Some Notes on SmartyPig

First of all, a disclaimer: while I’m not directly involved with SmartyPig, I did speak with the development team in detail during the development process and offered a number of suggestions and ideas, and I was kept abreast with their development along the way. This group sought my input during their process of growing from concept to public release, but I am not directly involved with SmartyPig in any fashion. I do, however, think the product turned out quite well and I’ve been looking forward to telling you about it – I had to wait until after its recent public launch to do so.

Several months ago, I went out to lunch with a couple people who wanted to tell me about a project that they were working on that they thought I might be interested in. They knew of me via The Simple Dollar and, because they were based in Des Moines and I happen to live near Des Moines, they thought it was a great opportunity to get my opinions and thoughts.

Since the lunch was free and I had the afternoon off anyway, I thought, “Why not?” The worst that could happen is that I get a free lunch and listen to some boring conversation. I had heard a few pitches like this before from various people and groups and most of the time I saw very little that would get me excited.

That group was the SmartyPig team, and the set of ideas they’ve come up with is genius.

What’s SmartyPig?
Right now, I use ING Direct as my primary bank. They provide my checking services, my savings services, and all of my online bill pay services. They even allow me to set up sub-accounts so that I can save for specific goals. In my opinion, ING Direct is the best of the full-service online banks, and I’m a happy customer of theirs.

Still, when I look at online services like mint.com, I’m jealous: the idea of sharing saving goals with others is very intriguing. Personal finance and saving money has the potential to be as social as any other activity – we can involve our friends and family in the process and make it a point of conversation and a point of pride.

I can’t help but think back to when I was a teenager and saving for a car. My family was intimately involved in this process, and they encouraged me all the time to keep saving. My dad would occasionally put a few dollars into the account, and my mom would sometimes slip me $5 towards the car when I would take out the trash. Other family members, particularly my grandmother, were quite encouraging as well, and even a few of my friends were in on the story. When I finally got the car (and got it fixed up and road-worthy), it felt like not only a goal I had achieved personally, but a goal I had shared with my family, too – they were happy for me as well as they had seen the progress all the way along.

I’ve often thought that this type of thing would be a very cool feature for an online bank. Why not allow people to set up “public” savings accounts for such goals and then allow others to contribute money to that account and watch the progress? When we were buying a crib for my son, for example, both grandparents wanted to contribute and wanted to know how we were doing in saving for that crib (we were getting a gorgeous one that would be perfect not just for our children, but for their children and so on). One of them even suggested that we have a baby shower themed around the crib we had in mind, but there was no intuitive way to put the pieces together for it.

SmartyPig is basically the solution to this. SmartyPig is basically an online front end for West Bank, a bank chain here in Iowa. It basically allows you to set up savings accounts for specific goals and make these accounts “public” so that others can track the progress in the account. You go in, define a savings goal, set up an automatic savings plan that pulls from your checking account, and then watch your progress towards that goal. The account offers a pretty competitive interest rate, too. When you’ve reached a savings goal, SmartyPig issues you a MasterCard debit card that contains the full balance of your account, and you take it to wherever you want to go to spend it.

SmartyPig took the next logical step, too. They hooked in a number of retailers to kick it up a bit more. Let’s say, for example, you’re saving for a KitchenAid Pro stand mixer and you’re going to buy it off of Amazon when you reach your $300 target. If you specify that as your savings goal on SmartyPig, you’ll get the option of getting that $300 as an Amazon gift card – and they’ll kick on a few extra percent towards the purchase. So, for example, you might get an Amazon gift card at the end with a value of $315 or a MasterCard debit card with a value of $300 – your choice.

My Concerns
SmartyPig is a combination of two very good ideas – the social sharing of an online savings account, plus the option to roll it into a gift certificate for extra savings. I’m left with just a few minor concerns.

First, any time you sign up for another bank account, you’re giving your personal information to at least one more source. While the risk is slight, it does exist – there is no perfect security in the world and your best protection is to always minimize the number of places where your information exists. In a nutshell, I usually need a compelling reason to share my personal information – if it’s there, I’m okay with going forward, but I don’t hand out my information unless I can clearly state the reason and it’s a worthwhile one.

Second, the maximum benefit of SmartyPig comes from consumerism-oriented goals. While you can use it for things like a $5,000 emergency fund, SmartyPig doesn’t lend itself well to goals like that. By its very nature, SmartyPig is for saving for item-oriented goals. While this can be good – it’s a great way to save up for a new washer and dryer, for instance – it can also be bad if you use it to save for extra stuff you don’t really need.

Will I Use It?
For the exact purpose that it fills, SmartyPig is a wonderful online savings option, and I’m using it to save for at least one specific future purchase – a new dryer. Our old one is on the fritz, and this is a very subtle way to get the cash for a new one. My wife is considering adding a new washer to that goal as well. I have not yet shared any goals, mostly because I can’t think of a good idea for one to share.

I will admit to being tempted to set up a savings goal to save for a few frivolous things – and I think that’s one of the dangers of SmartyPig. It’s fun to play with, and my natural instincts are encouraging me to set up savings goals for things like a digital video camera setup.

Should You Use It?
SmartyPig excels at facilitating goal-oriented saving – if you’re saving up for a specific item, this is perhaps the best way I’ve ever seen to self-motivate to get it done and earn some solid returns in the process, both from the interest earned in the account and in the potential gift card you can get when you cash out. If that’s something you struggle with, SmartyPig is a very useful tool for taking that journey. The real question is whether you see a role in your life for such goal-oriented saving – not everyone does, and if it seems pointless and consumeristic to you (which has been the reaction of at least one person I’ve described SmartyPig to), then there’s no need to sign up for an account.

Personally, I think it’s a big help if you’re slowly socking away money for a specific large purchase, and it can be a compelling tool if you’re wanting to share a savings goal with others.

If you enjoyed reading this, sign up for free updates!

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...

51 thoughts on “Some Notes on SmartyPig

  1. Trent,
    I have been reading quite a bit lately about SmartyPig and I think that it is not for me. While I like to share my goals, I don’t particularly like spenfing money on “stuff” and as you said that is what SmartyPig is essentially designed for.
    If you are saving for an emergency fund or something like a dryer, that is not exciting to the social group and, in effect, is not motivating to the saver as others are not interested in the outcome.
    I can see it being enticing for anyone who is saving to buy a house with Cash or something to that effect. People would certainly be interested in that as long as it didn’t take too long.
    It sounds like a great idea for those who need social approval for their goals and I wish them all the best!
    -Tyler

  2. George says:

    It’s a cool idea, but…

    I only see it as a tool for better marketing of “stuff”. It’s not that you’re saving for a goal of new car, it’s that you’re saving for a specific brand of new car. That enables the marketeers to fine tune their pitch so that you choose their brand.

    Personally, apart from replacements, I’ve got all the “stuff” I ever expect to accumulate. I’d rather be financially independent than accumulate more stuff and SmartyPig isn’t going to help.

  3. Thanks for the review of SmartyPig. I agree with the others about it being a marketing tool for “stuff”.

  4. Tori says:

    Jon Gaskell is with this!?!?!? Wow. He’s been a busy guy.

  5. Wendy says:

    When I first read about SmartyPig, I immediately thought that it was a great idea for the under 25 group, especially tweens and teens. Lots of grandparents like to give cash gifts and this would allow them a more interactive and (I think enjoyable) way to give a cash gift. Also, my kids grandparents love putting money in my kids savings accounts but right now it is a little cumbersome–they send the check to me and then I deposit it. And then the grandparents don’t get to see the money accumulate.

    For example, accounts could be set up for:
    Tween: big gifts like a gaming system, bike, etc.

    Teen: as you mentioned, saving for a car, saving for a senior trip, prom expenses, computer, etc.

    College: Semester abroad, text books, “work” clothes for a future career

    Post College: wedding/honeymoon, down payment on house

    After that, I agree that it could encourage spending on frivolous items. And, as a 33 year old, it seems a little greedy to use the social aspect of the account–”hey I am saving for a fancy new camera; give me money.” But at the same time, I know that my husband’s parents would have loved to help my husband purchase his new guitar last year.

  6. Sara A. says:

    Maybe it would be good for children or teenagers? It doesn’t really seem appropriate for adults.

  7. gwen says:

    I see it as a way to make extra money to buy things I may buy already. By description, you set a goal to buy something. Let’s say your budget for books in a year is $500. If in the previous year, you simply saved $500 you could then get an amazon gift card that is worth $515. That’s essentially another book. If you’re not looking for stuff, then how about groceries? If you’re in good shape with your money, you could be saving for groceries. Putting away money for a year for the next year at their 4% interest rate with a debit card at the end could actually help people budget better.

    I think the social aspect is actually kind of cool. With families being separated as they are, people want to help, but they don’t always want to give cash. When my nephew gets older, I’d really like him to have one of these accounts so I could help him save for his xbox or ps whatever and then see him excited when we have our video chats.

  8. Jonathan Thomas says:

    I love the concept and I started an account. I might use it to save for ‘stuff.’ But I don’t think I’ll put too much money into the account. For one reason, there is no facility to electronically transfer your money to another bank. The only way out is via the debit card. I can’t exactly buy a piece of land that costs $35,000 with a debit mastercard…

  9. AndyUrme says:

    I think it’s great for personal saving if you are trying to save up for items in the future. 4.30% APY is quite high compared to most online banking with the rate drop. I don’t recommend people sending money into other’s account considering it cost $4.95 per transaction.

    5. Are there any hidden fees?

    No. Making recurring monthly contributions to your SmartyPig savings goals is free using your current checking or savings account. There is a $4.95 processing fee if you make a contribution to someone else’s public SmartyPig savings goal.

  10. Dave says:

    Can you use this as a way to instantly get $15 free money on Amazon?

  11. Thomas says:

    It’s an intriguing idea. I think the idea of using it to save for something expensive from Amazon, then getting a gift certificate “bonus” is a good one. I’m currently saving for some kitchen knives and it makes sense to use Amazon and SmartyPig for that.

  12. MaryMcK. says:

    What a timely post – I was struggling with SmartyPig just last night and ended up frustrated.

    My kids both want a specific Apple product that they’re saving up for, and they like receiving Apple gift cards as gifts. Since kids are notorious for changing their minds, I thought it would be better to have a savings account designated for the thing they want, so they aren’t tied to a specific brand and store. But apparently SmartyPig requires that you set a monetary goal and a date by which you’d like to achieve it and you have to have automatic withdrawals from another account to fund your goal. I was not able to find any other way to get money into these accounts, other than buying SmartyPig gift cards that have a $4.95 processing fee attached. Ouch. And if friends or relatives get involved with your savings goals, how are they supposed to contribute without it costing them an extra $4.95? I wasn’t able to figure any of that out since SP wouldn’t let me set up accounts properly without that automatic withdrawal being in place. I was hoping for an easy way to drop money into a “spending account” like this, in addition to the savings accounts my kids already have that they’re not allowed to touch, but this apparently is not the answer.

    On the other hand, I might be using SmartyPig to save for Christmas. I’ve been saving $20 a week as you suggested in an earlier post, but sometimes time flies and two weeks have gone by before I remember & then I have to catch up.

  13. ellie says:

    guess I’m wondering something similar to the last comment but perhaps not as extreme – let’s say i need a new laptop – if i arrange to save the 1000 bucks in just a few months will I still get the same boost from, say, a Bestbuy gift card as I would if i spread the savings out over a long time- if so it seems like a good way to make a fast 50 – unless the 5% boost is just from a select few retailers and the reality is that lower priced stores kick in much less.

  14. Andy says:

    Only fee I could find was

    There is a $4.95 processing fee if you make a contribution to someone else’s public SmartyPig savings goal.

  15. Joyce Jarrard says:

    Trent mentioned his first car, and the involvement of his family. He also mentioned the beautiful crib he bought for his children that might have been a use for Smarty Pig.

    I would think other goals for young people would be a “natural” fit for Smarty Pig, such as a college student needing funds to spend a year abroad, or funds for a first apartment, or even college itself. (That would assume he/she did not have a lovely college savings plan already in place, which I am sure many college students do not have.)

    In addition to family goals, more public goals might lend themselves to a Smarty Pig account. I could envision this used by organizations such as churches, local Arts Councils, or Boy or Girl Scouts to fund a large purchase — such as a building, to save for an event, or even the annual fund drive. It would be great for all to see the progress toward the goal! A School PTA could use a Smarty Pig account to save money to buy playground equipment, computers, or whatever a school might need.

    A local group in my town wants to renovate the old theater. It will require a couple of million dollars, but it is needed to revitalize the downtown. This type of account could work well toward the fundraising goal. People who couldn’t afford a larger one-time donation might be willing to have $10 a month drafted from their account over the course of a year.

  16. Jon Gaskell says:

    Within the next week we will be restructuring our public contribution and gift card fees. SmartyPig customers will be able to make contributions to other SmartyPig users’ goals and buy gift cards at NO cost if they use their existing SmartyPig funding source, i.e. their checking or savings account. Our fee to make a contribution or buy a gift card using a credit card will be set at a flat 2.9%, and we are also planning on releasing a few other payment options in the future, as well, so that using SmartyPig will be economical for all users. Thanks, Jon Gaskell

  17. Chris Bush says:

    While consumerism is perilous, you don’t HAVE to use something like SmartyPig for consumer ends.

    You could save up 3k for an initial purchase of some Vanguard funds. You could save up 3k for a car, and use it to help convince otherwise reluctant recalcitrant relatives (3rs, triple word score) to support you.

    You dont’ have to spend it on a ps3, although i probably would. Or the kitchenaid mixer. That sounds fun too. Maybe some slr lenses for the digital rebel. Maybe a share of Berkshire Hathaway class B. That’s probably the best option.

  18. Andy says:

    What a cool concept!! I agree with comment #4. While adults could definatley benefit from the service, I could see it being EXTREMELY effective for younger generations who are already CRAZY about social networking.

  19. Its a great idea that could use some more work. Here’s an idea:

    Some kind of college savings account that anyone can contribute to. Anyone can deposit money, and anyone can see the balance. A great way for grandparents to give gifts and see it in action.

    Maybe put it through an ad supported site. Publish the data for all the accounts and provide kickbacks to people willing to make deposits there. Open-Source Banking! Copywrite, I own it now.

  20. jay says:

    Well, I WAS going to whine about the $4.95 fee, but looks like that’s going to effectively disappear. Great!
    Like the idea of groups doing fund raising using this vehicle.
    Also very cool way for families, friends to connect and help with projects.
    Thanks for the post.

  21. Jill says:

    Sounds evil to me. ING all the way!

  22. Becky@FamilyandFinances says:

    This seems like it would be a neat idea for a couple to offer their wedding guests. I’d rather give a couple $50 toward their first home down payment than buy them some towels :)

  23. Sarah says:

    The fees look way too high. A 3% fee to give when a check would be free? And isn’t it $25 to get a check back as opposed to a gift card? (And we all know the problems with gift cards.)

  24. thehungrydollar.com says:

    Not trying to be negative, but what does SmartyPig offer over an ING Orange Savings Account with its sub-categories (other than social sharing)?

  25. sara l says:

    I think this is a great idea for milestone events (graduations, weddings, babies) and for those who are young (still in school). It’s an alternate to giving cash, which can really be great. Just out of school at a friends wedding a group of us put together just over 1K to give as a gift. This was handed to the couple the morning before they left for thier honeymoon in mainly 20′s.

    The greater issue is when your goal can’t be paid for using a debit or gift card. I would have loved to charge the downpayment on my car to earn rewards. The dealership would only take a check though.

    As some other commenters mentioned this could also be a great vehicle for community groups. Raising money for capital campaign, sending a group on a mission trip, or even donating to someone’s walk-a-thon goal would be great. The only issue would be getting receipts for tax purposes.

    This isn’t something I need at this juncture in my life, but it’s something to consider.

  26. Sarah says:

    I’m seriously confused by a clause in the SmartyPig agreement.

    I almost signed up for an account sometime last week, but when reading the fine print on the very last registration page, I noticed a clause about the Automated Clearing House Network. According to the SmartyPig fine print, anytime you ask them to use the ACH Network, they’re going to charge you $4.95… and you’re required to set up monthly recurring transfers to your account. The clause was quite specific in that, no matter what type of transfer was initiated (the usual is if you buy something, but this clause seemed to be saying any time the bank accessed the network in relation to your account at all), SmartyPig is going to charge you $4.95. To me it sounds like they’re going to charge you $60 a year just to keep an account open!

    Is this what the fine print means? All the information I’ve found doesn’t point in a favorable direction…

  27. Amanda B. says:

    Basically, hunh?
    “SmartyPig is basically the solution to this. SmartyPig is basically an online front end for West Bank, a bank chain here in Iowa. It basically allows you to set up savings accounts for specific goals…”

  28. Ryan says:

    Why do I see posts about smarty pig on multiple personal finance blogs the last few days, and additionally see posts from Jon Gaskell and other employees along with rave reviews when it has barely been in existence yet? This is a joke, right?

  29. @ Sarah – Hi Sarah. Yes, you are required to setup a monthly recurring contribution for a SmartyPig savings goal. However, there are NO fees for recurring monthly contributions from your existing checking or savings account. SmartyPig charges a small fee if someone wants to contribute to your “public” goal. And it will be free for SmartyPig customers. Jon mentioned that above. Shoot me an email if you have any additional questions or concerns. Would be happy to discuss with you. Michael Ferrari, SmartyPig Co-Founder. support@smartypig.com

  30. Michael says:

    It is rude to ask guests for money.

  31. Tom says:

    The SmartyPig team said they will be restructuring their entire fee system in the next coming weeks. So we should all hold our fee comments until after the restructuring.

    Minus the fees, SmartyPig offers consumers a great way to budget and save for specific purchases. Eventually every household will buy an item costing over $250 (SmartyPig minimum). This service is a great way to achieve that $250 goal in a planned, consistent manner. You are also making an extra 4.3% APY that is calculated into your monthly contributions.

    Once the fee schedule is worked out, SmartyPig will offer consumers a very unique way to save and raise money. In the comments alone there have been many unique ideas:

    ~Wedding Registry
    ~Personal Goals
    ~Community Fund Raising
    ~College
    ~Savings Education for Children

    This service isn’t limited to saving money to buy “stuff”. The SmartyPig team has setup the social savings account framework, it’s up to you how to use it. Be creative!

  32. Carson says:

    I am of the FatWallet crowd, and like to maximize my money. Could you use it to just put money in and take out. Like say for college books. Could you put you needed $500 by the next month, put in 500 then turn around and get an amazon card for 525? If you could do that it would be more useful to some.

  33. Michelle says:

    This looks like a nice alternative to honeymoon funds run by travel agencies and such. The couple could receive gifts without locking themselves into a specific service provider.

  34. CyanSquirrel says:

    The SmartyPig fee structure strikes me as just a way for the owner of this site to take little bites out of other people’s savings to supplement his own income. I won’t be using it nor will I encourage others to use it. $4.95 a month (or year), charged TO THE SAVER (not the contributors) would be a little more tolerable.

  35. Colleen Costello says:

    This would be nice for kids to have IF they could exercise the proper restraint. For example, if Grandma says she WANTS to contribute to “the cause,” the child could inform her how easy that could be using the SmartyPig account… However, if the existence of said account means the child starts shaking down relatives for money, then I think this is BAD.

    I am a fan of Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, and she is completely against the practice of inviting people to “contribute” to something you are saving for. I could see this type of account being used as an excuse to bother family and friends about “making a donation” instead of saving your own money for a desired item.

  36. kentuckyliz says:

    Social networking/fundraising would also be good for people who are trying to clear their debts to enter religious life. I have contributed in the past to those goals…if someone is willing to give up everything to enter religious life as a sister, nun, brother, monk, or priest, and the only thing holding them back is that last little bit of college student loan…well, if they’re working and trying hard to pay it off, then I have no qualms about donating to help accelerate their entry into religious life.

    Whether to use smartypig or not, I’m not sure. What other ways are there to do it? Blogging with a PayPal donation button? I don’t think that costs anything. Perhaps smartypig’s restrictions are to increase confidence among donors.

    My nieces and nephews are always asking for birthday and Christmas presents that are way beyond anyone’s budget to buy them. But if they set up a public saving account, I would contribute to it as my gift…if they really wanted that thing, then a donation to help make it happen would make them happier than whatever lesser gift I would get them.

    I also like the idea of creating interfaces so that anyone could contribute to a kid’s ESA/529.

    Here’s another great idea, raise money to start a RIC-E trust for a baby, and secure their retirement forever. http://www.ricetrust.com Very cool concept.

  37. Anne says:

    Gift cards can already be purchased at a discount on eBay. So no need to game the SP system for an extra 5% back at Amazon.

    I really, really do not see the point of SP.

  38. Dana says:

    Well, if Smarty Pig doesn’t shut customers down on account of poor credit, that’s one thing they’ll have over ING.

    (I kid you not. All I had with ING was a couple of savings accounts and they closed ‘em last year, citing my credit report as the reason. I think I also made too many withdrawals in one month, but that’s not the reason they explicitly spelled out to me.)

  39. Tina says:

    While it’s a potentially great idea, especially for “occasions” and big events, even saving for a volunteer trip, etc, I have to say the name put me off right away.
    Someone mentioned the word ‘greedy’ in an earlier post. That connotation, to me, is inevitable with a name that includes the very symbol of greed: pig! ‘Smarty’ makes it even worse: this greedy pig is also clever enough to trick you out of your money!
    I’d be too embarrassed to ever ask anyone to contribute money for me in an account with a name like that!!

  40. Johnny T. says:

    I use Smartypig and I love it. It is a nice way for me to get money out from my checking account into things I’m saving for anyway. I have one for each of my sons that I put a bit in every month. The savings goal is 17 years away @ 25 bucks a month…This is for their college expenses. I really like this becuase $25 a month is not painful at all, and it gets me saving for the long run…at the end each will have over 7 grand in them. So, no, i disagree that it is purely consumeristic. People spend money on lots of different things, and it *makes* you commit to saving. They should get rid of all the fees, IMHO, as I’m sure they’re making more than eight percent holding the saved money out as it is. Just my two cents.

  41. Johnny T. says:

    And, by the way, all mine are private, so I ask nobody to help with my savings goals. It’s just particularly nice to have the money whisked away from my ING account, because even if I’ve put money in savings there, I can *very* easily transfer it back to checking in an instant. Using smartypig means it will take several days to get that money if I need it, so I just as soon leave it and let it accumulate.

  42. Nina says:

    I’ve spent a bit of time this evening researched online banking interest rates. Having read about Smarty Pig, I have to say that I think it’s a great idea! Yes, it’s a wonderful idea to teach children the concept of saving, compounding interest, delayed gratification, etc.

    But, I don’t think children are the only ones who need that lesson! Look at the state of the economy….too many people have way too much debt because they buy things they can’t afford. Maybe if they had decided to save up for things instead of charging them, people wouldn’t be so broke as not to be able to afford they mortgages…

  43. Nina says:

    And I just wanted to add that I somewhat lament that my daughter is just two years old. Not old enough for me to get her involved with Smarty Pig!

    Also, please forgive my grammatical errors….I forgot to proof my comment above! :)

  44. marji says:

    Smarty Pig is a wonderful way to save. Not only is the interest rate very competitive, but the automatic transfer feature makes saving money almost painless.

    Trent, help me understand why you said Smarty Pig isn’t well suited to goals like an Emergency Fund. Thanks!

  45. KEITH says:

    I OPENED AN ACCOUNT AND THIS WAS HORRIBLE! I ACCENTALLY SET MY GOAL FOR $4000 A MONTH TO BE TRANSFERED OUT OF MY SAVINGS INTO THE SMARTY PIG ACCOUNT. THEY WOULD NOT LET ME CHANGE IT BECAUSE I HAD A PENDING TRANSACTION!!!! SO THE $4000 TRANSFER WENT THROUGH CAUSING MY REAL SAVINGS TO BE OVERDRAWN. I WENT THROUGH THEIR MANAGEMENT AND WESTBANK TALKING TO TIFFANY AND GOT ABSOLUTELY NO WHERE. NO I AM TRYING TO CANCEL MY ACCOUNT AND GET ALL MY MONEY BACK, AND THEY ARE MAKING ME WAIT 10 BUSINESS DAYS TO DO IT. THIS CONCEPT MAY SOUND GREAT, BUT IF YOU ENTER THE WRONG INFORMATION IN YOUR GOAL, YOUR TIED TO IT FOR WEEKS. YOU CAN NOT CHANGE IT OR CLOSE IT AT ANY TIME LIKE THE WEBSITE SAYS. THE SMARTY PIG WEBSITE IS TRULY LIPSTICK ON A PIG.

  46. Regina says:

    I am still in the process of researching smartypig- I have 2 ING accounts, one for myself and my husband, and one for our 2 year old son- but when I saw the interest rates on SmartyPig are 3.5%, compared to 1.5% on ING Direct, I’m thinking it might be worth a switch!
    Will keep thinking it over though…..

  47. Debbie M says:

    At first I thought this wasn’t for me, even though the interest rate is relatively good. Most of my savings goals don’t have an amount or a deadline, such as housing repairs, car repairs, next car, and vacations. I do put in a certain amount each month, but then I take money out whenever there is a need or good opportunity, and then I don’t want to have to close the whole goal to do that because I want to keep saving for the next repair, car, or vacation.

    However, I just decided to take over my escrow account from my lender, and so two perfect goals would be this year’s property tax and this year’s homeowner insurance.

    That helped me realize that some other good grown-up goals I could add are car insurance and flood insurance.

    And although I don’t know exactly when I’ll want my next car or exactly how much it will cost, this is still a good Smarty Pig goal because it is a thing I want to buy and they don’t make you close your account when you meet your monetary goal. I could easily estimate a date (ten years since I bought my last car) and an amount (my current monthly savings rate times the months remaining.) And then I could close the goal when I buy a car and open a new goal for my next car.

    I don’t have any use for the social component. And I haven’t thought up a use for the gift card component (my Amazon, Home Depot and LLBean goals are usually quite tiny and don’t require saving up for months).

  48. Cliff says:

    If you are looking at SmartyPig as an emergency fund account, might I suggest this strategy. First get a good credit card with balance that will handle most situations. Second, setup this account to hold money for spending goals. Third, if something happens, use the credit card to pay for. Stop the goal you have setup and transfer the money out to pay the credit card. Not a hard concept to use.

    As for the saving for items part not being for adults, this is far from the truth. Nothing like seeing next years vacation pig get a nice shade of pink. Reminds me more and more each month that vacation is getting closer. Ok this could be a bad thing, but it is nice to see.

  49. almost there says:

    I set up a couple smartypig accounts. It has a 3 star rating in bankrate. The 3.05% apy is better than any other listed in bankrate for a regular savings acct. I had to set a goal of a little over 14k to equal a hundred dollar deduction from my checking account/month (based on current apy). If one wants to get the money they can cancel the goal and have it sent back to the funding account. Or, if one puts additional money in, they can meet the goal early and just let it sit there getting higher interest compared to most other savings accounts. Capital One was getting about 6% last year when I joined and now it is down to 1.85%apy and that is with a 10k minimum to join.

  50. Leslie says:

    I wanted to update this article. From what I see on SmartyPig now you can also retrieve you money electronically back into your bank account as well as the debit card and retailer card.

    The $4.95 rate for contributions is now 2.9%. This is disappointing.

    I was all ready to set up an account for a vacation fund I am planning and thought I could just tell everyone that the only “gift” i want for the next two years is money to go towards my vacation.

    Unfortunately, I do not think it is fair to make a family member spend even a $1 extra just to give me vacation money.

  51. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could
    i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal.
    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>