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Mobile finance apps have reduced my spending…And I don’t even use them

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Do you want to change your spending, saving and budgeting habits, but keep putting off downloading a financial app because that would make it all just too real?

Well, I have found a solution to this problem — or at the very least, a step in the right direction.

This solution is relatively stress-free and doesn’t require you to do much at all, because it involves a psychological trick you play on yourself. (I do wonder—will this work now that I’ve exposed it?)

I’ve downloaded a number of finance apps, but have never been able to use them with any degree of consistency.

Some I delete, some are too painful to look at, some I just choose to ignore. Most recently, I downloaded an app that reminds me at 7 p.m. to upload my expenses and income for that day.

I haven’t entered anything in ages, and yet, for some reason, I continue to allow the app to notify me every day, rather than simply deleting it. (The notifications often pop up right about when I’m in the process of spending too much money on dinner).

Despite my decision to accept these nagging requests as a mere annoyance in my life (I have to actively cancel out of them), I have found myself undergoing some new, personal changes.

I could chalk them up to correlation, or even a number of entirely unrelated causes (becoming a more mature adult?), but how can I really know?

I’ve always been the type of person who considers coin jars a good means of accumulating savings, and who’s never “actively” budgeted in her life. I tend to depend on panic — triggered by analyzing bank statements — as an occasional incentive not to spend.

Yet I’ve found myself taking my spending and saving habits a little bit more seriously.

I’ve certainly had to face the facts of my financial situation more, but, on top of that, someone is suddenly watching, and it’s not just Angela from the bank. It’s that little cartoon monster that pops up daily at 7 pm and reminds me there’s a reason I need him there in the first place.

I might have stopped caring, but he’ll never let me go, and this in turn makes me a little more accountable. An even better system would involve me paying him to care.

This is not to mention all the other apps living in my phone, full of stale information, just biding their time.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use financial apps for their intended purposes.

But if you can’t seem to keep up with your apps, try using them to instill a little guilt instead.

It might just work (and I might have exaggerated the stress-free part a bit).

Once app-induced guilt becomes a natural part of life, you’ll probably start choosing cooking over pricey delivery, too.

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