Lesson 4: Calculating spending



Double class period


Activity One: Calculating spending

Homework Task:

Envelopes from Lesson Three: Activity Three

Useful Links:


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.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Activity One:  Calculating spending

1.   Ask students to take out their completed Lesson Three: Homework Task (Weekly Spending Diaries). How did they get on with this task?  Did they find it easy/hard? Was it an interesting task? Why/ why not?

2.   Explain to students they are now going to use the information from their diary entries to calculate their total weekly spending for each of the categories in their diaries, e.g. food and drink, clothes, entertainment, etc.

3.   Distribute Student Worksheet: Spending calculator to each student.

4.   Talk students through what they are expected to do with their worksheet:

  • They should go through each day of their Weekly Spending Diary and work out the total weekly amount they spent on food and drink, then note this amount in the second column (Amount €) in the table on their worksheet.  They should then repeat this process for all the other categories, for clothes, entertainment etc.
  • Students should then work out how much they spend in each category every month – for example, if they spent €10 on food and drink in a week. Would they do this every week? If so, then they should multiply €10 x 4 to get how much they spend on food and drink in a month (=€40).
  • They can calculate the annual amount they spend on each category by multiplying the amount they spend on it each week by 52 (52 weeks in a year) – for example, if they spent €10 a week on food and drink then they should multiply €10 x 52 to get the amount they spend on food and drink in a year (= €520).

Spending Calculator Link
5.   As students are completing their worksheet, circulate around the room providing assistance as needed.

6.   Facilitate a whole class discussion using the following questions as prompts:

  • What were your three biggest weekly expenses?  Compare this to what you thought were your three biggest weekly expenses before you began to keep your spending diary (i.e. Lesson One: Activity Two).  Are the three items the same/different?  What does this tell you about how you manage your money?
  • What category did you spend the most money on over the week-long period?
  • Were there things you did that allowed you to spend less but buy what you wanted?
  • On reflection, can you now identify ways of saving money in the future?
  • How do you think people feel when they spend more than they have?
  • How do you think people feel when they manage to save?

Homework Task

Invite each student to write an entry into their reflective journal on their learning from the Spending Diary activities (Lesson Three and Lesson Four).

Distribute the envelopes from Lesson Three: Activity Three and encourage students to reflect on the difference between what they thought their weekly spending would be and what they now know it is as a result of keeping a Spending Diary.

They could also be encouraged to reflect on their monthly and annual spending relative to each of the Spending Diary categories.

Reflective journal entries should include the following:

  • a summary of information they have learned
  • a record of particular insights they have gained
  • reflection on skills they have developed
  • reflection on what they have learned from this and what it means for their own lives or for their future

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


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