Spending money is fun. When you buy something – like a new outfit, or furniture for your house, or a new car – you get to show it to your friends, wear it or use it for a special event. The fun goes on and on! Saving money is not typically this much fun.
Well, people and organizations concerned about the small amount that many people have saved are taking new approaches to making saving – believe it or not – fun!
One approach is to make it visual and involve your friends. To celebrate America Saves Week #ASW2016, America Saves launched the #imsavingfor contest. It's easy to enter. Just share a picture of you and what you are saving for and then enter to win $500 at AmericaSavesWeek.org/imsavingfor. See more about this in this week's earlier post.
You also can make your savings visual by saving your change in a clear jar or piggy bank. Some people like to save a particular currency such as all nickels or $5 bills they receive.
If you're a person who enjoys the excitement of playing the lottery, SaveUp may give you the same "buzz" and you'll save money rather than spend it!
SaveUp rewards users with credits for adding to their savings or retirement accounts, paying down their credit cards, mortgages or other loans, plus more options. People can use their credits for a chance to win exciting rewards such as gift cards, electronics, vacations, home makeovers, cars and even a $2 million jackpot.
Another fun approach is at StickK.com -- a place where you can "put a contract on yourself." According to the Stickk.com website, "We all need help to reach our goals - whether it's incentives, or support from others. Years of behavioral economics research show that people who put stakes - either their money or their reputation - on the table are far more likely to actually achieve a goal they set for themselves."
Basically the idea is that you use a stick to motivate yourself to meet your goal. For example, at the website, I could set a financial goal to save 10% of my income in a retirement savings plan each paycheck. If I fail to meet my goal, a stick (of my choosing) would be applied: a donation to a charity would be made at my expense or, even worse, a donation to an anti-charity! An anti-charity is defined as "any organization whose views you strongly oppose, or one which promotes values that are most contrary to your own." The possibility of donating to an anti-charity motivates me!
Does making saving fun really have an impact? We have evidence that it does.
As described in the report, Consumer Engagement: Helping People Want What They Need, states "D2D began exploring prize-linked savings products in 2006. Prize-linked savings transforms the savings experience from a chore to a game, from purely delayed gratification to immediate excitement." For example, one of their products Save to Win™ has generated over $115 million in saving deposits by consumers since 2009.
More work by D2D includes the SaveYourRefund contest which encourages people to save a portion of their federal tax refund AND a chance to win cash prizes. SaveYourRefund has helped nearly 6,400 people save over $5.3 million at tax time through just three tax seasons. For more information about other fun and creative ways people around the country have put the FUN into savings, read the report Asset Funders Network's (AFN) new report, Consumer Engagement: Helping People Want What They Need,.
So many fun ideas! Start working towards your savings goal by setting a pledge at www.AmericaSaves.org and then pick a fun strategy to keep your savings growing!