Janelle Wilke: Spent

Choose a job, and play through the month. How did your choice impact your month? [+1]
My choice was a 2nd shift warehouse worker. The job had steady income & hours, but also came with physical strains like backaches and exhaustion. Also, it is not flexible when things go wrong (for instance, when my car ran out of fuel and I was late for work).
Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice? [+2]
I lived at the $830 mark, closer to the place I work. While the cost for living is higher per month, the travel costs are minimal and I am not left without options if I need to find alternative means of reaching the workplace —I’m close enough for other forms of transportation. 
What were some extra ways you made money? What were unexpected costs? [+3]
I made money through garage sales and donating plasma. The unexpected costs were immensely higher. I had issues with a tooth I needed to get surgery for ($800), a car loan that needed to be paid ($500), as well as avoiding paying off my credit card debts.
How do different jobs affect someone’s living? [+1]
Some jobs can be more flexible to hard times, but the pay and unstable hours may have more negative impacts. A more stable job requires that I put in more effort to make sure I do not lose that job.
What did you choose regarding your child’s afterschool activities? Why? [+2]
I would almost always pitch in so my child could participate in after school activities, because I feel like in real life, I would want my child to have as many opportunities as possible. The area where I opted out was when they felt embarrassed to be on a free meal plan and being perceived as a poor kid. I thought what food they had would not affect any future opportunities for them. The result was that my kid would decide they’d rather not eat at all.


How did your priorities change during the month? What does being financially responsible mean? [+3]

Some days, if I could pay a bill with at least a $100 cushioning, I would do it (especially if it was near a payday) to avoid up charges and debt in the future. Most of the time, however, I could not afford the setbacks. I think financial responsibility means trying to stay on top of payments and avoiding debt; either investing or holding back with some foresight of future cost to yourself and others.



When have your own financial concerns affected your choices? How were your choices influenced? [+1]

When I have had financial concerns, I would wind up avoiding get-togethers that I knew would have some sort of cost. I got in a good habit of only eating out two meals per week (2 of 21 meals), and -if necessary- I would borrow from my parents. I have always made sure I could afford what I’ve bought, however in one case at the end of last semester, I had to spend $150 on school supplies. I charged it to my credit card, knowing I couldn’t afford it right away. Thankfully I got a job with a bi-monthly paycheck just in time! My parents make it open to come to them for help with money, so I’ve never been in true jeopardy. But I try to avoid seeing them as a way out.

How did playing change they way you think about your own or other’s struggles with money? [+2]

It makes me more empathetic to the struggles they have. I have a co-worker who has nearly all of the issues that came up in this game… no car, not enough food, always asking for money, taking “sick days” off when he could use them to make money. Some of his choices I just couldn’t understand, but this game helps put a bit of it into perspective. And I cannot blame someone -even in a poor financial situation- to be 100% frugal, as I cannot even set that expectation for myself. And if you cannot enjoy life once in a while, then it makes the efforts seem so pointless when relief is not on the horizon.

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn? [+2]

I learned a bit about the impacts that poverty has -psychologically- on a child. Figuring out ways to allow a child to have a normal life while trying to avoid spending is challenging and a bit of a balancing act.


3 thoughts on “Janelle Wilke: Spent

  1. I think this game would be great for high school kids to play and get an idea of what adult life can be like. I haven’t played the game personally but from what I read from your critique I think it would be a great lesson to teach all high school kids and give them a sense of real life. I also think what you said about your in game child was interesting, you wanted them to have what they wanted, they didn’t want to be perceived as a poor kid so you made sure they didn’t. I like that you respect their opinion.

  2. This sounds like an interesting game for not only high school, but adults to play as well. The game looks like it can invoke an great emotional response to how people live.

    I think that this game shows the stigma of what it’s like to be perceived as poor. Especially with children and how when growing up there is that feeling of being judged or not being like that other kids.

  3. This game sounds like an interesting way for people to be able to see and live as a side of society that they’ll most likely never be able to truly experience. I like how it gave the choice or saving money, or making your child happy, letting you choose pragmatism or idealism.

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