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Major Expenses

Division III: Gr. 7-9

Phones, Video Games, and Extra-Curricular

Youth are often consumers – and often influence many spending decisions by parents. Therefore, they become targets for advertisers, influencers, and others who seek to impact what youth wish for or aim to acquire. Youth should learn about the costs associated with such products as smartphones, video games, and extra-curricular activities such as sports, dance, art, etc. Youth should know the cost, how costs can vary, why it may be challenging to afford the costs, and how costs can quickly add up through features and options that are presented with such products. Youth should be provided with guidance on how to access and use such products and how to control cost and not face surprise costs – or impose them on parents or guardians.

Please Note: Teaching Units provided are for support and consideration by teachers and are not prescriptive.

Learning Map and Supports for Instruction

The “Learning Map” identifies teaching opportunities in Alberta’s curriculum for each topic and you will find them as part of the Support Teaching Materials provided here. Teachers can, of course, integrate the target areas of financial knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours anywhere they can find a fit. The Supports for Instruction provide videos, animations, and links to other resources to support teachers in their efforts to improve the financial literacy of their students.



  • Identify the more expensive items about which youth often have to make decisions – or for which they often influence decisions of parents – e.g., smartphones, video games, sports, etc.
  • Understand the influence peer pressure can have on financial decisions and how to deal with peer pressure
  • Identify all the various costs that can be involved in acquiring and using a phone or smartphone and how cost varies by amount of use
  • Identify a number of popular video games used by youth and compare the costs that youth, or parents/guardians, can face – not just in acquiring the game but that can arise over the course of play and the features and add-ons offered
  • Select one or more extra-curricular activities of interest (e.g., a sport, dance, choir, art, etc.) and identify all the costs associated with participating in that activity
  • Recognize the various factors that can try to influence youth to make certain purchases
  • Identify techniques used to try and increase the quality, level of use (e.g., of a phone, video game, etc.) and to try and increase the expense (e.g., free video games that then offer gaming enhancements, various advertising techniques, celebrity endorsements, etc.)


  • Apply a decision-making model (series of steps) focusing on a major money decision youth often face
  • Compare the phone related costs of two or more phone providers and how the level of use can impact cost and how costs can compare
  • Consider the opportunity cost and trade-offs before making a major purchase
  • Research options to be able to make an informed decision
  • Secure warranties and guarantees or major purchases whenever they can
  • Comparison shop for all significant purchases realizing advantages from competition


  • Think about and appreciate the costs incurred by parents to support various youth extra-curricular activities (e.g., hockey, soccer, swimming, dance, art classes, musical instrument instruction, etc.)
  • Compare options before making significant purchases
  • Consider their goals, values, and personal priorities before making a significant final decision
  • Consider the factors that may be influencing their purchase decision before they make it
  • Take advantage of sales
  • Keep all receipts for major purchases