MADISON, Wis. (1/24/11)--Credit unions are gearing up their 2011 savings programs with contests, tips and the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) savings challenges related to Youth Week. Here are some examples of savings initiatives. First CU in Chandler, Ariz., has launched a new initiative, “Working to Save You a Million,” geared to help members discover ways to save money. It can be tough finding ways to save money in today’s economy, the credit union said. The $400 million-asset First CU is helping members find ways to save money by posting money-saving tips on Facebook and Twitter and educating consumers about refinancing loans through the credit union. Competitive rates and affordable terms can go a long way towards saving money every month and over the life of an auto, boat, recreational vehicle, motorcycle or home loan, First CU said. Redwood Credit Union (RCU) a $1.7 billion-asset credit union in Santa Rosa, Calif., is seeking applicants for its new Amazing Savers Contest, which will follow five contestants as they transform their finances to compete for $10,000. Applicants must be or become an RCU member to participate. The contestants will meet regularly with a personal financial coach from RCU, who will help them create budgets, reduce debt, and transform their finances so that they can save more and improve their financial future. The process will be documented through contestant blogs and online updates, and the community will be encouraged to follow along at home for tips and guidelines to improve their own finances. Followers of the contest also will cast their vote for the contestant they believe has made the most progress. At the end of the year, the contestant who has made the biggest overall improvement in financial outlook will win $10,000. National Credit Union Youth Week, sponsored by CUNA, encourages youth to take the first step toward accumulating savings. By sponsoring the National Youth Saving Challenge, a credit union can generate excitement about setting money aside for personal goals. Although the 2011 National Credit Union Youth Week is officially April 17-23, credit unions can challenge youth savers any time during the month. In an effort to beat the amount that young people saved last year at participating credit unions nationwide--a $24.8 million total--CUNA has made it as easy as possible to take part. Use the links.