Food is one of those costs that high school students take for granted until they actually have to pay for it themselves. They may get by with a meal plan for a few years in college..but they may also tire of it quickly and decide after their freshman year to go it alone when it comes to their calories. I like this activity (Research: Your Monthly Food Budget) for a few reasons: it encourages students to envision their future selves, it leads to conversations with parents/guardians about money matters and it develops basic budgeting skills.
The activity begins by asking students to think about their future selves and how they plan to feed themselves (cook vs. go out). Questions include their cooking experience, dietary requirements and whether they consider themselves bargain shoppers. Next, the students get to choose a strategy to calculate the cost of their weekly grocery bill. These choices include reviewing their family’s grocery receipts or creating an actual meal plan for the week and then determining what those items would cost at a local grocery story (or online grocer).
Now that groceries are taken care of, the next step is to determine the frequency and cost of dining out. Add that to their grocery cost and voila, you have a monthly food budget. The activity ends by having students reflect on whether they believe this amount is a reasonable figure.