Lesson 14: Tackling debt



  • Single class period


Activity One: Review of Lesson 13 Homework Task

Activity Two: A year later


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.

Step-by-Step instructions

Activity One: Review of Lesson 13 Homework Task

1. Review Lesson 13: Homework Task (Student Worksheet: Priority and secondary debts).  Ask students to list Katie’s debts and indicate if these are priority or secondary debts.

Activity Two: A year later

1.  Remind students of the difference between priority and secondary debts:

Priority debt:  Rent or gas or electricity bills are priority debts and need to be paid first. If these are not paid, you could be at risk of being evicted or having your electricity or gas cut off.

Secondary debt: Other debts, e.g. credit card debt, overdrafts and personal loans are secondary debts. Secondary debt with the highest interest rates should be paid after priority debts.

2.  Divide the class into pairs.

3.  Distribute one copy of Student Worksheet: A year later to each pair.

4.  Invite each pair to identify some steps that Katie and Peter took to take control of their situation.

5.  Take feedback, recording responses on the white/blackboard. The steps mentioned may include some of the following:

  • Make a list of all current debts – identify which ones are the most important
  • Make a new budget and see where they can make cuts
  • Check they are getting all entitlements and claiming all tax credits
  • Work out how much they can afford to pay each month to each of the owed companies
  • Contact lenders to discuss their options
  • When back on track, manage their ongoing payments – use a budget account, review their budget regularly etc.

6.  Conclude by explaining that the worst thing someone in trouble with debt can do is to bury their head in the sand and ignore the problem. Remind students of the importance of seeking help if debt gets out of control.


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