I have stuff cluttering my apartment, my office, my parent’s house, and my thoughts due to nostalgia. It has a negative effect on my productivity and happiness, but what about my wallet?

I know it affects my income due to reduced productivity so I’m working on de-cluttering, but I can tell you exactly what one particular piece of nostalgia has cost me in the last six months: $19. What was it? A savings account. More specifically, my very first savings account. My parents opened it for me at First Vermont Bank and it’s followed me through quite a few mergers and acquisitions since.

Unfortunately, earlier this year it dropped below the $250 minimum when I got into a pinch. I never even realized it had ever acquired a minimum balance. I immediately called my bank, they refunded the fee, and I transferred enough money in to bring it back up above the minimum.

A few months later, I again had to let it drop below the minimum and I haven’t been able to restore it since so had been paying $4 a month in fees. What’s worse? That savings account only had a 0.01% APR, so even trying to keep it at the minimum was only earning me 2¢ a month. I obviously had not been following my own advice.

So, on Monday I closed the account and transferred the remaining $35 into a savings account currently earning 1.3% APR. Had I done this months ago I would’ve not only saved the $19 in fees, but also would have earned higher interest on the larger sum. Better late than never, but stupid nonetheless.

I’ve been seeing the bizarre ads on Hulu for FeedThePig.org and finally broke down and visited the site. It turns out that, “the goal of the campaign is to encourage the 40 million Americans age 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.”

Considering how off-putting the commercials are, I’m concerned about their effectiveness. That said, they do have useful links to financial calculators on their Resources page. Especially helpful are the Roll-Down Your Credit Card Debt and Don’t Delay Your Savings tools.

SmartyPig is for people who want to save for specific goals. […] 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.

An interesting and probably very helpful concept. It’s got a higher interest rate (3.9% APY at the time of writing) than my ING Direct Orange Savings account which just—understandably—dropped from 3.0% APY to 2.75% APY.

The downside: you won’t be earning as much interest as you would if you kept all your savings together. However, the fact that others can contribute to your goals and that you’re looking at “goals” as opposed to account numbers are probably significant benefits.

Of course, it’s FDIC insured.