Games to Teach Budgeting or Money Management

Games are an effective way for both adults and children to learn about financial budgeting, money management and other personal finance topics. From board games to in-class simulations, there's a variety of games available that expose players to an array of financial topics.

Payday

In the board game Payday, players move through a month-long game board budgeting their funds and trying to accumulate assets. Players can play through as many months as they choose and the player with the highest net worth at the end of the game wins. The game teaches financial literacy and exposes players to:

  • Interest payments on loans
  • Managing regular bills
  • Benefits of saving cash
  • Budgeting for unexpected expenses
  • Maintaining an emergency fund

The game is designed for two to four players and is appropriate for ages seven and up.

Monopoly

The classic board game Monopoly lets players own and trade properties, learning money management skills along the way. MoneyCrashers notes that the game exposes players to concepts like:

  • Real estate investments
  • Passive income
  • Taxes
  • Managing money and cash flow
  • Handling a financial emergency
  • Financial negotiation

The board game allows for two to six players and is appropriate for players age eight and up.

The Budget Game

Mississippi State University Extension publishes instructions for a budget game used in certain financial literacy classes. In this game, each player is given 20 beans and must decide how to allocate the beans in their budget. Categories include housing, utilities, food, clothing, furnishings, transportation, recreation and extraneous items.

By forcing players to allocate only a certain number of beans to each category, participants learn how to prioritize wants and needs during the budgeting process. Players then use their bean breakdown to create a personal budget based on their actual finances.

Practical Money Skills

PracticalMoneySkills, a personal finance literacy site sponsored by Visa, hosts a handful of games that teach adults and children about financial topics.

Financial Football is a fast-paced game that quizzes players with personal financial management questions and awards them yardage for right answers. For individuals that want to learn about budgeting for retirement, Countdown to Retirement shows how choices now affect retirement funding later on in life.

The Stock Market Game

The Stock Market Game demystifies the concept of investing in securities for students. Designed for high school students, the Stock Market Game gifts each student a hypothetical $100,000 and helps them learn how to invest it. The Stock Market Game exposes students to concepts like:

  • Equity
  • Stock dividends
  • Stock splits
  • Corporate mergers
  • Investment terminology

The game maintains a support center for teachers that includes curriculum resources and lesson plans. Teachers can register for the game here.