Spend Less for a Chance to Win Big

If your credit-card spending got a little out of control over the holidays, perhaps you could use an incentive to rein it back in. Would the chance to win $6,000 be incentive enough?

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That's what the folks at SaveUp hope. The site launched a No Spend Challenge January 3 to encourage people to break the habit of overspending and eliminate holiday debt. To participate, you have to sign up at SaveUp and register up to three active credit cards. Each day in January that you don't use your cards you are entered for a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize. SaveUp also is awarding five $1,000 prizes to people who share the challenge with others on Facebook or Twitter. So you could win a total of $6,000.

SaveUp's No Spend Challenge is one of just many ways the site rewards people for good financial behavior. The primary mission of the San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2011, is to encourage more people to save money and pay down debt by giving them chances to win cash and prizes.

Priya Haji, CEO and cofounder of SaveUp, says that the site's rewards system is based on behavioral science, which has found that people are more motivated to engage in certain behaviors by a chance to win big. At SaveUp, good financial behavior earns you a chance to win really big -- up to $2 million.

Here's how it works: Membership is free. When you sign up, you register your financial accounts (as you would at any other money-management site, such as Mint.com) so that SaveUp can award you credits when you save money or pay down debt. Haji says that the site uses bank-level encryption to protect data and never sells members' personal information to third parties.

SaveUp awards members one credit for every $1 they save or pay off in debt. The more you save or lower your debt, the more credits you earn, and the more chances you get to win. You also can earn more chances to win by getting others to join SaveUp and by watching videos on the site about financial topics then taking quizzes to see how much you learned. In addition to the $2 million jackpot, prizes range from gift cards to a $5,000 deposit to your savings account to $50,000 for a home down payment.

SaveUp collaborates with companies to offer the prizes, which are listed on the site and basically serve as advertising for the companies. And it makes money from partnerships with financial institutions that promote their loans and banking products on the site.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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