Goodbye Redneck, Hello SmartyPig

smartypigA few days ago I mentioned a high yield savings account from Redneck Bank.  I just found another FDIC insured savings account with a higher APY over at SmartyPig….yes you read that right. As with Redneck Bank, Smartypig is backed by a large bank (West Bank) and your funds are FDIC insured. Their current rate is 3.25% with no maximum however I read on another board that it will go down to 3.01 starting April 1st.  Either way this is by far one of the best rates online.

The idea behind Smarty Pig is to allow users to set up savings accounts for everything from vacations to wedding funds and allow their friends and family to help contribute to the fund (if you decide to make your savings account public).  A few months back the only way to get your funds out was either via merchant gift cards or check however they have now added the ability for you to get your money back to your checking account via ACH deposits.

Even though I posted about RedNeck Bank last week, I couldn’t see putting money there and having “Redneck Bank” show up on my credit report. I’m not sure why but for some reason the thought of having SmartyPig isn’t nearly as bad to me.  I had planned on setting up an account with GMAC Bank as their rate was a decent 2.50 last week.  I started the sign up process last week and have still not gotten my account setup there. To make matters worse, their rate just dropped to 2.25%.

I decided since I still hadn’t gotten my GMAC account up and running to give SmartyPig a chance.  It took me about 10 mins to set up my account. Best of all, they are already in Mint.com (the online version of quickbooks / ms money).  For info about Mint, read my previous post here.

Info from their site:
Opening an account on SmartyPig is absolutely FREE. In fact, you can open your account, create a goal, reach your goal, and redeem your goal, and SmartyPig won’t charge you a thing!

SmartyPig is for people who want to save for specific goals. Whether it’s a family vacation, the latest electronic gadget, a wedding or a down payment on a house, SmartyPig’s unique system can help you get there. Just tell us what you’re saving for, how much you want to save and when you want to reach your goal, and we’ll suggest an automatic monthly deposit you’ll make from your existing checking or saving account until you reach your goal

Savings Accounts are held in West Bank and are FDIC insured up to the maximum amount allowed by law, making using SmartyPig as safe and secure as using your own bank.

Highland Orchards’ CSA Spring Program Begins this Saturday

picture-4If you live in or near north Wilmington (Delaware), I highly recommend signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share at Highland Orchards.  Their spring share begins this Saturday April 4th 2009 and will go through June (3 months).  They offer 1/2 shares for $165 and full shares for $265. The share includes farm fresh locally grown fruits & vegetables.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Highland Orchards is not certified organic as it costs too much however they follow all organic practices. Here is what they wrote on their site: At Highland Orchards, we are committed to taking care of Mother Earth. We follow the USDA regulations for organic farming, although we are not officially certified.

If you aren’t sure you’ll use everything from the share each week consider splitting a share with a friend / family member. We split a 1/2 share last year with my mother-in-law and found that was just enough.  We would pick up our share and get additional fruits and vegetables as needed.

Click the link to the right for directions to Highland Orchards.

Grow your own Vegetables or Sign up for a CSA

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I just read in the news that the White House will have its very own vegetable and herb garden this year. Ground was broken on the garden on the first day of spring with the help of 2 dozen local students.

Crops to be planted in the coming weeks on the 1,100-square-foot, L-shaped patch near the fountain on the South Lawn include spinach, broccoli, various lettuces, kale and collard greens, assorted herbs and blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

We are planning a vegetable garden as well this year and hope it will work out better than last year.  We tried planting tomatoes, peas, broccoli and strawberries last year but were only successful with the tomatoes.  The broccoli and peas never took off (maybe because we did not water them enough) and the strawberries ended up getting eaten by birds & squirrels.

Luckily we have a local farm, Highland Orchards in Delaware, that we got the majority of our fruits & vegetables from last year.  We signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which we thought was well worth the money.  A CSA is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce.

If you live in or around Wilmington, DE I highly recommend Highland Orchards on Foulk road for fresh fruits & vegetables.  Many of the fruits & vegetables are grown on their orchard and while they are not labeled “organic”, the farm follows many of the orgranic practices w/o paying the fee to be labeled organic.  They also have farm fresh eggs, specialty organic groceries & dairy items.

If you don’t live near the Highland Orchards in Delaware, check out LocalHarvest.org to find all the local CSAs in your area.

Earth Hour This Saturday March 28th

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Earth hour was created by WWF Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007 and achieved worldwide participation in 2008. It will occur this Saturday between 8:30 – 9:30 local time.  What happens during Earth hour you ask?  People all over the country are asked to turn off their lights to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions.  The list of landmarks and popular attractions in the U.S. that will go dark for one hour on March 28th include various prominent buildings in New York, Las Vegas, California and various other states.

As of today I don’t see any cities in my state (Delaware) participating however I’m hoping that will change either this year or definitely by next year.

Mortgage Rates Hit Low of 4.75% Again

When I initially locked in back on Dec 17th, I got 4.75% with 0 points / 0 origination fees.  As many of you know, the funding company (Provident Funding) backed out at the last minute back in late January / Early February.  I have been looking ever since and locked with Wells Fargo a few weeks ago at 4.50 with 2 points (would have been 5.0 with 0 points).  As of today, I just noticed that Artisan Bank here in Delaware is offering 4.75% with 0 points. For a complete list of national rates, check out the updated mortgage rate deal posted here on DealCatcher!

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New DealCatcher.com Still in Beta

dealcatcher_newWe are still making minor changes to the site.  We added a poll on the right nav bar for users to tell us what they think of the design / functionality.  Feel free to check out the new site and let us know what you think.  Hopefully we will transition over to the new site in the next few weeks once we make a few more adjustments.

Green Depot Opening in Newark, Delaware Soon!

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We’re in the middle of a bathroom remodel and found Green Depot in Philadelphia which offers environmental living & building supplies. Their current showroom is approx 40 mins away however I just found out they are opening a showroom in Newark, DE. They are supposed to be opening it mid – late April 2009.  I haven’t visited their showroom yet so I don’t know all of the products they offer however I do know they carry kitchen cabinets, bath vanities, flooring and countertops. We are planning on stopping by there sometime this week to check out their showroom. I’ll report back when I have a better idea of what they stock.

Below is a link to Google Maps where their locatin is showing up in Newark, DE.  I’m not sure if this is where the showroom will be or if this is just a warehouse for them.   I’ll find out more information when I stop by their PA location.

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Delaware Green Expo – Sat March 21

I still don’t see a schedule of events on their site however I just got an email with a link to the schedule. The Delaware Great Green Expo is this Saturday from 9am – 5pm. Check out my previous post for a $2 off coupon.

Stage Schedule

9:30AM – 10:00AM
Paul Hughes – Great Green Home Show

10:00AM – 10:45AM
Ed Begley Jr.

11:15AM – 12:15AM
Entertainment by: Todd Chappelle

1:00PM – 1:45PM
Ed Begley Jr.

2:00PM – 3:00PM
Entertainment by: The Sin City Band

3:00PM – 3:30PM
Thomas Niemann – Ford Motor Company

3:45PM – 4:15PM
DSWA