Grade 9-12

What Car Should I Buy?

Time: 60 mins,
Updated: April 12 2024,


Students will be able to:

  • Compare the costs of buying a new car with the costs of buying a used car.

In this personal finance lesson, students will compare the costs of buying a new car to a used car.



Introduce the concept of new vs. used by providing examples of purchases that students or their families have made. For example, a new video game vs a used video game or new textbooks vs used textbooks. Prompt students to draw two columns titling one column ‘used’ and the other ‘new’ in their notebooks. Have students of one situation where had to weigh the advantages and disadvantages between new vs. used product. Have students list the advantages in one color and disadvantages in another color under each column. Review student’s answers. State that when buying a new or used car, there are many options of types of cars and that it is important to determine which car best fits their needs and budget.


Print and distribute copies of What Car Should I Buy?. Project the YouTube video by Better Money Habits called Comparing the Cost of New and Used Cars. This video examines the process used to determine which car would be best for them to purchase. If students need, play the video again in order for them to complete the handout. Review the answers as a class. Use the What Car Should I Buy? Answer Key.

Group Activity

For this group activity, computers/tablets are required for students to conduct research online. Place students in groups of 4. Print copies of the New Car Buying Checklist and Used Car Buying Checklist. Give two of the students in the group the New Car Buying Checklist and give the other two students in the group the Used Car Buying Checklist. Instruct the pairs to work together to go through the checklist. Once the pairs complete the checklist, have them compare their findings with the other pair as a group.

Individual Activity

Ask one group to present their findings to the class. Have a brief class discussion about their findings. Then, have students write a two sentence reflection of what they learned about buying a used vs. a new car on their checklist handout.


Have students complete the New vs Used Car Exit Ticket and hand-in their exit ticket. Use the New vs Used Car Exit Ticket Answer Key as your teacher guide.


Activity 1

Have students write a paragraph explaining which type of vehicle (new or used) might be the best option for their family to purchase.

Personal Finance