Dolores R., Kelly, and Elyse all sent links to a new website, PlaySpent, designed to help people understand the challenges and trade-offs faced by low-income people with insecure employment. The “game” begins when you’ve been unemployed, have only $1,000 left in your bank account, and need to get a low wage job.
I failed the typing test (seriously), so I got a job as a warehouse worker:
The site asked me if I wanted to pay for health insurance:
The site then asks me to find a place to live, balancing gas costs:
And it asks the player to choose between things your children need/want and your budget:
And then, of course, there’s groceries:
And the game goes on…
The site would be an excellent internet field trip for students in sociology classes or anyone who wants to better understand the many trade-offs that poor people are forced to make and the difficulty in making ends meet when you’re part of the working poor.
Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
I thought this was an interesting tool to highlight the difficult choices that low-income families have to make. It also points out how our society often disadvantages the lower class, such as how I was charged a fee for going below the minimum balance in my account, or by telling me how long it would take to pay off credit card debt only paying the minimum balance.