Piggy Mojo

 Today’s blog comes courtesy of Shari Storm, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Verity Federal Credit Union. Shari is the author of the new book ‘Motherhood is the New MBA”, available here.

I’ve joked for a long time about my husband and my different spending habits.

When Jim Bruene, at Net.Banker wrote about PiggyMojo , a spending tracking platform for couples, I was instantly interested.

So I signed up. The way the program works is when one person is faced with the opportunity to spend money and resists, they text it to PiggyMojo and it tracks all those small decisions and adds them up for you. For example, if a co-worker is on their way to Starbucks and asks me if I want my usual, and I say no, I text “4 coffee” (meaning I just saved $4 on coffee) to PiggyMojo.

You tell the program what you are saving for and it tracks your actions against your goal. I said we were saving for a better TV (our current TV actually has to “warm up” circa 1978 before the snow goes away and the picture comes in).  I said I wanted the TV by my husband’s birthday in October. PiggyMojo calculated that we’d have to save $65 per week to make that happen.

And so once a week I got a reminder email that I needed to save $65. To be honest, my interest in the program started to wane after getting three weeks worth of emails reminding me that I needed to save $65 per week in order to get a new TV by October.

Then one day, my husband set me an email that said, “I just fixed the weedwacker myself. Send me positive reinforcement for saving us $50!” (If you knew how opposite-of-handy my husband is, you’d be very impressed with this email).

I texted PiggyMojo “50 weedwacker”. I suddenly realized how absolutely right Jim was in his post. If my text had actually made a transfer from my checking account to a hard to touch savings account, this would be brilliant.  My husband and I would have the instant gratification of knowing that we were $50 closer to a modern TV.

The thing with savings, the founder, Jayson Halladay, told me when I met him in New York a few months ago, is there is no instant gratification. That is what PiggyMojo is trying to instill – that sense of immediate satisfaction when a buck is saved.

Jason and PiggyMojo are looking for a financial institution to partner with – ideally a credit union – to create a mobile app that actually transfers real money when a savings success happens.

I think this would be a great project for an i3 group or some other innovative CUSO or credit union. I’d buy it from you.

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7 thoughts on “Piggy Mojo

  1. I missed Jim’s announcement of PiggyMojo on NetBanker. Thanks for bringing it attention here and sharing your real-life experience using it! If it connected with actual transfers as you say, it’d be BRILLIANT!

  2. This is a fantastic idea! I’ll have to try this with the kids as well! Maybe they will save more of their money for bigger items, instead of blowing their allowance each week!

  3. I love this, Shari! There’s a lot to be said about automated, systematic savings. But what you’re talking about is conscious “if this happens, then you need to save X” decisions. I’d imagine that the systematic approach promotes more saving (in quantity) while the conscious prodding generates more learning.

  4. This is an interesting concept. If it could be linked to an actual account, it would be really compelling. On a side note, I can’t believe that your TV is that old considering your husband works in the “biz” – can’t that 56″ flat panel be a right off or something? :)

  5. Thanks Morriss, Kim and Matt.

    As for you, Tim McAlpine – you sound just like my husband! It is kind of funny though. I remember when I was a little kid we used to have to hit the side of our TV to get the picture to come in. I swear we will resort to that soon.

  6. Shari, great post. I missed this company announcement on Jim’s blog. I just finished setting up my account. Piggymojo is a great idea.

    You said in your post “Jason and PiggyMojo are looking for a financial institution to partner with – ideally a credit union – to create a mobile app that actually transfers real money when a savings success happens.” I totally disagree. That would be a horrible idea. I think piggymojo should be taking their patent pending technology and licensing it to the online banking providers and banks who have their own systems so ALL of America can share in this wonderful service and save. Just imagine how much better Bank of America’s keep the change or Wachovia/Wells’ Way to Save would be if they got the kind of feedback that piggymojo provides. Even better would be the integration of the piggymojo savings goals with an individuals PFM/OFM account (hey Geezeo, Yodlee and Intuit/Mint are you listening?).

    For now, I will use the data from my piggymojo reports and transfer my savings myself to my goal account.

  7. Wow, I missed this too. Great idea. Especially if used correctly. Something about it does seem…dangerous to me though. For example, justifying your goal by foregoing expenses you shouldn’t be making anyway. Used with “true” discipline, though, this is truly innovative.

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