Dave Ramsey likes to say, when talking about budgeting, "Tell your money where to go." We try to make this happen in our family budget, but sometimes it's difficult when money is being saved up for various future expenditures (say, a twice-yearly bill or a vacation or a large purchase) instead of being spent by the end of the month.
To combat this slushfund approach, where your money being saved for various expenses is all mixing together, untitled, in your checking account, Bart and I have a whole host of savings accounts. We use ING Direct and it's incredibly easy (and free) to open as many savings accounts as you'd like. You can name them whatever you choose and there is no fee to transfer money between various accounts.
For instance, we currently have an account called "Student Loans." When we get extra money or deposit a check, we put that money directly into the Student Loan fund, where it sits for a week or two until our next paycheck and then we pay the total amount toward our student loans. There's no temptation to accidentally spend the $85 check we'd said was for the student loans, because it's not in our checking account.
Likewise, our fifth anniversary is coming up this summer, and we wanted to do something great. About a year ago, we opened an account called "5th Anniversary" and started putting money towards it. All our graduation gift money went into that account and when plane tickets went on sale earlier this year, the money was right there ready to be spend (and to help us determine how much we could afford). The money hadn't been washed away in electric bills or fast food or an impulse pair of shoes.
Putting a name on our money, having it in a dedicated, specific location, makes budgeting and saving considerably easier for us.
Any one else use multiple accounts this way?