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2 days
Shopping Savvy

What should shoppers know before

they spend their hard earned money?

Overview Materials
• Copies of Preview: Creating a
Students work in small groups to prepare for a news Black Friday Shopping List.
conference as if they worked for a smart shopper One for each student
advocacy campaign prior to “Black Friday.”
• Copies or Electronic access to a
Black Friday doorbuster ad:
Preview Students create a shopping list of things they Suggested site:
would buy if given the chance to attend one of the
. Access or copies for each
doorbuster sales for Black Friday. student.

• Copies of Student Handout 1:

Activity In a Problem Solving Groupwork activity,
Preparing for News Conference.
students prepare for a news conference where they are One for each student
pretending to be an advocacy group for consumers.
• Access to internet for groups to
Groups gather research and share their report to prepare
work on.
shoppers for Black Friday shopping.

Processing Students complete Econ Alive! Applying

Economics: Comparison Shopping, p. 31

In the course of this lesson and participating in the
classroom activity, students will
• comparison shop.
• determine what steps they should take to be smart credit
card users.
• evaluate the importance of getting good shopping
advice before entering the marketplace.

Key Vocabulary
Comparison shopping, black Friday, needs & wants,
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Suggested time: 15 minutes

1. Greet students at the door. Distribute a copy of

Preview: Creating a Black Friday Shopping List to
students as they enter the room.

2. Give students time to create shopping list. Explain

to students they should prepare a shopping list.
Remind them that they have $300 in cash and a credit
limit of $500 on a credit card. Their total for the
shopping spree can not exceed $800. Students can do
their research on the website Preview where consumers can
click on Black Friday ads by numerous retail stores.
(Note: Keep a running clock up for students to see so
that this activity doesn’t take too long.)

3. Debrief the shopping list. Ask the students a series

of questions and the Essential Question (last one) to
debrief the experience of creating their list.
• What were hot items?
• What stores had great deals? Why?
• How did you go about deciding on which items to
• How did you decide which items you spent with
cash vs. credit?
• Essential Question: What should shoppers know
before they spend their hard-earned money?

Problem-Solving Groupwork
Suggested time: 90 minutes

1. Place students into groups. Group students

heterogeneously into fours.

2. Distribute handouts. Give each student a copy of

Student Handout 1: Preparing for a News

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3. Explain premise of activity. Go over the directions

on Student Handout 1. Make sure groups understand
that their responsibility is to prepare consumers to be
smart consumers in the market place as well as credit
card users.

4. Allow groups time to complete project. Groups

should first assign roles and then check in with you as
they complete the steps necessary in preparing for the
news conference.
• Make sure groups understand they should be
able to present as a group for a minimum of Student Handout 1
five minutes but no more than seven.
• Encourage groups to be creative on how they
put together the resources they would share at
their news conference: brochures, media, etc.
Going Digital
5. Allow groups to present their findings. Set up the There are a number of web
class for a news conference setting. Allow each tools students could use to help
group space and access to media tools (TV or Screen) create resources for their
to present in front of their peers. Challenge the presentation. For example, a
audience to ask questions when complete, especially group might use to create a
where the group was able to find their resources. 30 second intro that highlights
Award bonus points based on good what their group will discuss.

Suggested In-Class Time: 10 minutes; complete for

1. Have students complete Comparison Shopping

process. Distribute copies of Econ Alive! Applying
Economics: Comparison Shopping (p.31). Go over
directions with students.

© Teachers’ Curriculum Institute

Comparison Shopping

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Preview: Creating a Black Friday Shopping List

You are planning on going out in the super-
early morning of Black Friday to go
shopping. You have $300 in cash that
you’ve saved from work and odd jobs. You
also have a credit card with a credit limit of
$500 at 19% APR. What would you buy?
Where? Would you use cash or credit?
Complete this matrix to answer these items.

Use this website to peruse Black Friday


Remember that you may NOT spend more than

you have but you also do Not have to spend
all you have. Make sure you total the last
column when complete.

Item? Store? Cash or Amount?


Total Cash Total Credit

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Student Handout 1: Preparing for a News Conference

Your group represents a consumer advocacy agency that wants to help consumers
prepare for the coming shopping season. You will prepare for a news conference
where your agency shares research and resources that you believe will help

Steps at a Glance: Teacher initials Completion

1. Assign group roles ___
2. Conduct research ___
3. Create resources ___
4. Rehearse presentation ___
5. Present to peers ___

Detailed Steps
1. Assign Group Roles: Each person is responsible for one role in getting their group
ready to present to the class. Put your initials by your role.

___ Spokesperson Responsible for being the agency spokesperson to the

media. This person will work with the writer, producer,
and researcher to pass along important information for
consumers in a dynamic way.
___ Researcher Responsible for finding information and tools that will
allow the group to assist consumers in being savvy
shoppers. This person will assist the writer and producer
in getting the information in a shareable format.
___ Writer Responsible for writing the script that the Spokesperson
will deliver to the media. The writer will work with the
researcher and producer to make sure they incorporate the
important information and tools needed for a consumer to
be a savvy shopper.
___ Producer Responsible for working with the writer and researcher to
pull together resources needed to help consumers be a
savvy shopper. The producer will direct the layout and
delivery of the resources at the news conference.

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Student Handout 1: Preparing for a News Conference

2. Conduct research. The researcher will lead the group as they read the handouts on
Comparison Shopping (p. 30) and Being a Savvy Credit Card User (p.62).

The researcher should also direct the other group members to seek out other
resources that might be helpful via the web or print. Some suggested starting points
would be:

3. Create Resources. The producer will lead the group as they work to create
resources that can be shared with consumers to help them be savvy shoppers. The
group must have BOTH a print resource, such as a brochure that would be
distributed to consumers AND a digital resource such as a wiki or blog post that
could be shared via social media. Both resources must be the work of this group
and not just simply copied from another person’s work. The writer should work
closely with the producer to make sure that the wording in both formats is
something that is easy to read and understandable.

4. Rehearse Presentation. The producer and writer should help the spokesperson get
ready to present this information to the media (the rest of the class). Practice so
that the spokesperson can speak to the importance of comparison shopping and
credit card use, as well as showcase your group’s tools for consumers. Prepare a
fictional name for your consumer advocacy agency and a logo that will appear at
the news conference.

5. Present to Peers. The rest of your class will act as they are the media while your
agency spokesperson delivers the content of your news conference. Your
spokesperson should introduce the name of your agency along with the group
members in their roles prior to sharing what they have come up with. Each
member of the group will appear with the spokesperson and be available to the
media should they ask questions at the end.

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Section Two

Comparison Shopping
Comparison shopping is a process in which you iden- 2 Research the item. Read reviews of products that
tify what you want to buy and then choose the best might meet your requirements on the Internet.
product and place to buy it. You do this by research- Reviews and surveys also can be found in consumer
ing as much as you can about the item you want to publications and in trade magazines. Also talk to
buy, including features, brands, and vendors. people you know who own specific products, and
ask about their satisfaction with them.
Why comparison shop? 3 Contact stores. Go to several stores and check
Comparison shopping can help you determine the
out the various products. Ask sales staff about the
best product for your needs at the best price. Com-
features that will fit your needs and the brands they
parison shopping also ensures that you do not make
recommend. Think ahead about what questions
impulse buys.
you would like to ask. You might want to write
down your questions and note the information you
How do you comparison shop? receive.
Use these tips and the shopping guide on the next
page to learn more about comparison shopping. 4 Search for savings. Research prices in stores and
on the Internet. Watch newspapers and search the
1 Identify your needs. What will you use the item
Internet for sales, rebates, and coupons. Ask stores
for? For instance, if you are buying a laptop, will it
about student discounts. When comparing the
be for basic word processing only? Or might you
cost of an online item versus one purchased from a
use it for making and sharing videos or designing
store, include the cost of tax and shipping in your
graphics? To start, identify your price range and the
calculations if they will be charged.
necessary features—the criteria on which you will
base your decision. For instance, if you are pur-
chasing a laptop, some features to consider might
be adequate processing power, memory, hard disk
space, and battery life.

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Managing Your Money

Comparison Shopping
Use this guide to comparison shop for an item you want to buy.

Step 1 Choose an item that you are interested in purchasing in the future such as a computer, MP3
player, type of sports equipment, or car.

Step 2 Answer these questions about the item on a separate sheet of paper. Conduct research using
consumer reports, catalogs, trade magazines, or the Internet if you need more information.
• What will you use this item for? Be as specific as possible.
• What is your price range?
• List three features of this item that are most important to you (such as speed, size, and specific func-
tions). Add them to the matrix below.
• List at least three questions you have about the item and about the various brands and models available.

Step 3 Go to a store that carries many versions of the item. Try to visit a specialty store, where salespeople
tend to be more well-informed about the items they carry. Choose at least four products that might meet
your needs, and ask a sales representative the questions you listed above and any others you may have.

Step 4 Copy and complete the matrix on a separate sheet.

Feature 1: Feature 2: Feature 3:

Price ____________ ____________ ____________ Pros and Cons

Product 1
(brand and

Product 2
(brand and

Product 3
(brand and

Product 4
(brand and

Step 5 Narrow your choice to two products. Then research the products online, in Consumer Reports, or
by talking to people you know who own the item. Add any information about the products to the matrix.

Step 6 Determine which item best meets your needs, and explain why.

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Section Four

Being a Savvy Credit Card User

You do not always have to have the cash in hand or really add up. People who end up over their heads
even in your bank account to buy what you want. You in debt often got there because they did not pay off
can often buy on credit, which means another institu- their credit card balances or keep them low.
tion pays on your behalf, with the agreement that you
3 Pay bills on time. Pay your credit card bills by the
will pay eventually, possibly with interest. When you
due date. If you are late on a payment, you will be
use a credit card, you agree to repay the credit card
charged a late fee, your interest rate may increase,
company the original amount of your purchase—plus
and your credit can be damaged. Pay your bill as
interest, if you take more than about a month to pay.
soon as possible after you realize you are late, as ev-
With a credit card, the temptation to purchase items ery day counts. If you cannot pay on time, contact
you cannot pay for is high. Being a savvy credit card the credit card company before you miss a payment
user means knowing how to use a credit card respon- to make arrangements for another payment date.
sibly and understanding the effect that credit card use Ask the creditor if your late fee can be waived.
can have on your credit report. A credit report is like a
4 Pay more than the minimum due. Making only the
report card informing lenders about your debt history.
minimum credit card payment required increases
the amount of time you will be paying off your
Why be a savvy credit card user? purchases. As the interest adds up, you will end up
Good credit can help you buy “big ticket” items, like
paying a lot more. For example, if you made a $200
a home or car, and increase your chances of getting
purchase and then made only the minimum $10
lower interest rates on loans and better deals on car
monthly payments, it would take you 2 years plus
insurance. Accumulating credit card debt can create
$40 in interest to pay for the purchase. If you cannot
financial and emotional turmoil. Problems with your
pay off your balance in full, pay as much as you can
credit history can make it difficult to get a car loan,
beyond the minimum payment each month.
rent an apartment, or even get a cell phone service plan.
5 Avoid taking cash advances. Cash advances start
How can you be a savvy credit card user? incurring interest as soon as you take out the money,
Credit cards come in handy at critical times and, if and the interest rate can be higher than the rate for
used wisely, can help you build a credit history. Use purchases. You will likely also be charged a cash
these tips and the activity on the next page to become advance fee.
a savvy credit card user. 6 Review your monthly statements. Check your
1 Spend only what you can afford. Keep track of monthly bill for any errors. If fees or transactions
what you spend. Use your card only when you know are incorrect, contact the creditor immediately and
you can pay for the purchase within the next month. ask that the issues be corrected.

2 Pay off your balance or keep it low. Credit card 7 Monitor your credit reports. You can receive free
companies make their money when you do not pay reports from the three main credit bureaus every
the full amount you owe. The amount you do not 12 months. You can do this online. Check your
pay off is called your balance. Credit card companies reports for errors and dispute any incorrect infor-
typically charge you 10% to 20% of the balance, mation. Also check for evidence of credit card
called interest, every single month. If you do not accounts that you did not establish to make sure
pay off your balance right away, that interest can you have not been a victim of identify theft.

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Using Credit and Borrowing

Using a Credit Card Responsibly

In college, Jasmine used credit cards to purchase things she could not really afford. She planned to make the
minimum payments throughout college and pay the balances off once she graduated and got a job. How-
ever, once the introductory interest rates ended, she found herself paying nearly 20% interest on each card.
Soon she was late on her payments. After graduation, other expenses—like rent, groceries, and utilities—
competed for her money. When she requested a copy of her credit report, this is some of what she saw.

Open accounts: Lists any Date opened: Lists the date you opened the account. The longer you
accounts you currently have. have had an account in good standing, the better your credit record.


WESTERNLAND BANK 10/09 02/05 $5000 $4797 $0 0 0 0 AS AGREED

M’S STORE 10/09 05/05 $500 $158 $0 2 1 0 AS AGREED

EASTERNLAND BANK 10/09 06/08 $4000 $1015 $98 0 0 0 AS AGREED

Credit limit: Shows Balance: Displays your Past due 30/60/90+: Lists the amounts, if
how much credit you balance on the date of the any, you are currently late in paying. The
have been extended. credit report. Keep your “30,” “60,” and “90+” columns list the num-
Try to keep your bal- balance as low as possible by ber of times you were that many days late. To
ance to no more than always paying more than the establish a good credit rating, it is extremely
25% of your limit. minimum due. important that you have no late payments.


CREDIT EXPRESS 10/08 09/05 $5000 $3306 $3306 – – – COLLECTION

Derogatory accounts: Lists any accounts that Status: Shows how the account was closed. In
were closed (in the last 7 to 10 years) because you this instance, it was sent to collection, meaning
did not pay your bills. Having anything in this the company could not get payment from Jas-
section will limit your ability to get new credit. mine so they sold the debt to a collection agency.

Now answer these questions.

1. Based on Jasmine’s credit report, which of the tips did she follow pretty well? Which of the tips did she
not follow very well? Give evidence for your answers.
2. What might be some of the consequences for Jasmine of her credit report?
3. What are three or four things you can do to build good credit?

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