It has often been claimed that pupils would not be prepared for their later lives in school. They do not learn how to pay their taxes, how to apply for a job or how to rent an apartment. The most crucial thing they do not learn, however, is keeping track of their finances. Many young adults never learned to compare prices. A statistic shows that bad dealing with money is still the third most common reason for private debts only after unemployment and failed sole tradership.10
One way to enormously save money on a daily basis is cooking on a budget level. This does not mean that the food has to be of lower quality but rather cooked in a conscious way. Fast food for example is not only unhealthy but also considerably more expensive than cooking for oneself. This starts with buying groceries. This is almost an independent scientific branch. While some people claim that only organic fruits and vegetables are healthy and therefore the only valid option to buy others prefer the cheapest offer. This dilemma is up to others to be resolved but it is safe to say that a good purchase has a balanced price-quality ratio.
In form of an electoral subject, I would offer a combination of cooking and economics whereas the focus is clearly set on the former. Participants can be of any age and level and only need to bring a cooking apron. In class, they will learn first why it is important to constantly monitor one’s finances and what they can do in order to avoid debts in the future. Especially children from low income families are in danger of falling in debt, which is why I want to offer a chance to save money on regular purchases such as food. A two people household can live with a budget of about sixty euros a week – about as much as a single person would spend on three visits at a middle-class restaurant. This naïve fallacy demonstrates how easy it can be to safe up to hundreds of euros a month with simple things.
The teacher would provide healthy recipes from different cultures and show the class a shopping-documentation for each of them. This is done because the learners should see that even simple groceries such as carrots or potatoes have a very fast price span. Of course, the dishes will be prepared as well – the learners should also learn to cook after all.
The teacher also collects pamphlets form local grocery stores and discounters and scans them for special offers. A bag of potatoes for half of the price helps to save even more money.
The most important aspect concerning this project is how it should be financed. The class itself would take place as a double unit every two weeks. As it is labeled as an electoral subject the teacher would be paid as usual. The costs for the dishes would be split equally upon the teacher and the students. One dish can easily be cheaper than two euros per person.
Of course, the school has to provide a room with sufficient counters, at least one stove and a sink. After a dish is cooked the students and the teacher will eat it as well. Therefore, the school has to provide plates and cutlery.
The benefits from this project are clear. Students learn to cook on a budget. Hence, they will improve their handling with money and learn how to prepare healthy dishes. In the long run, they might eventually save enough money from budget cooking to avoid falling in debt as adults.
e. Possible Problems
For some students it might be too expensive to spend up to ten euros a month for an electoral class. Another problem is the infrastructure. Not every school has a fitting room for this project.
f. Feedback and Evaluation
The most authentic and honest feedback will be given right away – from the students at the very moment when they taste the dishes. In addition, there will be an anonymous questionnaire twice a semester that has the aim to let the learners evaluate the class and provide room for suggestions.