And even as a kid, I was a saver. I made sure I saved part of my allowance every week to use for gifts at Christmas time.
Now that I’m older, I am still a saver. And in a way, I view saving money as a game. It’s a challenge that I take on daily, and I enjoy the thrill of getting a great deal or solving a problem in a clever, frugal way.
I think the Parker Brother’s board game, Paydayhad a lot to do with my introduction to the world of personal finances.
For those of you who may not know of this game, the board game is set up in a calendar format of one month. At the beginning of the game, you decide how many “months” you would like to play the game. The person who has the most money at the end of the game, wins. Throughout the month, you may get bills in the mail, have to buy groceries, get a windfall, or make a purchase. You can save money (at 10 percent interest) or borrow money (at 20 percent interest).
I still remember the lessons I learned from this game regarding interest. At a whopping 20 percent, it didn’t take long for me to avoid borrowing money at all costs. I also remember feeling that pit in my stomach when I knew there was more month than money. You learn quickly that if you want to win, you have to be shrewd with your money. It’s something I still carry with me to this day.
I also remember that my mother rarely wanted to play this game with me. She said it was too depressing. (This was during a rough financial time for my family). I think about that sometimes, and I realize that I want to do whatever it takes to make sure our family isn’t in that same place.
The game really helps you to think about a budget; winning is dependent on your ability to make more than you spend.