Game of Life


Pay day! but it’s also time to pay your bills and get your “surprise.” Update your budget tracking sheet to reflect your income and expenses.








Each of you will assigned a few items to shop for.  Find out the average cost for new and used basic furniture and accessories.

Our next step is deciding what transportation you will use.  This will depend on where you live and other factors such as if you want to drive.

Buying Your First Car

Time to buy your car

Time to Buy Your Car!

Your insurance cost will be $110 per month

How much money are you willing to use as a down payment? ___________________

In the Google search bar type in “car payment calculator”

You will see a box that you can enter information into

Change the Interest rate to 5%

Enter various loan amounts to find out what your monthly payments will be. Make sure you subtract the amount you will be using as a down payment.

Decide what you are willing to spend but make sure you look at the total monthly cost:

Monthly car payment

+                             $110

               Total monthly cost

(dealer + by-owner)

One the left fill in your maximum price you will be willing to spend on a car.

You can also fill in the make and model you want and other search filters.

Decide what car you will buy, how much you will put as a down payment and your monthly cost.

The car/vehicle I will purchase is:

Make ___________________

Model __________________

Year ____________________

Purchase Price ___________________

Down payment ___________________

Monthly cost (from above)____________________



Pay day! but it’s also time to pay your bills and get your “surprise.” Update your budget tracking sheet to reflect your income and expenses.

You have been living in an empty apartment for the past month!  Time to furnish it.  Let’s go furniture shopping 🙂


Open up the document above and decide which items you absolutely need to purchase.  Then go online and see how much these items would cost new and used.  We will discuss how to be creative on furnishing your apartment.

Must have Item Cost new Cost used
twin Bed Silas $399 $158
Dresser Silas $155 $110
twin Sheets Abby $9.00
Night stand Abby $69 $5
Couch Emma 300 $80
Coffee Table Emma $30 $75
Television 32″ grace $269 $150
4 Towels grace $10
Dishware service for 4 Izzy $40 $9.00
Pots and Pans Izzy $40 $19
Microwave audric $35 $10
Cleaning supplies set Eman  $50 —-
Basic tool set Eman $60  
First aid kit John $35
Fire Extinguishers John $30


Let’s start tracking your budget so you know how much money you have! Download the link below to get a blank budget tracking sheet.  Below I have added what you have earned and your expenses so far.

Game of Life Budget Tracking Sheet










There are always surprise expenses that you need extra money to budget for. Here it comes! Pick a number 1-10 I will let you know which surprise income or expense you will receive.

Let’s eat!

The estimated average food cost per month for 1 person for both single males and single females in various age groups. For all categories combined, the US average food cost per month for 1 person is about $301.00.











How to reduce Food Costs

1. Cook at home

It does take more time, but cooking and eating at home can save you loads of money in the long run. Consider that the actual cost of food for a restaurant meal is less than a third of what you pay for it. The rest of the money you spend at a restaurant goes to other costs like labor and overhead. If you cook at home, you only pay the food cost, and pocket the rest.

2. Stock up on staples

Already buying lots of beans, you say? Stop hauling home heavy cans, and buy dried ones that you soak yourself. Load up on cereals too, like rice, cornmeal and oatmeal. Eggs, peanut butter and bread can also go a long way toward feeding a hungry family on a tight budget.

3. Swap pricey proteins or goods for cheaper ones

Ground beef costs less per pound than steaks. And poultry tends to be cheaper than other types of meat. Save the scallops for really special occasions, though canned fish and seafood can be a good, cheap and healthy alternative.

If you’re trying to chip away at your food budget, and you’re spending a ton on nonalcoholic beverages, like the average American family, we have two words for you: tap water. If you live somewhere where the water tastes terrible, try squeezing in a lemon or boiling it into tea. Buying coffee at chains like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts everyday, while convenient, can quickly total about $5 – $7k over a decade, based on our calculations. Consider investing in a Keurig, Nespresso, or even a regular drip coffee maker to chip away at your coffee habit.

Food and drinks are necessary for life, but a few small tweaks can help you spend less on them.

Renter Insurance $150 per year one time cost

  • When renting a home, you’ll need an insurance policy to cover your personal belongings known as renter’s insurance.
  • Landlords have property insurance but those policies cover only the building, not your personal items within.
  • The majority of renters don’t purchase renter’s insurance, either because they don’t think it is necessary or believe they are covered under the landlord’s policy.
  • Reasons to purchase renter’s insurance include its affordability, the coverage of losses to personal property, it might be required, it provides liability coverage, it covers your belongings when you travel, and it may cover additional expenses.


Congratulations on moving into your new apartment!  It’s important to track your income  and spending so that you can make sure you pay your bills on time and have enough money.  There are many ways to track you money and many people use technology to help them.

Your homework:

Figure out if you want to use an app to track your income and expenses. and learn how to use it.

Figure out how much your share of the utilities are where you are “living”

How Use pocket expense

How Use the App “Pocket Expense”

To get started:

  1. Find the blue app listed “expense”
  2. Open it, swipe twice to the left till you see a sign in page
  3. Click the small grey “sign up” (at the bottom)
  4. For email type your first name and then  ie
  5. Your password will be – life
  6. Tap “go” on your keyboard
  7. To sign out, tap the gear on the very bottom left of the page, swipe up and tap the red log out at the bottom

To add income:

  1. Pick the date you earned the income on the calendar and tap on it
  2. Tap the blue plus sign on the bottom left
  3. For Payee, type in where your income came from ie paycheck, gift etc
  4. Tap the plus sign
  5. Tap the number to the right and a keypad will show up
  6. Type in the amount
  7. Click on “category” and pick the category that matches or create your own
  8. Press save on top right

To deduct expenses:

  1. Pick the date you spent the money on the calendar and tap on it
  2. Tap the blue plus sign on the bottom left
  3. For Payee, type in who the money went to ie EWEB etc
  4. Tap the negative sign
  5. Tap the number to the right and a keypad will show up
  6. Type in the amount
  7. Click on “category” and pick the category that matches or create your own
  8. Press save on top right

To pay a bill or reoccurring expense

  1. Click on the green bills icon on the toolbar on the bottom left
  2. Click the blue plus sign on the top right
  3. Type in the name of the person you are paying
  4. Tap on the amount and add the amount you are paying
  5. Add a payee name or category if needed
  6. Tap the date and pick when to pay the bill
  7. Tap the “never” on the “Repeat” line and pick how often to pay from the list
  8. In this game you will pick weekly since 1 week = 1 month


  • If you missed the first class, please make sure to finish the activities from the first day.
  • We will finish up the questions 1-4 about poverty below.
  • Today you will find an apartment and start paying rent

Find an apartment

You have a job, now it’s time to find an apartment!

Your monthly salary is $1,920.00

The experts recommend that you pay no more than 1/3rd of your salary in rent.

$1920.00 divided by 3 =     $640  maximum monthly rent

You can choose to have roommates. The rent is less expensive if you share, but you also have more risk if they can’t pay the rent. You also have to share responsibilities with upkeep and get along with them.

If the rent for a 2 bedroom is $1000, your share would be $500,

if you rent a 4 bedroom for $1600 your rent is $400.

Get a computer or ipad and look through any of the following websites and find an apartment/house you want to rent.

You will be recording you monthly cost using this worksheet:

game of life main sheet

Name______Joe Shmo_________________

I work as a ____dishwasher______40 hours a week.

My monthly salary is $1920.00____

  • Where do you live, with whom and what type of housing?

___I will live in a triplet near campus_________________________

  • My monthly rent is $__625.00_____


  • My monthly utilities are:

Electricity $50

Turning light off after you leave, unplugging appliances, turning off power strips when not in use, turn off tv if you are not watching, change the of temperature your fridge, if you have baseboard heating turn on a sweater, use a fan in the summer, hang your clothes to dry, use cold water

Water $30

taking shorter showers, turning off sink when not directly using it, limit watering outside, collect rain water, flush only when needed, low flow faucet and toilets, using a tub when dishwashing, 

Garbage $17.50

Lane APEX, sanipac, recycle more and create less waste, get every other week pick up, take it to the dump

Heating/Cooling $50

you can get your bill to be consistent by contacting utility, insulate,

Internet $50/Cable $65


Phone $50

Total 262.50


  • Monthly Food Costs $___________________________


  • One time cost of Renter Insurance $150 year


  • My monthly transportation




The transportation I will use is: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

One time cost $ _____________________________

Cost per month $____________________________

  • My Vacation. I will travel to_____________________________________________________ and do_____________________________________________________.

Total one time Cost $______________________________


  • My Pet. I will get _____________________________________________.


Cost $____________________________________


Pet insurance yearly Cost $____________________________________

  • The furniture I will buy is ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

One time Cost $_____________________________________


Welcome to the GAME OF LIFE!

Here is a link to the worksheet if you want to print it out

Game of Life day 1

In this seminar we will practice keeping your spending below your earning so that you do not run out of money. You will simulate independence by getting an income, expenses and unexpected costs. You will be keeping track of your income and expenses using electronic software or written ledgers.

Congratulations! You were recently hired in a 40 hour per week entry level position earning minimum wage. What is your job?  Fast food, dishwashing, stocking shelves at grocery, customer service, telemarketing, bar back, bussing tables, gas station, cashier, convenience store, janitor entry level, hostess at restaurant, greeters, 

What is the current minimum wage? _____$12.00 per hour__________

Multiply the minimum wage by the hours you will work a week

Minimum wage =                          $ 12.00

Hours per week =                       x__40_____

Money earned each week=        $480.00


Money earned each week=          $480.00

Weeks per month=                     x____4_

Money earned each month=    $1920.00


Money earned each month=   $1920.00

Months per year=                       x___12___

Annual Income=                        $ 23,040

Time moves faster in this seminar so 1 week = 1 month

You will also earn 8 days of sick leave per year. Just like in real life, if you miss a seminar due to illness you are still responsible for paying the bills and you might lose some pay (depends on how much sick leave you have). One class absence = 2 days sick. Just like real life you can transfer money electronically if you aren’t present to avoid late fees!

The table below is the federal poverty income guidelines in order to be eligible for money benefits.

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,540 for each additional person.
1 $12,880  $23.040
2 $17,420
3 $21,960
4 $26,500
5 $31,040
6 $35,580
7 $40,120
8 $44,660


  1. If you are single with no children, is your annual income below the poverty line?

No, I make $23,040

  1. If you are single with 3 children Is your annual income below the poverty line?

Yes, that would mean 4 in a household and the guideline is $26,500 and I make below that

  1. If you are married and your spouse makes $20,000 a year how many children would you need to have to be considered below the poverty line?

23,040 + 20,000 = $43,040 combined income

household of 8 guidelines are 44,660, 2 adults, 6 children

  1. If you are single with no children and earned SSI at $794.00 a month are you considered poor?

$794.00 x 12 = $9528

Lets play the Game of Life online:

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