Most people would agree that saving money is a virtue. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they prefer saving money to spending it. Even more interesting is the fact that the gap between Americans who prefer saving and those who prefer spending has grown dramatically since the 2008 recession. Saving money, it would seem, is on a lot of people’s mind.
But saving is not an end unto itself. We at Banzai teach saving money with a purpose. Each course (Junior, Teen, and Plus) requires players to save enough money to reach their goal by the end of the game—that’s how they win.
Saving for a Goal
Kids go through one important rite of passage: the bike. Of course, it is exponentially more satisfying for kids to save up their own hard-earned cash, which is why in Junior, we take kids through the process of saving up for their own bike, to give them a sense of accomplishment.
In Teen, players save up for college registration, and in Plus, players save up for the down payment on a home. The idea behind having a savings goal for all three courses is that we should always be saving up for something at all stages in life. Saving up for something we have earned teaches us to be proud of our accomplishments in a tangible way. Read this article for an in-depth comparison of our courses.
Trade-Offs of Saving
Saving just to save is not the mentality we want to instill in Banzai players. One of the overarching themes in our courses is that of trade-offs: not spending in one category can often mean spending more in another category.
A lot of Americans associate saving money with morality; spending is often perceived to be indulgent and unnecessary. However, taking the cheapest way out is not always the same as purposeful, goal-oriented saving.
Here’s one example in Plus where taking the cheapest option is not wise: players have to buy a new mattress, and it’s tempting to save as much money as possible and sleep on the couch or buy a discount mattress.
If they try saving money on this decision, they later experience back pain and have to spend more money in going to the chiropractor.
However, just for fun, players can earn the Scrooge badge if they consistently choose the cheapest options throughout the course.
This badge isn’t exactly a reward but rather points out their penchant for penny pinching. In any case, we generally encourage Banzai players to save money when it makes the most sense. At the same time, we also teach them that the cheapest option is not necessarily the most “moral” thing to do at all times, especially when it’s at the expense of our own well-being.