You want a new laptop, fancy road bike, maybe even an engagement ring. You know you don’t have the scratch to pay for it, so you pull out plan B, the credit card. Queue frightening music. But, wait… Why not ask about, ummm, Layaway? This debt-free concept is making a huge comeback and with good reason. Just because you can’t afford that expensive item today and don’t want to use your credit card, doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. It just requires careful money management and a little planning.
Jessica Dickler from CNNMoney.com writes: “There are no interest charges or fees for the service, and the number of payments can be customized.” Remind you of anything? You eye a new item that exceeds your current cash position, you start putting money towards the item with intentions to pay in entirety, and your credit card stays put safely in your wallet? You got it! SmartyPig! Only difference is that while stores are moving toward having you save up for the things they sell while they hold your money, at SmartyPig you get paid a high interest rate while you save and cash back of up to 14% when you go to shop.
SmartyPig – Simple, Smart… Layaway.
Wishing you successful saving!
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig Media Mad Woman
What qualities interest you in a significant other? Do you prefer tall, dark, and handsome? Witty and intelligent? What about Frugal? While many associate frugal with “stingy” more than “sexy,” this term is making its way into many first-date conversations. Money is one of the biggest areas of conflict in most relationships, and the reason many relationships fail. This begs the question: Should we focus on one’s financial mentality first and attractiveness second?
ING recently polled 1,000 people on the words that come to mind when describing a potential blind date as “frugal.” 42% chose “boring” and “stingy,” while only 3.7% selected “sexy.” In a recent article on the topic, NY Times columnist Ron Lieber asks: “If your frugality has the potential to turn off nearly half of the mating pool, it raises a question: How best to broadcast your financial values and seek significant others who share your approach without coming off as a tightwad or a gold digger?” Lieber further suggests spinning your frugality: “I love a great bargain” and “I enjoy finding new, tasty, cheap eats.” These statements show a love of quality and a great deal.
And although a first date might not be the best place to discuss your financial portfolio, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move toward discussing money, as things get serious. When the time does come to get into finances, keep in mind the fantastic addition SmartyPig goals are to any financial plan. While frugality might not top everyone’s list of attractive traits, saving for an exotic vacation, a new car, or a down payment on a home, are exciting aspirations – and dreams that can be shared. Add to it 1.75% APY and cash back of up to 14% from many popular merchants, and you’re displaying a level of common sense absolutely worth lusting after.
Wishing you successful saving!
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman
Are you one-half of one of the millions of American couples who have differing financial values? I know I am. It’s been said that most couples have one “spender” and one “saver.” And while I won’t go so far as to say that my husband and I are polar opposites, we do have differing ideas of where and how money should be spent and saved. It wasn’t until we learned our family was growing that we buckled down and got on the same page.
Liz Pulliam Weston over at MSN.com recently put together an informative take on how to “Rein in the Spendthrift Spouse,” that advises couples on how to approach those difficult financial conversations they eventually have to have. First and foremost, ditch the negativity and attitude. Yes, my husband has chosen to spend, in my opinion, an obscene amount of money on football tickets this year. But I’ll take a deep breath, talk it out, and try to help grow our financial relationship. It’s important to him, so it should be important to me… But it’s still obscene. Second bit of advice: Set goals. He and I might not agree on whether 50-yard line tickets are necessary or whether I really need another pair of shoes, but we do agree on our child’s college fund contributions and our annual vacation destination. What do they all have in common? They are goals we can set and smartly save for.
Using SmartyPig’s goal-oriented savings plan has made these types of purchases simple and smart. Not only can we watch ourselves get closer to our goals by contributions and competitive interest earned using SmartyPig, our family members can also contribute. And when it comes time to book our trip, we also have to option to put our money on a Travelocity or American Airlines gift card and receive cash back to help get more value out of our vacation dollar.
So next time you and your partner sit down to discuss your financial goals, keep these tips (and the many more Pulliam Weston provides) and the benefits of SmartyPig in mind to keep you and your other half in financial agreement. Or at least heading in that direction!
Best of luck with your goals!
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman
Most Americans in their early 20s begin to experience financial independence – for better or worse. Due to lack of experience and responsibility, they have been branded as being less than fiscally fit. They have little to lose in most instances – no home ownership or families – and, historically, act like it, taking excessive financial risks and blowing cash.
Times are changing.
“Today, only 22% of investors under the age of 35 say they’re willing to take on a substantial level of risk… Compare that with 2001, when that same group outpaced every other age bracket.” CNNmoney.com points out that the financial crisis that hit today’s families, did so at quite an impressionable point in their lives. The article notes that generation Y is the largest group suffering from the unemployment crisis, as they are watching their parents prolong retirement, return to work, and hurting financially. These events have led to their being much more risk-adverse with their financial choices and more careful with cash. CDs, Treasuries, and high-yield savings accounts top the list of products most often selected by those getting their feet wet in the recession. These individuals are also setting savings goals for life events like the aforementioned first home or baby, weddings, and vacations. And as the average age for weddings and first home purchases continues to trend later, Generation Y is responding by saving more and saving early.
Savings goals like these are among the most popular on SmartyPig today. With our competitive interest rates, social features that allow friends and family members to pitch in, and huge cash back offers, many Americans are finding no better place to successfully save for their life events and experiences than SmartyPig.
As always, good luck with your savings goals!
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Mad Media Woman
Tweet! Tweet! Let the savings begin! SmartyPig will be giving away three $100 gift cards through our monthly Twitter contest – Tuesday, December 22nd at 11 CST. We will tweet a question and give our followers 15 minutes to reply to us.
- After 15 minutes, we will be picking 20 random people with a number generator from the pool of correct answers.
- We’ll use an old favorite to help in selecting three gift card winners.
- We’ll post the process here on our blog, so everyone can follow along!
- You’re following us on Twitter.
- We’ll ask the $100 question on Tuesday, December 22nd at 11am CST.
- Answer the question correctly for your chance to win!
Remember: if you don’t already have a SmartyPig account, it’s free to set one up! Winner must be in the US.