Before you roll your eyes, no, I don’t get paid to play The Sims. However, there are some pretty applicable skills and life lessons that I have picked up from playing this game over the last 15 years. Not only is The Sims helping me to pay off my student debt, but it has helped me to develop important reflexes and thought processes that I may not have otherwise.
3 Ways that The Sims is Useful When You’re on a Budget
Everyone has their favorite form of budget entertainment, and playing The Sims has always been mine. It requires a little investment up front, but is a relaxing and free-form way for me to spend time without spending money. Now that we’re working like crazy on paying college debt, budget-friendly entertainment has become even more important to us!
Here are three ways that The Sims is contributing to my goal of paying off my student loans as quickly as possible:
The Sims is Played Offline
Unlike many of the console games that my husband likes to play (COD, for example) The Sims is for the most part, a completely offline experience. There are some neat online features you can take advantage of, but the game is certainly still fun without them.
Playing games online usually requires faster internet speeds and sometimes a monthly or yearly subscription. The Sims, on the other hand, only requires that you pay for the game. This money-saving aspect has not only been a part of the reason why I have purchased each new iteration over the years, but has also saved us money on internet and subscription fees.
It Satisfies the HGTV Itch
If I watch HGTV and see all those trendy, gorgeous homes and then take a look around mine and feel anxious to spruce things up, The Sims is my go-to. When we’re saving money or running a tight budget, freshly painted walls and new curtains are just not in the cards. However, The Sims gives me the freedom to create a truly gorgeous space for my little people to live in, and is usually enough to take the edge off that longing for a dream house.
When Sims Work Hard They Succeed
One of my favorite things about The Sims, other than building homes, is seeing hard work and consistency pay off. Of course, successes in the game don’t equate to successes in the real world, but the reinforcement of the idea that consistent work and dedication garners positive results is very applicable to my goal of paying off student debt.
If my little Sim guy goes to work in a good mood and performs well, eventually he’ll get a promotion. If I work hard and stick to my budget, I’ll hit my goal and pay off my student debt. Achieving goals in a game differs from achieving them in real life, but the reinforcement of a follow-through mentality is certainly not going to hurt my chances of meeting my goals when it really counts.
Life Lessons from Playing The Sims
I quit using cheats while playing The Sims pretty early on. My husband says it’s because I played too much and the game became too easy, and that may be partially true. I am pretty efficient. The real reasons I stopped cheating, however, are because I realized that success means more when you do the work to get there, and that even the most careful planning doesn’t guarantee a perfect result.
Practicing Self-Discipline Never Hurts
We live in a culture of immediate gratification, and I think it’s causing a lot of us to forego the practice of patience and self-discipline. Cheating in The Sims usually involved giving my little people tons of money, the best furniture, and the biggest house in the nicest neighborhood. However, when you cheat to give your little people everything that the game-life has to offer, there just isn’t much left to strive for.
When I quit using the cheats, I discovered that my game became much more fulfilling. Instead of being handed the best of everything from the start, my poor little people had to struggle to make ends meet and spend time on their career before they could afford some luxuries (you know, like a toilet, or a bed haha). In the end, the consistent practice of waiting patiently until I did the work and earned the reward has made me a more disciplined person in the real world. It still serves as a reminder that good things come to those who wait.
Boredom Comes Less Quickly
Another reason I continued to play without cheating, was that I suddenly cared a lot more about achieving goals and succeeding in the game. My little guy’s promotion mattered because he needed the money. His wife’s ability to fix a broken television set was actually useful. Their family’s future generations were affected by the small decisions that were made. All of that resulted in me becoming bored with the game much less quickly.
Cheats took away the meaning behind working towards goals to improve the little sims’ lives, and in doing so also made the game less engaging. I think this mentality applies to other areas of life, but very specifically has helped me learn to do things the right way, rather than the fastest way.
Ridiculous Things Happen in Real Life Too
Life isn’t as silly as The Sims. There are no cow plants. You probably (hopefully) won’t burn the house down making a pot of mac and cheese. However, I think the silly and very random misfortune that is present in the sims can serve as a reminder that life rarely goes according to plan.
Even my wealthiest, cheated-up sims families would have unfortunate things happen to them. Someone might forget how to swim. An unskilled guy may attempt to fix a broken stereo. All of these things are a little ridiculous, but when it came down to it, I really couldn’t predict or stop them from happening. And that’s life. Life is unpredictable and feels a little ridiculous sometimes.
I think that it’s important to learn to deal with disappointment and how to be flexible, and I believe that The Sims over the years somewhat made that possible for me.
Looking for Actual Tips for Paying Student Debt?
I love The Sims and I always have, but if I am being honest, there are a lot of other factors that play into learning big life lessons and paying off my student debt. My husband and I are committed to getting rid of our debt as quickly as possible, and if you’d like to learn more about that, check out my other blog post: