SaveUp: A Startup That Wants You To Save Money

saveup logoThere are a million reasons not to save money, and even the best-intentioned saver can succumb to temptation in the face of a shiny new gadget or sun-drenched vacation.

Who doesn’t love the feeling of instant gratification?

That’s why the average American carries more than $8,000 in credit card debt and has nothing but cobwebs in his savings account.

But what if you were given temptations to save instead of spend?

That’s the idea behind SaveUp, a San Francisco based startup that offers savers opportunities to earn prizes for saving money. When you enroll in SaveUp, you can earn credits for doing any number of financially responsible actions—from saving money to paying down debt to using the financial education content on the site. The credits offer you opportunities to play for various prizes, including gift cards, vacations, home and wardrobe makeovers, electronics, and cash jackpots.

SaveUp has partnered with more than 18,000 financial institutions so that their members can register savings and debt-bearing accounts with SaveUp. Registration is quick, free and secure. When I signed up, I was easily able to register my bank, my online savings accounts, and my mortgage lender. Within the first day, I had earned more than enough credits to play for prizes. And what prizes! I had my eye on the iPad 2, the Toyota Prius and the $2 million super jackpot. SaveUp partners with merchants like Virgin American and other popular retailers to offer things you really want to win.

Though the number of credits you can earn is nearly unlimited, you can only play three times each day, and each play costs 10 credits. This felt a little disappointing on my first day of playing, since there were so many great prizes I wanted to win. But the reasoning is ingenious: by limiting the plays to three per day, those who have well padded savings accounts don’t get an unfair advantage over those savers who are taking their first steps toward financial responsibility. SaveUp has leveled the playing field and given savers a great reason to come back to the site every day to play again—and save even more money.

Banks are also excited about SaveUp’s program as it gives them a platform for financial literacy outreach and education while also encouraging banking customers to put more money away.

SaveUp’s program has done something that might have seemed impossible. It has made paying your student loan and putting money away in your 401k a lot of fun.

As a special promotion, SaveUp is offering 100 free credits here, so there’s no excuse not to start saving today.

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is an award-winning writer, author, money coach, and retirement expert. Her four books include The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Learn more about Emily at


  1. Anonymous says

    I signed up for a few months ago, and I’m getting frustrated because I NEVER WIN anything. I log on daily, and play for prizes, but still nothing. I’m struggling to see how anyone can possibly win anything from this site, and I believe that the posted “winners” are phony. The odds of winning anything are slim to none. Check their policy on the odds of winning. I’ve given up trying to win the $2 million jackpot (because its pointless, virtually impossible, and I would HATE to pay the taxes associated with a $2 million cash payout), and have played for smaller prizes (like gift cards and smaller cash payoffs) because the odds are winning are more favorable. However, I can’t even win a measly $5. Instead all I “win” are their stupid credits. I don’t even understand the purpose of these credits. I can’t convert them into anything substantial, like a cash payout, debt payoff…so why offer them? Plus, you have to spend credits to get credits. Playing a game cost 10 credits each. Majority of the time, you can only win 2 or 5 credits, so you’re constantly losing credits. This is a big scam! Plus, the games they offer are stupid. You can play “3 of a kind”, pick 3 mystery suitcases, or throw balls to hit 3 targets. Lame! Why not offer more games, instead of these childish games, and something at an adult level? Their employee Jean Park stated on another complaint website that wants to add “a bit of fun and excitement” while playing. Well Jean, why are your games so dull and boring? How about making various games that require skill, complexity, are stimulating and at an adult level, instead of the baby drivel you are forcing on us? Recently, I’ve noticed that many of my retirement and savings accounts cannot be accessed from These are accounts that I make monthly contributions to, which would earn many credits and make up my credit deficit when I play their stupid games. Now all of a sudden, cannot access or see the deposits I’m making, and I’m not being credited for my good saving habits and behavior. customer service/technical help has been no help whatsoever, as they say “their engineers are working on it.” It has been almost a month, and they can’t troubleshoot this issue. Really?? How difficult can it be? I find this very convenient for, and this is another way they avoid rewarding people for their good efforts. So far, is nothing but empty promises. It’s like receiving a lump of coal on Christmas. I’ll probably withdraw my account, because of their empty promises and lies. I also recommend to anyone reading this to consider before signing up with I think its cruel that they say they will reward people with prizes, yet you play their dumb games, and nothing will come of it. They just want you to log on daily, and play their silly games, like drones. The more people gets signing up for their “service”, and generating traffic to their site; the richer becomes…not the person struggling in this economy to pay off their debt, working 2 or 3 jobs to make end meet, foreclosing on their home, etc. If you want to be rewarded for good saving habits or paying off debt, you won’t find it at!

  2. Carrie - Careful Cents says

    I love this website/game too! I’m already really into it.

    I wondered why they didn’t have more credits for playing, but now that you explained it makes total sense.

    I’m also really loving the 30 second videos they let you watch for extra points, or the weekly challenges (like the no spend challenge) you can do for extra points as well.