Managing Expenses - Vocational


Table of Contents


Definition: Controlling the costs or charges required for something.

Key Terms:

  1. Cost of living - The amount of money needed to sustain a certain standard of living by affording basic expenses such as housing, food, etc.
  2. Budgeting - A plan or estimated amount of money needed for cost of living or a specific purpose.
  3. Utilities - Something useful to the home, such as: Electricity, gas, water, cable, telephone.
  4. Insurance- - A payment arrangement with a company or agency that provides financial protection for a loss, illness, damage or death.
  5. Want - A desire to have or do something.
  6. Need - To require something because it is necessary or important.
  7. Credit Card Interest Rate - The amount of money a credit card company charges the customer for borrowing money from them to make a purchase.

Discussion Points

  • It is important to have a budget and try to stick to it.
  • Different types of insurance: Health Insurance, HomeOwners/Renter’s Insurance, Auto Insurance, Life Insurance.
  • Before making a purchase, you should decide if the item is a want or a need. Things you want should be bought after you pay for all of your monthly expenses and needs.
  • If possible, you should always try to put some of your paycheck away into a savings account in case of an emergency.
  • Credit cards will charge you interest for “borrowing money from them to buy something”. These charges can add up quickly, so try to pay off charges in full at the end of every month.

Activity 1: Lifestyle

Discussion Points

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “NJ Resident” found in the brown box to lower right of page
  3. Use drop down to choose Brick, then type in zip code 08723
  4. Go to the red bar at the top of the page and hover over (do not click on) “Assessments”
  5. On the far right, under “What lifestyle can I afford?” Click on “Reality Check”.
  6. Watch the short video about Dave’s Reality Check.
  7. Click on “Start Your Reality Check” and select the Trenton-Ewing area.
  8. Go through each question, and select what best fits the lifestyle you envision having.
  9. Write down the annual salary needed to support this lifestyle.
  10. Go back to first screen and in red bar, select “Occupations”.
  11. Under occupations, click on “What can I learn about occupations?” then “Occupations”.
  12. Choose an occupation, then compare average salary for that occupation to salary needed in “Reality Check”.
  13. Will you have enough money to support your desired lifestyle?
Materials Needed:
  • Computer for teacher
  • Projector
  • Student Device

Activity 2: "Want" or "Need"

Pass out a copy of Student Activity Sheet A, Student Activity Sheet B, scissors and glue to each student. Have students cut apart pictures from Student Activity Sheet B. Students will decide if each item is a “want” or a “need”, then glue them accordingly in the correct box.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Activity Sheet A
  • Student Activity Sheet B
  • Glue and Sissors

Script Writing and Animation

Script Prompt: Pair students and have them take turns creating a movie clip about going to the store. One student will be purchasing 3 items that are considered a need, and the other will purchase 3 items that are considered a want, then switch. Students should work into the script why they think the items they selected are a want or need. Students should name and record their scripts using SiLAS software, and save the final movie.

Materials Needed:
  • Script sheet for each group
  • Pencil for each student

Lesson Review

Allow students to complete the student lesson review sheet. Discuss answers when finished.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Lesson Review Sheet - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student


Go to only student curriculum

Student Lesson Review Sheet

Directions: To check your understanding of the lesson, answer the following questions.

  1. What is the difference between a want and a need?
  2. Give two examples of a want, other than the ones used in activity 2.
  3. Give two examples of a need, other than the ones used in activity 2.
  4. Name two types of insurance you might have when you live on your own:
  5. Give two examples of a utility: