Financial education

Pay Day – Our New Favorite Board Game

I don’t normally go out on Black Friday, but my sister and her husband came home this past Thanksgiving, so a trip to Target was in order. While shopping, I stumbled on a magical game called Pay Day.

A quick scan of the box showed that it was a money management game, and I knew I had to have it. Plus it was the “retro” edition, which made it even more desirable. (Why is that?)

I bought the game (for a discount because the Cartwheel price was lower than the in-store price) and we played our first game that weekend.

The Game

The rules are easy. Everyone starts out with $325 (in the retro edition). The board is a month, and before the game starts, you decide how many months you want to play.

During the month, bills come up, as well as investment opportunities. At the end of each month, you pay your bills and collect your salary. If you have a loan, you incur interest and try to pay the loan down. If you have savings, you earn interest and can make additional deposits.

Your job is to navigate each month, and the person with the most money at the end of the game wins.

Payday board game

Thoughts on the Game

On the first play, J was eager to buy all of the investment opportunities (“deals”), gambled on the lottery spots and took out a fair amount of loans. By the second game, however, he was much more prudent and won!

I don’t like that the rules specify a penalty for withdrawing money from your savings account. If you run into a lot of bills during the month and end up needing that money, you have to pay a pretty steep fee. It makes the possible interest earned not as desirable as just holding on to the money, which isn’t exactly the message I’d like to convey to J.

Talking about the investment opportunities during the game was fun. When you land on a Deal space, you pick up a Deal card. You can purchase the item for the amount on the card, and if you land on a Buyer space later, you collect the amount specified. This sparked some conversations about which deals were worth it and which weren’t (according to cost vs. value, and hence profit).

Wikipedia mentions that the 1994 edition took away the savings account AND dropped the loan penalties to 10%, and I’m glad we didn’t get that one!

If you’ve never played, I highly recommend it. Just a warning though — if your friends aren’t interested in money at the level you may be, they may not like the game. My sister commented, “Why do you like this? It’s just like real life.”

And in case you too have to have this awesome game, here’s a vintage edition for sale on Etsy.

What money games do you love?

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