When I do presentations on personal finance in the community, I see eyes glaze over all too often. Some of us find personal finance intriguing and could geek out about budgets and savings all day long. Others could not care less. It’s just not fun to talk about for them. Now, given my job, I obviously fall into the first category. Give me a glass of wine and a budget to tinker with and that’s a fabulous Friday night (that has actually happened.) However, I understand that not everyone finds it exciting, and that’s okay! I feel the same way about philosophy. If I am within 50 feet of someone even thinking about Descartes, Nietzsche, or Immanuel Kant I run, not walk, towards the nearest exit. No thanks, maybe never!
That being said, there’s gotta be a way to make personal finance more interesting, right? Everyone comes into contact with personal finance at some point in life. I’ll never really need to know much about Plato, but I sure will need to know about credit reports.
Below are two ways to get inventive and creative with personal finance:
1) Set up your own reward system.
Whatever your financial goal is, set up a system that rewards you in increments the closer you get to that goal. This could be savings, paying down debt, sticking to a budget or even raising your credit score! For every incremental amount you save, give yourself a small $5 reward like a latte from your favorite coffee shop, enjoying some frozen yogurt, renting a movie for a night in, or treating yourself to something else small but that you truly enjoy. Of course, any reward you give yourself shouldn’t completely derail your goals. So we’re not talking about saving $100 bucks and then going out and buying a brand-new pair of shoes just for fun. We’re talking baby steps that reward you every so often and then once you reach the BIG goal, you can have a little more fun. For example, let’s say every $200 that I save towards an emergency fund, I give myself a $5 treat. Once I reach my goal of $1,000 saved, I give myself a slightly larger, $25 treat of whatever I choose. That’s only $45 in rewards for reaching a goal of saving $1,000. I’d say that’s a pretty cool way to make finances more fun.
2) Check out some apps!
For those of us who don’t want to set up our own reward system and try to figure out the ins and outs of something like that, there are still options! Apps! If you’ve got a smartphone or a tablet, there are many different apps that provide you with an incentive to save money, pay down debt and stick to a budget. When it comes to something like this, it’s not one size fits all. Look into the options and see what works best for you! I used Ibotta for a while to help me save on grocery purchases. SaveUp is a popular option as well by rewarding you for smart financial behavior. (Currently, this app is being redone so it’s not immediately available, but will hopefully be back soon.) There are even some fun options for those who want to experiment with the stock market. Contango is a stock market simulation game that will give users rewards and prizes. But don’t worry, you aren’t actually putting any money at risk with Contango, it’s just a game! Last, is a savings app all about making the topic more interesting. SmartyPig is a way to set up a savings account, and assign a specific goal to it, large or small! You get competitive interest rates on the account and updates on how you’re progressing towards your goal. In addition, you receive referral bonuses for friends and family you invite. Not a bad option!
Do you have any thoughts on ways to make finances fun? Let us know in the comments below!