Saving or Spending

Responsible Decision-Making

Family Resources on Saving or Spending

Lesson Topic

Students develop a greater understanding of the value of saving considering their options before making purchases.

Essential Question

How do I decide if I am saving and spending money wisely?

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Saving or Spending

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students compared and analyzed issues around the value of saving or spending money. In class students discussed the concepts of value, parental control and why whenever possible saving some money is a good idea. In groups students worked through a problem comparing their desire to purchase versus the amount of time a wage earner would have to work to pay for various goods.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features a youth named Vanessa who has a part-time job and her mother who retains some control over how much money Vanessa spends. Vanessa’s mother insists that sometimes Vanessa cannot purchase some things even though Vanessa has enough money to make the purchase with money earned from her own job.

Conversation notes:
The high school years are often the first time that many youths have the opportunity to earn and spend money. Many cultural influences focus on consumption, which often works against parents and adult mentors who are trying to teach students to spend and save wisely.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau resources for saving and budgeting for teenagers:

General financial literacy for teenagers from Teachers Federal Credit Union blog:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

In class your group came up with a list of things of things to buy, what was on your group’s list? What were some useful purchases? What about unnecessary purchases? Were you surprised at how much work is needed to buy some things? Do you think you are skilled at making good purchasing decisions? If so, explain why. If not, what do you need to learn?

If you earn your own money, should your parents tell you how to spend (or save) your money? Why or why not? What would be some advantages of parents directing your spending?

Do you think that generally the teens you know do a good job of making sensible purchases with money they have? Why or why not?

Why do economic experts encourage people (even teenagers) to save money?

Choose a recent purchase that was made by a family member and describe why this was a good or poor spending choice. Discuss the various considerations or different options for this purchase.

School to Home Resources on Saving or Spending

Lesson Plan

Should you save?

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The financial expert in the video Todd Mark says, “We know that the savings rate in America is atrocious, so as adults that obviously have very little value on savings, we’re not passing it along to our kids”. Besides being prepared for an emergency, what do you think are good reasons to save money from every single paycheck? If you have or have had a job, how do you rate yourself on saving?

Is a purchase worth it?

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Vanessa says, “once it’s my own money and I’m spending it, I look at a sweater and think that’s too expensive- I had to work eight hours for this”. Vanessa thinks about how long she has to work to pay for something. Why is her way of thinking helpful in deciding on the value of a potential purchase?

Many Americans are poor savers

Take a look at this short article about the importance of saving from the Kansas City Branch of the US Federal Reserve Bank. The first line of the article refers to a “silver lining of the recent economic downturn” that people began saving significantly again. Why do you think it is important to save and limit personal debt?

Developing investor behaviors

Take a look at this blog post from the Georgia Credit Union League, even though this post was written for parents it provides useful information about the importance of saving. After reading the post consider your saving habits. Without sharing personal information about your finances, how do you rate your personal saving habits? What are your savings goals? Have you developed an investor behavior? Why or why not? Are you aware of the effect of compound interest? What resources will you need in the future based on your personal financial situation?

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