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Gamify Your Savings

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Let’s face it, while saving money is extremely important, for most people (myself not included) it just isn’t fun or thrilling.  But winning money sure is!

That’s why recently some credit unions in Minnesota launched a new program called WINcentinve in which people have a chance to win cash prizes each month just by saving money.  In doing so, the credit unions have essentially gamified the savings process.

Overall, this is a great idea.  The program rewards individuals with an account at a participating credit union, the chance to win a prize (between $100-$5,000) just for saving $25 each month.  Even better is that if you withdraw money more than twice a year, you are no longer eligible for a prize.  This helps to further reinforce long-term saving habits and breaks the cycle of immediately spending everything you make.

Habits can be powerful and strong rewards like cash prizes help to quickly ingrain habits.  By setting the monthly minimum at $25, these credit unions have made the game more accessible.  Also, you can earn up to three additional chances per month for each additional $25 you save.  This essentially turns saving into a lottery like game, but with positive results.  By having a random chance to win, people will be more likely to save, thus developing stronger financial habits.

While this program is currently only available in Minnesota, you can still turn saving money into a game for yourself.  Maybe there are a few shirts you want from a higher end clothing store or you could really use a spa day, but the price is hard to justify.  Challenge yourself to save 10% more than what the item costs and then reward yourself by buying it.  This way you get the thrill of a reward, but you also increased your savings.  Next time, increase the challenge to save 25% or even 50% more.

If you have kids, you can follow Minnesota’s example and set up a savings game of your own to instill solid financial habits.  Tie simple rewards, like a new toy or game, to consistently saving a little bit of their allowance each week or for performing additional tasks around the house.   Maybe some months the reward is a little bigger just to keep them interested and focused or maybe the more they save, the bigger the potential reward.  Either way, I think we all can learn a little something from Minnesota’s saving raffle. By making saving into a game, we all win.

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Incentives are hard to beat when something is difficult. I absolutely love the idea of doing this for the kids!