Well I played Spent twice to beat it and it was pretty interesting. The basics were the same. I started off with the most reliable highest paying job even though it was manual labor and bad for my health. This led to a stable paycheck due to the consistent hours. I figured such a job could cause frequent, and possibly serious, injuries so I enrolled in the Affordable Care Act Gold Health Plan and figured the $15 dollar co pay would make it the most cost effective in the long run. I chose to live as close as possible to my job even though it cost the most and it paid off because I made it to work every day and didn’t have any noticeable travel fees. For groceries I went with a lot of the basics: hot dogs, milk, cereal, eggs, chicken, bread, spaghetti, beans, and ramen. I spent a total of $105 on groceries and didn’t get anything fancy such as juice. I didn’t run out of food during the game. Unfortunately my child wouldn’t eat because I couldn’t afford anything but the free lunch and it embarrassed her. That horrified me. I made extra money by borrowing from my friends using the Facebook Share function and donating Plasma. I also saved money by having a garage sale and made $150. My unexpected costs were minimal because of my great copay rate. Though my apartment fee was drastically raised and my registration expired. Fortunately I lived so close to work that I rarely had to worry about driving and didn’t buy new registration. That part personally touched me because I have friends that do that (live close to work but are afraid to travel because their registration expired) as well as donate plasma.
I know my character spent a lot of time sick or had to visit the doctor because of how rough their job was. They worked through the pain regardless but it was sad to watch. I could see people with a job like that being more on edge than anything else. The other jobs instability would probably leave them anxious though about their next pay check. That was a tough decision. I paid for everything I could for my child from field trips to tutoring. I put my child before everything and that’s how I plan to be in real life when that time comes. The first time I played the game I lost because I bought my child name brand shoes. It was a rude awakening to know the great lengths parents go for their children and where sacrifices have to be made. As far as morals go I got a woman fired because I broke something and hid it. She was blamed for it and could no longer support her two children. I felt bad for her but she had to take the fall. I also watched a woman drop a $10 bill and kept it for myself. I missed my best friends wedding because of costs and I couldn’t even go to a free concert because of the childcare fees. My morals were survival and my social life was nonexistent. However I still put an emphasis on education and I took Computer Science classes at the community college. After losing the first time my priorities were solid the second time around. Everything was geared around the welfare of my child. I think being financially responsible is making sure your money supports your priorities.
Relating this back to real life I don’t know how I could do it. I’m horrible with money in real life. I just make sure I have enough to eat and then I splurge everywhere else. The game really gave me a better understanding of the struggle but I always had respect for people who are trying to survive. I understand now why some people don’t report expensive things that they find. This game taught me about acceptance and the struggles of others just as much as it taught me about money. It showed me how blessed I am and how hard it is for people in poverty. You can also see how the system repeats itself. Those computer science classes were a big sacrifice to move up and especially because it didn’t even account for time it takes to do it I could understand how it’s so hard to move up in the world. Also my kid could’ve just as easily been where I cut costs. Also of note I finished with $113 and still had to pay rent for the next month so I won but I really didn’t. It’s truly a struggle.