classroom Sparrow is a reputable seller on Teachers Pay Teachers who’s created various quality resources for students to learn business and career readiness subjects.
The Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project is an interactive assignment that helps students master the fundamentals of basic personal budgeting. Throughout the project, students identify their “needs” and “wants” and come to understand the choices they’ll face in living on their own.
This personal finance project includes these resources:
Editable templates and rubrics
The project is designed for students in grades 8-12 and features 35 pages of content. Teachers will have enough resources to cover about three weeks of classes when used in its entirety.
How Much Does the Classroom Sparrow Project Cost and Who Is It For?
The Classroom Sparrow’s Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project costs $9.75. This is a fair price considering that you can use the material over several classes.
Another option is the Real-World Budgeting & Finance: Personal Finance Lessons & Activities bundle, which costs $22.99 and includes seven different products. This bundle is more expensive, but perhaps better worth the price, with the additional content it includes.
Overall, the project is a good fit for teachers looking to implement a simple, straightforward exercise alongside other personal finance lessons. It won’t take the place of a comprehensive curriculum, but it will cover all the basics of the budgeting aspect of personal finance.
3. Economics Personal Finance Budgeting Project from Mrs. P's Interactive Classroom
Mrs. P’s Interactive Classroom is another prominent seller on Teachers Pay Teachers. Mrs. P offers an Economics Personal Finance Budgeting Project that helps high school students learn about the potential costs that one should consider when establishing a realistic budget.
The project includes 11 assignments that each handle a different aspect of budgeting to help students prepare for their futures:
Career and monthly income
College and educational loans
Family budgeting interview
Utilities, insurance, health, and bills
Clothing, entertainment, and shopping
Investment, charity, gifts, and savings
Final budget & project reflection
The materials come with PowerPoint and Google Slides versions, and students will need access to Google Sheets to use the included budgeting template.
Mrs. P’s project is intended for learners in grades 10-12 and includes 17 pages of content. This should be enough cover between two and two and a half weeks of classes.
How Much Does Mrs. P's Project Cost and Who Is It For?
This particular project is offered as a standalone download on Teachers Pay Teachers for $7.00.
As a budget-centric project, it’s a solid option for teachers who want to stress to students the importance of considering all financial obligations. Since it’s so easy to overlook things like transportation costs and unexpected bills, this project does a really good job of ensuring students understand their whole financial picture.
However, teachers who want a project that doesn’t focus so heavily on budgeting may favor a more comprehensive resource.
4. Personal Finance Simulation Semester Project from Business Girl
Business Girl is a prolific provider of business education resources through Teachers Pay Teachers.
Throughout the semester-long simulation, students research three career choices and identify short, medium, and long-term SMART goals. Then they research investments and set up a hypothetical investment portfolio. For each asset, learners will need to explain the potential risk and return.
In addition to investments, the Personal Finance Simulation features instruction on these topics:
Home rental and ownership
The project includes a Google Slides presentation, a teacher’s guide, and a grading rubric. It’s appropriate for high schoolers in grades 9-12 and has 28 pages of content. Keep in mind, however, that this project revolves around research and is designed for an entire semester.
How Much Does Business Girl's Project Cost and Who Is It For?
Business Girl’s Personal Finance Simulation lists at just $4.99. This is an excellent value for teachers who want to implement the entire multi-step project.
Teachers who want more than just this one project can also acquire the Personal Finance Course Bundle with four projects for $18.99 or the Personal Finance Mega-Bundle for $89.99. The Mega-Bundle includes 51 projects, however, which may be more than most teachers need.
Since the Business Girl simulation project takes a different approach, it’s worth considering if you want to introduce your high schoolers to things like retirement accounts and credit card debt. The inclusion of a career search element and identifying SMART goals means this could double as a college and career readiness project.
On the other hand, some teachers may find that covering so many topics lead to a lack of focus in their curriculum. It’s also not best for teachers who don’t have the class time to commit to a semester-long simulation.
5. Personal Finance Project Ideas from Study.com
Study.com is a subscription-based website for teachers, students, tutors, and families to access curriculum materials in various subjects, including business and career readiness.
Students research colleges or other post-secondary institutions of interest and note the cost of attendance.
Students research the finance rate for federal student loans and calculate the loan cost.
Students write a report, calculating the amount of money they need to borrow, how much is responsible to borrow, and when and how much they will have to pay when repaying the loan.
The project is simple but straightforward and can help high schoolers hone their research skills. Study.com offers other projects on this page, such as a Budget Project, but you’ll need to become a subscriber to access the complete list of projects.
How Much Does Study.com Cost and Who Is It For?
Study.com is a subscription service that includes access to a broad range of resources that may or may not be relevant to your personal finance class. A Classroom Teacher subscription to Study.com costs $29.99 per month after a free trial and includes student access.
These resources work best if you are already a Study.com subscriber or think you’ll receive enough value from their other resources to justify a monthly cost. Alternatively, teachers who are only looking for a single project to add to an existing curriculum are better off using a less expensive, standalone solution.
Engage Your Students with a Full Personal Finance Curriculum
Whether you’re focused on effective budgeting or want to include career choices and other financial impact areas, there are many great resources out there that can keep your students engaged and learning.
However, many teachers need more than a few projects to ensure their students have mastered finance fundamentals.
If this is the case for you, consider the Personal Financial Literacy module from AES. This personal finance learning module provides teachers and students with nine hours of lessons and projects and forms an integral part of the Business&ITCenter21 learning system.
Business&ITCenter21 also includes many business and career readiness topics, including Economics, Banking and Finance, and more.