Budgeting workshop at AGS

Budgeting Workshop at Aberdeen Grammar School

In November last year Preparing4Life ran a Budgeting Workshop at Aberdeen Grammar School for S6 pupils. The Budgeting Workshop is just one of a range of workshops we provide to teach life skills to young adults. Senior pupils had signed up for the training over a two week period, one hour each week. Normally the students would have been attending their timetabled social education classes, but opted-in to the workshop instead.

I thought this was an ideal opportunity to highlight some of the activities in the workshop and the students’ feedback.

Who doesn’t like finding out about themselves?

An important part of the workshop involved gauging attitudes to money using Money Habitudes. Each delegate used a pack of statement cards that they sorted according to how closely each card applied to them. After working through all the cards, they took the most appropriate pile and placed them into the different money habitudes shown on the back.

money habitudes cards

Most people have one or two predominant money habitudes, although all habitudes can be represented. No habitude is ‘bad’, just an aspect of your relationship with money and how you spend it. Each one is described with its individual pros and cons. There are also suggestions as to how you could change your habits to get more or less of each habitude. Interestingly, most students agreed with the final assessment determined by the cards. They enjoyed the game and it’s a fun way to start talking about money.

20 Button Salary Game


Young people are often unaware of the requisite outlay for day-to-day living. So, the 20 Button Salary Game gave them an idea of what’s required when living away from home. Based on the 20 Bean Salary Game, it involved deciding, in groups of four or five, what to spend their 20 buttons on. Each group had to allocate a number of designated buttons for each living expense on a board. There were certain categories that had to be purchased, although there was a sliding scale of cost for each one.

Many students were surprised at what was actually indispensable, or disagreed with each other over it. They regularly forgot that travel home during holidays required money. Groups also clashed on how much to spend on each category. Consequently, this activity encouraged lively dialogue and, perhaps, a taste of the negotiating skills needed when living with flatmates!

Types of Budgeting

Clearly, an essential aspect of the workshop is looking at different ways to monitor cash flow. Young people don’t tend to want to use pen and paper to budget. But it’s useful to let them try it, just so they know what’s involved.

It was clear from the exercise that the students would never choose this method to budget. Free budgeting apps are more their style, so I introduced a couple that I have found easy to use.

An interesting point to mention is that a lot of young people have no idea how much things like a night out can cost. A round of drinks can be extremely expensive, depending on the pub, causing a significant dent in a budget.

Bank Accounts

Free budgeting apps can often be linked to a bank account, making it easier to monitor total cash flow. Students, especially, should look for the best bank account available for them. Websites such as savethestudent.org and moneysavingexpert.com are excellent sources of reviews and suggestions. Although most of the students at Aberdeen Grammar already had bank accounts, they explored the financial advantages of changing providers.

Income and Deductions

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from young people is that they don’t understand tax and national insurance. Many young people have heard these terms, but have no real notion how they will affect them. So, in the workshop, we looked at earning money and what tax and national insurance would be paid on it. This allowed for conversation on the value of knowing your national insurance number and how to use credit appropriately.


There would be no point learning how to budget without talking about savings. A major focus of the workshop was to encourage automated regular savings and, of course, the lifetime ISA. As the lifetime ISA (or LISA) adds free money to your ISA every year between the ages of 18 and 40, it’s a no-brainer! Again, for some students, this was a revelation. Hopefully, one to investigate.

Post- Course Evaluation

From the completed evaluation forms, the majority of students found the budgeting apps and regular savings opportunities to be the most relevant. However, they also mentioned tax, national insurance and the use of credit. Surely this supports the requirement for such education in schools?

Some comments on the workshop….

Well presented and easy to understand!


Easy to understand.


It was good, and maybe done in S5.


Final Thoughts…

I’d like to thank the students of Aberdeen Grammar School who were great fun and contributed a great deal during the workshop. They learned a significant amount about managing their money, and boosted their budgeting skills. Financial know-how can only benefit these young people and prepare them better for the next stage of their lives.

Students at workshop