I came across this curious online game via Twitter tonight: Spent. The game puts you in the shoes of somebody who is low on cash and challenges you to survive a single month. You’re forced to make tough decisions — should you spend most of your paycheck to opt in for health insurance? You need to find a place to live — do you spend more in rent to live near your job, or pay more in gas money to live further away? How about when a friend of a friend offers you $200 to crash on your couch? What do you do when your child refuses to eat lunch because the kids make fun of the free lunch kids at school?
The game was designed for Urban Ministries of Durham but whether you want to support them or not, I encourage you to try out the game. Then consider making a donation to a charity— UMD or another. I know my family is extremely fortunate: even when we struggled sometimes to make ends meet right after college, things never really got this bad for us, and now I can afford to be a stay-at-home dad and write about mostly fun things.
So take a little time out today while you’re checking the latest Shirt.Woot and worrying about whether to switch web hosting services, and see what it’s like being one of the 14 million unemployed Americans facing some very tough decisions.
Ready? Try to make it through the month.