I heard about this website that offers a very unique method of saving money.  It’s called SmartyPig and is focused upon goal oriented savings.  It took me a few minutes to figure out what it’s all about.  Check out their FAQs and the rest of their information at http://www.smartypig.com/about to get a feel for it.  A system to facilitate and encourage savings is a great thing in my book and seems much needed right now.

The folks at SmartyPig are really on to something.  First of all it’s a free service.  You can open your account, create your goals, reach your goals and redeem your savings at no cost.   Second, they offer tools that really help you stay disciplined in attaining your savings goals.  They allow you to set-up many different savings goals and automatically fund them with regular deductions from your bank accounts.   They offer charts to visualize and track your progress.  And you can share your goals with family and friends, who can see how you are doing and keep you in line.  Family and friends can also make contributions, but there is a fee for this. 

Your money is kept in an FDIC insured account at West Bank in Iowa which currently has a very good interest rate.  When you reach your goal and get your money back they offer three ways to get your money.  You can get it put back in your regular account; get a debit card; or get retailer gift cards in a greater amount than you have saved.

If you are saving for a family vacation this seems like a great way to get everyone on board.  It seems like a great teaching tool for kids and teenagers.  It can also be a platform to solicit contributions.  I can see it being used by people going on charitable missions or having other endeavors that would be worthwhile to support.  If you have used this service or have ideas about the ways it can be used, please share with us your thoughts.