“Spring Cleaning” post #9: “Spent”, the minimum wage simulation

Previously, in Spring Cleaning

spring cleaningWelcome to the ninth article in the Spring Cleaning series, where I take articles that have languished unfinished for too long, finish them, and finally post them here on the Accordion Guy blog. In case you missed any of the previous eight, I’ve listed them below:

  1. Burgers. Burgers everywhere.
  2. Which beer is most likely to land you in the emergency room?
  3. Weber Cooks, the saddest cooking show
  4. Get on your bicycle!
  5. Fireworks and sensitive body parts
  6. Work!
  7. Storytelling, “Save the Cat”, and same-old-same-old in Hollywood
  8. The best financial advice fits on a 4-by-6-inch index card

Spent, the minimum wage simulation


Click the graphic to play Spent.

Even though I’ve recently bumped up against a few financial difficulties of my own — all thanks to an unscrupulous rip-off artist of a business partner and former friend — I’m still a long way from being in the situation of having no savings, few employment opportunities, and little hope. I’ve never been in the situation where I had to choose between paying the rent and eating, or falling back on that fastest-growing job category, retail work, to pay the bills. I have no idea of what it’s like to have nothing to work with. According to the demographic analytics package that I’m using, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, chances are that you have no idea, either. Welcome to the lucky club!

Spent is a simulation in which you start the month with a thousand dollars and have to make it to the end of the month without falling into debt. You’re unemployed, so you choose among the fastest-growing job categories today. They also happen to be the lowest-paying. Choosing “temp” puts you into a typing test to qualify for the job…

typing test

A piece of cake for me, but I’m someone who’s downsized to “just” two laptops. I landed the job, which nets me a weekly pay of $306:

spent 2

$9 an hour? The last temp job I took paid almost 9 times that.

Next task: find somewhere to live, balancing being close to work with being able to afford the place.

spent 3

My new place was too small for all my stuff, so I held a yard sale:

spent 4a

Dam right I kept this:

spent 6

Maybe next semester; I’m strapped:

spent 7

I went with the “running buddy” option for this one:

spent 8

Salad? What am I, Bill Gates? Besides, isn’t the McDouble the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history?

spent 9

Oh, it’s on:

spent 10

What the hell? Was I working for GitHub?

spent 11

Walk it off, plebe, walk it off:

spent 12

Bill time:

day 12

In a matter of a few minutes and an in-game month, I made it with money to spare by stiffing myself and my kid. The game is over; the real-life version requires you to wash-rinse-repeat for several dozen real-time months.

spent final

Want to give the game a try? Click here to play.

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