Classroom Economy

My wonderful teaching partner, Mrs. Simon, introduced me to her classroom economy a few years ago.  After avoiding it and pushing it aside, I finally sat down and implemented it in my classroom...and I am SO glad I did!  It is such a motivator for my students, is very little work for me, and teaches some great concepts (budgeting, responsibility, math skills, and teamwork -- just to name a few)

How It All Works

When the students enter the room, they begin to earn classroom cash for performing their job as a student.  Just as I earn money to teach (although I do love it, I also get compensated for it), the students earn money for getting to school on time, turning in homework, being on task, and performing classroom jobs.  They also earn money for proper behavior (in the form of getting green cards, table points, etc...). 

In turn, students will also lose money for being off task or neglecting their student duties.

teachinginroom6.blogspot.comOne of the classroom jobs in my class is that of a banker.  It is these two responsible students who take care of all payments.  When they walk in at the bell, they immediately go to the bank box and get the money to pay those students who are SITTING IN THEIR SEATS WORKING.  They do this silently, and without disturbing me at all (I am taking attendance and then calling my first small group for the day) Bankers also take care of payments for classroom jobs, behavior cards, as well as collecting monies owed because of bad behavior or other infractions.

Keeping Track of it All

Click here for the register document.
As the students earn (or spend) money throughout the day, they record their credits and debits in their check register.  At the beginning of the year, we spend a few math periods going over the ins and outs of inputting information into their registers.  I periodically check the registers to make sure the total in our bank as well as cash in hand matches their register total.

The students receive their weekly pay each Friday.  The banker opens the bank and gives each worker their weekly salary.  The students then have the option to visit the General Store, where they can purchase Homework Passes and Bathroom Punchcards.

Students also balance their checkbooks and make sure their cash in wallet matches their register total.

 What is the Money Used For?

Click here to see my Earnings, Fines, and Fees charts
Just as in real life, there are debts to be paid in the classroom.  Students must "pay" each month to rent their desk, chair, and pencil box from me.  They also pay a text book "fee" at the beginning of the year.  When students need new pencils, glue sticks, folders, or any other school supply, they can "purchase" these items using their classroom money. 

There are also privileges that may be purchased.  Once a week, during Payroll Pay Day, the merchants open "Mrs. Moorman's General Store."  In the store are items such as Homework Passes, Bathroom Punchcards, and Computer Use Passes.  There are also small treasure chest items that may be purchased as well. 

At times, students may be fined for inappropriate behavior.  Students who do not turn in their homework, are misbehaving, or are generally off task, must pay.  Students who wish to use the bathroom, may pay to do so.

What Do You Need To Get Started?

These are the things that I use for the Classroom Economy in my room:

*  Play money (I got these as a grant from Donors the past I copied some play money from my daughter)
*  Wallets for the students (again, this year, I use some from a Donors Choose grant.  I used plain paper envelopes in the past)
*  Money Till to house the money.  I got mine at Staples.
A list of Fines, Fees, and Earnings

For more info on how I run this, see these posts:

The Jobs
The Store


  1. Author and 5th grade teacher, Rafe Esquith uses a similar system! Great idea! Thanks for posting.

  2. This year I attempted using a classroom economy system with my 5th graders but failed to be consistent with it because I was in charge of doing it all. I like how you have the students responsible for running the economy system. I was wondering if you have a list that shows what the responsibilities are for each of the student jobs, and if you would mind sharing them?

    Thank you,

  3. I would appreciate a list of responsibilities for each job as well! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I have finally made a blog post about it :)

  4. I extend the idea of money and have my students make our money each year! They make denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, & $100. That way students can't keep the money from year to year. They have to study, design and produce their money. We also talk about real verses fake! The students then must persuade their classmates to vote on their money! Whoever gets the highest vote wins the right to be used on that money! The students then must cut the money. They hate that! It takes a while!

  5. Heather, send me an email: and I will send you my list of jobs for my class. It changes from year to year based upon my theme! I also teach 5th so some of the jobs may not work for your class? Not sure what grade you teach.

  6. Love it, do you have a parent letter to explain this system?

  7. I am curious as to what kind of wallets you received and where you found them. I am also a donors choose user and that would be a great idea for my next project.

  8. I also have started using a classroom economy this year. So far so good. I've started to blog about it too:

  9. Hey, I just saw some news article about a teacher who uses a classroom economy and includes the bathroom privileges. Two girls wet themselves, claiming it was because they wanted to save their money for a bag of popcorn and just "hold it" till later. I immediately thought of your blog, because when I read about HOW you use it, I thought it was great. Have you heard about this? The teacher never got in trouble, which makes me think s/he must be using it appropriately and never denying students the right to use the restroom, but it makes me think about how easily strategies like this can be misinterpreted. How do you handle these sort of anticipated problems?

    1. I actually did see that article. I find that I don't really have the problem of kids hording money in anticipation of "popcorn" (or whatever it is) because I honestly just don't have all of those fun treats. The kids earn the money to "live" in my room. That is how they see it. That is how I see it. They just accept that spending money to go to the bathroom is part of the deal. Truly, it is that simple. I honestly can say that I haven't had problems with this, ever. (in fact, the only time I have had bathroom issues was when I DIDN'T use an economy!) Parents are told all about the system at back to school night, so they are aware. The kids are told on day one. It is simply a part of the way the room works and the kids go with it.

      Now, if a child has to use the restroom, and he has no money, I won't deny him. He can go. He just goes into debt. The kids know that I would rather them go into debt than pee on my chairs....and they go to the restroom ;)

  10. Thanks for sharing!! I'm going to incorporate this into my class.

  11. I love your blog! PBIS Rewards is an app that takes a class economy and completely automates it! No more tracking, stealing, buying fake money, etc! Check out our website!

  12. What specific things do you have the kids in debt do to make extra money? My custodians do the cleaning and there is seldom extra work there. I have been considering work pages for math and science.

  13. I love this and am excited to expand what I have already done to more of a system liek this! How do you type this up to explain it to parents at the beginning of the year?


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