Money Game 101


(photo by George Cavanaugh)

I keep asking myself “how can someone start earning 5% on their first $5 right out of the gate?”

You can do it the very next time you buy groceries or something else you need. Just use a coupon or shop a sale on at least one item.

This is the challenge:

  1. Take $5 and set it aside either in a change jar or a bank account (this is your Money Game fund).
  2. Print this chart.
  3. On your next regularly scheduled shopping trip for things you’ll have to buy anyway, use a coupon or sale to save the money needed to level up.
  4. When you get home, either put that amount in the change jar or transfer it from your checking account to your savings account.
  5. Check off or color in the level to show that you completed it.

Don’t go broke saving money. Get these savings from what you would have spent anyway. The only thing I’m asking you to do is to actually take the money you saved and put it into your Money Game fund.

Now repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 every time you have to buy something. This should be enough to get you through Level 30 without having to do anything else at all. By then, you’ll have about $20 saved up and we’ll talk before then I promise.

While you go through this process, give yourself huge credit. Remind yourself that you just grew your $5 by at least a quarter. There isn’t a bank I know of that would pay you that much interest on $5 in a month let alone in one day. Keep growing it and keep giving yourself credit. That alone will help you get more ideas. The progress you are making is real and you will have real money at the end of thirty levels to prove it.

Many of you have have told me you’re thinking about playing the Money Game. I’m challenging you – start playing it! It’s going to cost you a little time and trouble to track your savings and progress. You’re going to need that skill as your money grows so get busy!!

On our own home front, fuel went over for the week and food came in way under. We keep stocking our pantry and freezer and this week, we didn’t need much food at all. I caught up fuel and that still left a nice power up of $40.21.

Level Completed: 144 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $104.76
Total Balance: $5,865.52
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.8% so far this month.

$42.18 is needed to reach the next level.


3 thoughts on “Money Game 101

  1. Hi! I found your blog from a post you made on the YNAB forums (I had posted at the time that I was considering the Money Game as one of my 2017 goals). I’ve decided to start playing–I’m at Level 10 due to car insurance coming in lower than expected this month. I noticed that we have very different styles of budgeting–I have a full buffer in YNAB, and depend on things like sales and coupons and shopping at discount stores that don’t offer Ibotta deals to keep groceries, etc within my budget for the month.

    I’m just not going to see as many quick wins from budget savings as you have because I don’t redistribute funds to categories on a weekly basis. I do plan on putting any money that my money earns (like Cashback on PIF credit cards and interest on savings) into my Money Game funds, but Im worried about keeping the momentum going. Do you have any ideas for other ways to add funds in the early stages?


    1. I’m so glad you decided to just jump in and start! I’m going to give your question a lot of thought and hopefully have more answers for you (and maybe others will comment too).

      But for starters – what about selling things you no longer need?

      Also – it sounds like you’re a great money manager and I’m impressed that you are fully buffered in YNAB. So I’d relax and just have fun with it.

      I’d love to keep the conversation going. The more people get together on this, the more ideas we can share (along with results).


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