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The period for voting on ideas for the 2013 SAVE Award is now closed. Check back to view the 2013 winning idea.

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President Obama believes the best ideas usually come from the front lines. That’s why in 2009 he launched the SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency), seeking ideas from Federal employees to make government more effective and efficient and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.

Over the past five years, Federal employees have submitted tens of thousands of cost-cutting ideas through the SAVE Award. Dozens of the most promising ideas have been included in the President’s Budget, specifically in the Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings section.


The goal of the SAVE Award is to produce ideas that will yield savings while also improving the way that government operates. As such, submissions are judged according to the following criteria:

Does the idea reduce costs in a way that is concrete and quantifiable?

Does the idea improve the way that government operates by:

  • Improving the quality of output at lower costs; or
  • Simplifying processes to reduce administrative burden; or
  • Improving the speed of government operations to improve efficiency?

Can the idea be implemented Administratively by the Executive Branch or would it require an act of Congress?

Creativity counts! Take a look through previous submissions to avoid repeating ideas that come up again and again. In many cases, the Administration is already in the process of implementing popular past ideas. These include: double-sided copying, moving print publications online, reforming GovTrip, and turning off lights after hours.

All ideas will be sent to the relevant agencies to review for potential action, including inclusion in the budget. Over the past four years, more than 80 ideas were included in the President’s Budget proposals.

SAVE Award Past Winners

2012: Shift to Senior Transit Fares, Frederick Winter, Virginia
Department of Education

Frederick, from the Department of Education, proposes that all Federal employees who receive public transit benefits shift from regular transit fare to the reduced senior fare as soon as they are eligible. In the D.C. area, this change would lower the cost of the employee’s travel by 50 percent, with no loss in the effective benefits for the employee.

2011: Create a tool "lending library" for NASA flight projects
Matthew Ritsko, Maryland

At Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA employees purchase specialized tools and ground support equipment for developing and building flight projects. Many of the tools are not tracked once projects are complete, and as a result funds are wasted on duplicative purchases. In order to cut down on repeat purchases, Matthew suggests creating a centralized tool repository— or "lending library"— where these tools can be stored, catalogued, and checked in and out by NASA employees.

2010: Trudy Givens, Wisconsin
Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice

The Federal Register is currently mailed to her workplace and approximately 8,000 Federal employees every workday. Most of the interested public now accesses the Federal Register online. While statute requires that hard copies be available, allowing recipients to opt-in for hard copy delivery could yield savings associated with printing and postage.

2009: Nancy Fichtner, Colorado
Department of Veterans Affairs

As is the case in most hospitals all across the country, medicine that is used in the hospital is not given to patients to be brought home; instead, it is thrown out. Nancy proposes ending this waste and finding a way to allow this medicine to be used by those who need it.