We began by looking at a budget form available from
I really can't decide whether the fact that I make nerdy financial worksheets for my kids to work on during the summer makes me the Worst Mom Ever [c'mon, really?!?] or one of the most helpful moms I could possibly be. Or both at the same time, perhaps. At any rate, the skills to practice with their Monday afternoon worksheet included how to read a chart, think about food costs, and an introduction to Excel spreadsheets.
- If you were to move out into your own apartment, which category would you belong to? Underline this line.
- Do you think you would eat according to the “thrifty”, “low-cost”, “moderate cost” or “liberal” plan?
- According to this, how much would you expect to spend each week on food?
- According to this, how much would you expect to spend each month on food? [Add this number to your budget].
- Our family doesn’t fit into one of the USDA categories. We have one male 61 years, one female 48 years, one female 22 years, and males who are 14 and 15. What would the USDA expect us to spend each week on food? (Give a range from thrifty to liberal).
- We spend approximately $150/week on food. Does this match what the USDA expects? Why do you think this is?
- Compare the expenses of young (19–50 years) families with two people to old families (51–70 years) families with two people. According to this data, who spends more?
- Be creative; guess some reasons why your answer to #7 might be true – that is, why would older people spend less money on food than younger people.
I like that these questions had a variety of activities. Some steps were as easy as circling numbers; others had a bit more work. At step 6, I whipped out Excel and showed them how it could add numbers quickly (although J-son, to my surprise, decided he wanted to add the numbers by hand just to make sure he could).