While nearly 63% of Americans may be living paycheck to paycheck, this cycle can be broken with the right tools and education. Learning budgeting skills and gaining the tools for money management is crucial to setting your students up for financial success and empowering them to become savvy spenders and savers. Our collection of middle school budgeting activities features engaging online games, basic budgeting principles, math assignments, and project-based learning opportunities with real-life applications. Keep reading to discover our favorite ways to get your middle schoolers ready for financial success!
1. Booklet of Fun Budgeting Activities
This comprehensive, infographic-based resource includes sections on taxes, budgeting skills, credit cards, interest rates, loans, and banking. This is a low-resource way to immediately begin teaching financial literacy to your students!
Learn More: Math Giraffe
2. Shady Sam Loan Shark Online Game
This clever online game will teach your students the ins and outs of the predatory loan industry by casting the providers in the role of the “bad guy” or loan shark. It’s a memorable way to teach them about the importance of making sound financial choices.
Learn More: Kid Wealth
3. Brainpop Pre-Made Digital Activities
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as your learners understand the importance of creating a basic budget and the value of personal discipline, the foundation for success will have been set. This animated video is coupled with a quiz, vocabulary worksheet, graphic organizer, and additional resources to teach your students all about budgeting concepts and the decision-making skills that they need for independent living.
Learn More: BrainPOP
4. Intuit Mint Education Stimulation
This Intuit Education resource features a three-part online simulation where your students will be tasked with creating a balanced budget and managing financial transactions. It offers plenty of opportunities for your middle schoolers to reflect on personal spending habits, purchasing decisions, lifestyle choices, and how to deal with unexpected events that may impact their finances.
Learn More: Intuit
5. Financial Education Quizzes on Kahoot
This collection of financial literacy quizzes features various budgeting software tools such as TurboTax, Credit Karma, and Mint to give your students the financial education they need to implement budgeting concepts in everyday life. Your kids will learn skills such as dealing with unexpected expenses and emergencies, creating a family budget, determining categories of spending, and choosing from an array of credit cards.
Learn More: Kahoot
6. Build an Online Lemonade Stand
This budgeting game will guide your students through the fundamentals of budgeting by getting them geared up to run a lemonade stand. Your kids will learn all about the actual spending that’s involved in running a small business and be prompted to consider the cost of living and the importance of managing their everyday expenses.
Learn More: Money Club
7. Budgeting Lesson Using Credit Cards
This comprehensive credit card project is a fantastic way to help your middle schoolers develop realistic budgeting skills. It includes an overview of how credit cards work, how the companies turn a profit, and the responsible use of credit. It even features a sample credit card statement, videos about credit card use, and a handy rubric for assessing your students’ work.
Learn More: Mister G
8. Real-World Budgeting Challenge
Learning how to feed oneself or a family on a limited budget is an important life skill. In this real-world budget scenario activity, your students will be challenged to create home-cooked meals using cheap, everyday staples that they’ll purchase from a virtual supermarket.
Learn More: Jolly Rogers Young Women Blog
9. Play an Educational Budgeting Game
This simple board game will teach your learners to stay within their budget by making sound financial choices to achieve this. To succeed, your students will have to prioritize rent and food before fun and entertainment. This printable game can be played in 20 minutes or less and is a fun, student-led way to teach financial literacy skills that have real-world applications.
Learn More: The CEO Kid
10. Learn About Stocks and Investments
By simulating buying and trading stocks, your students will learn about the importance of researching companies that they wish to invest in, and supporting businesses that align with their values. The concept is straightforward: Assign each of your students an imaginary sum of money to “invest” in whatever stocks they’d like—based on real research into existing companies. Then, check the closing prices of everyone’s stocks each day of the week, and calculate the value of your students’ portfolios. By using real companies and stock prices, you’ll be creating a realistic model for business education in the modern world.
Learn More: Free Spirit Publishing
11. Teach Money Management with a Lapbook
By the time your students are in middle school, they are most likely ready to take more control of their earnings. This hands-on lapbook is divided into various sections on reading utility bills, handling debit and credit cards, and organizing earnings into various bank accounts. Although assembling the book takes some time, it has everything you need to teach your kids money terms, how to balance a checkbook and pay bills, whilst becoming acquainted with the basics of inflation.
Learn More: LOOK! We’re Learning
12. Try Banzai
Banzai is a free, online financial literacy platform that will teach your students about borrowing, budgeting, saving, and spending. It focuses on real-world money skills and, best of all, Banzai grades itself!
Learn More: Banzai
13. Teaching Budgeting in Math Class
What better place than math class to teach your students about the importance of budgeting to help empower them for future financial success? Use this comprehensive lesson guide to teach your middle schoolers about what a budget is and how to create one, as well as introduce them to concepts of tax, and fixed vs. variable expenses.
Learn More: PreAlgebra Teachers
14. Dream Home Scavenger Hunt
This practical assignment will guide your students in finding a place to live that meets their wants and needs—and fits within their budget.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
15. Budget a School Field Trip
Let’s embark on an educational journey! Task your students with planning a hypothetical field trip; focusing on transportation, tickets, and food expenses. Encourage them to find cost-effective alternatives to stay within their budgets. This is not an abstract exercise in budgeting; it’s a hands-on, real-world exploration of financial responsibility and cost analysis.
Learn More: Teach Starter
16. Charity Budget Planning
Who doesn’t admire the act of giving? Have your students act as a charity organization; mapping out their annual budget by considering fundraising, events, and donations. Guide them to understand the practical aspects of budgeting while fostering a sense of philanthropy and compassion.
Learn More: Cha-Ching
17. Car Ownership Budgeting
Vroom, vroom! Let your students discover the financial responsibilities of owning a car as they budget for buying, insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Walk them through the long-term commitments to help them navigate the winding roads of financial planning.
Learn More: YouTube
18. Dining Out Budget Activity
Ready for a night out? Task your students with planning a dining experience at a local restaurant on a fixed budget. From appetizers to tips, they’ll learn to calculate real-life expenses and savor the taste of budgeting and cost analysis whilst gaining a new appreciation for those home-cooked meals from Mom and Dad!
Learn More: A Love for Special Learning
19. Personal Savings Plan
Investing is no small feat! Assist your students in designing personal savings plans that outline their financial goals, both short-term and long-term. Encourage them to strategize to demonstrate the importance of planning and discipline for successful money management.
Learn More: Priceless Ponderings
20. Vacation Planning Budget Exercise
Let’s take a dream vacation! Engage your students in planning their ideal getaways, budgeting for every fun detail from travel to entertainment. It’s a sunny, engaging way to apply their budgeting skills in an exciting, real-world scenario.
Learn More: Twinkl
21. Interactive Home Budgeting
Welcome home, financially savvy students! Task your middle schoolers with planning a household budget by considering various income sources and covering essentials from rent to groceries. It’s a real-world exercise that’s sure to help them build understanding and skills in home economics and financial planning.
Learn More: TeachersMag
22. College Budget Planning
Prepare for the college challenge! Guide your students in researching and crafting a budget for their college years, covering tuition, living expenses, and more. It’s an essential, realistic approach to future financial responsibilities that will hit close to home for many of your kids!
Learn More: YouTube