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Shopping in credit city


Students complete a shopping game to see how much money they would spend on four major purchases that require borrowing money.

Big idea

Borrowing money instead of paying cash for items can increase the total amount paid.

Essential questions

  • How can you plan ahead when you need or want to make a large purchase?

  • How can borrowing money to pay for items increase the total amount you spend?


  • Calculate the total cost of items using an oversimplified interest formula

  • Reflect on how borrowing affects the way you feel about purchases

What students will do

  • Roll a die to determine purchase price, interest rate, and length of loan needed to pay for four big-ticket items.

  • Analyze how purchases made with a credit card may result in increased total cost of ownership when compared with paying with cash.

  • Reflect on the experience of purchasing with cash versus credit.

Download activity

Teacher guide

Shopping in credit city (guide)

Student materials

Shopping in credit city (worksheet)

Note: Please remember to consider your students’ accommodations and special needs to ensure that all students are able to participate in a meaningful way.

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