Extra Credit (Fall 2005)

Upper middle and high school activity

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Activity: High school
Making budgets real for your students

The purpose of these activities is to help students develop realistic expectations about the cost of living.

  1. Have students prepare a list of typical household expense categories and the utilities or services they have in their home. Ask students to estimate the monthly cost of each item.
  2. Send the list home with students and have them talk to their parents or any adult bill payer to get the real scoop on the cost of the basics—shelter, either home mortgage or rent; utilities, like electricity, water, and telephone; car notes and insurance; food; entertainment, like cable TV or a high-speed Internet connection; and other services the family may use.
  3. Remind students to allow for a “rainy day” fund and longer-term saving for college or retirement.

As an alternative to these three steps, have students go online and use the calculators provided on the Web site of your local energy company, insurance companies, cable providers, or other service providers to estimate monthly usage. In addition, many banking Web sites provide multipurpose calculators.

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