A Game That Will Teach You to be a Cash Flow Maven

The other day I was helping a friend prepare for a personal finance presentation to a group. I suggested that she breaks up her presentation with a group activity so that the session is more interactive. I don’t know if she will use my suggestion or not. However, I want to share the idea with you because I think this is a good activity that you can do with your family. This little game should help you become better with household budgeting and improve your cash flow.

Cash Flow Game

1. Download and Print the Cash Flow Game Worksheet

Download the Cash Flow Game Worksheet. Make sure you print enough copies for all participants and a few extra spares.

2. Listing and Improving Your Income

  • BEFORE – List your income sources and the monthly amount in the BEFORE columns. Some examples of income sources include: your income, your spouse income, income from your savings, and rental income.
  • AFTER – List income improvement ideas and update the new estimated monthly amount in the AFTER columns. Some ideas to make more money include: asking for a raise, working overtime, moving your money to a bank that pays higher interest rate, start an alternative income project, etc.

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3. Listing and Reducing Your Expenses

  • BEFORE – List your expenses and the monthly amount in the BEFORE columns. Some examples of expenses include: your mortgage or rent, utilities, car payment, insurance payment, groceries, entertainment, etc.
  • AFTER – List expense reduction ideas and update the new estimated monthly amount in the AFTER columns. Some ideas to reduce your expenses include: buying generics/store brands, eating out less, cut your electricity usage, reduce your recurring expenses (e.g., subscriptions, cell phones, etc.), increasing your insurance deductibles, etc.

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4. Calculating Your Cash Flow

Now subtract the Total Income from Total Expenses for each the BEFORE and AFTER scenarios. Do you have a positive cash flow before? Does your cash flow improve afterward?

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5. Sharing and Brainstorming

Now, it’s time for all the participants to start sharing the income improvement and expense reduction ideas. Just go around the table and have each person share one idea at a time. As you move from person to person, it’s important that you do not criticize other people ideas. This will help build trust and creativity.

You’ll notice that there are some ideas you didn’t consider, and some that you thought of but others have not considered.

Be sure to try this out with your family and different groups of people. The more you go through this exercise, the more ideas you’ll get. Last but not least, make sure you implement some of the ideas that you come up with — otherwise, it’s just a game.

About the Author

By , on Aug 3, 2009
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (6 Comments)

  1. Pinyo says:

    Thank you everyone. Please let me know how the game worked out for you. Would love to get some feedback.

  2. Jessica says:

    I have always enjoyed writing in any shape or form, and I have now made it a profitable hobby by writing content for some websites. It is very important to constantly evaluate your income and find ways of improving it.

  3. This is wonderful, not only will you be helping others but you will also be getting more ideas as well. There are persons who also believe that anything with finance is boring and so this would be a wonderful game in teaching them in an interactive way.

  4. Prima L says:

    I loved your tips! Well in this crisis crushed period it is required to save and you have really attempted to most of the tips.

  5. Zengirl says:


    Sounds great! I will try out this game with dh, kids are too young to understand it so far, but it will be great to show them once they are bit older, like 6.

    great info, as always.


  6. Robin Poulin says:

    This is a great idea! I love it. You could generate so many ideas. It’s so much easier to find a solutions for someone else than it is for your own concerns because you’re not as close to the situation.

    For those that don’t want to share numbers, I could see this game still working well with just stating the ideas of how to improve each item on their list. One thing I do to save on food/groceries is to buy mostly bulk sale buying (making sure it won’t be wasted food/more money spent on gas than the savings). Once I bought 150 boxes of cereal (doesn’t take up as much storage space as you think it would) @ 3 for $5 regularly about $5 each to begin with. That gave me a savings of almost $600. The money I spent over my regular budget for groceries is the amount I reduced my budget by over the following 6 months or so. It’s amazing how much you save. I think part of that bulk buying needs to be menu planning for at least a couple of weeks.

    Good luck with your games fellow readers and thanks for the idea Pinyo!

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