This project will help students deeply understand the budgeting process because they get to actually create their own household budget!
15 career cards are included with occupations ranging from a cashier to a doctor and everything in between. You assign each student a career, which includes their salary and student loan debt. Then they have to work through all the aspects of a household budget including calculating taxes, finding a home to rent, paying their student loan, budgeting for food and clothing, paying insurance, and much more! There are step-by-step instructions for each step, so students can work at their personal pace.
At the end, they may have to go back and spend less in some categories if they have run out of money. Finally, when they have a balanced budget (including savings for a down payment, car, or vacation) they answer some discussion questions to reflect on the process.
This activity will keep high school students engaged for several classes because it is meaningful and realistic. I found that my students especially enjoyed researching homes for rent and cars for lease in our city. Students will be practicing a wide range of math skills including determining net income from gross income, working with percents, and reviewing decimal operations. You can have them calculate by hand or use a calculator.
This is the kind of project that stays with students for years after they have left school!