20 May 2016
Bank account in the red? Here’s a shocking solution…
Find it tough to stay within budget each month? This wristband could make you richer by shocking you out of overspending.
We all know just how tough it is to budget when you're a student – particularly when you're expected to live off a pretty dismal maintenance loan that barely even covers the cost of rent these days.
In fact, sometimes checking our bank balances can be so depressing that we… err… don't look. This can be dangerous though, as you could end up with bank charges if you go over your student overdraft. Nasty.
What's the idea?
A UK firm called Intelligent Environments reckon they have a solution to our budgeting problems – by linking our bank accounts to a wristband that will give us an electric shock if we go over budget.
The platform, which they've called Interact IoT (that stands for ‘internet of things', by the way) would ‘shock' you into being better at budgeting, and also spare you the pain of checking your bank balance through your fingers at the end of the month.
They've created a platform that works alongside something called a ‘Pavlok' wristband. If you've never heard of Pavlok before, it's a wristband that was crowdfunded through Indiegogo in 2014 as a ‘personal coach for your wrist' to help wearers kick bad habits such as procrastination, pressing the snooze button on their alarm too long and overeating.
And how do they do that? By giving the wristband-wearer a 255 volt shock when they step out of line!
How it works
This wristband isn't about giving users shocks just for kicks (although maybe a little).
It uses something called ‘Pavlovian conditioning' (no relation to the fruit and meringue dessert, in case you're wondering) to shock users out of undesirable habits or behaviours.
The theory is that over time, the wearer will begin to associate the bad behaviour with pain, and as a result, will gradually start behaving themselves.
By connecting up to your smartphone, you're able to set boundaries of what you want to avoid and how high a shock to give yourself (255 volts is the maximum, so you won't fry yourself, don't worry!).
The inventors of this wristband claim that, if used correctly, you can break bad habits within five days.
They've even got a function that links up to a chrome extension that will shock you if you open certain websites or spend too long on irrelevant sites when studying. Perfect for exam time procrastination!
How the wristband could save you money
The wristband itself isn't cheap. Currently sitting at around $179 (about £122) you won't be off to a money-saving start, but it could prove to be a worthwhile investment in the longrun.
The wristband can also save you money on energy bills by linking up with your thermostat. Every time the temperature goes over a certain degree, you'll get shocked into turning your radiators down. Turning your thermostat down by as little as three degrees can save you £255 a year!
Can I buy it now?
At the moment, no banks have agreed to take part in Interact IoT. However, the company have worked with several UK banks in the past (they're also the brains behind the Nest smart meter), so they're optimistic the product will be a success.
The wristband also comes in blue, pink, orange and grey, so you can look fashionable whilst you get hit with a 225 volt electric shock when you're in the pub with your mates! Well that's a relief.
Until the platform is officially launched, here's some other practical ways to save money to keep you going.
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