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Could tech wearables change our money habits?

Jul 17, 2017

mna nam braceletFor the last few days I have been trying out the Sanlam MNA NAM bracelet which is marketed as a fashion accessory that makes you think about money.

There are two aspects to the bracelet which has been designed by top South African fashion designer Laduma Ngxokolo. The first is that there is a QR code embedded in the design of the bracelet which you can use to scan and save – kind of the reverse of SnapScan where you scan and spend. It is linked to a WeChat wallet allowing any amount of money to be transferred from your bank account into the WeChat wallet – making it easier to save for short-term goals.

This is linked to a competition where you can win a custom style piece by Ngxokolo by scanning and saving. I have been testing it out and moving some cash into the WeChat wallet, but for me it’s not a major feature as I already have a savings pocket linked to my bank account that I use for my short-term savings.

Reminder of savings goals

The second aspect is more interesting for me, and that is the awareness it brings. I already wear my Fitbit to track my daily steps, which reminds me to take the stairs instead of the lift and to find hassle-free parking far from the entrance of a shopping mall.  Perhaps in the same way, by wearing a fashion bracelet that does look a lot better than a Fitbit, it could be a constant reminder of my savings goals.

When I went to the shopping mall I consciously wore the bracelet as a reminder not to do any impulsive shopping – because yes, even a money columnist has her weak points! It definitely made me more mindful about spending on non-essential items. There’s a luxury item I’ve been eyeing recently; I ended up pricing it and deciding it could wait until next month as I’ve already done some spending on luxuries this month. I could take it a step further and use my cellphone to scan the bracelet and save the money I was about to spend.

It is a clever concept to use designer fashion to stop impulsive fashion spending – but ultimately, the power still lies with the user.

Sanlam is giving away limited editions of the bracelet. To find out more, visit www.mnanam.com.

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Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

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