One of my life hacks for not spending money on things I don't need or really want is to think about how much money I could have later if I invest it instead. There are definitely caveats to investing, but this trick has stopped me from buying things I would have regretted later.
What it does
It's an Amazon Alexa skill. You ask it why you shouldn't spend a certain amount of money, and it replies with how much money you might have in the future if you invest it instead.
It assumes an inflation-adjusted annualized return rate of six percent. The historical rate for the S&P 500 is between six and seven percent.
How I built it
I used the ASK SDK for Node.js, and the code is hosted on Lambda.
Challenges I ran into
Parsing the money amount was the hardest part because as of now, there is no built-in slot type for money (which was really surprising). As a workaround, I had to use two slots and many more utterances.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I found out about the Alexa Skills Challenge a few days before it ended, and I've never worked with the platform before, so I had to come up with something that was small in scope. I'm glad I got it done though.
What I learned
I learned how to create a basic Alexa skill. This was also the first time I used Lambda.
What's next for Splurge Stopper
Someone who isn't familiar with investing might want to know how they can get started. Splurge Stopper might be able to help by directing the user to other resources.