Step 1: Create a budget
First, create a complete and exhaustive budget of all the expenses this family would incur throughout a typical month. The budget can be created in any format you wish, but it must be well organized, comprehensive, and straightforward. Use the Cost of Living sheets (provided under additional materials I have provided you) to create your budget.
Step 2: Reflection #1 (at least 1 full page)
After creating your budget, reflect on how easy or difficult it would be for this family to survive or even thrive. Describe the quality of life of this family. What kind of housing do they live in? What are their jobs? What might an average week day or weekend day look for them? What are they able to afford? What are they forced to do without that other more affluent families may take for granted (vacations, eating out, spending money, a second car, etc.)? How might this influence the family?
Step 3: Life happens
Next, you will need to incorporate the two Life Happens cards into your monthly budget. These two cards should occupy separate line items on the budget. If necessary, depending on what life throws at your family, you must modify your budget and clearly delineate (so that it is obvious to me) how these circumstances influenced the budget.
Step 4: Reflection #2 (at least 1 full page)
Explain what happened to your family by way of life events, how they dealt with those events, and how it impacted the family. Did the budget change significantly? If yes, how so? If not, why not? What decisions had to be made? What might be the repercussions of these decisions?
Step 5: Conclusion (at least 2 full pages)
What does this exercise demonstrate to you regarding social class and the family? What do you think are the most important ways in which social class influences family life in the United States? How is the family, as an institutional arena, influenced by other institutional arenas like education, law, the economy, medicine, and others? How are the childrens lives affected by living at this particular level of the social strata? How might the familys difficulty (or ease) in meeting basic needs translate into access to opportunities (education, jobs, health care) for the children later in life? How does your familys social class affect how they experience every facet of their lives? What sorts of stressors might your family face given its social class? What do you think are the most important ways in which social class influences family life in the United States?