- Improving your financial literacy requires establishing habits that can be hard to put into practice.
- Games are an effective teaching tool for adults and children.
- Using games to learn can make it easier to retain and practice the financial skills you need for success.
Everyone could use a little more fun while mastering the tough stuff in life. Money management can make you feel more like a firefighter than a money mongrel. Plus, you want to move from putting out financial fires every month, just getting by, or trying to shuffle bills based on priority.
Remember when you thought that budgeting and savings are for those with more disposable income? But, when you lead with a budget (as small or robust as it is) and save a little every month, you gain more control over your finances and can discover new ways to eliminate existing debts.
The problem is, money management isn’t too exciting. You may find it difficult to stick with a budget for more than a few weeks. Not long enough to make a long-term impact. So, let’s try something new.
If you struggle to stay on track financially because the task feels tedious, try adding games as a means of reaching your savings and budgeting goals. There are several types of games that can reduce the pain of money management by gamifying your debt relief journey.
Challenge Games can improve financial habits and jump start savings. Start with a stretch goal or challenge and then add an accountability partner who could be a spouse, child (yes! Let them learn about money management too), or friend.
The challenges might include entertainment, eating out, or finding savings in the budget. You could also do the reverse. Every time you leave the lights on after leaving a room, you put money in a jar.
Both strategies can create effective games that put a little fun in the budgeting and saving process.
Board Games: Challenges help put financial principles into practice. Traditional board games can teach financial literacy skills in a fun and interesting way. It works for all ages, from young children to adults through a hands-on approach to financial lessons and strategies, you can then use in real-world applications. Plus, that means family time together, and not more independent smart device screen time that is creeping into every household.
The top financial board games include Monopoly, Life, and Payday, which are appropriate for all ages. Teens and adults can learn more complex financial concepts through games like Charge Large or Cash flow 101. Charge Large teaches credit management skills, where Cash flow 101 focuses on developing financial literacy of cash management and investing.
Smartphone Apps: If smart device screen time is a favorite then “there’s an app for that!” Financial apps are popular alternatives to traditional board games because you can play them anywhere without the need for multiple players. Most financial game apps allow you to advance to different levels and earn points, coins, or virtual money as a motivator.
Check out Budget Hero, Sim City, and Financial Football. Want to learn to balance a budget, how about the federal budget. Budget Hero involves making budgeting decisions with an eye on the impact on the overall budget. On the other hand, Sim City teaches financial skills through the creation of a virtual city. Visa and the NFL partnered to create Financial Football, which uses the game of football to teach financial lessons to teen and adult players.
The NFEC (National Financial Educators Council) website also offers online games and financial literacy information to help you fill the gaps in your financial literacy.
Games are effective teaching tools for both adults and children. Whether you choose online apps, board games, or a challenge, you can increase your financial literacy and get a better handle on your budget and build your savings with the use of games.
- How can games help me learn?
Playing games can increase focus and attention on a subject you otherwise find difficult. They encourage learning in a fun and interactive way. The act of practicing skills in a game can increase retention and help you build habits by doing, even though your actions are in a game rather than in real life.
- How can I learn about money and finance?
People learn about money in three primary ways. First is reading about money and finance. Reading can teach you the basics of finance, educate you on industry terms, and give you examples of what works and what doesn’t. The second is through games. Playing games gives you virtual practice making decisions and following potential consequences for those choices. You begin to see cause and effect, without actually experiencing the repercussions of good or bad financial choices. Third, is a real-life experience. Once you have an understanding of what you should do, and virtual practice making sound financial decisions, you can move confidently ahead with actual choices that directly impact your life.
- How can I teach my children about financial literacy?
One of the most effective ways to teach children about money is through games and then giving them opportunities to practice the skills they learn in the game. Combining games with real-world experience is the best way to instill sound financial practices starting at a very young age.