Great, you’re here! I’m Grace and I want you to help me to SIT.

No, not like sit down…As in Save money, Invest money and consider money as Time—SIT.

I need you to help me to:

  • save money by finding ways to minimise some household expenses

  • invest the savings wisely by exploring types of accounts and interest rates

  • look at the value of money in terms of time, including by working out how many hours of work the savings are worth.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t told you how this came about.

Follow my conversation with dad. View Transcript of conversation.

Saving money


Here’s the first challenge I need your help with:

  • save money by finding ways to reduce some household expenses.

I want you to find ways to reduce water and electricity expenses around my home:

  1. Read Why water and electricity? to learn why these are good areas for savings.

  2. Pass the Smart choice quiz to get the access code you will need to look for savings around my house. Alternative: Smart choice quiz (.pdf 133kB)

  3. Got the access code? Then let’s find the Sustainable savings. Alternative: Sustainable savings

Complete the Monthly savings chart about the money I will get from the savings. Alternative: Savings chart (.pdf 94kB)

Investing money

Georgia's text: Stash it in your sock drawer (ha, ha) or invest ti and save up to move into our share house. I'd spend it on clothes, year!

Now for your help with the second challenge:

  • do something smart with the money I get each month.

It’s been 3 months and I’ve bought my smartphone (yes!) and there is still some money left over. Best yet, Dad will continue to give me the money savings each month!

Dad said I must do something ‘smart’ with the money. My friend Georgia gave me 3 ideas. Select the smart choice:

  • Spend it on new clothes until I can join Georgia’s share house.

  • Stash it under the bed until I can join Georgia’s share house.

  • Invest it and earn interest until I can join Georgia’s share house.

If you’ve made the smart choice, find the best account for my money.

Try the quiz Totally in your interest. Alternative: Totally in your interest (.pdf 112kB)

Time is money!

Position vacant: Sports assistant. No previous experience required. Must be energetic and enthusiastic! $22.50 per hour, 40 hours per week

And finally, the last challenge:

  • consider the value of money in terms of time.

You worked out my savings over 5 years using the MoneySmart compound interest calculator. How long would I have to work at this sports assistant job to earn that much?

  1. Convert wages from hourly to weekly, monthly and annual amounts. Alternative: Convert wages (.pdf 146kB)

  2. Learn about the gross, tax and net of salaries.

  3. Calculate the annual net income for the sports assistant job.

  4. Use the spreadsheet Money into time (.xls 34kB) to work out the hours you’d have to work to earn the same amount as my savings after 5 years.

Between working and saving, it won’t take long to join Georgia’s share house.


In working through this resource, you have:

  • developed an understanding of how our choices can affect our financial situation and also the environment

  • learnt about money saving ideas around the home

  • discovered some information about real-life compound interest savings accounts

  • learnt how to use online calculators to work out financial situations

  • linked money and time by working out how long it takes to earn the money we spend.

In summary, you have learnt how to save money, and learnt the value of money in terms of our time. Remember, the decisions you make may not be right for everyone.

  • What factors influence the financial decisions people make?

  • Why might some of the decisions made here by you not be right for everyone?

  • How do your individual decisions affect others in your family, community and the world?

Teaching notes

The information below supports the implementation of Money matters, a resource for Mathematics Year 10.


Money Matters is a problem-based investigation that challenges students to apply mathematical concepts to solve a real-life issue. Using a hypothetical scenario students investigate how households can make sustainable choices to minimise household expenses and invest savings to earn more money. The learning object presents students with authentic learning opportunities related to the concepts of compound interest, taxation, and earning money.

The resource can be completed as a whole class, in small groups or individually with teacher direction, and as an independent homework task. It can be tailored to suit individual class needs and abilities with some students requiring more teacher support.

Display the Outcomes tab to read how this resource links to the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework and to the Australian Curriculum.

Display the Activities tab to read a description of each section in the resource, suggestions for class or group discussions and important points to bring to students’ attention in order to support their learning and make the context more authentic and relevant.


Note: the student learnings in the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework (.pdf 6.9MB) are divided into, and are applicable over, bands covering two chronological years. The Year 10 band covers both Years 9 and 10

Year 10

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify and explain strategies to manage personal finances

  • Explain the various factors that may impact on achieving financial goals


  • Analyse relevant information to make informed choices when purchasing goods and services and/or to resolve consumer choices

  • Compare overall value of a range of goods and services using IT tools and comparison websites as appropriate

Responsibility and enterprise

  • Apply informed and assertive consumer decision-making in a range of ‘real-life’ contexts

  • Apply consumer and financial knowledge and skills in relevant class and/or school activities such as student investigations

  • Appreciate that there is often no one right answer in making financial decisions because these depend on individual circumstances, preferences and values

Number and Algebra: Money and financial mathematics

  • ACMNA229 – Connect the compound interest formula to repeated applications of simple interest using appropriate digital technologies

    • Students investigate compound interest accounts and use compound interest calculators to evaluate investments.

Statistics and Probability: Data representation and interpretation

  • ACMSP252 – Investigate and describe bivariate numerical data where the independent variable is time

    • Students engage with savings over a period of time and discover that as the time increases, the rate their money grows increases.

This unit of work contributes to the bolded sections in the following aspects of the Achievement Standard in Mathematics for Year 10.

By the end of Year 10, students recognise the connection between simple and compound interest. They solve problems involving linear equations and inequalities. They make the connections between algebraic and graphical representations of relations. Students solve surface area and volume problems relating to composite solids. They recognise the relationships between parallel and perpendicular lines. Students apply deductive reasoning to proofs and numerical exercises involving plane shapes. They compare data sets by referring to the shapes of the various data displays. They describe bivariate data where the independent variable is time. Students describe statistical relationships between two continuous variables. They evaluate statistical reports.

Students expand binomial expressions and factorise monic quadratic expressions. They find unknown values after substitution into formulas. They perform the four operations with simple algebraic fractions. Students solve simple quadratic equations and pairs of simultaneous equations. They use triangle and angle properties to prove congruence and similarity. Students use trigonometry to calculate unknown angles in right-angled triangles. Students list outcomes for multi-step chance experiments and assign probabilities for these experiments. They calculate quartiles and inter-quartile ranges.

Literacy – Students learn vocabulary to do with financial literacy. They explore and understand financial texts, engage with financial data to extract meaning and use literacy to explain and discuss this meaning.

Numeracy – As students learn to become financially literate they are developing their numeracy skills and deepening their understanding of the numeracy as it applies to finance.

ICT – Students learn to use ICT to investigate and inform decision-making in a financial context. They engage with multimodal technology to collect and analyse information. They engage with spreadsheets as a tool to calculate and promote understanding of key concepts.

Critical and creative thinking – Students are challenged to question choices and engage in investigations to clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities and consider alternatives in a financial and sustainable context. They are encouraged to look at alternative ways to be smart consumers and financially responsible citizens.

Personal and social capability – By becoming financially literate students are adding to their personal and social capability. They engage with activities that relate to learning about their own lives to do with budgeting and financial management.

Ethical understanding – As students investigate financial concepts, they are continually being asked to analyse materials in an ethical way by finding appropriate comparisons, evaluate general statements and interrogate financial claims and sources.

Intercultural understanding – As students investigate their own financial decisions they are encouraged to understand how difference in cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds can affect the financial decisions of others, broadening their awareness and understanding of issues related to living with diversity.

Sustainability – Sustainability provides a rich, engaging and authentic context in which students can explore the concepts involved with financial literacy. They are opened to the idea that sustainability and financial responsibility are often very closely related both for individuals and society in general.


The headings below relate to the sections within this resource. Expand each one to read a description of the section content, along with suggestions for class or group discussions and important points to bring to students’ attention in order to support their learning and make the context more authentic and relevant. At various points in this resource, students need to record their calculations for use in later activities. Students can write the information on paper or save it digitally on a computer or device.

The suggested marking rubric (.pdf 105kB) addresses student assessment relating to the Australian Curriculum Content Descriptions—Mathematics Year 10.

Students are introduced to the scenario at the centre of this resource and the related learning content. Grace asks her father for money to buy a smartphone. When he refuses, Grace suggests that if she makes some changes around the house to reduce household expenses he could give her the savings each month. Dad agrees on condition that Grace continues with the plan after buying the smartphone and does something smart with the additional money. Students will assist Grace to find ways to reduce household expenses and save, explore bank accounts and interest rates to see how the savings can grow, and consider money in terms of time.

After finding out about the scenario and before moving to the next section to begin their tasks, students could:

  • discuss ideas for reducing expenses in their own households

  • brainstorm energy-saving ideas and lifestyle priorities. This could be done using collaborative tools such as Linoit or Google Docs

  • discuss what Grace should consider before making her smartphone purchase. Use MoneySmart resources to help students make the best mobile phone choices: Buying a mobile phone | Shopping for a mobile | Mobile phone deals and plans

  • consider how Grace might wisely use the extra money she saves.

Students consider the link between reducing household expenses and saving money, and why water and electricity are good places to look for savings around the home. They complete a quiz about sustainable money smart options related to these two utilities. They must score 100 per cent to gain the access code required to start the next activity, Sustainable savings, where students find the savings that can be made around Grace’s home. At the end (final screen) they link to an Excel spreadsheet that shows how the savings were calculated. (Note, when viewing the resource on a tablet or mobile device, open the spreadsheet in an app that allows you to edit it.) Finally, students complete a chart related to the savings achieved and the short-term goal of saving for a smartphone.

Why water and electricity?

Students could:

  • discuss the costs involved in running a household and which of these expenses are fixed and which can be altered by lifestyle changes. For example, mortgage repayments, rent and council rates are fixed and cannot be changed simply. On the other hand, phone, internet, water and electricity usage can be altered by making simple lifestyle changes.

  • brainstorm ideas for saving money through relevant household changes to determine their prior knowledge

  • review the terms in the Smart choice quiz glossary before starting the next activity.

Smart choice quiz

  • The Smart choice quiz consists of 5 multiple-choice questions and is meant to be a quick preparation for the sustainable savings activity.

  • Students must score 100 per cent to retrieve the access code (47223) needed for the next activity. Emphasise the need to record it.

  • The teacher will need to give the code to students completing the PDF version of the quiz—after they successfully answer the questions.

  • Smart choice quiz—Responses and feedback (.pdf 133kB) contains answers with some feedback.

Sustainable savings (including spreadsheet)

  • To begin the activity students enter the access code gained at the end the previous quiz (this is also the password to open the PDF alternative).

  • Students need to be aware that the savings are based on a range of assumptions.

  • At the end of the activity students explore the Savings spreadsheet (.xls 61kB) which shows the calculations and assumptions behind the savings.

    • Students could examine the formulas in the spreadsheet as a class. Note: to view the formulas on a tablet or mobile device, open the spreadsheet in an app that gives this access. For example, the relevant Microsoft Office app allows you to edit the spreadsheet after logging in to an Office 365 account.

    • The Savings spreadsheet is protected to prevent changes. You can unprotect it—there is no password (in Excel, unprotect it from the Review ribbon).

  • Students could discuss the savings made in Grace’s household and savings they could make in their own households.

Monthly savings

  • Students might be encouraged to mentally calculate the answers in this activity.

  • In the online version, the information button beside each answer box gives more instructions to help students answer the question.

  • Savings chart—Responses and feedback (.pdf 93kB) contains the completed chart with some feedback.

Students consider what to do with the monthly savings Grace will receive (see the previous section). They can choose from three options suggested by Grace’s friend, Georgia. Students must select the third option (the wise choice) in order to access the main content for this section. Here, students learn about bank accounts and improve their financial literacy skills as they learn concepts such as interest, interest rates, compound interest and compound period. Students research and compare high interest savings accounts and select the one they think is best for Grace. Before moving on to the next section, students complete a quiz to check their understanding of compound interest.

Begin by reviewing the total savings made around Grace’s home ($804), how much she will get from her father per month ($67), how much the smartphone costs and what savings she has left after buying it.

In learning about investing the savings, students could:

  • find out about types of savings accounts such as everyday transaction accounts, fixed term deposit accounts and online savings accounts, and age limits on accounts

  • consider account features such as minimum deposits and balances, fees and charges and introductory offer interest rates

  • visit comparison websites to find information about a range of accounts and then individual websites to get finer details about products

  • explore the MoneySmart Saving web page about setting short-term or long-term goals and developing a savings plan

  • consider the TrackMySPEND app and the Budget planner as useful tools to assist in achieving savings goals

  • present their findings and conclusions to the class giving the pros and cons of their choice of the best savings account for Grace’s money.

Emphasise that students must record the total savings after five years that they calculate. It is used in the next section.

Totally in your interest—Responses and feedback (.pdf 122kB) contains answers to the compound interest quiz and some feedback.

Students consider the value of money in terms of time, calculating how long Grace has to work to earn the same amount as her savings over 5 years. The job is a sports assistant, working 40 hours a week and paid $22.50 per hour. They begin by converting the wage from hourly to weekly, monthly and annual amounts. They learn about gross incomes, tax and net incomes. They work out the annual net income using the MoneySmart Income tax calculator and then enter that figure in a spreadsheet to calculate the number of working hours that equal her savings. (Note, when viewing the resource on a tablet or mobile device, open the spreadsheet in an app that allows you to edit it.) Students develop consumer and financial literacy as they learn about concepts such as gross income, net income, income tax and marginal tax rate.

Converting wages

Converting wages—Responses and feedback (.pdf 122kB) provide answers and some feedback for this activity.

Students could:

  • discuss how income might be expressed. The important thing for students to understand is that rates of pay can be expressed in different ways, and can be converted between hourly, weekly, monthly and annual pay. The diagram given in the Converting wages activity is a simple representation of how to convert between the different forms

  • discuss why 52.179 is used as the number of weeks in a year in the Converting wages activity. This figure takes into account that there are not exactly 52 weeks in a year. It is calculated using 365.25 ÷ 7 (365.25 because there is an extra day in a leap year and 7 because there are 7 days in a week)

  • discuss the fact that ‘monthly’ is placed at the bottom of the Converting wages diagram rather than between ‘weekly’ and ‘annually’. This is because we cannot convert between weekly pay and monthly pay directly (since the length of every month varies) and we must first convert to annual income to go between the two

  • explore MoneySmart: First job, a resource that provides tips on getting paid and understanding rights and responsibilities at work.

Gross, tax and net

In looking at the difference between gross income and net income, students could discuss:

  • types of deductions from gross pay that result in net pay

  • why we pay tax and what it is used for (the Australian Tax Office Tax, Super + You resource will provide students with additional information)

  • why tax rates might change

  • how the tax system is tiered (the more you earn, the more you pay)

  • whether someone who earns less could, after tax, end up earning more than a higher income earner (this can be explored in the MoneySmart Income tax calculator activity by seeing what happens as income increases and decreases)

  • what they consider is a ‘good’ income.

Working out annual net income using MoneySmart’s Income tax calculator

Emphasise that students need to record the net annual income for use in the next activity. To complete this activity, students use the MoneySmart Income tax calculator. Point out the additional steps in ‘Checking the results’. Students could also:

  • select a different Results period. For example, select Weekly to see the tax paid each week

  • calculate the 2% Medicare levy on gross incomes

  • explore a variety of income levels and note the impact on tax and marginal tax rates.

Money into time

  • Students use the Money into time spreadsheet (.xls 34kB) to calculate how many hours of work are required to match the five-year savings. Note: when using this resource on a tablet or mobile device, open the spreadsheet in an app that gives you editing access. For example, the relevant Microsoft Office app allows you to edit spreadsheets after logging in to an Office 365 account.

    • Students could examine the formulas in the spreadsheet as a class.

    • The spreadsheet is protected to prevent changes. It can be unprotected (in Excel, from the Review ribbon). There is no password.

  • Students can explore other savings targets, net annual income and hours worked relevant to their own situations.

  • Using higher and lower wages they can see how changes in income impact the money vs time comparison. As income increases, the amount of time money buys becomes less. This is one way to talk about the changing value of money to each individual.

It is important that students reflect on their learning. Three discussion questions are included to facilitate this reflection. Other questions may be relevant to individual classroom settings.