The Importance of Financial Literacy

There's something really rewarding about teaching financial literacy. My class could really be named "How not to get ripped off" because of how strongly I feel about teaching money awareness. There are so many ways students can get in trouble financially and I love helping them avoid these pitfalls. 

We start the year with a "Wants vs. Needs" activity, followed by a conversation about banking fees. So many of my students have accounts at banks that charge them fees! I nip that in the bud pronto. We then learn how to add transactions to a paper checkbook, then move into a digital checkbook. I am always surprised when my seniors don't automatically know what column - debit or credit - things like paychecks, ATM withdrawals and purchases should go in. I love teaching them things that directly apply to their lives.

Excel Check Book

After completing a few checkbook activities on paper, I brought my students to the library to make their digital checkbooks. Last year I did the same activity, only we used Excel. This year I decided to use Google Sheets to make it easier for me to grade. Once my students were finished with their sheets, they shared them with me. I then checked that the formulas were correct by adding a few transaction amounts and seeing if the equations correctly changed the totals. 

Check Book Task Cards

We also complete this checkbook task cards activity. A check register acts as an answer sheet and students can complete the tasks in any order. A simple rubric makes grading super easy. 

Check Book Task Cards

More Consumer Math activities:
A while ago, a friend had sent me some information about a partnership between Donors Choose and PWC Earn Your Future. There is a way to earn $500 for every 2 modules of their free financial literacy curriculum 15 or more students complete. I'm not sure yet of the details (there were a few broken links), but I finally found the page that gave me access to the curriculum units. It looks awesome!  After entering my information, up popped A TON of FREE financial literacy printables and other things. Here is the link if you'd like to check it out: PWC Earn Your Future Curriculum modules

I also compiled a bunch of activities we use throughout the year in this Consumer Math bundle

Consumer Math activities bundle for teaching financial literacy


  1. I printed off the instructions and after doing everything I decided to change it to look more the actual check book register. When I did this I became confused on how to do the formulas so that everything turns out right. I would include a copy to show you what I did but I don't know how. Can you help me?

  2. Sure! I am obsessed with Excel formulas so I'm glad to help. Can you email me the sheet? I can fix it up for you and send it back:)

  3. how do i put it in an email? sorry it's been awhile since i have done anything like that.

  4. never mind I was able to share it with you by entering in your email address.

  5. You just changed employment and you're rolling over a $250,000 401k into an IRA. The commission based advisor may sell you a variable annuity in your IRA (which is a very poor planning tactic in most cases and for many reasons) and earn a 5% (or many times more) commission ($12,500) and get an ongoing, or "trailer" commission of 1% (plus or minus) equal to $2,500 per

    1. Is that how annuities work? I am confused by them. It all should be way more simple than it is.