What does it mean to “gamify” a particular aspect of your life? To gamify or gamification is a word or phrase that typically means to take something that is not a game and to add game mechanics to make it more accessible, easy to understand, or easy to implement. Essentially, you are making some aspect of your life into a game.
Therefore, to gamify your finances would imply that you are trying to make managing your finances simpler, less daunting, or much easier to assimilate and apply to your every day of your life.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the methods you can use to gamify your finances for extreme frugality — also read this by Kathryn Vercillo.
First, let’s talk about frugality, what exactly is it and how can extreme frugality boost your financial health?
What is Frugality?
The actual definition of the word frugal is to be extremely economical with your money, to find ways to save as much money as possible. This usually involves buying only necessary items, reducing the amount you spend on items like clothing, and searching for discounts wherever you can find them.
If you are already frugal, gamifying your finances could make your everyday life easier. If you are just dipping your toe into frugal living, then gamifying your finances could facilitate the transitional process of moving from being less frugal to extreme frugality.
How Can you Gamify Your Finances for Extreme Frugality?
The easiest way to gamify your finances for extreme frugality is to download some useful smartphone apps to help you save money and spend less. There are other non-digital ways of gamifying your finances, but we will delve deeper into that later on in the article. For now, let’s focus on apps.
Long Game is an effective financial management application that rewards your money actions by allowing you to access real games. Playing those games also gives you the chance to earn extra money. This is how the Long Game App works:
- Open a savings account using the app or connect your existing bank account to the app.
- The more money you save, the more games you get to play.
- The app gives you the chance to win money with the games you play (cash and cryptocurrency).
Qapital is a financial management application that utilizes gamification to take the mundane out of managing your money.
The main premise of the app is to set yourself a savings goal. For example, to travel to Rome, Italy. You can set up multiple goals and set up fun prompts to make sure that you save. This makes saving fun and pushes you to reach your savings goals.
Mint is a personal finance tracking application that allows you to consolidate all your financial accounts and track your spending easily. It highlights how much you have leftover and it identifies where you could save more money.
Blast is a fun and rewarding game where you can win rewards for playing well-known online games. When you sign up, you get a Wells Fargo savings account that comes with a 2% interest rate. You can commence your saving with just $1 and you can deposit or withdraw money using a connected checking account.
Once you sign up, your goal is to play games and complete tasks within the games to earn cash. You can earn $1-rewards for mini-tasks and you can set up prompts within the app to facilitate saving.
For example, you can create a prompt that transfers a certain amount of money from your checking account when you play a game for a certain number of times. The Blast app also gives you the chance to win big cash prizes if you appear on the Blast leaderboard.
The Coupon App
Being frugal is not just about putting surplus money into savings accounts, it is also about finding ways to pinch those pennies. Therefore, apps like The Coupon App can penny pinching a little less tedious. The Coupon App, compares gas prices and it also comes with a neat barcode scanner and the app notifies you with the best deals out there.
Shopper Pro is a fun, user-friendly grocery shopping app with a recipe feature and shopping list feature. It also comes with a budgeting planner, a barcode scanner, and a coupon finder, which makes frugal living fun, manageable, and hassle-free.
The Givling App aims to deal with the astronomic student loan debt problem.
The app is primarily a trivia app providing users with daily trivia. It gives users the chance to win $50,000 towards their student loan debt. If you have student loan debt and you are trying to live frugally, this might be a good app for you to try. Especially if you are finding it difficult to manage your money whilst paying student loan debt.
The app isn’t free because you only get two free games each day. After that, you have to pay 50 cents per game if you would like to increase your chances of winning cash prizes. You can also win prizes by earning Queue Points, you receive these points when you reach the top of the Givling queue.
Givling is not all about student loan debt, however, you can use your winnings to pay off the mortgage debt or to go to an eligible retirement fund.
Fortune City is a bookkeeping application that allows you to build your own city within the app, making bookkeeping, fun, and less tedious.
Gamify Your Finances the Analogue Way
Digital gamification apps offer convenience, but you can also gamify your finances for frugal living by creating fun challenges without apps or digital devices. Here are just a few ideas:
Grocery Shopping Challenges
Have fun with grocery shopping by challenging yourself to only spend a certain amount per week or per month on grocery shopping. For example, you could do an extreme frugal $20 challenge where you spend only $20 for the week on shopping, if you can spend less, even better! Reward yourself by putting $5 into a savings jar every time you manage to stick to the $20 limit. Get your friends and family involved and challenge them to spend only $20 for the week too.
Frugal Meal Challenge
Set yourself a low-cost meal challenge where every week you challenge yourself to make $2 meals (just an example). When you manage to achieve the $2 challenge, put $2 into your savings jar. Get your kids to help you, and they get to put $2 into their savings jars, too.
Next time you feel like buying an item that is really out of your budget, consider doing a DIY project instead of buying the item. For example, you feel like buying some new picture frames? Why not challenge yourself to revamp some old ones. Do you need a whiteboard for a home office? Take an old picture frame and frame some white paper, voila! Whiteboard!
Reward yourself by putting the extra money saved into your savings pot for a family vacation. Remember that being frugal doesn’t mean that you should never have fun, it just means that you identify where you can cut back and you cut back diligently in those areas. You can still have fun, and still enjoy some of the finer things in life on a budget.
A Few Thoughts
Here are just a few things to think about:
Gamifying your finances for extreme frugality does not mean that you need to go all-in and try and solve every problem to start living a frugal lifestyle or to facilitate your already frugal lifestyle. The most effective way of gamifying your finances for extreme frugality is to focus on one metric at a time.
If you look at your expenditures, keep an eye on exactly how much you spend on specific things. Focus on cutting back in one area before you start trying to save in every area. For example, you spend far too much money on groceries, purchasing high-end products that you don’t need. Find ways to reduce your spending by using the Shopper Pro app to find the best deals.
Use one of the budget planning apps mentioned in the article to track your spending. Focus on your groceries for now and start depositing the money that you save into your savings or you can even use the excess money to slowly pay off your debts.
Gamifying your finances for frugal living is all about focusing on what is important to you and simplifying, but not overcomplicating things. Gamifying your finances takes the boring humdrum out of managing your money and makes it fun, interesting, and fulfilling.
Tips and Tricks
Try not to download all the apps at once when you decide to gamify your finances. Start with one financial planning app and maybe download a coupon app to make money-saving easier and more accessible. Then, pick one challenge to do. For example, the grocery shopping challenge, try it for a couple of months and assess how much money you managed to save during that time.
As mentioned previously, reward yourself by bumping up your savings with the money saved. This is especially rewarding if you are saving up for a vacation or something that you need.
Extreme frugality doesn’t have to be boring, it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Gamifying your finances for extreme frugality should be simple, and these apps should facilitate your financial planning not confuse or complicate it.
Start small, build up and keep going and remember that change beings in concentric circles (start small and work your way out) If you are already for frugal, make it easier by utilizing some of these apps. If you are new to the frugal life, give yourself a break and start with one app, and one challenge.
Remember that gamifying your finances for extreme frugality should help you to clarify how much you spend on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. It should help you to spend less in certain areas and save more. It should reduce some of the anxiety that can sometimes be associated with penny-pinching and it should give you a helping hand when financial management seems confusing and overwhelming.
Here are a few bonus apps to help you to gamify your finances:
- Retail me Not
How to Quickly Get Started Gamifying Your Finances
- List your financial goals (add points for each goal)
- Write out some of the things that you should inextricably avoid (high interest debt, spending more than a certain amount) Take away points when you fall into these financial traps
- Reward yourself when you achieve a certain amount of points
Apply gaming mechanisms to boost your financial health and prepare yourself to continue living frugally or commence your frugal lifestyle journey. Utilize the tools mentioned in this article to enhance and improve frugal living. Everything can be made fun and interesting by adding a game element to it, making it simpler, less complicated, and more fulfilling.