In the age of smartphone apps and bitcoins, we make purchases using our phones, watches, or even our home speakers, which is convenient, but has its downsides. As spending has gotten easier our physical connection to the currency has diminished resulting in a mental disconnect between what we are buying and how much we are spending. As a result, many people, adults and younger people alike, have a difficult time truly understanding their spending and can lead to some very sticky financial situations.
According to the American Psychological Association
, physically handling money triggers what is referred to as the “pain of paying” response, which sounds bad, but it helps with responsible spending by maintaining contextual awareness to your account balance.
For example, if you are buying a pack of gum at the store, and you pull $5 out of your pocket. You can easily watch as 20% of your available funds are chewed up. This experience immediately informs the next purchase that you make. By watching your finances diminish, you are aware of your available balance as well as making you question the personal value that you receive from your next purchase.
On the other side, if you have $5 in an online account and pay with a debit card, you can still make the purchase, but for something small like gum, the purchase feels less significant and the tendency to ignore the effect of that purchase is increased, causing you to forget that you made the purchase or to minimize how much it actually cost.
Our goal for this project is to help recreate this “pain of spending” feeling by creating a physical object where a user can not only see, but also physically interact with their spending beyond the digital screen in positive, educational, and engaging interaction.
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