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It’s been a while since I shared a website/tool that I love. I recently discovered smartypig.com and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

This summer includes a lot of expenses: weddings, kitchen remodel, the fact that my laptop is dying a slow and painfully overheating death (don’t buy HP products), and then also going on a vacation at the end of the year. Lots of big items. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around how to organize my savings, so that I can plan accordingly.

I don’t want to spend any money that I don’t already have, and didn’t want to touch my savings.

I was considering opening up a second savings account in order to separate money from my general savings towards a particular purchase. Even if I track it in a spreadsheet and allocate different expenses, I start feeling guilty that my general savings will be going down after I make the purchase. In other words, I wanted a way to physically hide my money from myself until I need it. Otherwise it gets spent at Target. It’s completely a personal preference, but it just helps me draw a clearer line.

Smartypig has a funny name, but it’s meant to represent an online piggy bank.

Since my goals haven’t moved much since I’ve only been doing it for a couple months. Here is a screenshot from FantabulouslyFrugal’s completed goal:

It’s amazing how $10 at a time, when planned ahead, can add up to such a big and rewarding purchase! Very inspiring.

How Smartypig works:

  • Decide what you are saving for. A MacBook, kitchen appliances, house down payment, holiday gifts, car, wedding, a vacation, or a pair of Louboutins? Open a free smartypig account and create some savings goals online.
  • You set up your contributions to the account. It can be weekly, monthly, whenever and however much you want. You can change it anytime. Like a piggy bank, a little goes a long way, but unlike a piggy bank, you can just forget about it as it grows.
  • You earn a competitive interest rate on the money, and it’s 1% APR, which is higher than any bank savings accounts I’ve looked into recently.
  • There are a few ways to cash out your money that you save:
  1. SmartyPig’s Cash Rewards Card to redeem your goals. You can cash out all or just a portion of your goal (at any time) to the Cash Rewards Card and use it anywhere MasterCard debit cards are accepted. You can earn 1% cash back on the purchases made with that card.
  2. Retailer gift card – Earn up to 11% cash back when you redeem your goal for one of a long list of Retailer Gift Card partners like Amazon, Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic, Travelocity, Lowe’s, etc. So if you’re saving for appliances or a specific item, your money can increase by 11% by just cashing out with the Lowe’s gift card to use to purchase those appliances, for example.
  3. You can also have a check mailed.
  • Smartypig tracks your goals and keeps you on track, while moving your money aside away from your day-to-day payments and expenses.
  • You can also make your goal public and allow people to provide gift donations to your account. It’s a great idea for birthday gifts from parents going towards a solid goal or bridal shower gifts for honeymoon donations!
  • And of course there’s an app:

I love how it replaces the “buy-now-pay-later” approach with a “save-then-spend” mentality.

Disclaimer: I am not getting reimbursed in any way for this post. I am using this to save up for some of my own goals and have been really happy with this saving strategy. It does have a referral program, so if you are interested in opening an account and would like me to get credit for it, provide me with your email and I will send one over.

Of course, as with anything finance related, do you own research before signing up. Read the fine print.

Does “hiding” money help you save more? Anyone else have any other goal savings tips? Please share 🙂