Exchange Rate

Consider the total costs and tradeoffs of our everyday spending decisions.



25 minutes


Money Mindset Steps


List everything you bought in the last three days. Maybe that includes coffee, lunch out, groceries, new household item, a game, a pair of jeans, or movie tickets.


Draw a simple icon to represent each purchase. For example, a ticket stub for each movie ticket. Write the cost for each item.


Pick two categories. For example, coffee and movie tickets. Now calculate the exchange rate — approximately how many coffees does it cost to buy 1 movie ticket? Draw the number of coffee icons it takes to buy 1 movie ticket.


Pick two more categories. For example, lunch out and a new kitchen appliance. How many lunches does it cost to buy your new kitchen appliance? Draw the number of lunch icons it takes to buy 1 kitchen appliance. (Use the coaching questions to facilitate more discussion.)


Coaching Questions:

  • What was the most surprising exchange rate you found? Why?
  • What is similar or different about your exchange rates and others in the room?
  • How does this experience change the way you think about spending money?

Helpful Hints:

  • This activity is to help us consider what purchases we might trade for other things we want.

  • It doesn’t mean you have to give up any of these things, just consider what is the most important to you.