Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: Asha Richardson
Money is tight! I'm a freshman in college and the last thing I need are little temptations robbing me of my cash - like a Holga film camera, or the new Flip HD. I don't even want to talk about how much money I wasted going out and shopping my first semester, like the dress I bought months ago and have only worn once. Now I can get help from Youth Media International (Youth Radio) via a Facebook application I helped develop, with Context Optional, called Stop Me from Spending!
If you're one of the few people not on Facebook, or not a user of apps, Youth Radio reporter Ankitha Bharadwaj described them this way in a radio story on Marketplace, "They're kind of like accessories you add to your Facebook profile to jazzify your page and interact with your friends in unexpected ways." "Stop Me From Spending!" is a creative way to beat the recession and interact with friends. "This is one of the powers of social networking that is still underused - the power to create P2P (peer-to-peer) support among groups," says Mark Alvarez, L'Atelier tech blogger who reviewed the app.
"Stop Me From Spending!" has three different parts: the "Temptation Converter," "Goal Tracker," and "Be Financially Savvy." They all help you think about your spending, and give you tips on saving for the future. Here's an example of how I recently put these tools to use. I've always loved taking pictures, but never really got to try film photography. So when I saw a deluxe Lomography kit at Urban Outfitters for $250, I got excited. So I fired up the Temptation Converter.
I typed in "Lomography Diana Deluxe Package," the price, and added a picture of the kit. Then I clicked the big red "Stop Me from Spending" button. Minutes later my friends' comments began rolling in. "Please don't get it. Buy it on Ebay at least" and "You can get it somewhere else for cheaper." My friends were right. Needless to say, the "Stop Me From Spending!" app literally stopped me from spending. I didn't splurge on the over-priced plastic camera and I'm $250 richer because of it.
If instead I decided to spring for the camera, the "Goal Tracker" tool could have helped me save for the purchase. I'm currently using it to plan for a trip to New York for spring break. The tool allows users to add as many steps towards their goal as they like and to share news of their progress with their friends. I can't wait until I send out my message announcing that I've successfully saved for my trip and I'm set to enjoy the fruits of my labor - namely taking a chunk out of the big apple.
Lastly the "Be Financially Savvy" tool gives users tips on how to save, teaches basic economic principles, and links to economy related news stories. On the front page, there is a question posted: "How do you save money?" It has already sparked dialogue about everyday tips from regular people trying to make ends meet.
Designed by college students like me, with our peers in mind, this tool couldn't come at a better moment. With tuition prices on the rise, a scarcity of jobs, and online shopping as easy as clicking "Add to my cart," young people need as much smart financial help as possible to stop us from spending!
Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit Youthradio.org