How to Budget With Goals in Mind

The creative director of innovative banking app Simple breaks it down.

By Marty Patail January 25, 2016 Published in the February 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Ian Collins, creative director at online bank Simple, on goal-oriented budgeting

With low interest rates on traditional savings accounts, does it make sense to have one?

People come to us with bank account fatigue. Having more accounts just means having more to manage. Shifting money around to get the best interest rate just doesn’t matter right now.

Simple’s app lets you move your money into virtual envelopes for specific savings goals. What are the benefits of that?

It gives you an emotional connection with your savings. When you have one big lump of funds, and you pull money out of it, you feel guilty. But not enough to really stop you. When you can do envelope budgeting, you make all these discrete buckets. You can pull money selectively when you need it and feel confident doing so.

How does this work in practice?

My most ambitious goal right now is to save a few thousand dollars for bikes. I was walking on a hiking trail with my son, who’s 2, and saw a dad and his kid mountain biking on this trail. I thought, “Oh wow, that’s gonna be really exciting when we can do that.” So I set a goal for us to buy bikes in 10 years. And it ends up being something like a buck a day. But in 10 years, I’ll have a really nice budget for bikes.

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