Posted by: waterwalkerla | January 8, 2010

Home Economics 102: Budgets

Since we started teaching our children to cook and bake last fall, I suppose that would be considered Home Economics 101 in our little home school.  While that class is continuing, we are adding budgeting coursework now.  I mentioned in a previous post that I would give more details about our ideas for this class.  I am now ready (I think!) to share those.  Of course, as with everything, this class is a work in progress, and could change at any time.

Topics and assignments for budgeting :

  • Our children will create a list of between 15-20 grocery items and between 10-15 household items that we commonly buy.  Grocery items will include things like milk, rice, cereal.  Household items should be things like toilet paper and cleaning products.
  • We will then take a field trip to our two main grocery stores and the children will record regular prices for these items on their lists.  They will be encouraged to record size and serving information where appropriate
  • The children will create a price list based on this information.  At the same time, they will be taught where to look on-line for weekly specials offered by these stores.
  • Each week, the children will help with menu planning.  We will review our recipes and learn how to determine the number of servings we get from certain products (like a 5 lb bag of rice) and learn to calculate the cost of various meals.
  • Eventually, the children will be alotted a certain amount of money each week and be asked to menu plan and shop within this budget.  They will also have to take into account certain household product needs.
  • Of course, we all know there are far more things we need to budget for than peanut butter and dish soap!  After they have a handle on the above topics, we will expand our household budgeting course to include monthly bills.
  • The children will learn about the kinds of monthly bills they will encounter in their own households, such as electric, phone, gas, internet, tithes, and mortgage.  I pray that they won’t have credit card debt or car loans, so I don’t want to include them in the basics.
  • The children will also learn a little more about incidental or sporadic costs, such as auto insurance, auto maintenance, and taxes.
  • The next step will be to set up a household for each of the children.  They will be assigned a monthly income and will have to come up with a budget taking into account regular monthly bills, sporadic bills, food and gas.

Like I said, this is a work in progress and I am sure that as we go, I will think of many things that I have forgotten.  In addition to this type of budgeting work, I hope to use a course such as Foundations in Personal Finance (Dave Ramsey) when each of the children are in high school.



  1. What great ideas for practical, hands-on learning that your children will need in their everyday lives as adults! Thanks for submitting your post to the Homeschool Showcase. I enjoyed reading your ideas and would love to do something similar with my own kids.

    • Thanks! I am trying to keep really good notes as we want to repeat this education with our yougest (age 4) in a few years. I will try to keep updates and changes posted on the blog. I would also love any comments or suggestions from anyone else who has taught such a course!

  2. How practical and useful! You’re really giving your children a leg up! I didn’t learn about any of this until I was an adult… and I have to admit, I feel like I’m still playing catch-up!

    • That was a big part of our motivation. My husband and I really felt like we were way behind on learning all this stuff. We really want our kids to have a good foundation so they can avoid some of the mistakes we made. Plus, it has the added benefit of helping them to understand the cost of certain things. It is also nice to see them understand that we have to make responsible choices with our money – as they gain an understanding of how much certain things cost, their requests for “stuff” and meals out have gone down.

  3. Great plan! I have taught high school personal finance at our homeschool co-op several times. I have them work out a budget for a fictitious young working girl. They realize it is not easy to afford everything they want!

    I found the budget exercise at Look under For Educators/Lesson Plans.

    I also wrote an article Teaching Your Kids Financial Independence for Home Enrichment magazine, which you can read at my website, on the Teaching Kids About Money page. I discuss what to teach children about money at each age.

    It is never too early to start teaching children money management skills.

    Carol Topp, CPA

    • Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely check those out. You are right, it is never to early to start teaching kids about money management!

  4. This is a great idea and such a help to your children. After going through years of debt and finally getting to that debt free point, I know I don’t want my son to ever know what it is like to be buried in a mountain of debt.

    Kudos to you! Dave Ramsey ROCKS!

    • Kim, I completely understand. It seems like my husband and I have spent our entire married lives paying off debt. I definitely want my children to have a better understanding of how to handle money – and avoid debt!

  5. I love this idea. This is probably an area that I should have given more attention.

    • I know I could have used some more budget training when I was younger! We are trying to keep it fun and hands on for the kids to so they enjoy it more – and hopefully learn more!

  6. […] I mentioned when I first posted about this class, Home Economics 102 is focused on budgeting.  Last fall, our Home Economics 101 […]

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