Hello, Interwebs! Well, if you read my recent post about my recap of “No Internet Month 2019”, you may have noticed me mention a new app I am trying out called SPAR! My financially savvy friend, who I’ll call MR, introduced me to it. Now I’m hooked! I’ve been meaning to write a review of this app so I thought now might be a good time, since I’m slacking off on all the good habits post-vacation, and I need SPAR! to kick me in the pants.
This Review has been updated to reflect 2021 information and is not sponsored. You are getting the raw, unedited opinions of me, myself and I.
Now you are probably wondering, “T! What does this have to do with FIRE!?” Well, let me make that connection for you. If you join challenges and build your habits consistently, you can make real money.
Yes, that’s right! Free money for building good habits. How cool is that? NOTE: You can also LOSE money. Read on…
How does SPAR! work?
The concept is as follows: Join a challenge and check in regularly with a video showing yourself performing the challenge activity. Challenges can be anything! Typically there are plenty of exercise-related challenges, along with other “productivity” challenges like studying for a defined period of time, working on your side hustle, reading every day, or working on a specific project daily for a set period of weeks. Challenges are primarily created by users, and you may create your own for others to join if none of the challenges suit you at the moment. I happen to be in a “take your vitamins” challenge right now.
The caveat: you cannot miss a check in! If you do, you will pay a penalty to the challenge pot. Once the challenge ends, the pot is split by those who finished the challenge successfully. My vitamins challenge has a pot of $10 right now:
You can see that the challenge participants here are pretty dedicated. We’re on day 11 of 14, and only one person has missed one check in, resulting in the $10 pot.
So essentially you make money off the failure of others, while also achieving your goals! That said, people are building habits. There will be stumbling blocks. And busy days, and nights where you fall asleep early from too many cocktails and fail to check in prior to the cutoff time. (Of course I’m not speaking from experience here…all of my check ins are perfect!) The idea is to make continuous improvement. Now, let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of this app.
- You can join up to 12 challenges at once, making the opportunity to score more cash a real possibility! I’ve seen some longer-term users with balances of $500 or more. Now let me just say, I’ve only made $7.30 and I’ve been using the app for about 1 month. My max challenges at one time has been 2 or 3. That said, if you are organized enough, you could max out your active challenges for the chance to increase your winnings substantially. 2021 Update: I’ve made around $120 with this app! I have not been using it consistently for the past 2 years, so there’s definitely opportunity to make more.
- Habits are seriously built. At least, that is my experience. Money is a big motivator for me. I’ve never been so consistent with my vitamin-taking, Fitbit stepping, house decluttering, or food tracking!
- It’s a great way to get yourself moving on a project. For example, if you’ve been putting off building your side business, training for a marathon, taking an online course, or cleaning your garage, you’re forced to face the music and actually take action each day. Once you start your project and you work on it every day for a couple of weeks or more, the momentum is built!
- I haven’t had a chance to interact with the customer service team yet, but MR has. She says the experience was great. Anytime she had an issue it was promptly rectified.
- You can have “secret” challenges with your friends and colleagues which cannot be seen by players unless you send the players a link. This can be handy for building habits with like-minded people who want an organized way to keep each other accountable.
- SPAR! is not available on Android as it stands. Highly unfortunate.
- For some challenges, it IS possible for participants to cheat the system by faking their check in. For example, in a reading challenge, you may just have to talk about what you read. Could you make stuff up? Sure. However it’s of no benefit to do this. You have to take the time to check in anyway – why not actually do the thing you said you’d do? Based on my experience, the majority of people using the app are driven to improve their lives. So, as long as you can get over the possibility that there may be a few cheaters here and there, you’re good.
- SPAR takes a cut of each pot. Currently that’s 10%. Actually better than some other apps I’ve used with a similar premise (I’m looking at you, Stepbet!). Understandable, since they do have to pay people to develop and support the app.
- Be careful that you don’t just quit the habit when the challenge ends. This has happened to me a couple of times. SPAR! has follow on challenges so you can keep signing up assuming the host keeps running the challenge. This can help you build the habit longer term.
ou can’t search for challenges. Update for 2021 – You can now search for challenges you are interested in joining! Here’s an example of what you will see once you start following other users:
Not a con, but one last thing to consider.
I’m assuming you’re here on this blog because you are interested in financial independence. That means signing up for challenges isn’t an option if you think you’re going to miss even one check in. For example I’m only in one challenge right now because I knew I’d be away on vacation for several days, and I didn’t want to commit myself to anything beyond my ability to achieve. BE COMMITTED!
Do I personally recommend this app?
In conclusion, I will continue to use SPAR! when i’m really serious about creating a new habit, or breaking a bad habit (you can make a challenge for that too!) In terms of increasing productivity and healthy habits, it really works for me! Definitely recommend.
If you want to give it a shot, whip out your Apple phone or tablet, and search for SPAR! in the app store. If you have any questions about the app or experiences you would like to share, feel free to comment below. Happy habit-building!