SmartyPig: Social networking meets good old-fashioned savings

Giveaway alert: read this entire post for the chance to win a SmartyPig $100 gift card.

SmartyPig reminds me of the days when my grandmother made weekly deposits to her Christmas Club. Remember those? The special savings program offered by local banks to ease the expense of holiday shopping. These were still quite popular when I was growing up as a kid in the 1970’s.

Well, SmartyPig is giving good old-fashioned savings a boost with some social networking.

Here’s how it works. SmartyPig is a savings account that allows you to save for a specific goal and invite others to contribute. There are other perks: including a good interest rate (4.30% APY) and incentives from top retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc.

SmartyPig is tilted toward consumer-oriented goals and best suited for people saving for a specific item like a new, expensive crib. Or at least that’s the example Trent at The Simple Dollar gave in his review:

“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.”

Perhaps an overpriced, underfunctioning crib is a bad example (since Jennifer recently admitted on Queercents that it was one of her Top Five New Parent Money-Wasters). But Trent gives another illustration:

“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.”

Hmmm… this got me wondering if I had ever taken part in a group savings plan and I recall the day my dad announced to his young adult children that he no longer wanted gifts for his birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas. Instead he wanted money to add to a savings account with the sole purpose of buying a custom toupée. Yes, my dad was ready to get rid of his combover and we were going to help him achieve this goal - twenty bucks at time!

While SmartyPig isn’t for everyone, it’s good for very specific goals that are meant to be shared. A teenager saving for his first car, a dad saving for his first
toupée… you get the picture. So go check it out if you’re in the market for simple. smart. savings.

In the meantime, the SmartyPig people gave me a SmartyPig $100 gift card to give away. Good to start saving for a hair piece or whatever else you think could make you happy! Just leave a comment over at Queercents (not here) with what you’d start saving for and I’ll pick the one that is the most fun (and clever) for a Monday morning. You’ll be 100 bucks richer for it. Now get to work…