Business Education | High School | Personal Finance
4 Top Budgeting Activities for High School Students
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 business teacher, getting your students excited about budgeting can be challenging. After all, who enjoys thinking about long-term savings and sensible spending limits?
But without appropriate coaching now, students won’t have the decision-making skills they need to avoid tough financial situations later.
Thankfully, there are plenty of fun budgeting activities for high school students you can use in your classroom.
In this article, you’ll discover four of the best budgeting activities for high school students:
- Budgeting Activities from Next Gen Personal Finance
- Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project
- Budgeting Activity for Google Drive
- Financial Literacy Lessons and Activities from EVERFI
After reading, you’ll have plenty of ideas for budgeting activities teenagers will enjoy!
1. Budgeting Activities from Next Gen Personal Finance
Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) is a nonprofit that produces free educational resources for business teachers and their students. These resources include games, interactive activities, case studies, and projects specifically designed for teenagers.
On the NGPF site, you will find over 30 budget activities for high school students. Some of these activities include:
- Build Your Budget
- The Average American Budget
- What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
- Inflation, Spending, and Wages
- Needs vs. Wants
- Living Paycheck to Paycheck
- Plan a Spring Break Trip
- The Real Relationship Test: Reconcile Your Finances
- Making it in the Gig Economy
- The Cost of Car Ownership
- Budgeting with Roommates
Each of the topics discussed in the NGPF budgeting activities covers situations students will likely face during or soon after graduating high school, such as acquiring a car or living with roommates. This context helps make budgets feel more relevant and helps students plan for future goals.
Every resource comes complete with lesson plans and student instructions via Google Docs, so they’re easy to use right away.
Overall, NGPF offers quality, free budgeting activities that you can easily incorporate into an existing high school business course.
2. Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project
Another place you can turn to for budget activities for teens is Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), the online marketplace where educators can buy, sell, and share instructional materials. The Classroom Sparrow is a well-regarded seller on Teachers Pay Teachers, with hundreds of projects in a variety of subject areas, including business education.
The Personal Finance, Budgeting, and Planning Monthly Project provides an opportunity for students in grades 8-12 to plan a real-life monthly budget by applying sound personal finance principles.
The project contains 35 pages of teacher and student resources, including:
- Teacher instruction page
- Initial guess sheet
- Project outline
- Supplementary handouts
- Optional activities
- Editable templates
- Editable rubrics
Throughout the project, students learn fundamental money management skills that apply directly to their own wants and needs.
The project is thorough and well-organized, but isn’t free. Teachers must pay $9.75 for this project or $22.99 for The Classroom Sparrow’s Real-World Budgeting & Finance bundle.
If you’re willing to pay a few dollars for a high-quality budgeting project, this option could be perfect for your students. They’ll be able to create a budget that suits their particular needs and desires while mastering personal finance essentials that will help them throughout life.
3. Budgeting Activity for Google Drive
Another Teachers Pay Teachers budgeting activity appropriate for high school is the Budgeting Activity for Google Drive from Mr. and Mrs. Social Studies.
This activity is designed for students in grades 6-9 and teaches the importance of setting and sticking to a monthly budget. You can use it in many classes in the business pathway, including personal finance.
The project navigates students through five different aspects of their financial future:
- Apartment or Home
- Monthly Costs
- Spending and Saving
It’s designed to paint a realistic picture of students’ everyday expenses so they can better understand the costs involved in living and working.
Teachers who purchase the project gain access to several instructional resources:
- Teacher Guide
- Editable Monthly Budget Slideshow
- Sample Apartments and Homes
- Budget Challenge Handouts
The budgeting activity integrates seamlessly with the Google suite of applications, so teachers can easily access and edit the resources in Google Docs and present the slideshow with Google Slides.
This project costs $6.00 and includes 27 pages of material. It’s a simple and straightforward budget project that teachers who already use Google applications can use quickly. However, it only covers five aspects of a monthly budget, which is a bit more simplistic than most real-world budgets.
4. Financial Literacy Lessons and Activities from EVERFI
EVERFI is a nonprofit organization that produces free curriculum for K-12 teachers and students. Among their offerings for high school students are several different budgeting, financial literacy, and money management lessons and activities.
Each EVERFI resource includes several lessons that teach a concept step by step through interactive activities. The length of each lesson varies, but they are typically short and take less than a single class period. This makes them easy to incorporate alongside your other budget lessons.
Options from EVERFI for high school budget activities include:
- Online High School Financial Literacy Lessons
- Data Science in High School
- Money Moves: Modern Banking and Identity Protection
- Venture - Entrepreneurial Edition
- Build: Credit Fundamentals
- Marketplaces - High School Investment Education
- EVERFI Pathways: Financing Higher Education
- Grow: Financial Planning for Life
The activities cover different aspects of sound budgeting, including planning for significant expenses like a college education. The resources also go beyond budget basics to include investments and business budgeting. Plus, they feature interactive videos and activities to help keep students engaged.
EVERFI’s complete library of curriculum resources is available for free. To access the Teacher Platform, you’ll simply need to make an account on their website.
Because they’re easy to use and cover a range of subjects, most teachers will find something their students will enjoy. Plus, you can combine these resources with a traditional monthly budget to help your students learn even more.
Keep Students Engaged in Every Business Class
Getting students excited about creating and maintaining a budget can be a challenge. But with a few fun budgeting activities, you can engage your high school teens and motivate them to plan for the future.
Unfortunately, even the best budget activities won’t be enough to completely engage your students in their business and personal finance classes. You’ll need to use a variety of strategies to keep their attention.
To learn how to grab and keep your students’ attention, download your free student engagement guide. When you download this free eBook, you’ll learn tips and tricks to keep your students engaged throughout their CTE classes.