Here is a list of 23 different budget and financial literacy games for high school students that teach investing, budgeting, credit, debit, and so much more.
Playing a game is more engaging and therefore effective as a learning technique than the average lecture. Financial Literacy is such an important topic for high schoolers, teens, and pre-teens, why not teach it to them in the best way possible?
Using an educational game or simulator learning can come from decision-making instead of reading from a book or a slideshow. Here are 23 different games that high school students can use to learn more about the amazing world of personal finance!
Payback was created with low debt or debt-free college experience in mind. You play the game and make decisions that will positively impact the number of student loans you are taking on to afford college. This game isn’t meant to be a step-by-step guide on how to manage your college finances but rather to get you thinking about the different possibilities that are out there, and how much money you actually need for higher education.
Spent is a simulation game to teach the player about the difficulties of living on a low income. This game does a great job teaching understanding about the ways that people can get into stressful situations like panhandling. It helps the students step into these situations and make choices based on the situation at hand and continue to learn without having to actually be in the situation themselves.
The Uber Game helps players learn more about living life in the gig economy. This is extremely useful because I am sure you have heard it as well when someone talks up how much they earned from delivering food that day, but don’t account for 1099 taxes, healthcare, etc. This game gives you the task of using your vocation as an Uber driver to pay for your two kids and save up enough to pay your $1k mortgage in a week. Can you do it?
Reality Check is a fantastic game for helping you see the reality behind your decisions. We all have a dream life that we picture when we “have made it”. This game asks a series of questions about that dream life and then you can see reality and find out what income level you need to support your dream life. This is really beneficial as most dreams are only dreams and don’t have numbers behind them to make them a reality someday. This can help players determine their career pathways for wise financial decisions.
Shady Sam this game teaches players which side of the lending transaction they want to be on. They play the game as a loan shark and the scoring system is based on real life. The more the loan shark charges in interest and fees, the higher your score in the game. This teaches that being on the financial institution's side of things and creating a fair deal is much more fiscally advantageous than borrowing money at a horrible rate and paying all those sneak fees.
Claim Your Future in this game you are provided a career that comes with a salary attached. With your salary in mind, you make lifestyle decisions that will fit within your budget that is based on your salary. These decisions spark the thoughts of saving money now to change your position later in life, and if they need a different career path to be able to afford the lifestyle they are expecting as an adult.
Hit the Road is a game presented by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). In the game, you and your best friends are on a cross-country road trip to Colorado. You have a set budget for the trip and you make decisions along the trip. All your purchases need to fit within your budget or you won’t have enough money to make it to Colorado. This game can be applied to any “destination” in life and is useful to teach how to stick to a budget even if that means sacrificing a little.
Lights, Camera, Budget is an online game that was created to help any middle school student or high school student learn financial literacy topics. In the game, the goal is to use a $100 million budget to produce a movie. Decisions must be made along the way to keep the ball rolling and not break the bank.
Finance 101 is a financial simulation game that uses decisions to teach finances. The player is assigned a random profession and has a total of 13 steps until the game is over. You can decide how much to save, what kind of bank account you want, etc.
Misadventures in Money Management was created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as a money management game for teens. This game covers avoiding impulse decisions, building a sizeable savings account, and how debt can affect you.
Money Magic was created to help teach budgeting skills to young adults. You play as the main character, Enzo the magician, and you are working on budgeting to save up a total of $50k for your move to Vegas and venue funds to perform while there.
Financial Football is a team-up between Visa and the National Football League (NFL) to teach financial concepts. Play as your favorite NFL team and answer financial literacy questions to advance towards a touchdown and beat the other team!
Stax teaches players about smart investing strategies. The game takes around 20 minutes to play and allows the players to experience 20 years of investing. The game teaches that index investing always wins, and slow and steady wins the race with investing in stocks which is an important part of any financial education.
Sonya Gives Advice teaches players how to make a plan for large purchases they want to make. This helps with budgeting skills and critical thinking skills as it provides fictitious opportunities to plan for large purchases.
Protecting Your Money provides you with the game of creating a graphic to teach others what to do if they lost their ATM, debit, or credit cards or if it was stolen. By creating a graphic players also learn what to do themselves in this situation. This game also comes with lesson plans for young people in the classroom.
The Payoff you play as a vlogger that is preparing for a video competition that will change your life! You have to manage your finances as you prepare and expect some unexpected events as you progress in the game.
Mind Your Own Budget in this game you will progress through ten scenarios that teach about how decisions can affect your savings, debt repayment, and comfort level. This teaches that every decision has a consequence and how to minimize undesirable consequences.
Rento claims to be the best Monopoly board game. In this game, you learn financial literacy skills by trading lands, building houses, winning auctions, and having fun!
Fiscal Ship teaches players about the revenue gap the United States has. You make tax and spending decisions over the course of 25 years and try and accomplish as much for the citizens as well as not break the budget and sink the ship.
Fantasy Stock Exchange in this interactive game you learn about trading stocks and being a fund manager. You try to increase your net worth and overall score. The reason this stock market game is so far down the list is that it uses Flash and that is less and less supported by browsers these days.
Cashflow Board Game is created by Robert Kiyosaki (the guy who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad). In this fun game, you put your financial skills to the test to try and escape the rat race. This financial literacy game teaches how to become wealthy and sharpen your financial literacy skills.
Act Your Wage! Board Game is created by Dave Ramsey to teach how to keep your savings up and your expense down. The winner of this personal finance game is the first to earn the right to scream, “I’m debt-free!”
There are many games out there to teach financial literacy. The important thing is that you are learning, and putting that knowledge into action! Any of the games above can be a great supplement to a personal finance course. If you have a favorite finance game that would fit on this list, let us know by using our contact page.