At the Supermarket


1. To facilitate an understanding of the costs associated with food

2. To encourage students to devise practical money-saving techniques

Subject Area

English Language Arts (K-12), Math (4-5, 7), Social Studies (7), Physical Education (K, 2, 4, 6), Science (2, 5), Foods and Nutrition (5-8)


Introduce money management as it pertains to the supermarket with the following discussion points:

  • Who is responsible for the food budget in the family?
  • Do you pack your own lunch? If not, who does? Or do you get money for lunch?
  • How much do you think it would cost to buy groceries for yourself for a day? How about a week?
  • What is the difference between shopping at a convenience store and a grocery store?
  • What are some different ways that you could save money when grocery shopping or buying lunch? (Buying the store brand, buying in bulk, using coupons, etc.)
  • Is there a significant difference between the cost of a "homemade lunch" and a "cafeteria bought" lunch? Why?


Lunch in a $5 Cash Crunch

Length: 30–45 minutes
Materials: Lunch in a $5 Cash Crunch Handout, supermarket flyers and coupons

  • In this activity, students will need to come up with a clever $5 (or less) lunch idea. On their own or in pairs, have students brainstorm ideas on how to make or buy a lunch for $5. Students will need to read and fill out the information on the Lunch in a $5 Cash Crunch Handout. They will need to name their lunch, describe it in an appetizing way and provide a description of each item in the lunch and the cost associated with it.
  • Once complete, amalgamate the $5 lunch ideas into a booklet for distribution. Decide collectively on a booklet title (i.e. "Five-dollar Dining").

Ask students to think about what they brought/bought for lunch that day. With the help of a parent or through online research, ask the student to estimate the following:

  • How much did this lunch cost?
  • How might this cost be improved upon for the next day's lunch?
  • Assuming this lunch cost more than $5, subtract $5 from the cost of this lunch to determine what the savings might have been. What would these savings amount to over the course of a week? A month? A year?

Collaborative Feedback

  • Discuss how each student's/group's $5 lunch ideas might be improved. Are there any recurring savings tips that arise?
  • Compare the results of the Extension exercise and discuss why the costs are as they are.

Teacher Tips

  • Reward the most creative/nutritional/inexpensive lunch with a $5 cafeteria voucher.
  • Arrange for the foods and nutrition teacher to come in and speak about cost-saving meal ideas.
  • Bring a teacher lunch as an example for discussion.

Pre- and Post-Assessment of Lesson

  • How can managing your money wisely affect your spending decisions?
  • How did managing your money wisely affect your spending decisions?