Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday or more commonly Fat Tuesday, is a carnival celebration associated with eating rich and fatty foods. This time of gluttony and celebration presents the perfect opportunity for students to reflect on spending and splurges in their own financial lives. Here’s some tips for students to celebrate on a budget and focus on financial responsibility after the parades have ended, beads have been thrown and one lucky partygoer has found the baby in the king cake.
Traditional Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans and around the country, with their intricate floats, gaudy outfits and rich, French and Cajun-style meals, have a large cost associated with them. But it is possible to celebrate with your students without breaking the bank. Your class can work together to build a budget for a parade that has all the traditional pieces, including floats, beads, cake and gumbo for as low a cost as possible. Break your class up into groups with one team tasked with budgeting out a low-cost float, one team brainstorming clothing and decorations, and one team budgeting a traditional meal. This can simply be a budgeting exercise, or if your classroom has the money saved, invite other students to join in and bring your budget Mardi Gras party to life!
Financially responsible spending and budgeting shouldn’t stop after just six weeks. Looking ahead, students can implement the lessons they learned during the post-Mardi Gras budgeting period into financial spring cleaning come March. By eliminating some items and focusing on needs rather than wants, students can stretch each dollar further into a financially fit future.
For more holiday-themed lesson plan ideas, check out the Pathway to Financial Success blog.