Lesson 5: Bills and Assets, Renting vs. Owning
Primary, Roll Out Your Classroom Economy, Lesson 5
Full Lesson Plan

Access this lesson plans and all supporting materials. Duplicate the doc to edit (file > make a copy)

Full Google Doc Lesson Plan
Video: How to Assign Bills Bonuses and Infractions List Certificate of Title

Lesson 5: Bills and Assets, Renting vs. Owning

Learning Objective:

Students will be able to explain that living costs money and describe the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. owning a home.

Jump$tart Standard: Spending:

4-1c. Prioritize future spending, taking resource limitations into account.

8-1a. Identify personal goals for spending and saving.

SEL Competency: Responsible decision-making


  • Make sure your bills for your classrooms are up to date and assigned to your students. See video on how to mass assign bills.
  • Feel free to customize your classroom bills, and post a list of bills for your students to see. Access example here and at the end of this lesson.

Discuss Expenses (5 min)

Say: Turn and talk with your partner about bills or expenses you think your family pays on a monthly basis. (Examples: car payment, rent, phone bill, electricity, gas, water, trash, school loan, etc.) Make a list of as many as you can, and write down how much you think the average person might pay for those bills each month. (Write all of the ideas on the board or screen to share out.)

Say: As you can see, life isn’t cheap. In fact, sometimes our expenses exceed our income—and that can be a problem.

Now that you have a job and are making a wage—or income—you have to start paying for the expenses of living. In this class, you will be paying bills for ______________ (identify your classroom bills here. We recommend starting small, with just a few bills, and adding more as students get used to paying them)

Say: Take a moment and go into your Stash101 account. Look at the bills that are assigned to you and when they come due. (See example below from student Overview page.) 

One of your most important jobs is to make sure you have enough money in your checking account to pay for your bills before they are taken out, or withdrawn. If you don’t make sure you have enough, your account can become overdrawn, which means you won’t have any money to pay bills or buy things. Also, you may get a penalty or fee from the bank for overdrawing your account. (You can set an overdraft fee by clicking on the purple “Settings” button and then clicking on “Banking.”) 


Discuss Renting vs. Owning (5 min)

Ask: Does anyone know the difference between paying rent and owing money on a mortgage? 

Say: Renting is paying to live in a home that another person (or business) owns. Normally rent is paid on a monthly basis. 

Owing money on a mortgage is different. You still pay a monthly bill, but you eventually own the home that you have been putting money toward. This is also called an investment. 

Another option is buying a home outright. In this case, you pay a certain amount of money once, and then you own the home—but you still have to pay property taxes.

In this class, you will have the option to rent your desk or computer for $____per month (insert how much you want students to pay monthly, I recommend starting at  $800). Or when you have enough money, you can buy your desk or computer for a one-time rate of $____ (insert how much you want students to pay to buy their desk or computer, I recommend starting at $5,000). Turn and talk to your neighbors about the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. owning your desk or computer. Then share your ideas.

Say: If you do save $5,000 (or whichever amount you have selected) and end up buying your desk or computer, you will receive the title to your house (in this case, that’s your desk or computer) found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vf57TqrtDDd7tHTMrPGAztA55bNqguAro598I3D9JXE/edit

Also, your house will appreciate, which means since you own it, it will go up in value over time. Watch your investment grow!

  • If you want to add value to the concept of owning, consider allowing students who own their desks or computers to choose where they want to sit or one person they would like to sit by (as long as they can handle it well). Some teachers also host a monthly “lunch with the teacher” for desk owners, which students tend to see as a big deal). 
  • Some educators allow students to buy more than one desk and then rent their extra desk(s) out to other students. In effect, the student who owns the desks becomes the landlord and collects the other students’ rent through wire transfers or digital checks.