When my husband and I were knee-deep in wedding planning a couple years ago we were constantly getting asked where we were registered. We had both lived as single adults for a number of years before getting engaged, so we didn’t need another toaster oven or a new set of dishes. What we really wanted was cash for our honeymoon trip to Brazil, but wedding etiquette prevented us from mentioning this to most of our guests. I had heard of honeymoon gift sites that would allow guests to contribute to a couple’s trip, but the couple sites that I found offered very limited options and didn’t seem very reliable.
Fast forward two years and now I’m working with a company that I sorely wish was around when I was still alter bound. Launched earlier this week, SmartyPig (www.smartypig.com) is goal-oriented savings meets Web 2.0. It combines social networking with savings to help people save for a specific goal (e.g. honeymoon, new HD TV, baby furniture, family vacation) – but with three unique twists that actually help users reach their savings goals faster. First, SmartyPig is the only online savings tool that leverages Web 2.0 technologies to allow account holders to make their savings accounts public – so family and friends can securely contribute to a savings goal. Second, SmartyPig currently offers the highest (4.30 % APY) interest rate and will always maintain a competitive interest rate for account holders. Finally, SmartyPig gives consumers even more for their money by offering additional cash boosts (up to five percent of total savings) from best-in-class retailer partners like Amazon.com, Royal Caribbean, Pottery Barn, Best Buy and Home Depot once they reach their savings goal.
The response to SmartyPig so far has been tremendous. Consumers, personal financial pundits and technologists are all loving SmartyPig for taking such a simple and smart idea and making it a reality. (You can read what folks are saying at http://www.smartypig.com/press.) For me, I’m so excited that a company has developed a way to actually keep me interested in saving by adding elements that appeal directly to my social networking addiction. I only wish they’d been around before I got married – maybe I’d have one less waffle maker and wouldn’t still be paying off my honeymoon debt.