If you're terrible at something, just turn it into a fun activity. The Japanese did that very successfully when they turned singing into karaoke. Now they're doing the same with saving money.
Jinsei Ginko ("Life Bank") from Takara Tomy A.R.T.S is a digital piggy bank that works with your iPhone. It's designed with a Japanese bank-style logo to get you serious about hoarding yen.
The plastic piggy bank can hold 200 coins of 500 yen, the highest denomination, each worth about $5.41. That makes for a whopping total of 100,000 yen ($1,083). You could buy a bathtub of ramen with that.
To use the bank, you first download the Jinsei Ginko app and set a savings goal. When you pop a 500-yen coin into the slot, you set your iPhone in the cradle and push a green button next to it.
Aside from tracking the size of your nest egg, the app features a simulation of your life, with an avatar marking various milestones like graduation and marriage. (Check out the promo vid below.)
The avatar starts off living in a typical crummy Japanese apartment, and it's up to you to ensure he prospers. The more you save, the better he does in life.
If he's doing well, he might get better digs, or be able to buy real beer as opposed to ersatz happoshu, a cheap beer-like low-malt drink sold in Japanese convenience stores.
It's unclear what happens to him if you fail to save. Does he turn to a life of crime? Does he end up like a neglected Tamagotchi? Takara Tomy doesn't say.
The Jinsei Ginko piggy bank goes on sale in Japan in March for 3,990 yen ($43.20). That's just under eight coins.
(Via Akihabara News)