I’m deflated.

Manual Contribution Control

Give me the ability to control my 'monthly contribution' manually, without calculating based on $Goal and date of goal completion. Perhaps I want to add $50/mo. now, and $150/mo. later on in the process. Don't make me enter in an inaccurate date to get the results (monthly contribution) I want.

You shouldn't have to "fool the computer" to get the monthly withdrawal where you want it.

ex. Say I want to set up an "iMac" savings ccount. I want to buy the machine in 1 year. Right now, I can only afford to spend $25/mo., but in 6mo. from now I could afford to spend $200/mo. Why, when I set my goal, and my goal completion date, does SmartyPig REQUIRE that I pay the total price divided by the # of months? I can't AFFORD anythign more than $25/mo. right now... plus, what about contributions? The site is based off of contributions from other people too, but the way my monthly contribution is calculated seems to not consider this fact at all!

SmartyPig should TELL ME what I would have to add per month to reach my goal in time, and adjust monthly accodingly, but let me set my actually contribution manually without having to enter in a completely inaccurate time to get what I want. You shouldn't have to play tricks around the computer and fool it into thinking one thing, when you're doing another. Especially since changing your goal date can affect outsider contribution.
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  • @fivepoint,

    Your suggestion is a GREAT one! And is actually something we have heard from a few other folks so it is definitely on our list of future enhancements to the site.

    Thank you again for your comments!

    Mike Ferrari, co-founder
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  • I agree strongly. In going through your process, I've run into the same problem, and found it slightly frustrating, although also useful. I would recommend giving the option of setting up a manual amount while still leaving the goal's end date, and then adding a big link below that says "Calculate my Monthly Payment" below. I'm just an information architect, but still, I would say for usability that's a biggie.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m looking forward to working on this enhancement!
    Thanks for the comment. This is an absolute must for us in the coming months. We look forward to building this flexibility into SmartyPig soon.
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  • As the time goes on, and you're contributing less than necessary to meet your goal on time, it would be fantastic if SmartyPig adjusted daily to tell you how much your payment would have to be now to reach your goal date.
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  • @fivepoint,

    I really like this idea. So much so, after I type this response I'm sending an email to our development team to see how we might incorporate something like this into the site.

    Thanks!
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  • I’m good at this stuff.
    Mike, I live in the Des Moines metro. If SmartyPig wants to hire me as a temporary board member or paid consultant, I'd be more than happy to help out. ;)

    But seriously, more than happy. :)
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  • @fivepoint,

    Hey, stop by our office anytime and say hello! Seriously, I would welcome a chance to say hello. 801 Grand, Suite 290. Poke your head in sometime.

    Thanks again for all your great feedback.
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  • I’m excited
    I might just have to do that! Until then, keep up the good work.
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  • I’m happy if this is added!
    I also have a goal that I'm only able to afford a certain $/month, way less than the 'automatic' amount that is set for the end-date of the goal. Being able to set a date and override the amount contributed per month would be great!
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  • @Dave,

    Thanks for the suggestion. We are looking at enhancing this area in a few months.

    Mike
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  • I’m concerned.
    As a prior product manager for an online website/resource (with a lot of issues regarding agility), I am wondering how long to expect for updates such as this to take place. I understand that you are a small team, and first-hand understand the issues with agility but in my product's case, the issues were caused by the way our website was coded (monolithic, proprietary software).

    We were unable to be truly agile and thus major developments typically took many months (or years!!!) to complete. Because or site was related to the video game industry (which REQUIRES agility), the product was a huge failure.

    SmartyPig revolves around the idea of agile, web 2.0 development (or at least it appears to) and thus should be able to implement updates like the one in this thread, which I feel is a very important feature, quicker than in 7 months, or what appears to be at least 10 months.

    As I user I am not as inclined to use this site if I am going to have to wait a year to see suggestions I and others have made implemented, particularly if they are what I consider "critical" or at least "high priority" enhancements.

    Your thoughts on these matters would be appreciated. I'm not so much complaining as I'm "warning from the other side". I'd like to see the service succeed and not fail like mine did.
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  • Ben,

    Really appreciate the feedback. We are a small team, but we take suggestions very seriously. And I like to think we react fairly quickly to customer suggestions.

    We receive a great deal of feedback and suggestions thru many channels. GetSat is one. But we also receive feedback via our support email, Twitter, our 800# and our blog.

    We've implemented many suggestions to date, and are in the process of two significant updates. The first is OFX implementation. We heard loud and clear that our customers wanted to integrate their accounts with Mint, Geezeo, Wesabe, etc... This has been completed and we are live with Wesabe and Buxfer but we are waiting on Yodlee to add us into their system which will cover folks like Mint. Next on our list is a mobile site.

    After these two are completed, we will be implementing greater flexibility in the goal creation process which has been touched on in this thread and others. Specifically, we will be adding additional recurring options as well as the ability to override the suggested amount and provide your own. I for one am really looking forward to this as I know many others are as well.

    This is slated to be completed in 3rd quarter of this year.

    Thanks again Ben. I hear you loud and clear and appreciate your honest input.

    Mike
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  • I’m thankful
    Wonderful news Mike.

    As a "peer" suggestion... maybe you could post about what's in the pipeline in addition to what is being rolled out on your blog? I am really interested in your blog and would love to read it but it seems to only include very limited posts right now. As I user, I am intrigued by development, including stuff that is still in the works, on the sites I am using.

    Just some food for thought. Thanks for the update on that and all these posts... you guys are doing very well regarding your customer service!
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  • One more thing, and I may be out of place suggesting this but by now you probably realize I just say what I'm thinking anyway ;)

    I would view the request in this thread as a "usability issue" while I would view a mobile site as a "new feature". Even disregarding the fact that a mobile site is not a true necessity, IMO usability issues/bug fixes/etc should always be prioritized over new features.

    While a mobile website would be cool... is it really more important to have that than to have the ability to accurately control one's contributions on the site? MY unsolicited advice would be to make what you already have "perfect" and THEN start expanding on it.

    Again, this is me thinking out-loud, so please feel free to ignore me :P
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  • Ben,

    You are not and will never be out of place. And your comments will never be ignored. This is exactly why we have GetSat. I want to hear everything. Good or bad. I just may not agree with you. :)

    For many users, SmartyPig works exactly how they would like. And for others, they wish it would be more flexible.

    We are committed to launching OFX and mobile based on customer feedback. Once launched, we will turn our focus on enhancing the goal creation process.

    Thanks Ben!

    Mike
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  • I’m thankful.
    Mike,
    I wanted to say again how refreshing it is to have a company that publishes this type of content online, and responds directly to user concerns. It's quite a contrast to how the majority of companies are run. To be honest... when I started this 'idea' I did not expect much of a response. Boy was I wrong.

    Although there will always be people that think changes aren't happening fast enough (I'm sure it can be frustrating to you at times as well), and there will always be complaints... the main point here is that you ARE listening, and ARE implementing changes as proposed by your user community (often times the most devoted "brand ambassadors", "brand evangelists", or "raving fans".)

    That, alone, I think... ensures your chances of success will be much higher than they would have otherwise been.

    -Fivepoint

    BTW, I'm back!!! Didn't intend for the hiatus, but I've been extremely busy with some personal projects I've been working on. Planning on attending your presentation with Mike Wagner in April if I can. Looking forward to meeting you in person.
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  • fivepoint,

    Thanks much. Really appreciate your input and am very much looking forward to putting a face with a name. See you in April!

    Mike
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  • I’m excited
    Has this been workedon more..the adjusting of the contribution amount monthly?

    I have like 10 goals I want to be saving for ...but I can't afford 100 plus dollars a month to go to them. Especially when 3 of them total over 1000 dollars ...it would kill my monthly budget. But I have bonuses etc coming up that I put into my b&m savings account for them.

    Again I am really loving smartypig and I am going to be blogging about it to my peers in the nanny profession for various goals of saving for our conferences, membership fees etc.

    Alice
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  • I just recently joined your website and was really excited about it—that is until I realized that I could not manually control the contribution amount, the topic of this thread.

    It appears this conversation began about a year ago, July 08, and the most recent meaningful posting, around March 09, still was only making vague commitments that this was somewhere down the road.

    I would like to remain a member of this site because I think it's a great idea. But without being able to manually control contribution amounts, it will be too much of a hassle to warrant keeping the account open. Before I transfer a bunch of funds, is this still in the pipeline? Do you have a target date for adding this flexibility to SmartyPig? If I knew that I would only have to wrangle with your site for a few months, then I'd put up with it knowing that it will have more flexibility in the *near* future. But if this is far down the road or will keep getting bumped by other things, then I have to say, I'm not sure I'm willing to futz around that much.
    • Jenn,

      This is absolutely in the pipeline and is in our top 3 enhancements to the site right now. This will be completed within the next three months.

      As you can see, you are not alone on this request, and we have received enough feedback to warrant us placing a very high priority on it.

      Thanks for your patience.

      Mike Ferrari, co-founder
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  • Mike, any status on the issue of manually controlling contribution amounts? It's just shy of the 2 month mark from my last comment about this, at which time you noted that the change would come within 3 months. Is this proceeding? ETA? My account will soon be shut down by your system. Should I be putting a note in my calendar to try back later?

    Eager to get started saving! Jenn, SF, CA
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  • Mike, Thanks for your quick reply. All I can say is c.r.a.p. as this is the one thing keeping me from using SmartyPig. I will check back mid-Q4 and see where things are at. I just run my own business and so have a variable income, so automated amounts would actually be bad fiscal management. I look forward to taking full advantage of SmartyPig once this feature is added. Best, Jenn
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  • I’m frustrated
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    Mike and Jenn,

    I started my SmartyPig savings goal today and had the same frustration regarding setting a contribution rate that matches my finances during certain months. It seems pretty backwards that I have to trick the system into allowing me to make smaller payments this month. For instance, due to my budget this month I can only contribute $100 to my goal due to one time moving costs incurred this month. In order to be able to do this, I had to keep playing with the dates which finally allowed me to pay $93 this month-- and stating that I will meet my goal sometime in 2011! This is pretty ridiculous as I will contributing more in next month, thus reaching my goal way way earlier than 2011! This limitation really turns someone who is taking a stab at new savings software, aka myself, off real quick. I also noticed that Fivepoint had brought this issue up over a year ago. This seems like a bigger priority item to me, as is breed user retention. I admit, I am thinking twice about SmartyPig-- functionality, usability, and how much it all makes sense for my savings goals.
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  • Launch date? Status update? I'm eagerly awaiting manual/flexible contribution control.
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  • @jenncolesf,

    Thank you for checking back with us. Making this change is currently priority #1 at SmartyPig. As Mike Ferrari has indicated, we are going to make this improvement during the 4th quarter of this year, and we are on track to meet that goal. We will keep you posted as things develop. Thanks, John
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  • I’m disappointed
    4th quarter has come and gone. Any update on this feature? Is this still priority #1 as per the latest official response?
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  • I’m curious
    Yeah, 2nd quarter of the next year now... what's going on with this feature?
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  • @Dave, @Ben and others,

    We implemented these features back in November of 2009 as promised. Sorry for not posting an update here. My fault. We tried to circle back and respond to all the posts that mentioned additional contribution options and manual control of the recurring contribution. Somehow I missed this thread. Here's the post on our blog from last November.
    http://blog.smartypig.com/read/exciti...

    Mike Ferrari, SmartyPig co-founder
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  • I’m thankful
    Thanks for the update Mike! Very glad to hear it. Yeah the manual contribution was just a small part in that blog post and this is the only place I know to follow for this feature. Maybe Get Satisfaction needs to be able to merge ideas/requests?

    Anyway, very glad to hear it. I'm in a better financial situation and will be able to use SmartyPig the way I want to now.
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