One of the more interesting and innovative ways to save up for specific goals is to make use of SmartyPig. SmartyPig is a free online savings tool that allows you to save for for specific financial goals. Whether you want to save up $500 for back to school shopping, or $5,000 for a family vacation, it is possible to use SmartyPig to reach that goal. The concept is fairly straightforward, and works simply.
First of all, it is important to note that SmartyPig is not a bank. SmartyPig accounts are held through BBVA Compass (As of Aug 1st, 2010 SmartyPig account will move from West Bank to BBVA Compass, the 15th largest bank in the US). They are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 (drops to $100,000 on January 1, 2014 unless things change). You can set up as many goals as you want for yourself and your family. In order to start at SmartyPig, you need the same items that you would need to open a regular savings account: