When you buy a raffle ticket for a draw, there is an exhilarating feeling of anticipation as the winning numbers get read out. So, imagine if you could feel that anticipation every month simply by saving and putting the money into a savings account.

The UAE is awash with prize draws that can see residents win cars or big cash amounts. But, if you don’t win, you’ve not only lost out on the prize but also the amount you spent buying the ticket.

Which is why banks are enticing savers with prize-linked savings accounts that come with big cash prizes. They are a less risky solution for those who like the possibility of winning but not the risk of  losing their money. Under these schemes, you can recoup your deposit and, the more you save, the better the odds of winning.

Let’s say you have AED10,000 saved in a savings account with Mashreq Bank’s Mashreq Millionaire. Each AED1,000 buys you one ticket to enter monthly draws to win up to AED1million and the bank also has surprise AED5m giveaways. So, if you win the AED5m, that’s a 500% return on your initial deposit.

The advantage for banks to offer these type of savings account is that it attracts customers, encourages them to save regularly and to leave those savings untouched for a long period of time. For customers, it means they have a nest egg stored away that could reap them big rewards.

The downside is that if you don’t win, you won’t earn any interest or profit on the account as prize-linked accounts generally come with 0% interest. Plus you can be stung with an early encashment fee if you claim the deposit back within a certain period of time, so make sure you only invest cash you don’t need for some time.

An alternative would be to invest in the UAE’s National Bonds scheme, which not only awards prizes of up to AED1m but also an annual profit rate on deposits.

But once you’ve won AED1m, what happens next? While we all think we will instantly quit work and head off to the nearest desert island, research indicates that giving it all up is largely a pipe dream.

According to a study on workers who win big, from Bowling Green State University in the United States, 85 per cent chose to stay in the workplace. Those winning bigger amounts were more likely to quit but, surprisingly, the average winnings of those who decided to stay at work was US$2.6m.

One thing is for sure, nobody wants to run the risk of blowing their winnings and ending up worse off than they started. It would be wise to draw up a full financial strategy for any winnings, perhaps even keeping some of that cash in the prize-linked savings account you started off with. You never know, you might win again.