8 Cool Online Budgeting Games For Students

Last Updated on October 6, 2022 by Editorial Team

The excessive consumerism that is characteristic of today’s capitalist society has led to a Generation X that spends even before it earns, thanks to an array of credit cards at its service. This often leaves them in a financial mess as they get into a debt trap where they have to take more loans to repay their previous loans. Financial education, thus, becomes very important to curtail this epidemic of financial illiteracy that is prevalent among the otherwise educated youth of today.

Gaming the financial woes away

Financial entertainment[1] is a concept that involves leveraging the power and popularity of video games to attract people to an experience that has an instructional purpose.

Squire, 2008[2] argues that game-based learning environments are representative of “experimental learning spaces, where learners have rich, embodied, cooperative and collaborative interactions.” Mitchell and Savil Smith declare that games make us better decision-makers and problem solvers.

Hence, there are research-based evidences available on the efficacy of virtual games in inculcating financial literacy and ethics in a generation that spends more of its time in the virtual space. Thus concrete experiences that the virtual games offer lead to a situated understanding of the financial world by its participants.

On that note, below is the list of the most popular and educative online games to familiarize students with the world of balance sheets and asset management

Top 8 online budgeting games for students

1. Claim Your Future

Claim Your Future is an online game that introduces students to a future scenario where they are given a career and an annual salary and they are expected to make lifestyle choices after drawing up a budget. This includes the decision to choose whether to take the cut with affordable housing or snip the grocery budget in half.

Claim Your Future

It invokes critical thinking and decision-making abilities in students, where they even learn to link their present educational choices with future financial returns and are able to do an informed cost-benefit analysis for the same.

Game Link: Website

2. Credit Clash

Credit Clash

Credit clash is a game that teaches students how important it is to have a good credit score, ways to achieve it, and actions that can hurt your credit score. The kids thus battle their way to a perfect credit score as they decide whether or not to take multiple loans and how to negotiate low-interest rates.

In this process, the students learn how hard it is to achieve and maintain a good credit score.

Game Link: Website

3. The Uber Game

The Uber Game caters to the new age scenario where the Gig economy has become the flavor of the entrepreneurial world today. The game starts with the participant playing the role of a full-time Uber driver with two kids.

The Uber Game

The game revolves around the challenge of successfully paying the mortgage in a gig economy and balancing the overall finances. Thus, it introduces the participants to the promises and problems centering on drawing your finances from short-term contract jobs.

Game Link: Website

4. Shady Sam

Shady Sam

Shady Sam is an online game where the students get to play a negative character and are tasked to act as loan sharks. 

The aim of the game is to make the borrowers pay as much higher interest as possible. The game can act as an eye-opener for students. They get to realize how the lenders can trick them into making financially irresponsible decisions in the future and then fleece them of their hard-earned money.

Game Link: Website

5. Hit the Road Financial Adventure

Hit The Road - Financial Adventure

Hit the Road is an online interactive game that is aimed at inculcating the habit of saving and calculated spending. It starts with a scenario where the student is going on a cross-country road trip with friends and is required to stay within the budget allotted in the beginning while spending on the said trip. Obviously, the spending list will include gas costs, food bills, and any other amenities that they might use on the way.

The student has to make sure that they do not overspend on one item and completely cut down on the other. The game calls for a sustainable and balanced approach that the student can further inculcate into a habit.

Game Link: Website

6. The Stock Market Game

The Stock Market Game

This game allows for an online simulation of the global stock market and thus helps students warm up to the tips and tricks of the stock market trade. It helps them get a first-hand practical experience to get a conceptual understanding of personal finance management and investing.

They thus learn to tame the bulls and the bears of the stock market zoo.

Game Link: Website

7. Payback


Student loans can be an absolute nightmare to offload and many people spend their entire youth in debt paying for their college tuition.

Payback is an online game that teaches students the best way to manage their finances to pay off their student loans as fast as possible. The game brings into play multiple scenarios and decision-making moments like what to do if you do not land immediately into your dream job and whether to take low-paying jobs along with college classes as well as how to juggle multiple financial commitments.

It makes students aware of how student loans can become a huge financial liability and the best way to tackle them with battle-like efficiency.

Game Link: Website

8. Spent

An important part of financial literacy is teaching children about financial inclusion. This involves empathy with the less fortunate and understanding the value of items that we take for granted in our daily lives.


The game involves teaching the student to survive in a low-income family setting that lives paycheck to paycheck. The critical decision-making required at each step teaches the student the importance of sound financial planning in case of a paucity of resources and the opportunity cost of each decision.

Game Link: Website

Tips to improve the efficacy of online financial games:

1. Don’t skip the textbooks

Online financial games work best when they are supplemented with economic lessons in the classroom to allow for an all-around understanding of finance for the students. An understanding of the assets and liabilities on the balance sheet can help the student make critical decisions while playing the game as well as familiarize themselves with the consequences of their selected actions.

2. Follow the usual do’s and don’t s of playing videogames

Don’t lose your sleep over playing the games and give your eyes an adequate amount of rest. Have a fixed time allotted to play the game and maintain a disciplined stance over it. And most importantly, don’t get stuck in virtual reality and bask in the sunshine outside, now and then.

3. Observe the world around you

Observe the financial behavior of adults around you and ask them questions about how they manage their finances. You may get a sound tip or two from the experiences of others and get to apply them in your games. Remember, that’s not cheating; it’s learning.

4. Keep yourself updated

Follow the news and keep yourself updated on what is happening around the financial world. The governmental and banking regulations keep changing now and then, and it is best to stay tuned to keep yourself one step ahead. Games also often update their versions online, according to the new rules and regulations.

Summing up,

Games can be an excellent teaching aid to ensure a financially responsible future for the child. It becomes especially important in this day and age as the visual media is creating new needs and must-haves where none existed before. It has now become difficult to differentiate between survival goods and media-created needs today.

The children, thus, need to be taught resource management and cost-benefit analysis of each purchase so they are not subsumed in this world of hyper-consumerism that often leads to split-second decisions that prove to be financially catastrophic.


  1. Maynard, N. W., Mehta, P., Parker, J., & Steinberg, J. (2012, November). Can Games Build Financial Capability? Financial Entertainment: A Research Overview. Financial Literacy Center. https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2012/RAND_WR963.pdf
  2. Cheng, Shonn. (2013). The design of online experiential financial literacy games.

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