Financial Decisions - Wants vs. Needs

Lesson Topic:

Understanding financial decision making.

Lesson Description:

Students will learn how their values influence financial decisions. Students will understand the difference between a want and need, and they must take care of their needs first when it comes to making financial decisions. They will also learn how opportunity costs and trade-offs can help them with their financial decision making.

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

To understand how values influence financial decisions.
To understand the difference between a want and a need.
To learn what is an opportunity cost and trade-off.

Nebraska Standards:


Teacher Planning:

You will need to set up Mentimeter and become a registered user of Take Charge Today prior to class in order to access materials.

Equipment/Materials/Software Needed:

Computer/Projector/Internet Access

Time Required for Lesson:

1 class period



Technology Use:


Must be a registered user with in order to access activities within PowerPoint.



Instructional Plan:

Anticipatory Set/Pre-Activity:

Using Mentimeter (You will need to create an account to use this.)Ask students to describe the three most important things to them and post them in Mentimeter to create a word cloud.  They will only be able to use one word to describe them. Ex. family, money, religion, etc.

After the students have finished entering their answers then discuss with them the final results.

Benefits/Explanation/Real-World Connection:

After this lesson students should make better financial decisions by just asking if this purchase is a want or need. The benefit is to help students make wiser financial decisions. Students will also learn that sometimes they can get what they want by possibly choosing either a trade-off or opportunity cost.

Activities (i.e. instructions, warm-up, lesson, cool-down):

1. Begin with slides 1-8.

Download: Financial_Decisions_nMBaksY.ppt

2. Complete Spending Board Activity - See instructions on PowerPoint slide 9. Remember to review how values, wants and needs influencing their decisions.
3. Continue slides 10-13.
4. Now discuss with students how they could have made other choices during the spending board activity based upon opportunity costs or trade-offs.


5. Complete the You've Got Money activity from Take Charge Today located in student workbook pages.

Assessment :

5. Complete the You've Got Money activity from Take Charge Today located in student workbook pages. Use the provided rubric in this activity for grading purposes.

Supplemental Information:



Safety Precautions:


Comments (adaptations for various grades/ages, teaching styles, etc.)



•Take Charge Today -The The University of Arizona (n.d.). Financial Decisions. Retrieved from

•Take Charge Today -The University of Arizona (n.d.). Financial Decisions. Retrieved from

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