Lesson 13: Budget health checks



Single class period


Activity One:  Budget health checks

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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 going out, look at areas where savings can be made (see www.ccpc.ie/consumers 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 12: Homework Task students should take a closer look at budgets and identify the changes that can be made to create a healthier budget.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Activity One:  Review of Lesson Twelve Homework Task

1.   Ask students how they got on with Lesson 12 Homework Task Student Worksheet: Budget template. Did they find it difficult/easy? Were they surprised by anything?

2.   Invite students to swap their completed Lesson 12 Homework Task Student Worksheet: Budget template with their neighbour.

3.   Display Teacher Resource Sheet: Review of Lesson 12 Homework Task and talk students through the completed budget templates for Sarah and John.

4.   Explain to your students that the amount of money left after subtracting (B) from (A) (income – expenditure) is the money that Sarah/John has left. This can be either a plus or a minus amount. If Sarah/John has more money coming in than going out then it will be a ‘plus’ figure and it means Sarah/John has money left over. If they are spending more money than they have coming in, then this figure will be a ‘minus’ figure. In this case Sarah/John need to re-adjust their budget, otherwise they will not have enough money to cover all of their costs. More money going out than coming in means that they will start eating into their savings (if they have any) or they could get into debt (owe money/have to borrow).

Activity Two:  Budget health checks

1.   Ask students what they think about the idea of checking the health of Sarah’s/John’s budget? What do they think this might mean? How might this be done?

2.   Record their responses on the white/blackboard.

3.   Explain that students can health check budgets by identifying any items of expenditure which they believe Sarah/John can/should change – in some cases either by decreasing the amount spent on these items or by cutting them out entirely.

4.   Invite students to health check Sarah’s/John’s budgets using the following as a guide:

  • Does Sarah/John have money left over when (B) is subtracted from (A), i.e. more money coming in than going out?   In this case what do you think Sarah/John should do with this leftover money?
  • If Sarah/John has less money coming in than going out, create a list of where Sarah/John can make changes.

5.   Circulate around the room providing help and feedback as required.

6.   Invite all the students who chose to do Sarah’s budget to join together in small groups and repeat the process for those who chose to do John’s budget.

7.   Give groups sufficient time to discuss the main findings of their health check activity.

8.   Conclude by taking feedback from a sample of groups, recording their responses on the white/blackboard.

Homework Task

Ask students to look again at Sarah’s/John’s budget on the basis of the findings of their health check. Are there improvements that can be made? Revise Sarah’s/John’s budget accordingly.

Depending on your class you may decide to take-up and correct these revised budgets once completed.


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