Spent – The Game of Poverty


I find this unreasonably fun to play in class (especially my 150-200 student auditoriums). It takes 20-30 minutes as long as I keep it fast-paced. I start off as if I’m excited (celebrate when I pass the typing test), and after a few choices the class starts to act like a game show studio audience. After it’s over, I sometimes ask them to write their reaction to the game and then summarize the game in one sentence. They have fun, then the written exercise cements the big-picture point.

From Sociological Images, PlaySpent helps us understand the economics of poverty:

…designed to help people understand the challenges and trade-offs faced by low-income people with insecure employment. The “game” begins when you’ve been unemployed, have only $1,000 left in your bank account, and need to get a low wage job.

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