3 New Apps For Self Improvement


Each weekend, Mashable handpicks startups we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

Since Americans have some extra time this weekend for the Fourth of July, we’ve highlighted three startups with products that could help you improve your finances, dating conundrums or skills.

If you can make time between barbecue, beer and fireworks this weekend, that is.

Payoff.com is something like a goal-oriented Mint.com, with the addition of social features and badges that are geared toward helping you save money.

At signup, you declare your primary and future goals, such as “pay off all credit cards.” Then you hook up your accounts (Payoff insists the process is secure) so that you can track your spending and Payoff can reward you for progress with badges and cash prizes.

Unlike most financial sites, Payoff thinks users can benefit from a little publicity. Users can share their goals and the badges they win with their friends using social media. It makes money by suggesting “tools” from financial institutions such as checking accounts and prepaid checking accounts for helping you save.

The goal is to make financial health more like a game. Whether or not this will be as effective as creating a budget (a feature Payoff skips) remains to be seen from the six-months-old site. But Payoff has earned $3.5 million in capital investment led by FirstMark Capita to put the hypothesis to the test.

In my personal experience, it’s easy to come up with about five good, creative date ideas. Should a budding romance make it past the fifth date, the rate of movie rentals and Chinese takeout significantly increases.

Datevitation allows you to solve this problem and knock out a low-cost birthday or anniversary present at the same time. Customers search through the site’s library of more than 200 illustrated date selections and put together a customizable coupon booklet of dates.

Prices for start at $5 for a printed book of five date coupons. More coupons can be added for $1 each.

Whether you want to improve your cooking or your stunt trampoline skills, CourseHorse will help you track down a class that works for you (as long as you’re located in New York City). The search engine lets you search by subject, date and time, price, age or neighborhood.



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