Budgeting Lesson Plan for Special Education Students

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Budgeting is an important life skill that all students will need to develop. In this lesson, you'll help your special education students understand wants and needs and budget a grocery list based on their wants and needs.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain why it's important to budget
  • understand the differences between wants and needs
  • justify budgeting choices


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS 4.NBT.B.4

Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm

  • CCSS SL.4.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly


  • T-chart with columns labeled Wants and Needs
  • Bags with labeled photographs of the following (one bag for each group):
    • house
    • loaf of bread
    • water bottle
    • various vegetables
    • slice of cake
    • warm winter coat
    • make-up
    • jewelry
    • apartment building
    • shoes
    • plane tickets
    • cell phone
    • toys
    • pants
  • Bowl
  • Slips of paper with different amounts of money written: $15, $20, $25, $40, $50
  • Chart with prices of groceries including both healthy foods, desserts, and snacks (make sure this chart has both pictures and words)
  • Calculators, one per group


  • Begin by asking students what they know about budgeting. Define the term and come up with a definition with students to write on the board.
    • Why do you think it might be important to have a budget?
  • Explain to students that when people are budgeting, they often have to decide if something they want to buy is something they need or something they just want.

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