For Teachers

Teaching by Topic: Spending

Here are a bunch of tips, learning objectives, worksheets, and pre-built lesson plans to help you build your curriculum to teach students how to spend money!

classroom-with-teacher-preparing-lesson-plan

How your students spend money in the future will determine much of their financial success. Having the right knowledge and strategies about spending will help them immensely as they earn money and decide how to use it.

You can find the materials you need to teach spending, no matter your students’ level. Here are spending lessons, worksheets, activities and games, and some constructive tips for each grade. We also include spending learning objectives for each grade, which are pulled straight from the National Standards for Personal Finance Education.

National Standards for Personal Finance Education

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Our free cheat sheet covers every learning objective in the National Standards for Personal Finance Education and the corresponding Kids' Money Lesson Plans - we cover each and every standard!

Pre-K

Learning Objectives

Pre-K students learn about money early and build awareness to prepare for spending lessons as the year unfolds. They should be able to:

  • Identify ways you spend your money to increase personal satisfaction.

Pre-K Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP Pre-K – Songs About Money: Students learn all about money, including currency denominations, piggy banks, shopping, and how people spend money and where. They will have fun singing along with various songs while grasping the concept of spending the money they earn or receive.

Pre-K Spending Worksheets

Pre-K Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to Pre-K Students

  • It’s never too early for writing. Have them trace coins, letters, and more to get a grasp of money.
  • Include games about spending.
  • Use role-play and acting to emphasize spending concepts.

For more resources on other topics, check out our Pre-K Money Lesson Plans Center.

Kindergarten

Learning Objectives

Kindergarteners learn that individual circumstances differ, and so do spending habits. They should be able to:

  • See that purchasing decisions can be different for different people.

Kindergarten Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP Kindergarten – Needs: In this lesson, students learn what needs are and how people prioritize spending to cover needs before wants. They go through hands-on activities using magazines, stories, and videos to see how spending is best with a plan.

Kindergarten Spending Worksheets

Kindergarten Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to Kindergarten Students

  • Put rules and routines as priority #1.
  • Use partner work often, showing them that people can put their heads together for great ideas.
  • Use real money as they pretend to spend.

For more resources on other topics, check out our Kindergarten Money Lesson Plans Center.

1st Grade

Learning Objectives

1st-graders use their money math skills to see how to spend wisely. They should be able to:

  • Brainstorm a personal list of goals for consumption of goods and services.

1st Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 1st Grade – Spending: Students read a book that shows the dangers of spending recklessly without a plan. They see the need to balance saving and spending and work on distinguishing between wants and needs.

1st Grade Spending Worksheets

1st Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 1st Graders

  • Keep an organized system, including with money education about spending, saving, and sharing.
  • Class stores are very effective.
  • Provide visual reminders, like posters and charts around the room about money and spending.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 1st Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

2nd Grade

Learning Objectives

2nd-graders see how prices work, what is fair, and how to manage their spending carefully. They should be able to:

  • Share examples of how price influences a purchase decision.

2nd Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 2nd Grade – Price: Students read a fun story and see how shopping works. Then they apply that knowledge to real life, shopping smartly in the classroom store to get the items they want at reasonable prices.

2nd Grade Spending Worksheets

2nd Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 2nd Graders

  • Start with studying money, not counting it.
  • Sort coins into piles, and then find equivalent amounts (e.g., two nickels = 1 dime).
  • Use puzzles and games to build currency awareness.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 2nd Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

3rd Grade

Learning Objectives

In 3rd grade, kids learn about outside influences on their spending and how to minimize them. They should be able to:

  • See that price, spending choices of others, peer pressure, and advertising about a product or service can influence purchase decisions.

3rd Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 3rd Grade – Incentives: In this lesson, students see how companies make products more attractive to consumers and that consumers can take advantage of this through intelligent spending. Kids see how to calculate discounts and find out the best sale prices, giving them practical life skills.

3rd Grade Spending Worksheets

3rd Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 3rd Graders

  • Use various resources: online, magazines, newspapers, and hands-on activities to teach spending.
  • Focus on the dollar as the base unit of money.
  • Have kids create spending plans with real objects and goals.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 3rd Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

4th Grade

Learning Objectives

4th-graders look at advertising and group mentality to avoid unwise spending and purchases. They should be able to:

  • Explain how peer pressure can affect purchasing decisions.

4th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 4th Grade – Spending: Students see the influences on our spending habits, including peer pressure and advertising. They read a book with a valuable moral, learn how to write checks, and shop for good deals as they develop their spending skills.

4th Grade Spending Worksheets

4th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 4th Graders

  • Teach spending through the lens of saving more than you spend.
  • Make a game about spending regularly.
  • Switch up strategies so all students can learn.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 4th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

5th Grade

Learning Objectives

5th-graders focus on budgeting for expenses, making sure they know how to stay within their means.They should be able to:

  • Identify personal goals for spending and saving.

5th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 5th Grade – Budgets: Students see the importance of planning what to do with their money. They read a book, look at savings goals, and learn how to monitor their spending and keep costs low.

5th Grade Spending Worksheets

5th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 5th Graders

  • Continue practicing making change with coins.
  • Use a reward system with play money they can spend on real objects.
  • Give points or free time to those that save more than spend.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 5th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

6th Grade

Learning Objectives

In 6th grade, students look at different income and wealth levels and see how to adapt spending to fit those budgets. They should be able to:

  • Discuss the budgeting challenges faced by people living on minimum wage.

6th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 6th Grade – Shortage: This lesson ties in historical examples of shortages and how people adapted to those shortages. Students learn that people prioritize spending on needs over wants, especially during challenging times.

6th Grade Spending Worksheets

6th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 6th Graders

  • Give students “jobs,” pay them, and let them monitor their spending.
  • Have guest speakers come in to talk about finances, including spending.
  • Show them how expenses impact budgets, having them create their own to see how they work.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 6th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

7th Grade

Learning Objectives

7th-graders personalize their learning, looking at spending as an individual activity with many factors involved. They should be able to:

  • Explain why people with identical incomes make different choices for spending, saving, and managing money.

7th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 7th Grade – Macroeconomics: Students learn that the value of money fluctuates, particularly during times of inflation. They participate in an inflation activity to see how it directly affects their spending power, showing them how important it is to monitor their finances.

7th Grade Spending Worksheets

7th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 7th Graders

  • Have students write reflections often about their spending, like why they spent their class money on a specific item.
  • Use digital tools and online presentation programs to have students show their understanding.
  • Continue focusing on balancing budgets.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 7th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

8th Grade

Learning Objectives

8th-graders look closely at goods and services, defining what they need and want, and if they would have the money to spend on them. They should be able to:

  • See that when evaluating information about goods and services, a consumer can better assess the quality and usefulness of the information by understanding the incentives of the information provider.

8th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 8th Grade – Spending: Advertising plays a huge role in people’s spending, especially in middle and high school-age children. This lesson breaks down advertising techniques so students can avoid falling prey to some of these tactics, through videos and online resources.

8th Grade Spending Worksheets

8th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 8th Graders

  • Assign a multi-week or months-long project, showing students the importance of planning.
  • Have students break down their decisions constantly, explaining why and using reasoning.
  • Use think-pair-share to work on partner collaboration and explanation of ideas about spending.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 8th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

9th Grade

Learning Objectives

9th-graders break down their spending habits and plans into categories and objectives. They should be able to:

  • Identify their short-term and long-term financial goals.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of investing in riskier assets.

9th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 9th Grade – Investment: Students learn the crucial benefits of investing, showing them that instead of spending money aimlessly, they can create a plan to put their money to work. They combine artwork, online simulations, and various assessments to keep their spending and investing goals on point.

9th Grade Spending Worksheets

9th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 9th Graders

  • Don’t forget to review the basics.
  • Have partners or small groups lead class discussions about spending.
  • Brainstorm a class goal, using their spending knowledge and teamwork to reach it.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 9th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

10th Grade

Learning Objectives

10th-grade students look at consumer behavior and find where to get authentic and accurate information.They should be able to:

  • Describe a process for making an informed consumer decision.

10th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 10th Grade – Personal Finance: Students look at various forms of spending other than typical in-store spending. They decide as an entrepreneur the best use of spending, and see how much college costs and if it’s worth the return over time.

10th Grade Spending Worksheets

10th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 10th Graders

  • Plan an end-of-the-year class party. Have students create targets and objectives and reward them if they meet their responsible spending goals.
  • Hold a class auction and reinforce what they’ve learned about spending wisely.
  • As you introduce more advanced economic principles, always bring it back to personal finance.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 10th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

11th Grade

Learning Objectives

In 11th grade, students need substantial practice with hands-on budgeting and planning. They should be able to:

  • Develop a system for keeping track of spending, saving, and investing.

11th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 11th Grade – The Entrepreneur’s Journey: Students take on the role of an entrepreneur, deciding what they need to spend on and if they have the risk tolerance to go for it. They learn about insurance and other necessary expenses they may not have considered spending on and complete assessments and worksheets to reinforce learning.

11th Grade Spending Worksheets

11th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 11th Graders

  • Have students research actual data in their community to create budgets and spending plans.
  • Ensure that every lesson and activity comes back to their near-term financial future – it’s here!
  • Continue group work and inclusion of all ideas, as students may learn new spending habits.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 11th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

12th Grade

Learning Objectives

12th-graders get practical, looking at housing costs, auto bills, and potential career incomes. They should be able to:

  • Compare the short-term and long-term costs and benefits of renting versus buying a home in their city of residence.

12th Grade Spending Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 12th Grade – Spending: Students look closely at spending on specific expenses. They analyze the costs of renting vs. buying, using research, career data, and collaboration to decide their ideal approach.

12th Grade Spending Worksheets

12th Grade Spending Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Spending to 12th Graders

  • Check in with each of your 12th graders weekly (or daily, depending on class size).
  • Make sure they have spending plans adjustable for different incomes, debts, and unforeseen expenses.
  • Expose them to as many online financial tools as possible.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 12th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

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: July 28, 2022