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Imagine a world without money – would you be better or worse off?  Before money, people traded goods and services.  In this lesson students learn about the concept of barter – a system for exchanging/trading goods and services without using money.

Activity One: The ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of barter

Would barter encourage people to get along or not?  Would people feel that they were treated fairly or not?  In this lesson students get a chance to answer these questions by participating in and evaluating a bartering experience.

Activity One: Barter in action

Although money has officially replaced the ‘barter system’ and people now trade money for the majority of the goods and services they need, barter still happens.  For example, there are internet sites where people swap clothes, games, books etc.  Like most things in life there are pros and cons to using barter or money as a way of trading.  In this lesson students will debate the relative merits of bartering and using money.

Activity One: Barter versus money

Students organise a class or school-wide ‘barter project’ where students bring in goods or commit to providing a service which they exchange. 

There are some very good reasons why over time people have moved to using money as a way of exchanging/trading goods and services.  For example, coins and notes have a set amount or value and means prices can be used to describe the value of a good or service. This allows for the comparison of prices of similar goods/services so you can make choices and shop around for value.  In this lesson students will learn about the useful characteristics of systems of money and will consider what would happen if money systems did not have these characteristics.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 3 Homework Task

Activity Two: Getting value for money

Has someone in your home ever said: ‘Get off the phone!’ or ‘Turn the lights off when you leave the room!’  Why do they do this?  It is an attempt to reduce money going out.  In this lesson students work together to identify the financial costs associated with their day-to-day activities and look at their role in keeping costs down and getting value for money spent.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 4 Homework Task

Activity Two: Diary of my day

Have you ever really looked at the money that you have in your purse/wallet?  If asked, could you say anything about the symbols or images that are commonly used on coins and banknotes?  In this lesson students will be given the opportunity to work together to design their own banknote, using symbols and images that depict what they think money means to young people today.

Activity One: About money

Activity Two: Making money

Our opinions, behaviour and actions are influenced by other people, organisations and messages coming from traditional and digital media sources.  Opinions, behaviour and actions in relation to money is no exception.  In this lesson students will work together to represent the range of influences on their attitudes to money in a pie chart.  They will identify examples of when the influences on their attitudes to money are positive and when they are negative.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 6 Homework Task

Activity Two: Influences on spending

Being smart with your money is something that everyone can learn to do.  In this lesson students will meet ten different characters, who manage their money differently, some well and others who could make some changes to better manage their money.  Students will work together to identify which characters are smart with money, and which need help.  For their homework task students will compile some useful information to help people become more ‘money smart’.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 7 Homework Task

Activity Two: Who’s money smart?

People use money on a daily basis but they don’t often take the time to think about their attitudes to money, or consider how these attitudes impact on daily decisions and behaviours.  In this lesson students revisit their Lesson Seven: My Attitudes to Money Survey results and compare their individual results to the average class result.  They work together in groups to present the class results using a variety of methods, for example, posters, graphs, storyboards etc.  The homework task gives them a chance to reflect on the impact that their attitude to money has on their decisions and behaviours.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 8 Homework Task

Activity Two: Presenting our attitude to money

Everyone has the ability to be smart with their money.  It is about taking time to look at your spending and saving habits and seeing if you have the balance right and looking for help when you need it.  If you don’t do this right now you may need to make changes to your behaviour.  In this lesson students will get the chance to consider how to change people’s behaviour, by using the same techniques that advertisers use on an everyday basis.

Activity One: Radio advertisement

Students develop and carry out a strategy to raise awareness to an audience beyond the class about attitudes to money.

In this lesson students are encouraged to identify the sources of money for young people, whether it comes from income earned in casual work (e.g. babysitting), pocket-money or money received as gifts from relatives. Students will also start to think about what they spend their money on.

Activity One:  Money sources

Activity Two:  Top 3 spends

In Lesson One we thought about our biggest weekly expenses, but do we really know how much we spend in a week?  Often it is the small day-to-day things that really add up and this is where savings can be made.  In this lesson students will read through a case study to see exactly where the character’s money is going and identify where they can make savings'. 

Activity One: How Ryan 'spent' his week

In Lesson One we looked at our three biggest weekly expenses, but do we really know how much we spend in a week?  A spending diary involves writing down everything you spend money on so you’ll be able to see exactly where your money is going.  This helps to figure out where savings can be made.  In this lesson students will be facilitated to keep their own weekly spending diary which will increase their awareness of their spending habits.

Activity One: How I 'spent' my day

Activity Two: Reflecting on my day's spending

Activity Three: My weekly spend

In Lesson Three, we were introduced to a spending diary and students were asked to keep one over a seven day period.  This involved writing down everything they spent their money on.  In this lesson, students will use their completed weekly spending diaries to calculate monthly and annual spending relative to categories such as food and drink, clothes, entertainment etc.

Activity One:  Calculating spending 

Every day, we make choices about what we need and what we want.  Very often these choices depend on how much money we have.  The ability to distinguish and choose needs and wants is something that some people do instinctively.  For others it is a skill to be learned.  In this lesson, students explore and become more aware of the differences between needs and wants and will use their completed weekly Spending Diary from Lesson Three to distinguish between their own spending on needs and wants.

Activity One: Understanding needs and wants

No matter who you are life will throw both expected and unexpected events and circumstances your way.  In this lesson, students will be asked to list the ‘big’ life events that they may face in the future and review their needs and wants in light of these events.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 5 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Money goals

Ideally people are ready to deal with the impact and consequences of life events and circumstances, but this is not always the case.  In this lesson, students will consider the financial impacts and the consequences of different life events.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 6 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Investing in the future

Different people have different needs and wants when it comes to their spending.  In this lesson, we will look at what this means for the present and future financial well-being of a range of people.

Activity One:  Giant Steps

Money goals are a list of the things you want to save up for (e.g. build up savings, save up for a holiday/holiday spending money, Christmas presents etc). During this lesson, students will consider one money goal in detail, when they hope to achieve this goal and the steps they are prepared to take to make it happen.  Most money goals are recognised when people plan and save.

Activity One:  Life events timeline

Some people are savers of money and others are more likely to be spenders.    In this lesson, students will take a quiz to identify whether they have saver or spender tendencies.  Becoming more familiar with their own attitudes/habits will help them to develop a healthy relationship with money.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 9 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Spender/Saver quiz

Planning for the future helps us to get what we want or need.  Managing money can be tricky, it’s easy to lose track of spending and end up not being able to make ends meet.  Learning how to budget is important. It is a simple way of managing your money.  During this lesson, students will learn what a budget is and how budgets work in a range of different contexts.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 10 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Think-Pair-Share

A budget is a plan of what you will do with your money.  Making a budget is something that we all should do. In this lesson, students design their own weekly budget template, refer back to their spending diary and discover whether or not they are living within their means.  Their homework task involves using case studies to populate a budget template, the correct answers for which are provided in a resource sheet for teachers.

Activity One:  Design your own

A financial health check will give you a clear picture of your finances and help you identify where you need to make changes.  This gives you a chance to look at money coming in and out, look at areas where savings can be made (see for money saving tips) and is a chance to think about and plan for future goals.  In this lesson, students continue to practice the skills of budgeting.  Drawing on Lesson Twelve: Homework Task students should take a closer look at budgets and identify the changes that can be made to create a healthier budget.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 12 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Budget health checks

Budgeting and planning can help you save money day-to-day but can also help you plan for a future event. Think of what you may need money for and if the amount you can save would be enough for it.  For example, it could be for a holiday, a new phone, a birthday present or just saving for a rainy day.  Budgets can be used to plan for a future event.

Activity One:  Grace's holiday budget

Budgeting is something that everyone knows they should take the time to do but don’t always get around to it – for lots of reasons.  This can include fear (not wanting to know how much money they are spending) or the perception that budgeting is difficult/not worth the effort.

In this lesson students will learn about the different types of services and accounts offered by banks, credit unions and An Post.  Students learn how to manage their money on a day-to-day basis using bank accounts.  They will see there are different types of accounts available, so it’s important to pick one that suits your needs.  Bank accounts are an efficient and convenient way to receive income, pay for goods and services, pay bills and transfer money.  Students will use the information they have learned about bank services and accounts to design their ideal bank.

Activity One:  Bank accounts

Activity Two:  My ideal bank

Most people will have a bank account at some stage in their lives.  Sometimes parents open accounts for their children when they are very young.  In other cases young people go through the application process themselves, for example, when they start college or get their first job.  In this lesson students will work together to research the application process and what services they will have available to them once their account is open.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 1 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Opening a bank account

In our everyday lives we use a variety of methods to pay for the things we buy without giving it much thought.  When buying a litre of milk you might pay with cash.  If you are doing a bigger weekly shop you might pay with your debit card.  Students will have come across some of the different ways to pay for goods and services (e.g. cash, debit cards, credit cards, direct debits, standing orders etc) in Strand Three: Lesson One and Lesson Two, when they looked at the services available to people with bank accounts.  In this lesson they will learn that different methods of payments suit different purposes and will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each payment type.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 2 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Ways to pay

Being able to understand what is included in your bank statement (either paper or online) is a really important skill as it helps you to keep track of and manage your money.  In this lesson students will write a bank statement based on case study material and as a homework task they are asked to imagine that they are an 18 year old with an ATM/Debit Card.  They have to make decisions over the course of a month and generate a bank statement based on the decisions that they make.

Activity One:  Jimmy’s story

Some people are natural savers, but there are lots of people who never think to put money aside now for the future.  In this lesson students think about what it means to save and why it is beneficial to do so.  They will also evaluate the different places that people choose to put their savings.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 4 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Every little helps!

There are many savings accounts available and people often find it difficult to choose which one is right for their specific needs.  In this lesson students will become familiar with some of the terminology used in relation to savings accounts and will also develop some understanding of the different terms and conditions attached to savings accounts.

Activity Two: Crossword puzzle

Activity Three: Compound interest

There are plenty of reasons to start saving and no doubt you know them all, but when it comes to actually putting the money aside, some people end up spending it.  In this lesson students consider their learning to date in Strand Three and will specifically look at ways of making saving as painless and easy as possible.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 6 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Saving – dos and don’ts

Using digital or any other media (e.g. paper, markers, cut-outs from magazines/newspapers etc) invite students to work in groups to design and publicise a tool (e.g. a poster, blog, leaflet etc) to encourage all young people to save.

Although students will have no personal experience of borrowing from a financial institution they should be able to explore the reasons for borrowing.  If you want to buy something that you can’t afford right now, you can either save for it or borrow the money.  In this lesson students will explore what it means to borrow and will look at the reasons why people borrow money from financial institutions.

Activity One:  Borrowing

Activity Two:  Why borrow?

Most people borrow at some stage in their lives – they use their credit card to buy a book online, they borrow for holidays, for their children’s education, to buy a house etc. In lesson nine we looked at the type of questions people should ask themselves before borrowing. In this lesson students will become familiar with the different types of loans available.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 8 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Types of Loans

As we’ve seen, most people will borrow at some stage of their lives. It is worth taking time to research and to shop around for the best deal when looking for a loan.  In this lesson students will become familiar with some of the common features of borrowing from financial institutions.

Activity One:  True/False post-its

When people have the choice to save or to borrow for a particular good or service it can be difficult to make up their minds about the best course of action.  Usually there isn’t a right or wrong decision, but it is important to think about the best option for you at the time that is affordable and at the same time meets your needs.  In this lesson students examine different scenarios and weigh up whether it is better to borrow or to save.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 10 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Emma’s car

Using what they have learned in Strand Three students are invited to design a board game to help other young people learn about savings and borrowings

In Lesson Nine and Lesson Ten we looked at different types of loans and getting a loan.  We talked about questions to ask before borrowing to make sure you can afford any loan.  Here we look at what happens if you cannot repay a loan.  Debt is when you borrow money from someone or from a financial institution, you owe them money and have to pay it back.  Most people will have debt at some stage in their life.  Problems only occur if the debt becomes unmanageable. Problems with debt usually happen due to an unexpected change in circumstances.  For example, a person may borrow money but then a change in circumstances which they did not see coming means they have less money coming in, for example if they lose their job or a family member gets sick. In this lesson students will be asked to come up with a list of circumstances that might cause people to struggle with debt and to identify how being in debt can make people feel.

Activity One:  Didn’t see that coming

Activity Two:  Jack and Jill

Debt is a sensitive topic, while it may not directly impact on you, you may need to support a friend/family member who is struggling with debt.  In this lesson students will work together to identify the signs to watch out for which would indicate that debt has become out of control.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 12 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Katie’s first steps

If people are having problems with debt the most important thing to do is take action and not ignore the problem.  In this lesson students will discuss the steps people can take to get out of trouble and back in control of debt.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 13 Homework Task

Activity Two: A year later

Invite students to use their learning about debt from Strand Three: Lesson Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen to develop a 30 second advertising radio campaign about taking control of debt – they could use a poem, song, rap, rhyme and/or acronym to get their message across to listeners.

We are all consumers as we all use goods and services.  Do you think we are informed consumers?  In this lesson students will consider the concept of being a consumer and will think about the goods and services which they consume/use on a daily basis.  Students will work together to learn about what it means to be an informed consumer, what the benefits are and how to become a stronger, informed and empowered consumer.

Activity One: When are you a consumer?

Activity Two: The power of knowledge

Consumers have certain rights which are set out under consumer Law. These are in place to protect you if things go wrong. This lesson will help students learn about consumer rights when buying a good in a shop.  Students will learn what actions they need to take to ensure their rights are respected. This will help them become informed consumers. 

Activity One: Informed consumer quiz

Lots of people regularly buy online. They buy clothes, books, movies, games. They book flights, hotels and rent cars.  This lesson will help students become familiar with their consumer rights when shopping online and make them aware there are differences in the rights people have when shopping online and buying directly in a shop.

Activity One: What’s the difference?

Activity Two: Online shopping rights

Nowadays people buy both online and in shops so it’s important to know and understand your rights in both situations.  In this lesson students will use what they have learned in previous lessons to determine what rights people have when buying in shops and online.  Students will work together to compare buying in a shop and buying online and will contrast the rights consumers have in each context. 

Activity One: Review of Lesson 3 Homework Task

Activity Two: Comparing your rights

Activity Three: Consumer rights special

It can be confusing to know exactly what your rights are when you are shopping in the sales. Shops display signs saying you cannot return items during the sales or get a refund but this does not affect your statutory rights.  In this lesson students will learn that they have the same rights when buying goods in the sales as at any other time of year.

Activity One: Fill in the blanks

Until now we’ve been looking at consumer rights in relation to the purchase of goods.  Consumers also have rights when buying or using a service, but every case is different and the solution to a problem with a service depends on the individual case.  In this lesson students will look at scenarios outlining what rights you have if you buy a ticket online and if you buy a gift voucher.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 5 Homework Task

Activity Two: Rights scenarios

Bad things can happen.  We can’t stop these things but we can minimise the impact by having insurance.  You can get insurance for almost everything, some things you must have insurance for, but for other things you just need to decide what is important to you.  This lesson helps students to understand what insurance is.  Using case studies students will be able to identify different risks and how insurance cover can protect against these risks.

Activity One: Insurance explained

Activity Two: Gadget insurance

You might find you need to make a complaint to a business.  It might be about a poor service or a faulty product or you might have complained already and had no response. A problem can’t be fixed if no one knows it exists.  There are certain steps that can be taken when making a complaint.  In this lesson students will learn when, and how, to make a complaint to a business both in person and in writing.

Activity One: Review of Lesson 7 Homework Task

Activity Two: Making a complaint

A scam is designed to con you out of money or personal details (for example a PIN number) and it can take many forms.  The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the different types of scams so you can easily spot them.  Always be wary of tempting offers, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is!  In this lesson students will learn what a scam is, the types of scams that are out there, how to protect against them and what to do if they or someone they know gets scammed.

Activity One: Watch out for scams

Activity Two: Avoiding scams

This lesson gives students an opportunity to revise and reflect on their learning about consumer rights and how to protect themselves when buying goods and services in shops or online.

Activity One:  Review of Lesson 9 Homework Task

Activity Two:  Snakes and Ladders

Using what they have learned in Strand 4 students are invited to publish a page on the school website outlining good practice guidelines for young people about one of the following: 

  • consumer rights when buying goods in a shop 
  • consumer rights when shopping online 
  • the value of insurance
  • how to avoid scams

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