Needs and Wants Worksheet

These worksheets will help you learn (or teach) the concept of needs and wants.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of needs and wants, you should be. It’s a core principle of financial literacy.

Needs and wants help you balance your budget. They help you cut expenses without cutting out the things you need. And fortunately, the concept isn’t hard to understand — it just requires a little practice.

Our needs and wants worksheets will guide you through the process of distinguishing between essential and non-essential expenses — needs and wants. They’ll help you identify purchases that drain your wallet and find opportunities to increase your savings. And, for educators, our worksheets tailored specifically to younger learners will give you the resources you need to teach this critical skill to K-12 students.

Ready to get started? Pick the needs and wants worksheet that’s right for you and give it a try.

NEEDS AND WANTS BUDGET WORKSHEET

NEEDS AND WANTS HIGH SCHOOL WORKSHEET

NEEDS AND WANTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WORKSHEET

Needs and wants budget worksheet

Complete the needs and wants budget worksheet in the following steps:

1) Think back to the past month and categorize your major expenses. Add them to the worksheet as either ‘Needs’ or ‘Wants.’ Remember, to distinguish between needs and wants ask yourself this question: “Do I really need this?” Needs are essential expenses like food or housing. Wants are non-essential expenses like entertainment or eating out.

2) Look at each expense category and think about ways to cut costs. Do this for both needs and wants. (Even ‘need’ costs can be reduced. For instance, food is a need, but you can cut costs at the grocery store by staying away from name-brand products.) How much can you cut? Write down the new cost for each expense in the ‘Frugal Cost’ column.

3) Add up your need and want expenses. Write down the total for each in the “Totals” row.

4) Add up your frugal costs for needs and wants. Write down the total for each in the “Totals” row.

5) Reflect on how you spend your money. Do you spend more on needs or wants? How much could you save if you reduced wants? How much could you save if you looked for ways to reduce need expenses too? Use your insights to create a financially healthy budget.

Needs and wants budget worksheet

Needs and wants high school worksheet

The needs and wants high school worksheet allows students to practice identifying needs and wants. Read the scenarios and answer the questions.

Scenario 1

This is a big year for Jasmine — she recently started 9th grade. To celebrate, her parents are giving her a larger allowance of $30 each week.

Jasmine rides her bike to and from school, eats the lunch her dad packs for her (she secretly buys $5 pizza at lunch on Thursdays), and spends most of her free time with friends.

Jasmine’s crew regularly spends Saturday at the mall eating lunch at the food court and catching a movie afterwards. Lunch usually costs Jasmine $12 and the movie is $10 for students. At the end of each week, Jasmine is able to put at least $3 in her savings account.

While biking home from school one day, Jasmine realizes her bike is close to breaking. She needs a new bike to get to work after school and found one on Craigslist for $60. However, she only has $24 in her savings account and will need to buy a replacement bike in the next two weeks. She isn’t sure what she should do.

What are Jasmine’s needs?

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What are Jasmine’s wants?

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What decision would you make and why?

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Scenario 2

As quinceañera gifts, Maria received $900. Her parents said she has to put at least half of her money in a savings account, but the rest she can choose to spend however she wants.

Maria is a future planner and is already thinking about purchasing her own car after she passes her driver’s test in a year. Her parents have generously offered to help her find and purchase a reliable used car once the time comes. Maria still wants to be able to contribute some of her own savings towards half of the total cost of the car, which she estimates will be $3,000.

It’s also sophomore year and Maria has a lot of social activities planned with her cheerleader team. The group wants to do a multi-weekend dance camp that would cost about $275 per person. Plus, the team is debating about whether or not to purchase new uniforms this year for competitions. The school won’t pay for the entire cost, so that means that each cheerleader would have to contribute $120. Maria knows that extracurriculars look good on college applications and hopes that cheerleading, in addition to her good grades and community service, will help her get into her top choice.

Maria is torn about what to do.

What are Maria’s needs?

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What are Maria’s wants?

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What decision would you make and why?

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Scenario 3

Marcus and Chris are best friends who attend high school together. Marcus is a junior who frequently gives Chris, a sophomore, advice on school and finances — for better or worse.

Chris is nervous because he’s taking his first AP class, World History, and the midterm exam is coming up. A large part of his class grade will be determined by this test and he can’t afford to fail. His parents gave him $100 to spend on study aids or a tutor.

Marcus already took AP World History and passed the AP Exam with flying colors, scoring a 5. Marcus assures Chris that he’ll be fine and asks his friend to ditch studying this weekend to go camping. The camping trip would cost $56.

Chris looked online for additional study materials and found an official study guide for $40. An ‘A’ student in the class also offered to tutor him this weekend for $50.

Chris knows he needs all the help he can get, and that doing well in AP courses will help his class standing and look good on his college applications. But Marcus assures him the midterm is easy and the camping trip will be worth it. What should he do this weekend?

What are Chris’ needs?

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What are Chris’ wants?

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What decision would you make and why?

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Scenario 4

During summer break, Scott worked a minimum wage job at an ice cream shop. He made $2,700. After paying for his back-to-school items, he has $2,500 remaining at the start of his senior year.

Scott wants to attend his senior class overnight trip to a nearby amusement park, but his parents say that he has to use his summer earnings to pay for it. He estimates that he’ll spend a total of $650 for the all-inclusive trip.

Between then and now, Scott has a few other expenses coming up. He’d like to purchase airfare ($900) to visit out-of-state colleges before applying to school, a refurbished laptop ($600), and the newest video game console ($400).

What are Scott’s needs?

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What are Scott’s wants?

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What decision would you make and why?

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Scenario 5

Emma just finished her senior year and scored a local PR internship for the summer before college. The PR firm was impressed by her freelance work and has offered her a monthly stipend of $2,100 for three months.

She doesn’t normally have any expenses, but her parents are trying to instill smart financial practices. In addition to receiving a credit card for emergencies only, she’ll be expected to pay for her own transportation, cell phone bill, and contribute to an emergency fund. Her public transportation pass is $105 per month. Her monthly phone bill averages $35 for her share. And she has decided to save $525, or 25% of each stipend.

Her internship is in full swing, and Emma has her first $2,100 stipend. With $1,435 left to spend after paying her bills and contributing to her emergency fund, Emma budgets about 50% (or $718) of her remaining money for everyday expenses and entertainment.

A national one-day PR conference and networking event is coming up. Emma’s internship is offering her free admission, but she’ll have to pay for the train commute herself, which will total $100. Emma wants to make a good impression and decides she wants to buy a new dress ($180), blazer ($300), and heels ($129) for the occasion. She also wants to print business cards ($50), resumes ($20), and one professional portfolio ($70) to carry around. She doesn’t have enough money in her budget to cover all of the personal and professional expenses, so she considers either tapping into her emergency fund or using her credit card to cover the costs.

Emma knows this networking event will be a great place to make valuable connections. This is her time to shine, but she’s not sure how to make a lasting impression.

What are Emma’s needs?

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What are Emma’s wants?

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What decision would you make and why?

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Needs and wants elementary school worksheet

The needs and wants elementary school worksheet helps young learners understand the difference between needs and wants. It presents them with images of different items and asks them to identify them as either a need or a want.

Needs and wants elementary school worksheet

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