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August 21, 2012
by Ian Collins

Announcing Goals

Simple finances chart

Here at Simple, we aim to outfit you with powerful, uncomplicated tools that enrich and improve your financial life. Thus far, we’ve focused primarily on spending–from transaction memos, categories, and hashtags, to flexible, instantaneous searching of your Activity. Heck, we even tell you how much you’ve been tipping. When you know more, you make better choices, so we created these tools to give you the clearest possible picture of your spending.

Today, we’d like to balance the scales a little bit, and focus on budgeting and saving. Today, we’re launching Goals.

Goals lets you sock money away for whatever you need, when you need it. Whether you’re envelope budgeting or saving for a big-ticket item, Goals can help. It’s a flexible tool for organizing your money and planning for the future.

How it works

Give us an amount (e.g. $10 or $10,000), a date (e.g. “10/5” or “in a year”), and an optional initial contribution. You’ll be able to see how much money will move from your Safe-to-Spend® to your Goal each day. Now all you have to do is wait–every morning, your Goals will take their contributions from your Safe-to-Spend. It means that if you want to, you can have your Goal ready the exact day you need it (new iPhone launch-day, anyone?). Daily contributions can be paused and resumed at any time–we’ll even push out the completion date if it becomes unreasonable.

If you have an amount you’d like to set aside right now, simply create a Goal of that amount and instantly it’s out of your Safe-to-Spend. You can use this to budget by specifying that a transaction in your Activity should be spent from a Goal. In this way, Goals is as much about spending as it is about saving–think of it as planned spending. You can also drag-and-drop money between Safe-to-Spend and any Goal, or between two Goals. This makes planning for the future and organizing your savings easy–and surprisingly fun.

Our Philosophy

My favorite way of describing Goals is comparing it to its antithesis: credit cards. Buying things on a credit card requires no thought or planning up front–you can swipe to your heart’s content. The planning part usually comes well after the money is already gone. This sort of reverse financial planning can be tricky, especially when it turns out you’ve spent more than you’ll earn before the payment is due. This, of course, is how credit card companies make their money–by charging you interest if you carry a balance. The items you purchase end up costing you more.

We wanted to turn that idea on its head. Credit cards can be discouraging. That’s why, in order to inspire and facilitate saving, we wanted to make something encouraging, something effortless and automatic. The tool should do the hard work for you and make saving so fun and easy you can’t help but do it. And of course, you’ll actually earn a bit in interest through our bank partner, too. Encouragement is why we built Goals to set aside money daily, as opposed to monthly, or per-paycheck. By saving gradually, you feel the financial pinch a lot less, and the success of saving a lot more.

When success is easier to achieve, you’ll save more–and more often. You might even forget about the completion date, and one morning wake up to see that you’ve achieved your Goal. That would certainly be a good day.