We know on an intellectual level that we should save money for the future. Financial gurus like Clark could spend all day going blue in the face telling you, "If you have save this much money, it will grow to this much in 15 years. And then it will grow to this much in 30 years."
But human nature dictates that you're not thinking about 15 or 30 years down the road; our need for immediate gratification means you're probably thinking about 15 or 30 minutes in the future!
What if there were a way to get that immediate gratification and meet goals down the road? Select credit unions in states around the country think they have it!
Read more: 7 choices that could save you $25k each year
Introducing the Save To Win program
Some credit unions in a handful of states—Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Washington—have joined together in an initiative called Save To Win.
This program allows you to open a savings account for $25, and that essentially buys you one "lottery ticket" for an upcoming drawing. Prizes ranging from $25 to $5,000 are awarded monthly and quarterly in participating credit unions. (See a complete list of prizes.)
Every $25 you deposit with your participating credit union is another entry to win. You can have up to 10 entries per month.
But no matter whether you win or lose, you get to keep all the money you've deposited, plus any interest.
When Save To Win began in 2010, over 16,000 Michigan residents who had not been savers opened new accounts because of the jackpot lure. They saved $28 million collectively in a single year that otherwise might not have been saved!
You've probably heard Clark encouraging people to adopt saving money as a lifestyle choice. But not everyone can easily heed the message. As you move down the income ladder, people either can't or won't save any money.
The consumer champ has often talked about how there's this convenience store gas station down near his house that every Friday night is swarmed with people buying lottery tickets. He's lamented seeing people drop $20 at a time—and we're talking about people who absolutely need that money to pay bills and for their families.
"I like Save To Win because it's a way of tricking people into saving money, if you will," Clark says. "It's been said that lotteries are the greatest 'tax' on the poor in the Western world. So the beauty of this idea is that it uses that 'tax' as a way to create savings."