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Grade 9-12

The Basics of Saving and Budgeting

Updated: April 23 2017,
Author: Lee Hartman

This lesson generates a class discussion on the importance of setting financial goals by using the Better Money Habits video Steps to Better Money Habits to expand student understanding of saving and budgeting.


This lesson generates a class discussion on the importance of setting financial goals by using the Better Money Habits video Steps to Better Money Management to expand student understanding of saving and budgeting. To be most effective, this lesson should be used prior to the lessons in Theme 3: Money Management in Financial Fitness for Life, Grades 9-12 . The video is 4 minutes, and the estimated time for this activity is one 45 minute class period.

In this lesson, students will be required to set short-term, intermediate and long-term savings goals. These goals will be used to discuss the connection between financial goals and developing a plan for saving and spending in their personal lives.

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

  • Identify the four steps to becoming financially savvy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to set goals.
  • Explain the importance of having a spending and saving plan to meet financial goals.


  1. Ask students to name some of their dreams for the future. For example, what are some of the things they would like to have or like to accomplish? Also, ask them if they have written plans to be sure they can achieve those dreams. Remind them that having financial goals are like having personal goals, and their financial goals can even help them achieve their personal goals.
  2. Introduce the video Better Money Habits: Steps to Better Money Management by explaining that having a spending and savings plan is one of the most important steps to reaching their goals. It also helps them gain financial independence without having to always worry about bills and debt.
  3. Distribute Handout 4.1 and ask students to complete it as a guide while viewing the video. They will then use it as a guide to help them complete Handout 4.2. Be sure they also complete the summary section. Show the video. After viewing the video, review the handout with the class.
  4. Distribute Handout 4.2. Read the quotes about goals at the top of the handout and explain the importance of having written goals.
  5. Allow students sufficient class time to complete the handout or assign it as homework. After students have completed their goals, ask for volunteers to share their goals and what they have learned from completing the assignment.


To summarize this lesson, encourage students to discuss the relationship between setting a budget and setting goals.  Then, post the following quote: "Set your goals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you." — Anonymous  Use it as a reminder that setting realistic goals is important, but setting them too low will not challenge them to improve or do better.  Setting appropriate personal and financial goals and taking the steps to meet those goals will help them become financially savvy.

Extension Activity

Have students search for their favorite quote about saving or goals and write an essay explaining how it relates to their personal life.

View other related Better Money Habits videos, including:


Have students write the four steps to better money habits and select one they could start using today. Be sure they explain the reason for selecting that one and what changes they plan to make to apply it.

Personal Finance