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.
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.
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?
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.
Pinyo Bhulipongsanon is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.