Jacob’s Money Story

Jacob’s dad was in the doorway holding a paper, looking upset. Jacob paused his game.

“Did you spend $30.00 on in-game purchases this month?” he asked.

Jacob thought about it. “I don’t know, there were some special, limited time deals. But I have $50.00 a month allowance, so NBD.”

“But you also spent $40.00 at the board game store.”

“I never spend more than $50.00, Dad. I pay attention to that.”

“Both of these were in the same month, that’s $70.00. And the online purchase didn’t go to your debit card, it went to mine. I paid for your imaginary game whatever-it-was.”

Surprise Splurging

“I didn’t know that. I thought I was paying for it.”
“But you didn’t have enough money left in your account. Why do you need all those board games, anyway? You never play them.” Jacob loved his board games. He loved reading the directions, sorting the cards, and the way the plastic pieces felt in his hands. He didn’t need to play them to enjoy them. No way his father would understand, so he kept it to himself.

“I’ll pay you back, I promise. Is there any work I can do to earn some of it?”

“I’m sure your mom will be able to think of something. The garage needs cleaning out, for a start. But how can you make sure this doesn’t happen again?”

That was a good question, and Jacob didn’t have a good answer. He always felt that if he spent less than $50.00 at a time, he’d be okay. He guessed he really didn’t understand financial stuff.

“I’m not sure. Is there a book about it? We didn’t have a money class in school.”

Jacob Needs to Manage his Money

Jacob’s parents asked his case manager for recommendations. At her suggestion, Jacob removed saved credit card numbers from websites so he’d have to type in the numbers every time. That would alert him to the fact that he was spending real money, not game gold. He could keep his debit card in a lock-box in his closet, with a note asking if this purchase was necessary. They also made a “no money after midnight” rule because he was so vulnerable to special offers that popped up in the middle of the night. To wait until morning and then have to unpack his card would at least slow him down so he could think clearly. He also downloaded his bank app to his phone so he could check his balance easily and know how much money he had.

Jacob’s Money Solutions

Learning about financial management and using an app to monitor his account helped Jacob understand his money. Making it difficult to get to his debit card and having a rule about no late-night spending, helped him curtail his splurging.

Jacob’s stories originally appeared in the first edition of Wendela Whitcomb Marsh’s book, Independent Living with Autism: Your Roadmap to Success. (Revised as Independent Living While Autistic: Your Roadmap to Success, Book One of the Adulting While Autistic series.) Jacob is a fictional character, not based on anyone, so any similarities to real people are coincidental.



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