The Best Games and Apps to Help You Learn to Budget Better

It’s always advisable to practice using play-money before putting real money on the line


Whether times are tough and you have to tighten your purse strings, or you’ve come into a windfall you don’t know what to do with, there are always ways in which you can tie yourself in a financial knot.

Of course, there is a slew of expensive financial planners and lawyers lining up to offer you their costly advice, but there are also free ways you can learn good budgeting habits, which will mean that at the end of each month, you’ll have enough coin to live it up.

Here is a list of games and apps that will let you master your finances in no time and allow you to de-stress after a long day at the office.

 Board games

For a long time, board games have been one of the best ways to get to grips with the underlying dynamics of fiscal control, with all the sector’s big players creating games that help people young and old.

The most obvious of these is Monopoly, which forces you to temper your spending so that you only acquire the most profitable real estate through skilled negotiation. When you begin spending above your means and the Monopoly money runs out, you lose, with no amount of bank loans available to dig you out of the financial mire.

Monopoly aside, there are other board games that are equally informative. One that perhaps even pre-dates Monopoly is The Game of Life. It brings in extra factors for players to consider, such as how an education will impact your future earning power and how the loss of a job can be ruinous if contingency plans are not made early enough.

Last but not least, there is Cashflow 101, which despite a rather bland title, is an excellent way for older players to grasp the basics of investing. There is even an odd-on called Cashflow 202 that goes into much greater depth regarding more advanced investment techniques that is well worth splashing out on. 

Strategy Games

If multiplayer board games are not quite your cup of tea, then there are plenty of classic strategy games that can provide more nuanced advice to players.

One example of this is chess, an ancient game in which it always pays to tread with caution and to ensure you don’t leave yourself open to a superior opponent.

If cards are your thing, then tried and tested games such as poker and rummy also prove to be powerful allies for strategists in search of financial mastery. They allow players to learn the differences between various styles of play, recognize strong investment opportunities, and find that perfect moment to go all-in.

Even learning the basics of how financial institutions work will put you a cut above the rest

The Stock Market Game

For those lucky people who find themselves flush with cash but are not too sure what to do with it, an excellent training tool to delve into is The Stock Market Game.

At the start of the game, a player is given $100,000 of hypothetical money and tasked with investing it on the stock exchange. The obvious goal is to find a way to make that money work for you rather than the other way around.

Start getting the hang of the game, and you can enter the world of investments with a little more confidence and understanding than before. There is a free tour of the game available at the developer’s site.

When Games Don’t Work, Turn to Apps

There’s a time to play and a time to get serious, and in the case of financial planning, the next step after games is to use an array of apps that will help you organize your real-life finances.

One of the best is Mint, which links to your bank account and helps you devise a budget that you can easily adhere to. Another great option is Acorns, which allows you invest your spare change and create additional revenue streams.

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