Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? Why? Is buying a name brand shoe important to you? Is the price a reason why you would not purchase something? Would you rather rent games or buy them? Why? Today we are going to talk about making choices about substitute goods and what that means in terms of trade-offs, costs and benefits.

Students will be able to engage in a project in which they will make decisions about substitute goods after weighing the costs and benefits of those decisions.


  1. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to define and grasp meaning for the term “substitute good'- both perfect and imperfect.
  2. You will make a decision about purchasing a substitute good or staying with your original selection.
  3. You will be working in a small group to create a gift project for a retirement home: You will need to go to the store and purchase your materials with the funds you have. Your group has $12.00. You will create 12 Sand Art Brownies in 12 jars.


  1. Complete the anticipatory set and discuss the positives and negatives to a substitute.

  2. Group Work
  3. Get into work groups of 3-4 students. These groups will be working to create a gift project for a retirement home.
  4. The project your group will be working on is Sand Art Brownies in a jar. Take a look at some completed Sand Art Brownies .
  5. Each group will be assigned $12.00 to finish this project.
  6. Now you will do the shopping, but you will have some choices. Some goods are called perfect goods because it is the same good, but it is a different brand. There may be some differences in taste/ packaging/quality, but it is the same product- sugar-. Other choices are called imperfect because it is not the same good, but it is “close”, meaning you may decide Shopping Listyou would rather put walnuts in your brownies instead of pecans. They are both nuts, but not the same nut. You may decide not to use nuts at all. This will be your group’s decision. You must, however, be able to spend LESS THAN $12.00 on all of your groceries and supplies.
  7. Go to the ECONGROCERY Store. This document will aid you in your purchase choices.


Consumers in the United States have many substitute goods and therefore, choices available to them. As a consumer, you need to be aware of the choices that you make while shopping and participation in this economy. We make choices every day and therefore we experience trade-offs, costs and benefits from the choices we make. Today's lesson was one experience, using the grocery store as a common place that substitute goods are readily available. The next time you visit the store, keep this in mind.


Select one of the following activities.

  1. Write a letter to the person to whom you are giving the Sand Art Brownies. In the letter, explain how the grocery shopping went and why you selected the products you did. The letter should explain the perfect as well as the imperfect substitute goods.
  2. Collect grocery store ads from various store ads, local or regional. Cut out, copy, or print the products and create a display of substitute goods that are both perfect and imperfect.
  3. Look around the school and create a list of some of the examples of substitute goods that are a part of your every day. How many can you find?
  4. Write a letter to a pen pal describing the process you went through to compete this class project. Make sure to use the Oven Fresh words substitute goods- both imperfect and perfect.


Think back to what you said in the beginning of this lesson about wanting brand name clothing, Pepsi or Coke, own or rent games. Do you have a better understanding now of what decisions you make on a daily basis and how those decisions are an exercise in an economic activity? Create three questions to ask your family and friends about choices they make that are trade-offs. You create the questions such as the ones we discussed today. Create a chart showing what you found about people's willingness to make trade-offs and why they make those decisions.