by Susan Paige
One of the most difficult things about adulthood is learning how to manage finances, fight away the temptation to dip into next week’s money, and ensure that every bill is paid and savings are taken to the bank. But, while the vast majority wrestle with the same issues regarding our finances, there are some ways in which we can alleviate the stress that money provides. Tackling finances is a lot like playing a game – you have a certain goal and you have a certain amount of resources. To improve financial abilities, we can practice, much like we would to improve in playing games. And indeed, playing certain games can even enhance our abilities to improve money management. Let’s take a look.
One of the most obvious board games that can aid in money management is Hasbro’s Monopoly, which was first released all the way back in 1935. The game literally involves balancing finances in a world where there are new things to pay each week and potential investments to make. On a smaller scale, this is what life is for many – which is why budgeting is so important. It helps you think about what should be invested in (large quantities of bulk food to cook over days rather than takeout) and what money should be set aside for possible expenses (rainy day money both in Monopoly for unexpected hotel visits and in real life for unexpected car maintenance etc.) The board game Cashflow 101 also teaches money management tips in the quest for your rat piece in the rat race to exit this and purchase your dream. The Game of Life is a very old board game that is still very popular, first released by Milton Bradley in 1860. It also helps with money management advice, namely in the fact that money needs to be distributed based on chance encounters (e.g. what kind of job you get, unexpected misfortunes). The game Catan also works wonders for monitoring finances and working towards goals as barter based gameplay dominates as you race to populate a fictional island. By focusing on the strategic side of these board games, money management can be improved in real life with better financial strategy.
One wouldn’t have thought that card games could improve your ability to manage your finances, but most are actually firmly encased in strategy, which mimics that of the strategy you need to stay on top of money management. Specifically, bankroll strategy, which is present in blackjack, poker, and baccarat can help your money management. As Betway Casino explains regarding blackjack strategy, its important to know when to continue and when to cut your losses. Bankroll strategy refers to not taking on too much that will deplete your bankroll too quickly. So by keeping a firm bankroll for each expenditure per week or month, you can ensure that your money management stays in check and hopefully won’t dip into the red. Even games like chess can aid in money management. If the pieces can be approached as your possessions or currency, and each time you make a risky move you potentially spend them. Indeed, as Instructables explains when discussing chess basics, you often have to sacrifice a piece to save another or to win the game. Bankroll strategy in classic games can help hone the part of the brain that deals with strategy and money in real life – and can even improve your focus in the games too.
Life simulation video games can also be used to improve your understanding of finances – or teach us better responsibility as far as money goes. EA Games’ The Sims is an obvious example that takes into account various factors such as job or emergency home improvements, and results in ensuring finances are maintained, while also keeping your human healthy in all aspects. First released in 1999, the Rollercoaster Tycoon strategy game franchise can also give us a glimpse into how to manage money. While irrelevant to our own lives (unless you are one of the few real-life rollercoaster tycoons out there!), it can actually teach strategy in terms of ensuring money isn’t spend wantonly and some is saved for emergencies or for the future in general. Moreover, edutainment games such as The Great Piggybank Adventure by Disney take saving back to the bare bones and helps you learn about delayed gratification and ensuring there is enough money to go around. By finessing your finance ability through playing games, the stressors that would be accompanying financial issues in the real world are mitigated against – which could help you think with a clearer head when a real financial issue arises.
Money management and financial issues are certainly not a game, but there are ways in which difficult areas can be tackled as though they were. By changing the areas of the brain responsible for money management through practicing different skills that work similarly on games, we can help ourselves when it comes to our own finances. By making the bad decisions in games, we can focus more in real life and take the newfound strategic attitude to improving our own bank balance. Plus, the games can provide a sense of blowing off steam when our finances begin to feel unmanageable.