Check out this simpler, smarter way to save money

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Amanda Adams paid for her dream trip to Montana in cash, something she never thought she could do five years ago.

"Money burns a hole in my pocket, so if I have access to it, I tend to spend it," Adams said, while showing us her new car. “I was also able to buy a new car and my loan is for less than half the price of the car."

Adams discovered SmartyPig after realizing that it was tough for her save money. "If there were things I wanted, it was just really easy to rationalize that I have the money, so I'll just go ahead and spend it. I was never able to really save money."

SmartyPig is a free, online savings app designed to help people save money for certain goals, such as vacations, new furniture, Christmas gifts and weddings. The idea is to systematically save money for short term goals.

"I started it because I needed it. Some of the best ideas come to be that way," said SmartyPig Co-Founder Mike Ferrari. "We had just opened up our 529 Savings Accounts for our kids' college funds and it occurred to me that I wanted to be able to easily save for the other things in life, too."

The idea helps you replace the “buy-now-pay-later” approach with a “save-then-spend” mentality. It works like direct deposit. Each month, funds are deposited directly into your "SmartyPig goal." You earn interest on the money and there is also an option to earn more on your money through the Cash Boost Program.

"Right now, I'm saving for Christmas, my emergency fund and a family vacation. Whenever I reach my goal, I'm almost like 'Do I really need this? Maybe I should just keep saving.' My dad thinks that's hilarious because now I don't want to get rid of my money," she laughs.