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    5 Nintendo Switch Games That Secretly Teach Money Management Skills

    From a peaceful island paradise to a tax-dodging turnip, let the games begin.

    Who says video games have to be mindless? If you gave into the pandemic's Nintendo Switch craze, you probably dropped a good amount of money on the popular console.

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    Fear not. Even if your Switch was more of an impulse purchase, you can get more out of your console by playing these five games that can actually teach a thing or two about managing money well:

    1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

    Nintendo / Via

    When it comes to caring for your own private island, good money management is essential. Enter Animal Crossing: New Horizons, one of the most popular games for the Nintendo Switch console. The premise is simple: You move to a bare-bones island and encounter Tom Nook, a tanuki who will become your cheerleader, landlord, and debt collector. This ultra-relaxing game allows players to customize their paradise via landscaping, decorating, and harvesting materials that can be found around their island.

    Oddly enough, this whimsical escapist game brims with real-world financial lessons.

    If you're an impulse spender who craves instant gratification, you might blow all of your bells (the game's currency) on sweaters, hats, and shoes from the Able Sisters' clothing shop. If you're a budgeter who prides yourself on having the patience it takes to reach big money goals, you may have an easier time saving your bells to pay off the game's hefty home loans. 

    Upon settling into your tropical slice of heaven, you'll quickly find that upgrading your island doesn't come for free. In fact, it requires tons of hard work by way of fishing, digging for fossils, growing fruit, and more. These tasks allow players to craft items or sell items to acquire bells. With your hard-earned cash, you'll want to throw a portion into your interest-accruing savings account — which can be used to pay down debt or save for larger purchases! Oh, and there's an entire stock market involving turnips (aptly called the 'stalk market') too.

    2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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    If you have ever ventured into the Zelda universe before, you're probably familiar with the franchise's currency, rupees. These glimmering, shiny gems can be found throughout the games, often acquired after beating an enemy or exploring villages. Protagonist Link mostly uses rupees to buy weapons and other gear, but Nintendo expanded Link's financial potential in this Switch installment. 

    Breath of the Wild allows players to explore a vast map at their own pace, with plenty to do beyond the primary mission of defeating big boss Ganon. One of the best examples of this can be found in a tiny town called Hateno Village, where players can begin a side quest called "Hylian Homeowner."

    As you might guess, this is your chance to help nomad Link settle into a place of his own. Like in the real world, buying a house is no easy task. You will be asked to scrounge up 3,000 rupees and pay your dues by collecting 30 bundles of wood. After that, you'll want to manage your savings well (you may need to sell items to a local merchant if you're running low) in order to furnish your new digs.

    3. Stardew Valley

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    After inheriting your grandfather's wilting plot of farmland, you begin your Stardew Valley adventure with hardly any money to your name. From here, you are destined to spend hours of your life dedicated to a farming simulator that requires you to assess the profit value of crops, depending on the time of day and time of year. 

    However, this game goes beyond just planting vegetables and offers players the chance to learn the interworkings of an entire economy. In Stardew, every choice you make impacts the amount of gold you have the potential to earn, from the farming tools you invest in to the profession that you choose.

    On the Switch's multiplayer mode, two players can pre-select a profit margin and have all of their earnings divided amongst themselves equally. Looking to combine finances with your partner? It doesn't hurt to test things out by *harmlessly* joining bank accounts in this game first!

    4. Motorsport Manager

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    Move over, Mario Kart. Motorsport Manager is a surprisingly challenging money management game that car enthusiasts (and budgeting enthusiasts) can enjoy. As the manager of a racing team, you will be allotted a certain budget and the ability to customize pretty much anything, from staff to vehicles to sponsors.

    While it might be tempting to build your team based on which cars look coolest, Motorsport Manager offers players a few business tidbits along the way.

    Budgeting for future expenses is a big deal since you'll inevitably find yourself in need of car repairs, new equipment, and salaries to keep your team happy. This game might not have you pelting red shells at your opponents along Rainbow Road, but it will have you feeling all sorts of ways about your ability to balance the books! 

    5. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

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    Who would have thought that a game about a trouble-making turnip would involve elements of financial ruin? The indie Switch game Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion very clearly touches on a few hard-hitting money problems. You begin the story as a cute cartoon turnip who has tragically failed to pay his taxes and now must be evicted from his home. To get his life back in order, Turnip Boy must embark on a mission to repay his debt to Mayor Onion and save his garden along the way... No pressure.

    This adorable adventure might be a little far-fetched (you are a talking turnip after all), but it does shed light on a few perilous financial dangers — without overdoing it in regards to gameplay and storyline.

    Throughout your quest to repay your debt, you'll come across various tax documents and currencies that can help Turnip Boy return to a peaceful and stable life. While actively managing money is less integral than in games like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley, it would be a sin not to include Turnip Boy on this list. 

    Financial lesson learned? Don't commit tax evasion. 

    Have any of your favorite video games sharpened your money management skills? Tell us how in the comments!

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts