Back to School,  Classroom Economy

How to Set Up Your Classroom Store

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So far in my Classroom Economy series I have covered my classroom jobs and the banking system, and today I’m going to explain how the students get to spend the money that they earn!

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

What Can Students Buy in the Store?

I keep all of the materials for my class store on a 3-tier rolling cart. In addition to the items for sale, the cart contains pens for writing checks and the Merchant Binder (more on that in a bit!).

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

On the top of the cart is The Prize Box, which contains small prizes such as mechanical pencils, gel pens, smelly erasers, stickers, bouncy balls, etc. Dollar stores are great for finding small prizes for this! Each of these items costs $10 in the store (my students earn $20 per week if they have a job).

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!
Some of the items in my Prize Box.

The middle shelf of the cart is The Snack Box. It contains a variety of snacks that change throughout the year, but usually includes small bags of Goldfish crackers, Fruit by the Foot, Oatmeal Creme Pies, small packs of Oreos, etc. The dollar store and Costco are my favorite places for finding cheap individually-packed snacks! Each of the snacks cost $20. I like to add special seasonal items sometimes, such as candy canes during winter and mini ice cream sandwiches at the end of the year.

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

Another option in the store is a soda – these are not on the cart because I keep them in a mini-fridge in my room. I usually survey my students at the beginning of the year to see what kinds they like and then keep around 5 different kinds in stock. They cost $30 each.

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

On the bottom shelf of the cart, I keep a basket with various passes that the students can buy, including a Late Homework Pass, Gum Pass, Locker Pass, Choose Your Seat Pass, Teacher’s Chair Pass, Music Pass, and Lunch With the Teacher Pass. These range in price from $20-$70. I try to encourage students to buy these passes because they cost me nothing! You can get a fully editable version of these passes in my TpT store.

The big prize that students can save up for if they choose to is a Blizzard from Dairy Queen! It costs $300, which means students have to have a job and save up for months in order to get it. I usually have around 10 students throughout the course of the year who save up to purchase the Blizzard.

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

You can get a free editable copy of my Price List in my TpT store here!

How Does the Store Work?

After depositing their money in the bank on Thursday, students can spend their money in the class store on Friday. The only way they can spend money is if it has been deposited in the bank. If they have paychecks that have not been deposited on Friday, they will have to wait until the following week when the bank is open again. 

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

One of my classroom jobs is the merchant, and this person runs the store each Friday. Like the bank, we usually open the store during independent work time towards the end of class.

When they enter the classroom on Fridays, students who want to visit the merchant write their names in a list on the front whiteboard. When the store opens, the merchant calls the students from the list over one or two at a time. The students let the merchant know what they want to purchase and then write out a check from their checkbook to pay for their purchases. After receiving the check, the merchant gathers the items and gives them to the student. 

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

At the end of the store, the merchant gives all the checks to me. I then give them to the class banker to enter into the bank as withdrawals (read more about my banking system here).

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

Another important part of the merchant’s job is keeping track of purchases on a tracking sheet (free in my TpT store). I keep a Merchant Binder that has a section for each class period. The merchant writes down each person’s name under the item purchased so that we can see trends in sales. At the end of the month, the merchant gives me a report about what was popular and what was not.

Learn how to set up a classroom store run by students for your classroom economy!

And that wraps up my Classroom Economy blog series! If you have any questions I haven’t addressed yet, please ask in the comments!

Other posts in the classroom economy series:

Part 1: How To Use Classroom Jobs in Middle School

Part 2: How to Set Up a Bank for Your Classroom Economy


  • Sierra

    Thank you for taking time to share this amazing system with us! I can’t wait to combine everything I have learned through out this series and try it out!

  • Cindy Coffman

    This looks fabulous. I have been considering this, but just didn’t know where to start. Now I know and I’m so excited!

    Do you buy all the prizes, snacks, etc.? Do you ask students to donate them?

    • Math With Meaning

      Hi Cindy! I do buy the prizes myself – I am always on the lookout for good deals and I do get some classroom money from my PTC that I put towards it. I think asking students/parents to donate is a fabulous idea, though!

  • Victoria Axworthy

    I’m so excited to open my store this Friday! You said student merchants will turn in a report about what’s popular and not popular that month. Is that just the tracking sheet form from the TpT document you linked in this post?
    Thanks so much!

    • Math With Meaning

      Yay! I’m starting my store tomorrow, too! I mostly just have them give me an informal verbal report at the end of the month, but you could have them write up a short report if you wanted! Or maybe add a short report on the back of the tracking sheet or something. Good luck with your store!

    • Math With Meaning

      Hi Mia! Do you have time at the end of class for independent practice/homework/something like that? That would be the perfect time for it – once you get things up and running and the merchant trained, it should only take 10 minutes or so. I make sure to tell my students up front when I’m first going over the job descriptions that the banker and the merchant will have to be willing to give up some/all of their homework time once a week in order to do their job. If you do a warmup when they first come in, you could also use this time as well. I just try not to make it during a time when I’m giving direct instruction. Hope that helps!

  • Marsha Pottash

    What a great way to include financial literacy in the curriculum. I am looking forward to getting started when we can all actually return to school.
    I would like to suggest another job, an inventory control manager. After sales are finished, the inventory manager would be the one to track how many of each item are left, as well as what was popular or not popular.

  • Julie

    Does it make sense to do this in my English class? I am just looking for more engagement and taking care of the my classroom’s physical space. I could give checks for completing and quizzing on books as well as IXL skills mastered. I just want to motivate kids in a fun way to participate in my class! Thoughts anyone?

    • Math With Meaning

      Hi Julie! It could absolutely work well in an English class! The only real math connection is the money aspect and check writing, but those are life skills as well, so it is definitely not math specific!

  • Brittany

    I love this idea. I am just switching from 6th grade math to a fourth grade classroom. Do you think this would work for fourth grade?

    • Math With Meaning

      Hi Brittany! So sorry for the delayed response. Yes, it absolutely can work for fourth grade! You’ll just have to adjust your jobs to what you think they’ll be capable of doing on their own.

  • Leslie

    Thank you so much for this. I have taught middle school math for several years and have always done something like this but this is set up much better. I will be teaching High School OCS this coming year and Financial Management is a class that I have to teach.

  • Kelly Baker

    I am looking forward to beginning this in my first year of sixth grade. I have only taught 1st and 2nd grade for the past 24 years. I want to get a close to real life as possible. I am hoping that the students will be excited to learn these real life skills. Thanks for working out all of the details!

    • Math With Meaning

      I’m so glad you found it helpful, Kelly! Good luck with your first year in 6th – I’m sure it will be a big change, but I personally love that age level!

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