My sister was looking for a way to save money that would allow her to not only save money on her own, but allow people to contribute to her account. I knew there had to be something like that out there, so I started searching the internet.
I found SmartyPig.
Basically, SmartyPig is the grown up version of a piggy bank. It allows you to save for specific financial goals with a competitive interest rate for free. I’d recommend that you start your visit by clicking the green Learn More button and then watching the video on that page which explains how the site works. Notice the categories that have appeared under “What is SmartyPig” on the left menu. You’ll find information on Creating Goals, Reaching Goals Faster, Cash Back Savings, Cash Reward Cards and Retailer Gift Cards.
Next, I’d suggest that you click the FAQ link at the top of the page. You’ll then be looking at all the questions you probably have about how SmartyPig works. Whenever you’re looking at a service that is going to handle your money, I recommend fully checking it out to look for any hidden fees or finance charges etc. For example, with SmartyPig you’ll learn that if you use your savings to contribute to someone else’s saving goal that there is a fee of 2.9% – this is fully disclosed in the FAQ, but it is good to know beforehand.
So, in a nutshell how does it work? You register for your free account, create a savings goal, setup when and how much money you want to contribute automatically monthly, and then you start saving money. When you reach your goal, the automatic transfers stop and you can close out your account (transfer the money back to your bank account). You can also or you can opt to get a retail gift card (this would be very helpful if you’re saving for electronics, household appliances, or travel) and receive an incentive for doing so. Check out the Retailer Gift Card page  for more details on that. They even offer great tutorials  to help you get started.
Your friends can contribute to your goals, too! So, for example, if I set up a SmartyPig account and chose to save for a goal like a trip to Europe after I graduate next May, my friends and family could donate money towards my goal. You can also set your goal to completely private so that no one but you can see it. I like privacy settings like this where I, as the user, have complete control over who sees what publically.
This is a great tool for goal-oriented savings! Check it out today!