A financial literacy workshop for intermediate and senior students


Objective: Encourage students to remain in school so that they may afford a satisfactory lifestyle.

Method: Introduce budgeting basics modeled on three professions: A family doctor, an app developer and a restaurant server.


The workshop begins with the concept of Needs vs Wants. A volunteer is requested for entering data into a simplified budgeting table projected onto a smartboard. The Family Doctor (high earner) annual budget template is presented that includes fixed costs (Needs) clothing, shelter, groceries, transportation and phone & internet. The students as a group are asked to discuss and by consensus propose a preferable annual number of occurrences for each discretionary expense (Wants), to be entered by the volunteer. Annual net earnings are then revealed, resulting in the budget balance. If negative, the students must reduce discretionary expenses until balanced.

The App Developer budget is then presented, with fixed costs (Needs) typical to a mid-level earner. Students repeat the annual expense selection exercise, the App Developer net income is revealed and the budget result, if negative, again requires the students to reduce discretionary expenses until balanced.

Finally, the Restaurant Server budget is presented, again with typical spending variables and students repeating expense selections until producing the balance. Once again, a negative balance requires a reduction of expenses until balanced. The challenges faced by a low-income adult living in an expensive city like Toronto is the evident lesson.

The workshop concludes with a brief explanation of wage deductions and importantly - other possibilities for budget balancing. Duration: Approximately 90 minutes.

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