For Teachers

Budgeting Projects for High School Students

Here are our favorite budgeting projects to give to high school students.

teenage-girl-creating-budget

Games and worksheets about budgeting are very helpful and deserve a place in the money education classroom. However, many students thrive in projects and learn much more deeply when they complete hands-on, extended activities. If you are searching for the best budgeting projects for high school students, look no further. Head over to my budgeting lesson plans center for more curriculum tips.

End-Of-The-Year Party Budgeting

This project requires students to create and maintain a budget for an end-of-the-year party. Students raise money and plan out all the necessary steps to reach their goals while sticking to a detailed plan. Kids work in pairs, groups, or independently to perform tasks. They need to figure out how much of their funds they will apply to various categories: food, decorations, entertainment, etc.

Students learn best through hands-on learning, and planning for their own party is a surefire path to success. They can monitor and adjust their budgets throughout the year, giving them valuable practice, team-building, and an ambitious goal to work towards. 

Budgeting Project

This project has all the materials you need to teach your students budgeting. The first step is a spending log, which shows kids how to track their expenses and payments throughout the year. They use these logs to compile data and create a pie graph displaying the results. They balance their income and spending to come up with percentages and, ultimately, a picture of their budgets. The culminating component is an essay reflecting on their spending and saving habits.

Kids learn a lot about budgeting and how to translate data from logs and demonstrate it in charts and graphs. They see how to work in groups and make goals they can reach along the way.

Trip Itinerary and Budget Project

This project provides students a chance to make a budget for travel, research how to book trips, and other real-life applications like how to save money on vacation. The description is detailed and supplies all the information learners will need to complete their activities. Students need to record all of their expenses and savings; if they go over budget, they lose points. This emphasizes the importance of sticking to a plan and understanding the many costs they will encounter on vacation.

Students learn practical information and see how decision-making skills are critical. They understand why planning to the dollar matters.

Compound Interest and Budgets

Students learn about compound interest in high school and likely associate it with saving and investing. Teachers can connect it to budgeting, as well. You can make cards with different interest rates and have students pick one randomly. Tell them that is the interest rate for their account. Have each school day equal 5-10 years of compounding and after a week, check to see how much their accounts have grown, comparing the amounts with their peers.

When you first begin the project, have students create detailed budgets. They will learn how to modify budgets based on income, expenses, investments, and saving. Afterward, have them make new budgets with the power of compounding included, showing students that they can increase their wealth and adjust their budgets based on ever-changing data and increased cash flow. 

Pay Yourself First

The idea of “paying yourself first” is a focal point for many money experts. The idea is to save as much as possible and guarantee you boost your finances, and teachers can work this idea into budgeting. Have students set aside money for saving or investing before paying any bills, and have them include it in their budgets. Give individual students a random amount of money to pay themselves first, and calculate how much their accounts would have grown over one, five, and ten years.

Reminding learners that the more detailed a budget is, the better. Focus on the positive and show them how budgets can do more than keep tabs on your spending: they can help build wealth, especially when they prioritize themselves in their spending.

Get a Life Budget Project

This project has all the materials you’ll need – including a WebQuest, Google Slides, budget trackers, check templates, and grocery list templates. Students are assigned a job to do and build budgets using their income. They take a field trip to a grocery store (real or virtual) and find the ingredients they need based on their meal plans and available money. They research how to buy a house and factor mortgages and down payments into their budgets.

When the project is complete, students present their findings, explaining how they managed to figure out their budgets using the income from their job. They also gain valuable experience in Google Drive, creating and using materials found there. 

Budget: Life Cycle Project

This project shows students how people modify budgets as they enter different phases in life. The phases included are high school, college, newlywed, and married. Students are put into groups of 2-3 and focus on one of the timeframes. They research the various expenses and potential income that many people encounter during these times and create a presentation. They report their budgets to the class and contribute them to a class-wide display.

Many students may not think about how budgets change depending on life circumstances. This project shows kids that different phases of life require varying budgets, and which expenses may come up in those times. 

Personal Budget Project

In this project, students create PowerPoints to summarize their research on different careers and salaries. They practice balancing expenses and income, breaking down their budget details across twelve slides and a written response. It goes into more depth than many other budget projects in every area. For example, they break their annual salaries into monthly amounts, use online real estate engines to search for real-time home prices, and calculate car-specific costs.

This project is great for your high school students as it results in practical and applicable information for their future. They calculate student loans and even gift expenses and factor those costs into budgets.

About the Author

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is a National Board Certified teacher with over two decades of experience in the classroom. He loves working with students of all ages in many subjects, but particularly in practical areas like money education, to help kids achieve their goals. When he is not teaching or writing about financial literacy, you can find him surfing, hiking, skiing, or traveling to new places.

Last updated on: August 22, 2022