Five Thousand Dollars!

9, 10, 11, 12

Students explore the benefits and costs of credit and using a credit card. They role-play a shopping trip and come up with arguments for and against buying something they want but do not need. They examine how their personal choices affect other people. The group will explore the following question: As consumers, how might the choices we make affect global poverty?

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learners will:

  • explore how credit is can be both helpful and hazardous to individuals and communities depending on how it is used.
  • role-play a shopping experience involving impulse spending.
  • define impulse spending and buyer's remorse.
  • common good: working together with other members for the greater benefit of all; promotes the welfare of the community 
  • credit: the opportunity to borrow money or receive goods or services in return for a promise to pay someone else or a company back at a later time
  • debt: the state of owing something
  • interest: a sum paid or charged for the use of money or borrowing money
  • economy: the management of resources of a community, or the prosperity or earnings of that place.
  • bankruptcy: the state at which an individual, nation, or organization is without any available financial resources or access to credit
  • impulse buy: to purchase something without reflecting on costs and benefits
  • buyer's remorse: a feeling of regret after a purchase
  • budget: a summary of expenses and income and a plan to balance the two effectively
  • delayed gratification: the ability to wait for something one wants until a more opportune time
  • consumer: someone who buys or acquires goods and serices for his or her own personal needs


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell students to imagine that they have signed up for a credit card with a credit approval of $5,000. Ask: How would you use the credit card? Why? Allow a few minutes for sharing ideas.

  2. Today’s role-playing activity generates creative thinking about impulse buying and saving for important purchases. The students should think of diverse arguments for and against purchasing non-necessary items. Move students into teams of three.Each team will role-play a shopping trip. First they choose roles (buyer, pro-purchase, and anti-purchase) and what they want to buy. One of the young people assumes the role of a teen who has found an item at the store he or she wants to buy that is too expensive for his or her budget. One student shares the benefits of purchasing the item on credit.The other student shares the benefits of not spending that money (or using a credit card). The skit should end with the buyer making a choice about the purchase (and the effect of the decision).

  3. Give the teams 8-10 minutes to plan a two-minute skit. The teams should briefly explain what item they want to purchase and the roles of the participants. Then, in turn, each group performs its skit for the whole group.

  4. After the performances, define and discuss the terms “impulse buying,” “buyer’s remorse,” “budget,” and “delayed gratification.” Ask students to give specific examples of each concept either from a skit or from life experience.