September 30, 2011

The Spent Game... Working Poor in America

The online game called Spent illustrates what it is like to be in a working poor situation or low income job.

The game is interesting.   It points out the various costs that can hit you unexpectedly and notes how various every day costs can be extremely hard for low income earners to handle.

I've played the game a few times now and I've 'lost' most of the times I played.   My latest attempt I ran out of money on day 6 of the month...

I will fault the game for being a little unrealistic since it seems to throw disaster after disaster at you.   A typical week does not include a car accident and $100 bill from a neighbor breaking your window which your sinister slumlord expects you to pay.   And yeah the times I've played any interaction with a landlord makes out the landlord as an evil moustache twirling sinister villain who blatantly breaks laws.   As a landlord myself this is an unrealistic and blatantly unfair stereotype.  But its common enough that it can happen... just like a car accident or a medical bill or another unforseen bill or even common bills.   Still while all these emergencies won't happen in a given month, its likely that they will happen sooner or later.  If you live paycheck to paycheck then its only a matter of time before an emergency or unexpected cost or even daily bills will empty your bank account.

If you answer all the questions the right way and have some luck than you can win.  I've won a couple times playing the warehouse worker.  However I did have to work with a sore back and persevere through other hardships.  Hey, who said being poor was fun?

Maybe its not super realistic but it has a point.   The game is interesting and illustrates pretty well that living on low income is not fun.

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