The future of money project:
In an era of automation and market decline, how might we enable short term savings for Millennials? This is a challenge we tackled as a small interdisciplinary graduate level student team. Over the course of four months we exhausted the design process, from needsfinding, to brainstorming, prototyping, testing, refining and finalizing. We ultimately created a web extension option for real-time tracking of available funds, setting personalized short term goals, and enabling the consumer to decide when to “borrow” from their own goals to satisfy an immediate desire. Linked to the user’s bank account, the web extension would have the capability of comparing the user’s available checking funds to the cost on any online checkout page.

In one sentence:
Buckkit is a real-time indicator for web browsers that empowers users to set goals and equips them with instant information to make sound spending and saving decisions while shopping online.

What it does:
Buckkit is a web browser extension designed primarily for Millenials, as they face challenges in managing their ongoing finances. Specifically, we uncovered through dozens of interviews with these consumers that they:
1) Save backwards – they spend what they have to and what they want to now, figuring they will save what they have leftover.
2) Find financial check-ins stressful, as they often find that they don’t have as much, if anything, left to save once they have finished spending for the short term.
3) Encounter the biggest impulse-spend pitfall while shopping online – it’s tempting and easy to click and make a purchase without thinking about longer-term trade-offs.

Buckkit helps address these three issues by facilitating savings goals before spending begins and providing a visual indicator of progress versus those goals within users’ web browsers:
1) Users first set up their goals for the money that remains after necessities (i.e. rent, bills) and automatic long-term savings are paid, designating an amount and a time frame for saving toward each goal. Each user may have a few different goals, for instance saving $400 for 3 months before holiday shopping, $1000 for 6 months for a new laptop, and $1500 for 9 months before a planned trip.
2) Once their goals are set, users will see an indicator color in their browser toolbars while shopping online, which tells them whether or not they can afford the item(s) in their shopping cart while staying on track for their goals. Green means go ahead – you are budgeted to cover the purchase, Yellow indicates that you are short on funds allocated – some money will have to be taken from goals to cover the purchase if you choose to go ahead with it, Red means that all spending money has been used and the purchase will pull entirely from goals if you make it, and Black indicates that the only way to cover the purchase is via credit card debt (all money allocated to both goals and short-term spending has already been used). By clicking on the indicator, users can see the details behind the color, including their current progress toward goals.

Buckkit provides an empowering way for users to know how their spending will impact their saving goals at the moment of purchase consideration, rather than after the damage has been done. It meets Millennials at their pain point of impulsive online spending and instills a natural self-check that feels helpful without becoming intrusive or shaming. Ultimately, users of Buckkit stand to benefit from the peace of mind that comes from being able to spend on important experiences both now and into the future.

This was a group project by DMBA students at California College of the Arts, 2014.

All parties would like to be notified before anything is shared, and we retain ownership of the idea and images associated with it.