Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Thinking about Shopping and Spending

Thomas Lucey


By discussing the effects of advertisements, students learn to improve shopping and spending habits.


The student understands a variety of factors to consider when making wise consumer decisions (for example, cost, performance, reliability).


- Writing Utensils
- Paper for each student


Ensure there are enough writing supplies for the students.


1. Inform the student: People easily confuse shopping and spending. Shopping is the
seeking of goods and services on which to spend money. Spending is the actual exchange of money for goods and services. (Needs and Wants)
People need to shop and spend to satisfy their needs and wants. Unfortunately,
many spend more money than they need to because they do not plan their spending
or do not shop properly. When either of these events occurs, people use up their
money before they have acquired all their Needs and Wants. The effects of shopping
choices may be experienced now or later.

2. Have students write down five recent commercials that they have seen.

3. Instruct the students to disclose for each item advertised:

a. If they knew about the product before they saw the commercial
b. If they wanted the product before they saw the commerical
c. If they wanted the item after they saw the commecial
d. What aspect of the product made it appeal to them.

4. Instruct the class to break up into pairs and exchange the lists between partners. Each
partner should provide a response to each item including: How and why did the commercials change their understanding of the products. Why might they want the product after when they may not have before the commercial? What qualities does the product have?

5. Instruct the students to return the lists to each other. Together, the students should
determine a list of advantages and a list of disadvantages for each advertised item. Hold a class discussion about the advantages and disadvantages, and be specific about the basis for wise consumer decisions versus the aspects of the product that are addressed in advertising.

Note: This lesson also addresses the following Tennessee standards:
Social Studies
Curriculum Standards
Approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education
August 31, 2001

Content Standard: 2.0
Globalization of the economy, the explosion of population growth, technological changes and international competition compel students to understand both personally and globally production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Students will examine and analyze economic concepts such as basic needs versus wants, using versus saving money, and policy making versus decision making.

Learning Expectations:

2.4 Understand the interactions of individuals, businesses, and the government in a market economy.


The learner will write a composition discussing how they might counter the effects of exposure to commericals.

Assessment checklist:
---- Discusses planned spending versus spontaneous spending

---- Discusses what aspects of products/services commercials promote versus what aspects should be considered when making wise spending decisions.


Extension Activities:

Have the students write compositions on what the major purchases will be during their lives. (Be realistic: a car or a house would make sense) How are they going to “shop” for these items? Discuss the essays. How can the shopping principles for these items be applied to “regular,- “everyday” items?

Have the students each draw a picture of a person in obvious need of decent food and
clothing . How does this person spend/shop? If they had more money, could they change
their habits? Why or why not?

Have the students make a short list of school supplies they might need. Have them go to
the store and compare the prices of “regular” brands with those that might be
“Environmentally Friendly”. How do the prices compare? Do the products’ effectiveness
differ? (Read the labels carefully). How does this factor affect their decision of what and
whether or not to buy?

Have the class compare and contrast Spending and Giving through discussion and writing

Web Links

Web supplement for Thinking about Shopping and Spending

Web supplement for Thinking about Shopping and Spending
TIAA-CREF Institute

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