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Grade 9-12

Renting a Place to Live

Updated: January 12 2017,
Author: Sue Lynn Sasser

This lesson uses a Better Money Habits video to help students will learn about the costs associated with renting a place to live.


This lesson uses the Better Money Habits video The True Cost of Renting a Place to help students learn about the costs associated with renting a place to live. It outlines the monthly expenses involved in renting and also addresses the percentage of income that should be allocated to housing. This lesson can be used as an extension to Lesson 8: Managing Your Money in Financial Fitness for Life, Grades 9-12 . The video is approximately 4 minutes, and the activities in this lesson can be completed in class or assigned as homework.

Financial Fitness for Life  is a comprehensive personal finance curriculum for K-12 students that teaches students how to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about important aspects of personal finance, such as earning income, spending, saving, borrowing, investing, and managing money. Visit CEE’s Financial Fitness for Life website  for more information on the publication and how to purchase it.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the costs associated with renting.
  • Describe the 30 percent rule for housing costs


  1. Ask students if they have ever considered finding a place of their own. Encourage them to discuss what kinds of housing and places they have considered. Ask if they have any idea about the costs of renting a house or an apartment in their area.
  2. Tell students they will be watching a video about the costs associated with finding a place to rent. Distribute Handout 2.1 for students to use as a guide while viewing the video. Tell them they will be using the information in this handout to complete a project. Show the video.
  3. After viewing the video, be sure students have completed Handout 2.1. Take time to discuss the answers to ensure they understand the information presented in the video.
  4. Distribute copies of Handout 2.2. Assign students this handout either as a homework assignment or an in-class assignment. Give each student (or the entire class) a monthly income that is appropriate for your region. You may also want to provide them with an estimated monthly amount for insurance and utilities. To better localize this activity, you might want to include other criteria for students to consider when completing this assignment (such as specific locations in your community).


Debrief this activity by discussing the process and choices made in Handout 2.2.

Extension Activity

Invite a realtor, leasing agent, or apartment manager to visit the class to discuss leases or other rental agreements, plus the rights and responsibilities of renters.
Show additional videos from Better Money Habits related to home buying and renting.


Personal Finance