I was approached by the team at SmartyPig a week or so ago via twitter and asked if I’d like to give away a $50 SmartyPig gift card on my site. I do love to give things away, so I said yes, and went off to investigate what exactly SmartyPig is. I had heard of SmartyPig before from reading reviews on other blogs (see the list at end of this post), but I wanted to go to the source and see what it was for myself. I’ve spent the last week or so thoroughly perusing the SmartyPig website, as well as setting up my own SmartyPig profile (although I have not set up an actual funded savings account yet, more on that later) and I think I know enough to give my opinion. I didn’t have to give my opinion to give away the gift card but I decided to anyway.
What is SmartyPig? SmartyPig is basically a savings account (that earns 3.90% APY) through an actual bank (WestBank) and is FDIC insured. The difference between SmartyPig and a regular savings account is that you set a savings goal and a funding source, and you need to fund your savings goal (minimum of $250) through that funding source by automatic monthly withdrawals. It is the online version of a piggy bank. Making deposits is free, and withdrawing your money is also free, which you can do in the form of a gift card (which you get a bonus for depending on what retailer), a SmartyPig debit card, or a check. Direct transfer back to your funding source is not yet available but is supposed to be in the future. If you are saving for an item which you can buy with a gift card, this would be a nice way to get a bonus for your money. Friends can also make deposits to your account if you make your savings goal public – and they can do so for free if they have a SmartyPig account to do so with.
What do I like about SmartyPig? It encourages the idea of saving. Saving is important and far too little of it is generally done. I like that they’ve made funds available by other means than just a gift card, although I do think saving for a material item is the most effective way to use SmartyPig because of the gift card bonus. I also like that friends and family can make deposits to your account.
What I don’t like so much is that you have to set up a direct debit each month – which is why I haven’t actually set up a saving goal yet. My spouse and I talked about using SmartyPig for him to save for his Playstation 3 – but I don’t feel far enough out of debt yet to tie up our money monthly in that manner. Just say I have a fear of commitment. You can cancel you goal at any time and get your money back via a check, so it isn’t irreversible, but I’m not quite ready yet. But, soon. He’s been saving his birthday and Christmas money for two years and he deserves to see the fruits of his labor. I’d feel better if I could just deposit his current savings though and leave it alone vs making monthly deposits.
If you have a savings goal you’d like to let SmartyPig help you meet, I have great news for you! I have, as I said at the top of the post, a $50 SmartyPig gift card to give away! Just look for the secret phrase at the bottom of every post in my RSS feed or my email subscription, and email that phrase to me -send your emails with the secret phrase as the subject line to paidtwice at gmail dot com. The contest will end Saturday at 11:59 pm EST and I will announce the winner Sunday morning. Good luck! I have a physical gift card to mail to the recipient so I will need your mailing address, and I am not responsible for the US Mail service delivering it.
If you’d like to read some other perspectives on SmartyPig, here are some of the reviews I read previously: