A filing system for my electronic money?
June 3, 2009 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I'd like an online savings account (no minimums, no fees) that lets me divide savings into 'virtual funds' to save for things like trips, a computer, emergencies, etc. Does anyone know of one?

I've paid off my credit debt (yay!) and now I want to have a way to save for big-but-not-really purchases of a few hundred dollars without leaving it in a checking or savings account where my goals with the money aren't obvious since it's just a pool of money...or keeping piles of money at home which will tempt me (or others!) to spend it. Interest isn't important to me, just the ability to organize and and shift the money easily.

In this recent thread, a banking feature was alluded to that would let one organize a savings account with sub-funds, so that sounds great. I checked my bank but didn't see anything of the sort featured on the website.

ING's savings account looks great, and has the no minimums/no fees features I want, but I couldn't tell if it can do the sub-fund thing. Does anyone know if it or a similar alternative does?
posted by cowbellemoo to Work & Money (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I use ING Direct for savings, and have separate accounts labelled "Wedding" "Honeymoon" "Fun Stuff" etc...I should probably re-name them since I am already married, but still, it was easy to set up, and no fees/minimums, and as far as I know, you can have as many accounts as you want....
posted by Grither at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

With Ing, it's one-click to create additional accounts. I don't know if you would call them sub-funds, since they are equal to your original account and have a new account #, etc. You access them all under the same login.
posted by smackfu at 12:44 PM on June 3, 2009

ING can do this very easily. They're technically separate accounts, but all the statements and tax forms are aggregated into one meta-statement.

Thrive can divide your savings accounts into different budget lines, but it's not enforced with transfers and the like.
posted by mkb at 12:44 PM on June 3, 2009

Be aware that there may be a limit on the number of different ING accounts you can have. In Canada, it's 6 investment savings accounts (at a whopping 1.35% Be still, my wallet!). I don't know if there's a similar limit in the States.
posted by maudlin at 12:54 PM on June 3, 2009

I do this at ING Direct, too. Over at Get Rich Slowly, I have a write-up of how to open multiple accounts at ING Direct that illustrates how easy the process is. I've heard that other banks allows this, too. I know my credit union does, though it's not as easy as ING.
posted by jdroth at 12:58 PM on June 3, 2009

Ramit at "I will teach you to be rich" shows you how to do exactly this.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 1:03 PM on June 3, 2009

Response by poster: Ooooh! That looks perfect! I would have thought that ING would market the multiple-account feature or at least stick it on the FAQ, but anyway it looks like exactly what I want. Thanks, ING users!
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2009

If this is a goal-oriented strategy, you might want to check out smartypig as well. I have an ING Direct account and wouldn't dissuade you from that route, but I've heard some good things about smartypig, and some of the discounts and offers they have seem nice. The main reason I mentioned it, though, is that their interest rate seems better than many other options out there.
posted by mikeh at 1:45 PM on June 3, 2009

You can do the same thing with WaMu ("... is becoming Chase..")
ING is great though because it takes about 2 days to get the money out of the account, so it's a disincentive to pulling money out for impulse indulgences.
posted by amethysts at 2:20 PM on June 3, 2009

If you're not wedded to having this as part of your bank itself, you could check out BucketWise, a Rails savings/expense tracking app that lets you manage money in buckets. It requires a bit of IT saavy to configure, but not that much.
posted by Alterscape at 3:19 PM on June 3, 2009

A warning for ING: at one point I had two sub-accounts with them. I didn't touch one of them for a year -- it was money that I got for the sale of a car that I set aside because I was planning to use it to buy a computer. (It was a cheap car.) Then the account I hadn't touched in a while disappeared. I had to make a phone call to get it to show up again.

But if you're not planning to do what I did, then ING should work just fine.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2009

Response by poster: That's odd. Thanks for the heads up, madcaptenor. I hope part of their business model isn't scooping up the money from forgotten accounts.

I've signed up with ING but I'm sure I'll be watching it like a hawk.
posted by cowbellemoo at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2009

Although we have accounts with this capability, I use an Excel spreadsheet with about 20 sub-sections where I can track savings toward goals, re-allocate at will, etc. I update totals each month, and don't have to worry about double-checking the "transfers."
posted by dreamphone at 9:51 AM on June 4, 2009

That's odd. Thanks for the heads up, madcaptenor. I hope part of their business model isn't scooping up the money from forgotten accounts.

It is possible that inactive savings accounts are considered abandoned property after so much inactivity.
posted by mkb at 10:20 AM on June 4, 2009

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