According to FRED data, personal savings as percent of DPI (that is, how much people save as a percentage of their after-tax income) was 3.5% in July 2017. The average savings rate over the past 58 years is 8.3% of DPI, over the last 10 years we saved an average of 5.5%. Today's low savings rate, especially given our relative economic strength, is a cause for concern. Conventional wisdom, such as this article from TIAA, suggests 20% as a responsible personal savings rate.
“A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.”
― Richard H. Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
What it does
Through both a website and convenient text messaging interface, Save It! makes it easy to set and track savings goals until you have enough saved up to buy anything.
How we built it
Using TextBlob and our own algorithms, we analyze user input to determine what they want to do. With this input, we update their goals and progress, then send an encouraging reply, all by either text messaging or web interface.
Challenges we ran into
Beyond the general issues with integrating many libraries, we had a steep learning curve with text analysis, as this was the first project using natural language processing for either team member. We enjoyed the challenge of learning new areas while building a usable piece of software.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of how much we learned, and how many different inputs we can give our chatbot.
What we learned
We learned about natural language processing and Twilio text-message integration and practiced building web applications.
What's next for Save It!
Head over to the linked GitHub repository for complete instructions on how to run Save It! locally.
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