Games to Teach Budgeting or Money Management for Adults

Board games teach money skills while entertaining the players.
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Bankruptcy, overwhelming credit card debt and foreclosures plague consumers who have never learned how to manage their finances. They lack the ability to budget and fail miserably at handling their money. Eventually, many of these people grow tired of struggling and desire to change their habits. Some enroll in a personal finance course to improve their circumstances. Others meet with a financial counselor. Financial counselors and instructors often incorporate games as a fun option for engaging adults and teaching them these skills.


The board game Monopoly provides a variety of teachable opportunities for adults. The rules can be tweaked to focus on specific money managing skills. To learn about managing a bank account, each player maintains a checkbook register, recording each payment or deposit in the register. To learn about borrowing, each player might start with a mortgaged property, using their income to pay off the mortgage. Players gain money managing skills as they compete against others.


Competitive games, such as Jeopardy, challenge players and make them want to answer correctly. Jeopardy shows words or phrases in five different categories. For these players, the categories might include Needs versus Wants, Terms, Budget Categories, Expenses, and Surplus versus Deficit.

Grocery Budget

Everyone needs to eat, and most people have favorite foods. Unfortunately, those favorite foods often cost more than shoppers realize. In the grocery budget game, each player receives a scenario that defines a family size and stipulates the amount of money available for grocery shopping. The players visit a local grocery store and write down the items they buy and the prices. Then they switch scenarios and play again. As they play this game with each scenario, they learn to adjust their spending and watch for sales.

Loan Application Game

The loan application game teaches adults how to manage their money and decide whether borrowing is the right choice. In this game, some players are consumers while others are lenders. The lenders include bankers as well as payday lenders. The facilitator gives specifies each consumer's income and expenses and provides a template for determining a budget. In addition, each consumer receives a reason for borrowing money. These reasons might be medical bills or a vacation. The consumers choose lenders, find out if they’re loan applications have been approved and decide whether they should commit to the loan. Players learn to evaluate whether they should borrow money and when to say no.

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