Creating a Household Budget

Sara Baldwin, South Seattle Community College
This material was originally developed by Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.


In this Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum PowerPoint module, students create a household budget by tracking and tallying their expenditures over a month-long period. They compare their results to an individual living in the Seattle/Tacoma area, as well as a local average. Students use Microsoft Excel to create a spreadsheet to track their own expenditures, and use pie charts to compare their data to that of others.

The module was prepared for an English as a Second Language class to promote conversation about a numbers-laden subject of wide practical interest to the students in the class.

Learning Goals

The goal of this module is to show students how to record and track their budget; use Microsoft Excel to tabulate sums, averages, and percentages, as well as graph results; and to use graphical representation to interpret any differences in budgets.

Context for Use

This module can be used as an exercise accompanying a lecture for classes in adult ESL and ABE. This module may be used as a stand-alone exercise or with a unit about household budgets.

Description and Teaching Materials

PowerPoint SSAC2005.HG179.SB1.1-student version (PowerPoint 138kB Apr18 07)

The module is a PowerPoint presentation with embedded spreadsheets.

If the embedded spreadsheets are not visible, save the PowerPoint file to disk and open it from there.

This PowerPoint file is the student version of the module. An instructor version is available by request. The instructor version includes the completed spreadsheet. Send your request to Len Vacher ( by filling out and submitting the Instructor Module Request Form.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This module will require some advance planning in order to integrate it into the curriculum as an exercise, due to the need for students to record a month-long record of expenditures. Instructors are encouraged to adapt this module to fit their needs. Students might be given a small notebook in which to record what they've spent and some time should be devoted in class to making sure students know what and how to record what they've spent.


An end-of-module assessment is provided at the end of this module. Students will discuss the answers to these questions as a group, and submit individual answers to two questions of their choice. Alternatively, instructors may adapt this assessment to fit their needs.

References and Resources