With great technology comes great power. With great technology also comes a startling number of apps, texts, social media posts, emails, that Japanese game where you feed cats, Pokémon GO, and others. Among the plethora of these potential time-wasters are some golden opportunities for self-improvement utilized through game mechanics. You can learn languages! You can eat healthier! You can get inspired to exercise! And you can train yourself to have a healthy money mindset. Here are five suggestions to get your started.
Simply put, good gamification helps you improve yourself and accomplish tasks without the weight of obligations on your shoulders. It should add a playful edge to the every day.
SmartyPig is one of the more familiar money-saving tools out there. If you have a specific big-purchase goal that you’re working toward, you can set up a SmartyPig account to automatically move money around for you. The gaming aspect isn’t entirely overt, but it comes in the style of a cash boost, where it matches a percentage of the amount for whichever goal you reach and puts it into a gift card to use at a retail location of your choosing.
SaveUp works on the same idea as SmartyPig, where you are rewarded for saving money and reducing debt. There is a slight difference, however, in the rewards. For each dollar saved or debt reduced, the user earns credits that can be put toward any number of prizes, including camping equipment, concert tickets, or plain ole cash.
See also: Simple for a similar no-frills money-saving app that uses an out of sight, out of mind technique to trick you into saving.
While the two previous programs provide an aid to taking care of debt and saving money, Habitica (formerly known as HabitRPG) is more of an all-encompassing gamified task manager. Its power, though, comes in the form of personalization. You can use this as a means of building better habits for just about anything: getting students to behave, improving healthy lifestyle choices, and yes, even working to better your financial situation.
The game’s crux lies in its accountability. You create a character that you build up with special armor and weapons through positive habits, and every time you engage in a bad habit or fail to meet a goal, your character’s health drops and your progress recedes. Pro-tip: adding co-players or joining groups can add a whole new dimension of accountability and competition to this real-life RPG.
See also: Epic Win for a similar gameplay style with a lot of fun, absurd humor.
When developing programs using gaming components, some creators tend to miss the balance between the fun aspects of gaming and the educational factor – something that Bobber seems to do well. Focusing primarily on Generation Y, a group that, through economic and technological circumstances, is staggeringly behind the curve when it comes to financial knowledge, Bobber knows that they find both financial institutions skeptical and a strong social media presence alluring and necessary.
With that knowledge in tow, Bobber helps to educate and motivate Generation Y on financial literacy through media savvy and engagement, and helps to keep them inspired through competition and validation brought through social media.
If you’re a bit lost in determining how to be creative while living on a budget, it might be interesting to dip your toe into the world of a hypothetical life via SPENT. It’s filled with all of those tough situations brought on by an unforgiving world where you aren’t sure which financial step you should take next. It’s very eye-opening.
As time goes on, surely there will be as many methods to trick ourselves as there are daily tasks out there. Regardless of what you decide to use, or what becomes the most popular methods to dealing with reality, just know that cheat codes don’t exist, and there’s no substitute for hard work. The only way through is through, and you can do it.