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How Animal Crossing Taught Me Money Management and Impulse Control

Updated on January 3, 2016
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Noelle Lucia has been a writer and author for over 10 years. She wears a lot of different hats and uses her experience to fuel her writing.

About the Game

Animal Crossing is a video game available on a variety of Nintendo consoles. For those who are unfamiliar with gameplay, you play as a human in a community of animals and your purpose is to integrate into and improve your community. The game is interesting because it comprises of many very normal tasks that make up every day life. You run errands for your neighbors, make money selling things, plant trees and rearrange your house. When I got the gamecube version as a pre-teen, I wanted to get the biggest house possible, filled with classical furniture.

Improving your living space

At the start of the game, you move into an itty bitty shack in town, much like a young person's first apartment. You have options then to invest money into increasing the space and getting nicer furniture. But this investment takes a really long time to pay off, even if you work really hard all the time. And if you don't work, you don't earn money and there are no improvements. It's just like life that way. It takes a long time to save money for something good and it takes hard work. The far off reward teaches you patience and to pursue your goal.

If you've worked really hard

If you work really hard and invest in your house, it can grow to a two-story bigjob like the picture below. And you can use your money to get nicer furniture and improve your community.

So How Much Time And Work are we talking here?

We're talking a lot of time and work. To fully invest in the game and discover everything it has to offer, you're looking at a few months to a year. This is just like real life, in terms of delayed gratification and waiting for an investment to pay off.

How Do You Make Money?

In the game, you can make money in a few different ways. You can get gifts from neighbors for running errands, which you can sell. You can catch bugs and fish to sell at the store. You can also chop down trees and dig holes to find goodies to sell. Now, I got really overzealous with this and chopped down all the trees in my community. While I made some money, my major deforestation project made all my friends and neighbors move out of town because I had ruined the scenery. It was a major lesson in ruining the environment for cash, and I never over-liquidated the forest again. As a result of my huge deforestation disaster, I learned to work smarter, not harder. When it rains in the game, you have a chance to catch a 3000 dollar fish. So instead of ruining the community over small potatoes, I decided to conserve time, energy, and resources by changing my strategy. This is just like real life. You can work a minimum wage job for peanuts and get nowhere fast. But if you get smart about making and saving money, you can accomplish more in the world and actually do some good along the way!

For the College Kid in All of Us

Now I was a poor college kid too, so I know the value of a bargain or a deal. I'm still pretty thrifty, so I'm not above heading to the thrift store or the second-hand shop or even the junkyard for my metal needs. The dump in Animal Crossing is the equivalent to all of those, as pictured below. You can leave your unwanted items there for others, and you can find goodies that others leave behind. In real life, I have a totally chic wardrobe, some of which is name brand, and it's all from the thrift store!!!

The Animal Crossing Equivalent to the Thrift Store

Check out the video below!

Okay, so there are a couple of youtubers out there who run a gig called "let's play." Basically you watch them play a game to give you an idea of what to expect. Check out the let's play of Animal Crossing below to get a feel for the game.

Let's Play Animal Crossing

The Verdict

While I don't make millions of dollars yet, I make more than minimum wage and I have a few different revenue streams going. I have learned to be patient and to work very hard towards my goals, but also to be smart and to not destroy what I have in my friends and community. If you have kids, try playing this game with them or giving to them as a gift. They might really learn something from it! Plus it's just a lot of fun!

Let me know what you think of my journey!

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