Happy New Years Eve!
Look, we all do it. Even if we’ve got more than a nagging feeling of doubt, there’s something about January 1st that inspires beacons of hope inside us to say, “Be a better you.” We’ll probably all make resolutions. Most of us do it every year. Some years, we’ll write it down, but a New Years resolution almost always ends up some nebulous idea you conceived in a moment of clarity over the Christmas cookie platter and forgot, naturally, over the course of the following week. If you suffer from resolution amnesia, it’s probably because you haven’t linked your goal to a push notification yet. Using apps to manage your resolutions doesn’t just inflate your sense of control/security; it amps up your accountability, too. The great news: there’s an abundance of conventional and not-so-conventional personal finance apps that can turn just about any New Years resolution into a money maker/saver – helping you kill two birds with one smart phone stone.
- New Years Resolution: “I want a better body.” Apps: GymPact, RunKeeper. Gympact basically pays you to work out. You set a goal of how many times a week you want to work out, sync the app to your gym location or RunKeeper, and then complete thirty minute minimum workouts while either at your gym or hooked up to your RunKeeper GPS. Make your goal, you earn cash. Miss it, you pay cash. The pros? I can earn about 100 bucks a year with Gympact. The cons? You could lose just as much if you slack. And that’s depressing.
- New Years Resolution: “I want to plan for the future.” Apps: ImpulseSave, Ballpark E$timate. ImpulseSave works on the simple understanding that we’d all be a lot richer if we didn’t impulse buy. The app encourages you to “impulse save” instead, by setting a goal and working towards it by using the app to set up a free FDIC-insured savings account and linking it to your already existing checking account. Each time you want to waste $20 on toiletries you don’t need at Target, you can choose to save those 20 dollars with an ImpulseSave transfer instead. Need help setting goals? Ballpark E$timate creates a custom life equation for users who want to start successfully saving for retirement. Plug in your numbers, and the app will tell you how much you should put away now for later.
- New Years Resolution: “I want to spend less money.” Apps: SnipSnap, shopkick. Look, couponing is the new, cool thing to do. Every day, you’re getting money in the mail. The average American receives thousands of dollars in print coupon savings a year, but most of this money gets lost or forgotten. SnipSnap allows you to take pictures of your print coupons so you can store mobile-optimized offers in your phone. Plus, you can share coupons other users have snipped, so you’ll essentially never have to pay full price at restaurants and retail stores ever again. Want to get paid to shop while you’re already saving money with coupons? Shopkick is an interactive shopping app that rewards users for walking into stores, scanning items, and making purchases with “kicks,” incentive points you can redeem for real world rewards like gift cards and Coach bags.
- New Years Resolution: “I want to give back.” Apps: Charity Miles, instead. Charity Miles is a great app for resolution-makers because it inspires you to stay fit and help others at the same time. Just log in to the app and take it for a spin on your next run, walk, or bike; you’ll earn 10 cents for every mile you bike and 25 cents for every mile you run/walk to donate towards the charity of your choice. Instead is similar to ImpulseSave in that it asks users to re-evaluate their spending and use their money for more important things. Make the decision to brown bag your lunch instead of eating out, and you can donate the money you save to the charity of your choice.
No matter your resolution, here’s to health, happiness, and good spirits in 2013. Stay safe and start saving!