Spending Log


In this lesson, students keep a log of all their spending for a period of time (day/week/month) to help identify their spending habits and patterns.

How do you spend your money? Understanding your current spending patterns and habits will help you understand how to budget and better manage your money.

Distribute the attached worksheet to students.  Students should be instructed to keep track of their spending for one week. For each item or service they spend money on, they should write the day, time, description of the item or service purchased, dollar amount spent, and the reason they made the purchase. If privacy is a concern, then the item description may be changed to a category rather than a specific item or service.

After the week is over and students have completed the worksheet, have them analyze their spending log to identify trends and habits.

Need or Wants

For each item on the spending log, have the students decide if it is a need or a want. They may write “Need” or “Want” next to each line. Ask the question if each need is a true need or really a want? Can a want become a need?

Monthly activity

Alternately, do this activity for a month, rather than a week. Use separate log pages for each week. Students will have a better idea of their spending patterns if they use a month rather than a week.

Lesson extension

Have students ask a family member to also keep track of their spending using the spending log. Then have them compare their spending to their family member.


9-12, Young adults


  • Understand spending habits
  • Money values and attitudes
  • Personal finance


Students will:

  • Track their weekly spending.
  • Learn to understand their spending habits.
  • Identify ways to improve their spending decisions and behavior.
  • Identify sensible vs unwise spending


Varies. Out of class assignment. 1 week normal time required. 1 month optional. Longer time periods also possible.

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