The SmartyPig Blog

Is Your Car Costing You?

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There are few things I hate more than my car insurance and registration bills. I’m always looking for ways to save on car insurance (do I sound like a commercial yet?) but very rarely make any effort to actually change the amount I’m paying twice a year. My July bill currently sits in a stack of envelopes next to my computer screen where an MSN article caught my eye, at just the right time. Are you paying too much for car insurance? It asked me. Well, I’m not sure.

As I read further and compared my car, my husband’s car, and a couple other vehicles we’ve considered. I realized, wow, I actually drive one of the lowest insurable vehicles. My husband, does not. My car in all it’s practicality saves us several hundred dollars a year. His does not. How does your car stack up? Could you be depositing an extra two, three, four hundred dollars into one of your SmartyPig goals each year by making the switch to a more practical vehicle? You may want to consider it.

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

Do Your Finances Stack Up?

“How healthy are your finances?” ask the experts at CNN.com. I’ve tried a number of calculators to estimate the answer to this question, but have so far found my favorite. The experience couldn’t be easier; you enter your salary and then select which area you’d like to focus on. Are you paying too much in mortgage? They’ll tell you that. What about your emergency fund? They’ll answer that for you, too. I dare you to give it a try this week and let us know how you stack up.

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.

4 Reasons Why SmartyPig Should Be Your Kids First Savings Stop

Unlike a typical savings account, SmartyPig was designed to help kids save for specific goals. Money can be added to an account on a recurring schedule and your kids can even receive contributions from family and friends. The difference is that SmartyPig is not a bank — it’s a platform to save money.

SmartyPig Is Free and Easy to Use

SmartyPig is completely free — there are no fees to join and no fees to withdraw money. Traditional bank accounts have maintenance costs and all sorts of other fees. SmartyPig was designed for kids and makes it easy to save by getting rid of the hidden costs. Plus, SmartyPig is really easy to use. There is an online interface where your kids can view their money, set goals, and make monthly contributions. There is also a page where they can cash in their money for gift cards.

SmartyPig Teaches Your Kids Financial Success

Money is a hard concept for children to grasp. Kids don’t always understand how much an item costs and how much work it is to save up enough money. That’s where SmartyPig can help. It teaches kids about money by allowing them to set goals for specific items. SmartyPig aims to teach kids the “save-then-spend” approach instead of the “buy-now-pay-later” mentality. So, when your child starts working towards that college degree or career in medicine, they could have some money already set aside to help. Debt is practically a never ending cycle, and SmartyPig wants kids to start out on the right path instead of getting into debt too early.

SmartyPig Rewards Your Kids for Saving

When you open a savings account at a bank, they pay you a small amount of interest on your funds, either monthly or quarterly. SmartyPig pays interest, but your kids are also eligible for cash boosts and other bonuses. For instance, when your kids are ready to cash out, they can buy a gift card to a specific retailer, such as Amazon or BestBuy, and get up to a five percent boost in the money loaded on the card. That’s a lot of money if your kids are able to save $100 or more. Basically, SmartyPig is rewarding your kids for saving.

SmartyPig Is Safe and Secure

Even though SmartyPig is not a bank, the accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000. This is because the savings accounts are secured through BBVA Compass, one of the largest banks in the United States. Because SmartyPig accounts are FDIC insured, your kids don’t have to worry about losing their money in the event of economic downturn or devastation. There are also lots of other safety and security features built into SmartyPig savings accounts for additional protection, such as McAfee security, SSL, VeriSign, and heavy encryption. SmartyPig also undergoes frequent security audits.

These are just a few of the reasons why SmartyPig should be your child’s first card. It never hurts to start saving money young because the older you get, the more expenses you have. Help your child start saving today with SmartyPig.

JT Ripton freelance writes to inform and intrigue and is also huge on saving every penny possible

Americans Still Not Saving Enough

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“Americans still don’t have enough savings,” say the experts at USA Today. Bankrate’s annual survey released this week, shows no change in savings rates over the last several years. They note: “More than a quarter of Americans have no emergency savings… Of those who do have savings, 67% have less than six months’ worth of expenses, what Bankrate calls the recommended amount, and those with at least three months’ of expenses declined from 45% in 2013 to 40%.” Student loan debt, raising costs of living and flat wages make tucking those extra dollars away, tricky.

SmartyPig knows this, which is why we make our savings goals easy and worry free. Simply set it, and forget it. And reap the rewards, or use them in an emergency (if you need them, and we hope you don’t!) Have you started a new goal lately? We challenge you to do so today.

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

Rich in Retirement

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It’s a ways off for my husband and I, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t thinking about it. And saving for it. Each, and every month. Sitting pretty in retirement might look to you like owning your home outright, driving a nice vehicle and affording the occasional warm-weather vacation. It might simply look like, “getting by” each month. It can be exciting, scary and overwhelming all at once. MSN Money reminds us of a few reasons why we might “retire poor” in their video blog this week.

The experts note reasons like: saving money in the wrong accounts, financing everything, letting your credit score go and being overly careful with investments. Another notable reason is, “your saving priorities are all wrong”. This varies from person to person – but remind yourself (now) to put your retirement first as often as you can. No one will reach that goal for you, but you. Don’t sabotage the life of leisure your 70 year-old self deserves, get to saving today!

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

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