Gamification of money management for fun and profit

Gamification of money management for fun and profit

Creating and sticking to a budget is difficult for some, and just plain boring for others. Saving for retirement, paying off debt, and setting money aside for potential emergencies can seem like a pretty dull thing to do with your hard-earned money, especially when your favorite restaurant or a mini-vacation are calling your name.

Nevertheless, saving money for the future is important, and you are sure to thank yourself later for setting money aside. After all, it’s never fun to find yourself in an emergency situation with no funds to fall back on. Likewise, it definitely won’t feel good at all to make it to retirement-age only to find you are surrounded by debt and don’t have nearly enough put away to retire.

In fact, many of the most successful financial gurus recommend paying off all debt and keeping a savings account that is full enough to cover your family’s necessary expenses for 3–6 months. This is to cover your living expenses in case of a job loss, but can also be used to cover emergency medical bills or car repairs. That is a lot of cash to save, and saving it will most certainly require you to be quite committed and disciplined.

Additionally, early retirement is becoming more and more common. If the early retirement train is one you would like to hop on board, you are most definitely going to need to contribute to that retirement account as much and as often as possible. Early retirement is only fun if you have enough saved up to actually get out and do things.

Still, despite the obvious long-term rewards involved, many people still have a very hard time making sound financial decisions. Short-term rewards for someone’s hard work can often be very tempting, and retirement can seem so far off—that is, until it’s right around the corner. Some people will remedy this situation by making money management a game for themselves. Setting up goals and rewards for meeting them is just the key for getting many people to stick to a budget. After all, who doesn’t like rewards?

Many app developers have taken note of the reward-driven people out there and have created apps specifically for making money management into a game. The apps below are some examples of this incredibly creative use of gamification. Why not download them and give them a try? You may be surprised just how motivated you are to pay down debt and save money when it’s a fun game with rewards involved.


The SaveUp app is the ultimate money-saving and debt-reducing tool. Users link all bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, and loans to the app. The app then tracks the financial habits of the user and rewards them with credits each time they make a sound financial decision, such as paying down debt or depositing money into a savings account. These credits can be used to enter drawings for things such as gifts cards, vacations, and even enormous cash prizes.

SaveUp is equipped with bank-level security and will never sell your information to anyone. Additionally, the app costs nothing to download or use. Because of these things, you have no excuse not to give this awesome app a try.

Smarty Pig

While SaveUp encourages you to save with an opportunity to win a prize, Smarty Pig offers you a reward you can count on receiving. With this app, you set up a savings goal and desired transfer schedule and Smarty Pig takes care of the rest, transferring money into your savings fund automatically. Users also have the option of transferring money manually whenever they have some extra cash hanging out in their account, and many users do choose to do this because Smarty Pig pays them an extra 11% in addition to their goal when they reach it and cash out via gift card rather than cash.

Like SaveUp, Smarty Pig is secure and will never share your information with anyone. This app is also free, so downloading it to give it a try shouldn’t be a problem at all.


If you have already paid off all your debts, it’s time to start watching your money grow with some investments. Investing in and of itself is a game. Unfortunately, it is incredibly complicated and often overwhelming for those who don’t know the rules of the game. This is where Acorns steps in. This app was designed to help the beginner investor get started, and it does a wonderful job of making investing into another kind of game.

With Acorn you can choose to have the app automatically invest a certain amount from your account each month, or you can manually invest whenever you have extra cash. Additionally, Acorns has a round up option which will allow you to invest your spare change.

Because the app aims to take the confusion out of investing, it doesn’t offer you a long list of investment options. Instead, it asks if you’d like to choose a type of investment from a scale of conservative to aggressive. This makes the decision-making simple enough for anyone.

Watching the returns build up in your Acorns app is a great feeling, and is definitely an awesome reward for setting some money aside.


These are just a few of the apps out there that have used gamification to make money management fun and easy to understand. If these don’t work for you, take some time to shop around and find something that does.

If you’d like to learn more about gamification in general, we would love to hear from you here at Datagame. Please contact us today!