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December 07, 2021

The wallet that gets harder to open as you spend

Seems everyday there’s an economist, financial columnist or whoever telling Canada exactly what it does worst: save.

1260396_black_wallet In fact, just yesterday some moron Internet writer pitched the idea of a prize-linked lottery system, whereby Canadians were given a lotto-style jackpot as an incentive to put their cash in savings accounts.

Anyhow, the point? Canucks, not unlike the rest of the world, could be saving a lot more. But what if we had something to physically restrict our spending? What if our wallets, quite literally, deterred us from wasting our cash?

There’s a cool new product I stumbled across this morning, a set of smart wallets from a team at the MIT Media Lab that does just the above.

The wallets, three of them in all, help to regulate spending by monitoring your finances and – with one of them – physically deterring you from unnecessarily using your money.

With a Bluetooth chip, the wallets link with your cell phone, which uses its data connection to sync up with your bank to monitor account activity. From there, you have a few smart wallet options to choose from:

1) “The Bumblebee,” which vibrates every time a transaction gets processed at your bank. Keeps you hip to when even credit transactions go through, so you know when a bill or auto payment is sapped from your account.

2) “The Peacock,” which swells or shrinks based on the size of your account. Physically grows when money is deposited in your bank and physically contracts when your cash runs low. Clever name, when you think about it.

3) “The Mother Bear,” my personal favourite. Through an electronic hinge on the inside of the wallet, the wallet gets harder to open as your account balance dwindles (video here). The most ingenious of the three smart wallets, and easily the biggest deterrent to spending.

Drastic steps? Sure. But just look at these numbers. When it comes to spending, Canadians could use as much help as we can get.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...