After great success in the USA, a new saving program has launched in Australia- SmartyPig!

SmartyPig is all about setting saving goals and saving in a fun way. Like setting up a bank account, your SmartyPig account accrues 4.00% interest but goes one step further and calculates your monthly direct debit based on your goal amount and time frame.

I trialled the program last week with a $10 gift card and after a little initial hiccup verifying my identity (really never a bad thing when dealing with banking!) I was on my way choosing avatars, setting goals and experimenting with the social tools the site provides.

Your account tracks your progress by way of a little pig with percentage- just like a virtual piggy bank!, You can upload your photo as an avatar and share your goal with your friends and family.

As an incentive, upon reaching your target Smartypig also allows you to choose gift cards from retailers such as David Jones, JB Hi Fi, Freedom Furniture, Adairs and Myer.

If you’ve chosen to have a honeymoon fund for your gift registry, the public fund feature on SmartyPig makes it really easy for your guests to contribute in the one spot. Guests can purchase “The Gift of Savings” also known as a SmartyPig gift card which allows you to put it into your fund and if you’re ahead with your goal, reduce your own contributions.

Should you choose to make your goal public, friends can see what percentage you have saved and you’re able to embed a nifty little widget onto your Facebook, Blogger or even IGoogle (over 30 different sites to choose from!). Should your friends sign up for SmartyPig, you can track how they’re doing and help them along the way.

I’m $10 on my way to my new goal and I don’t have to think about it! Find out more about SmartyPig via their website.

SmartyPig have given Polka Dot Bride a $100 Smartypig gift card to give to one lucky reader! All you have to do is let me know in a comment on this entry your ultimate savings goal and you could be $100 closer to it!

Entrants must be residents of Australia aged 18 or older. Competition closes 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on the 15th of August 2009.