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Life Store Training Toolkit

ICAN Financial Literacy Series: Life Store Training Toolkit

The Life Store Program is designed as an Interactive budgeting activity simulating life decisions such as housing, transportation and family finances based upon an assigned family status and career. Throughout the presentation students realize the financial impact of their choices while living within their means. The goal of Life Store is to provide students with a real-life scenario that promotes a realistic spending plan for financial independence. The following topics are covered during the presentation:

  • Goal Setting
  • Needs vs. Wants
  • Credit Cards
  • Credit Scores
  • Insurance
  • Student Loans
  • Investments
  • Identity Theft
  • Savings

Core Curriculum Satisfaction: The program covers 11 of the financial literacy components required by the Iowa Core Curriculum and 21st Century Skills, as described by the Iowa Department of Education.

It is designed for students in middle school and high school and can be adapted to age. With older students more in-depth conversations can be had about the decision-making process and the definitions and circumstances of choices.

The activity takes 45-60 minutes for the full simulation. To include in-depth conversation at the end of the activity, the best time frame is 60-90 minutes.

Instructions and Resource Downloads


The PowerPoint is designed for the activity in a classroom. The PowerPoint can be delivered by a single instructor or leader. Each slide leads the group through each decision, with moments for discussion and reflection on choices being made. The PowerPoint is NOT needed in an assembly version.

Blank Budget Worksheet

The Blank Budget Worksheet is for use with the family status and occupation cards. This worksheet is ideal in a 60-90 minute session and provides more interaction.

Pre-Filled Budget Worksheet Set

A set of 27 pre-filled worksheets is provided for sessions with less time. The worksheets are pre-filled with family status and occupations and can be handed out to students. With these worksheets you skip the use of the Family Status and Occupation Cards.

Activity Instructions/Introduction to Students

This sheet is for the leader of the activity and provides an introduction script and overview of the activity. It also provides questions to engage students after the activity. Questions should start conversations after the simulation is complete.

Table Instructions

Instructions for each table to be used in an assembly version. Each table represents a decision the student has to make. A representative for that decision (ie: banker, grocer etc) mans the table and talks to the student about the choices being made and the expenses incurred.

Family Status Cards

To be passed out randomly to students to assign a family status at the beginning of the activity. Only necessary when using the blank worksheet.

Occupation Cards - front
Occupation Cards - back

To be passed out randomly to students to assign a career status at the beginning of the activity. Only necessary when using the blank worksheet.

Fortune/Misfortune Cards

Classroom: Passed out randomly when the Fortune/Misfortune slide appears.
Assembly: Put in a random pile on the Fortune/Misfortune table.

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