Can you live on $9 an hour and what would that look like if suddenly your utility bill was $20 to $30 higher a month? Play the game

With the Austin City Council considering an electric rate increase that, as it is currently structured, would greatly impact low income wage earners, perhaps it would help if if we could see what it would be like to walk in a poor person’s shoes.  Most Americans know the facts about low-wage work, but many have been lucky enough to avoid actually having to live on $8 or $9 an hour.  A computer game called Spent gives you the opportunity to see what it would be like.

The game, by an advertising firm called McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham, N.C., starts with a choice: Would you like to be a server, a warehouse worker or a temp?Spent

From there, the choices get more difficult.

  • Should you pay to get your pet medical care, or let the animal suffer?
  • Should you go to the dentist or suffer yourself and save some bucks?
  • Should you let your child and a friend get ice cream, or do you need that $5 for bills?

The game is interspersed with facts about the choices people with very little money are making every day, and the consequences of those choices.

Want to see how well you could manage your money on a very low wage?  And when you are done, add $20 to $30 on for a utility service fee increase.   Play it yourself.