Saturday, March 20, 2010
Be a pig! A SmartyPig.
Well, I've never been called a "pig," but under most circumstances I don't think I would be offended. Pigs are cute, fun, smart, sassy, and contrary to stereotypes, clean (and love belly rubs). But I'll take it a step further, and challenge you to do the same -- be a SmartyPig.
Okay, so SmartyPig is more so a reference to the piggy banks of our childhood allowance days than to the squeaky pink babes romping in fields (at least at farm sanctuaries). This hip new addition to the drift of online banking outlets has keenly brought merger to online banking and social networking, neglecting not a nuance. For example, savvy savers can watch a collection of YouTube-style videos (e.g., Setting Up A Savings Goal) as an introduction to SmartyPig rather than pouring over pages of fine print.
Once users have watched the videos (or you know, read the fine print), they can set up specific savings accounts for "goals," such as an "Adventure Fund" or "Emergency Savings" or even "Trip to France" with a scheduled goal deadline, customized savings amount, and scheduled contributions (or the option to contribute "whenever"). Upping the cool factor from the boring online banks of olde, SmartyPig allows users to chose an avatar, create a widget, and even share their goals and progress via Facebook. In addition to the factor that making a goal public generally gives us more inclination to stick to it (like the "21 day Vegan Kickstart"), these tools allow SmartyPig's savers to accept contributions from supportive friends and family.
So, full-disclosure, I am myself an enthusiastic SmartyPig with an adventure fund and emergency savings account, but I haven't gone public (widget-wise) with my savings goals. However, SmartyPig isn't giving me any kickbacks to write this post. Actually, I'm pretty sure this modest blog is below their radar. But I'm an advocate of a program that rewards members for saving (as opposed to credit cards that "reward" members for spending). Even barely eking by with an entry-level, non-profit salary and student loans to repay, with a 2% APY, I feel like I'm making hay of what I can scrape into my accounts.
So my recommendation? Be a pig; take your tax return and start a goal toward the vacation you don't think you can afford, create an "F* You Fund" for getting out of a dead-end job or crappy roommate situation, or save up to donate to your favorite charity. Maybe $oink$ will become the new "cha-ching."