Learning Money Management

Budgeting our money is very important.  It’s something we all do.  We try to save it while we plan for that next purchase, be it a vacation or a new TV.  However, if you are like me, then saving and budgeting are both boring and not as easy as we thought.  When we try to break all of our expenses down, there’s always some unexpected purchase, or something we didn’t put much thought into but cost quite a bit.  So, how can we learn to be better with our money?  If you have come to this site before, you know where this is going.

This is a photo I took of my friends Power Grid game.  The map is the default one, that of Germany, and the power plant auction stand is one I made for them for their birthday.
This is a photo I took of my friends Power Grid game. The map is the default one, that of Germany, and the power plant auction stand is one I made for them for their birthday.

The board game Power Grid can help teach you about money management.

Simply put, Power Grid is a game where you buy power stations and use them to power your cities.  However, there is quite a bit more to it than that.  First, you set up an auction board with eight power plants that span two rows.  All power plants have a number associated with them, and they are placed in numerical order.  The power plants in the top row are the ones that are currently up for auction, and you can only bid on any one plant in the top row.  Once that plant is purchased, a new one is drawn and it is placed in the correct order per its number.  This is where plants from the bottom row can move up to the top, bidding row.

Whomever is first player selects the power plant they wish to bid on, the starting price is the number of the plant.  Once they have selected a power plant, the bidding then goes around the table clockwise.  Anyone can bid on the plant, however if you pass, you cannot make any bids on the current power plant. It is a good idea to have a set budget for buying power plants and to pay attention to how much money you currently have.  Since each player can only buy one power plant in a round, if the current plant exceeds you budget, simply pass and wait for the next plant.

The next thing that you need to pay attention to is what resource your plant consumes to provide power and what the current price of said resource is.  If you can afford the plant but cannot afford to fuel it, then you have budgeted incorrectly.  You must also pay attention to what resources your opponents’ power plants require, as when they buy their fuel, it increases the price of the fuel going forward.  So, again, you must budget accordingly.

Now you must buy your cities.  All cities, for each round cost the exact same amount of money.  However, the routes you take to get to those cities vary in cost.  You must plan your routes according to how much money you have.  You cannot buy a city without buying the route to said city, so you always have to factor in that extra cost.

Once you have bought all your cities, it is time to power them.  Powering cities is where you get money to buy more power plants, fuel, and cities.  The main idea is to try to power as many cities as you can for as little as you can.  As the rounds go on everything will get more expensive, so it is important to plan out your expenses for a couple rounds.  At a competitive table, making one major mistake, like not having enough money to purchase one of the three items, can lead you to not winning the game.  Therefore, you must always know exactly how much you have and spend it in the most economical way.

Power Grid is a great game as it gets your mind thinking about budgeting.  It is also a fantastically fun game to play.  If you haven’t tried it out, I highly recommend that you do and then leave a comment below and/or share on Twitter about your experience.

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