We learn many things at school. Maths. science history Why it’s a bad idea to throw parties at your house when your parents are out of town.
But there is one such important subject that is often absent from the study plans: personal finance.
Let’s face it, everything is getting more expensive and wage growth isn’t keeping up. Most of us have to do more with less, and not all of us can win the lottery or marry a rich widow.
Maintaining a proper budget has never been more important, and the lack of formal personal finance and budgeting classes means that the burden of teaching students how to manage their money has fallen on individual parents, teachers and teachers.
The bad news is that keeping students engaged and learning is harder than ever in the age of TikTok and nanosecond attention spans, and that goes double for dry topics like personal finance and budgeting.
The good news is that there are very, very smart people who understand the importance of budgeting, how hard it is to get students to care, i the best methods to get students engaged and learning about personal finance.
What is the best method, you ask? One word: gamification.
Here are some of the best personal finance and budgeting games for kids, high school students, and college students.
The best budget games for students
Okay, we all know that there’s virtually no chance that elementary school-age kids will sit down and do a budget no matter how much candy or colored flashing lights you throw at them. But high school kids? High school kids can be fooled.
Enter the bean game. Available at the best price, free, all you need for this game is a few kids, a printer and a couple of gummies.
The game is simple. Each child receives a salary of 20 jelly beans, a game board, and a reminder that eating their beans will make them poor.
Each board contains a set of spending categories such as housing, food, transportation, insurance, and recreation.
The children will have to divide their beans between categories, some of which will have to go towards necessities such as housing and food. The rest can be divided (or eaten) according to what the children want.
It’s a simple game, but it has all the ingredients to start a conversation about finite resources, wants vs. needs, and hopefully how the money they spend on iPhone games is money their parents could have spent on a otherwise at university.
No Beans for Teens: PersonalFinanceLab, the best budgeting game for high school students
High school can be tough, but it’s important for high schoolers to know that real life will be exponentially tougher… if they don’t know how to manage their money properly, that is.
Fortunately, there’s a budgeting game tailor-made for teachers and students: PersonalFinanceLab.
PersonalFinanceLab gives you everything you need to teach kids how to manage a household budget.
Its streamlined interface gets you up and running in minutes, and its deep mechanics and fully customizable parameters let you create custom scenarios for students of all income levels and career paths.
Do you want to motivate students by showing them how hard it would be to get by on the money they would earn working at McDonald’s? PersonalFinanceLab has you covered.
Want to show your students why it’s a bad idea to carry a balance on their credit card without lecturing them? PersonalFinanceLab lets you adjust interest rates, simulate balance increases, i includes embedded lessons that break down concepts in an accessible way.
Rental Income tax. Part-time versus full-time work. PersonalFinanceLab lets you customize everything to match the cost of living and prevailing wages in your community.
And the best of all? PersonalFinanceLab is only $10 per student and only $6 per student in classes of 10 or more. This won’t be a stretch for even the tightest of school budgets.
Stock-Trak: The best budgeting game for college students
Their brains may not be fully developed, but college students are (usually) mature enough to wrap their heads around the intricacies of managing their finances in the real world…and yet surprisingly few d ‘they get the instruction they need to do it.
In an ideal world, there would be a program that could guide college students through budgeting and investing in and out of the classroom. A program that teachers could customize to fit the specific needs of their students and that would supplement integrated lessons with built-in quizzes and gamified scenarios.
It’s a shame this program doesn’t exist. Oh, wait a second.
Stock-Trak is a software platform that does all of the above and more.
Not only does Stock-Trak bring over 30 years of experience to the table, it comes packed with an ever-growing list of lessons, interactive scenarios, and an innovative gamification system that can keep even chronic patients d ‘antiquity committed to the material. .
Stock-Trak is more than an educational program, it’s an ecosystem of customizable curriculum and powerful tools that make delivering important information and tracking your students’ progress so easy, you’ll almost forget you’re working.
And here’s the best part: Over 1,000 colleges already use Stock-Trak to teach their students about budgeting and investing.
Stock-Trak helps over 1,000,000 students learn how to manage their money each year, so you know you’ll be spending your budget wisely if you sign up. Stock-Trak even offers demos, so you won’t have to spend a dime unless you think it can help prepare your students for the real world.
PersonalFinaceLab and Stock-Trak try to make budgeting and personal finance look interesting and engaging. BudgetChallenge.com, while retaining much of the same essential features, lacks the same quality of user experience and gamification.
BudgetChallenge comes with the bonus of being free for qualifying schools. It comes in the form of 10-week modules that give students hands-on experience with budgeting through in-depth simulations (IE lots of spreadsheets) covering things like cash flow budgeting, emergency funds and management of credit
BudgetChallenge is perfect for teachers who like a more traditional approach to education. The front page of their website contains comments as lovely and nasty as “Aren’t you tired of reading about how young adults are making a mess of their financial lives?” and trophy images – a heartless attempt at gamification.
Budgeting is a crucial skill that most students don’t learn until it’s too late, but you can change that.
The services listed here are the best of the best; they’re intuitive, customizable, and reasonably priced, and even the tightest of administrators will recognize how much bang you’ll get for your school’s buck.
It doesn’t take much to change a student’s financial trajectory, and you are the person they need to make it happen.