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Practical Money Skills for Life: Understanding Your Take Home Pay

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Tech Product Equipment

Computer(s), Internet access

Activity Description

In this activity, students explore different payroll deductions, learn about annual tax returns, and analyze employer-sponsored savings programs.

Practical Money Skills for Life has a diverse range of resources; including free lesson plans, educational games for classroom use and profiles of inspiring educators; The site hopes to empower educators, enable student learning, and help provide people of all ages with the tools necessary for financial success.


  1. Review the Teacher’s Guide and Student Activities for Lesson 13: Understanding Your Take Home Pay.


  1. Introduce the lesson and activity.
  2. Hand out the student activity sheet Paystub Puzzles: Putting the Pieces Together and review the first example together as a class.
  3. Engage the class in a discussion about taxation.
  4. Using the activity sheet, discuss federal, state, Medicare and social security taxes.
  5. Introduce Challenge: Hunt for Savings activity.
  6. Split the class into groups of four or five.
  7. Ask each team to review the remaining paystubs on Paystub Puzzles: Putting the Pieces Together.
  8. Have students share their ideas and engage the class in a discussion about adjusting deductions to maximize savings.
  9. Have students write about the elements they will consider in the future.

Teacher Tips

The entire lesson takes about one hour.

More Ways

Be sure to check out the other lesson plans available

Select subjects and subcategories


  • Consumer Math

Social Studies

  • Economics
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.