Nowadays, students seem to have very little knowledge of surviving in the real world after high school or college. What happens when school days are over? Finding a job might not be too difficult, but budgeting on that paycheck from the first job might be. Many students have no realistic knowledge of how to survive on a paycheck.
Educators can never start too early to teach students what a budget is, how it is set up, and why it is important. Bring in allowances for those who are too young to work.
Your parents give them $20.00 a week. How will you decide how to use it? Talk to your partner about how you would make decisions on the best use of the money so that you will not run short before your next allowance."
Teachers should let students voice their decisions first and then move into whole group discussions on whether or not the choices made on the best use of the money are good or not and WHY?
For older students, give them a higher figure and even more pressing decisions. For example, they take home $3300 month and they want to live in the Silicon Valley. Have students search out average rents that they could afford. This may come to shock that the neighborhoods they thought they could live in are definitely out of reach. Then move on to transportation expenses ("You want a car. OK, do you have a car loan? How much is it? After your rent, you will now subtract that figure.). How about food? How about clothing? Gas? Utilities? Entertainment? Again, have them work with partners to see IF they can live on that sum. They will find that some adjustments will need to be made if they are to be able to eat for example:)
I also think students should learn early in life about credit cards, debit cards, student loans, etc. Investing should also be addressed. The less money spent on borrowing money, the more money for saving or investing. For younger students, encourage them to save 20% of their allowance. For older ones, decide on how much money will be put away every month for savings.
Try financial savvy with students. There are money games for all ages and grades. Start early and continue it through high school.