Friday, October 15, 2021

Life on Minimum Wage - A Personal Economics Simulation Game

Almost twelve years ago I published a Google Document that outlines a personal economics simulation that I conducted in my classroom. For many years after that it was the most-requested Google Doc that I published. Then for the last few years I haven't had any requests for it. In fact, I forgot that I had even published it. That changed this week when out of the blue I got a few requests for it. You can get a copy of my simulation, Life on Minimum Wage right here

The purpose of Life on Minimum Wage is for students to recognize how difficult it is to save money when your only job(s) pay minimum wage without benefits. To win at Life on Minimum Wage the students have to reach five financial goals that they select. To earn money the students have to complete the tasks of their assigned jobs. The students then have to pay required bills before using money for their selected financial goals. As the game progresses students will be issued "surprise" cards which require them to spend money on things like speeding tickets, trips to a health clinic, and increases in rent.

All of the jobs in Life on Minimum Wage are connected so that if one business slows production or closes, the workers of another business are also impacted. The goal here is to demonstrate the effects of a business closing on a small town's economy.

Important notes before using this activity:
I created this activity twelve years ago and I have not adjusted it for inflation since then. You'll probably want to do that.

Before you email me about the Browning rifle goal card, please understand that these were goals chosen by my students in a rural community in which hunting is often a family tradition. You're welcome to change that card for use in your own classroom.