Talking about money and the economy can sure be depressing for most, especially since we haven’t seemed to shake the “Great Recession” and many areas of the world are under financial pressure. But, as some think we are starting to “come out of” the worst of it, we all can afford to look forward and try to reach our financial goals. And, since we are doing that, it may be cool to be rewarded for it.

In a nutshell

SaveUp is a new service that rewards you for saving money, paying down your debt, and learning about finances. By adding your bank accounts, loan providers, and credit card accounts to your profile, you collect “credits” that you can use to play against certain giveaways. These giveaways aren’t like little dinky $10 Amazon cards or anything; we’re talking Home Gaming Set Up’s worth $5,000, or Round-Trip Tickets worth $400. As of today there is even a SaveUp Super Jackpot worth $2 million.

Talk about motivation for learning about money and saving.

The process

Prizes at SaveUp are pretty crazy.

After signing up for a SaveUp you are directed to your Home area where you can view some of the prizes as well as start to put some of your credits towards them.

When I first signed up I started with 30 credits and 3 plays. When playing a prize it will tell you how many credits you are going to use. After you have played you are down one of your “plays” for the day.

Watch videos about money to get credits.

You can get new credits in all kinds of ways. You can add new checking and savings accounts, add debt or loan accounts, watch videos related to learning about money and finance, accepting and completing challenges, and the big one, by paying down your debt and saving money. At first, it’s pretty easy to rack up some tickets, but you have to remember that you can only play 3 times per day.

Thoughts

There is a lot that SaveUp has going for it. The idea that you can win incredible prizes for adding accounts, learning about money, and saving and paying down your debt is extremely compelling.

If you are worried about the security of your accounts, that isn’t a bad thing. The good news is that SaveUp uses the same type of encryption that Mint and other financial instituions use (256-bit SSL), making it just as secure. Of course, you should always be careful with your online accounts, but if you practice the same safe password practices that you do with your other accounts, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Winning more credits.

Another awesome touch that SaveUp offers is that even if you obtain a ton of credits, you can only use 3 plays per day, making people that pay more in debt and save more not have an unfair advantage. That means us Joe Shmoes have the same chances as Mr. Money Baggs on the hill. Not bad.

The prizes that you can win are serious. Like I said earlier these prizes are in the thousands and even millions. That’s pretty crazy if you think about it.

Pools are a new feature that SaveUp added that allow you to add friends and family to your profile and then use them to play different prizes. This helps increase your chances of winning as well as encourage all of your groups to save and pay down debt with you.

On another note, the design and interface of SaveUp is appealing and intuitive. You aren’t bogged down by too many settings or confusing options making the user experience really good.

Conclusion

I think that SaveUp is great. If you can get around the idea of using your saving and debt paying as a way to play games and potentially win prizes then SaveUp is probably one of the best ways that I have seen to motivate you to do what is right with your money.

Oh, and by the way, because we at Lifehack like you so much and the people at SaveUp are so darn cool, we are partnering up with them to offer Lifehack readers (US only) a chance to win $500! You can use the $500 any way you want, but we suggest using it to pay down debt, to start a savings account or 401K, or maybe even use it to by some of those shiny productivity tools you have been eying up.

All you need to do is signup for The Lifehack Letter, Lifehack’s new, monthly newsletter that will bring you exclusive content and special offers. After signing up and verifying your email address, you will be sent a special link that you can use to create a new SaveUp account and have access to the $500 giveaway!

The Fine Print

Employees of SaveUp.com and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The winner of the $500 will be announced by SaveUp on 3/6/2012 via email. This prize will only be accessible to readers that use the special link that is sent in The Lifehack Letter welcome email. Any questions about rules and terms visit SaveUp’s rules and terms pages.

Good luck!

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