Pay Day

Pay Day: The Game of Financial Strategy, Rules, and Winning Instructions


One of my favorite budgeting-adjacent games is Pay Day, a classic board game that simulates the ups and downs of an entire month, complete with bills, sales, loans, and other financial surprises. The game was first introduced by Parker Brothers in 1975 and has since been reissued by Winning Moves. The game’s objective is to have the most cash at the end of the game, which is determined by the roll of the dice and the decisions you make throughout the game. To play Pay Day, you’ll need the game board, play money, 54 mail cards, 36 deal cards, and 6 tokens.

Quick Tip

One quick tip to win at Pay Day is to always keep an eye on your cash flow. It’s not just about earning money, but also about managing your expenses wisely.

Rules for playing Pay Day

The official rules for Pay Day are quite straightforward. Each player starts the game with $325. The players decide how many months the game will last, and then the game begins. Players roll the dice and move their token along the game board, following the instructions on the space they land on. These can include receiving or paying money, buying deals, or drawing mail cards. The game ends after the agreed-upon number of months, and the player with the most cash (including the value of any deals they have) wins. Some players like to introduce ‘house rules’ to add variety to the game, such as adding interest to loans or changing the values of deals.

How to Play Pay Day

  1. Setup: Each player chooses a token and places it on the ‘Start’ space. The money, mail cards, and deal cards are sorted and placed next to the game board. Each player receives $325.
  2. Gameplay: Players take turns rolling the dice and moving their token. They follow the instructions on the space they land on, which can include receiving a salary, paying bills, or buying deals. Players can also take out loans if necessary, but these must be paid back by the end of the game.
  3. End of the Game: The game ends after the agreed-upon number of months. Players count their cash and add the value of any deals they have. The player with the most money wins.

How to Win at Pay Day

Winning at Pay Day requires a balance of earning money, managing expenses, and making smart deals. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Manage Your Money Wisely: Always keep track of your cash flow. Avoid taking out loans unless absolutely necessary, as they can quickly eat into your profits.
  2. Make Smart Deals: Not all deals are created equal. Some can bring in a lot of money, while others are more of a risk. Evaluate each deal carefully before deciding to buy.
  3. Plan for the Unexpected: The mail cards can bring unexpected expenses or windfalls. Always try to have some cash on hand to cover any unexpected bills.

Best Strategies for playing Pay Day game

While luck plays a part in Pay Day, there are also strategies you can use to increase your chances of winning. Here are some of the best strategies:

  1. Keep an Eye on Other Players: Pay attention to the deals other players are making and the amount of cash they have. This can give you an idea of their strategy and help you plan your own moves.
  2. Take Advantage of Opportunities: If a good deal comes up and you have the cash, don’t hesitate to buy it. It could pay off in the long run.
  3. Be Patient: Pay Day is a game of ups and downs. Don’t get discouraged if you have a few bad turns. Keep playing and making smart decisions, and you could turn your luck around.

Scenarios for Pay Day

There are many different scenarios you might encounter in a game of Pay Day. Here are a few examples and how you can turn them to your advantage:

  1. Low on Cash: If you’re running low on cash, consider taking out a loan. Just remember to pay it back as soon as possible to avoid paying too much interest.
  2. High on Cash: If you have a lot of cash, look for opportunities to invest in deals. These can bring in additional income and increase your overall wealth.
  3. Unexpected Expenses: If you draw a mail card with an unexpected bill, don’t panic. Try to pay it off as soon as possible to avoid taking out a loan.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Pay Day game

  1. Q: Can I pay off a loan early? A: Yes, you can pay off a loan at any time during the game.
  2. Q: What happens if I run out of money? A: If you run out of money, you can take out a loan to cover your expenses. Just remember to pay it back by the end of the game.
  3. Q: Can I buy a deal from another player? A: No, deals can only be bought from the bank.
  4. Q: What happens if I land on a space with another player’s token? A: Nothing special happens. You simply follow the instructions on the space as usual.
  5. Q: Can I play with more than six players? A: The game is designed for two to six players. If you want to play with more people, you could team up and play as pairs.

For more information about Pay Day, visit the official game website here.