Budget Project Mini-Course Updated (2020)
New Version updated August 2020
Everyone lives within a budget. Everyone has limited resources and must make choices about how to use them. Individuals have different values and preferences, and the amount spent in different categories will fluctuate greatly from person to person. Whether you plan it out ahead of time, or completely wing it, you will constantly make choices about how you spend the money you have. This project is designed to help you consider many different options so that you can be intentional about the choices you make to help you plan for your future.
If you are enrolled in Boundary Stone’s Basic Economics Course, you were enrolled automatically in this mini-course and one day of most weeks is set aside for working on this project.
What you will learn:
- Categories of expenses for living on your own that you may never have considered
- Opportunities to research realistic costs for needed expenses
- The impact of income tax withholding on your take home pay
- The impact of paying off debt for college or other expenses
- Necessity of making choices as to where you spend your income
- The impact of different choices and priorities for the amount you will have left for “discretionary” options
- How not planning ahead could leave you with too much month at the end of your money
How much income will you need to live the lifestyle you desire? There are a lot of factors that determine the answer to this question. This project will give you the opportunity to design a budget for two different income levels so that you can compare. You will do some research online to determine the average starting salary for a career you are considering. Your goal is to figure out which choices you can make and avoid going into debt. In other words, you will be aiming to spend less money each month than your total monthly income.
For the other income we will determine a budget that would be for “everything you want” so that you can see how much income you would need to support the lifestyle you really want. You should keep this in mind when you are making decisions about what direction to go after graduating high school. What career do you want to pursue? How much can you realistically make in that field? Should you go to college or pursue other training?
The project is designed to take place over the course of a semester, or every day for about a two-three week period. Each lesson will have you investigate one category of income or expenses and make decisions about how you think you might budget that area. You should develop a notebook with thorough notes on all your research and document the sources of any information you use. At the end of the project, you should write a two page paper for your teacher summarizing what you learned as you made various choices.
To Begin the Mini-course
Enrolled users: To begin the project, scroll down and click on the Spreadsheet Setup Lesson.