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Does it really pay to be cheap?

Does it really pay to be cheap?

By Carmen Herbert, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Dec. 8, 2011 at 7:41 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Penny-pincher. Tight-wad. Bargain hunter.

Ever been called one of these names?

For many people out there, being known as a Cheapster is the ultimate compliment. And now it could pay out in big ways.

Zions Bank has launched a new Web series entitled “Cheapster” at Cheapster.tv, a reality series featuring 10 college-aged students from Utah and Idaho who are serious about savings. Each of these students compete in a series of challenges, everything from decorating an office cubicle from only things they found at a dollar store, cooking a gourmet meal for two under $20 and even dumpster diving.

The prize is $10,000.

What is a Cheapster?

“I beg, borrow, mooch, plead, just to be able to get what I want,” says Billy Reano, one of the Cheapster contestants competing for the grand prize.

“Everything I own I basically won or got for free,” another contestant named Gina Quigley stated.

One contestant, Eric Richardson has taken the phrase “living lightly” to the ultimate extreme, currently calling a tent up in Logan home. It's something he chose to do to save on rent to help pay for his college tuition at Utah State.

Did you catch that?

The dude lives in a tent voluntarily.

I am fascinated by people like this. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to become a coupon-clipping gal, I have learned I lack an essential quality necessary for anyone truly serious about savings: discipline and patience.

For me, it’s about quality vs. quantity and I just can’t seem to bring myself to buy 30 cans of Chef Boyardee or 15 boxes of Hamburger Helper because I can get them for 10 cents each, or whatever crazy deal is featured in the mailers.

“Things that are not used around our home are recycled and re-gifted or used in a unique way,” says Kim Hinckley, who shared her story on Cheapster.tv. “I was born with a sixth sense for a deal, and what most think is a deal or on sale really isn't, it's just marketing. I know the real deals!"

With the holidays here and new “amazing” deals every weekend, I could sure use a gal like Kim to help me rob those stores blind. Not literally. You know what I mean.

You can enter your story at Cheapster.tv and see how your frugal ways match up to the pros by watching the latest episode of Cheapster. Who knew all those years of eating Ramen Noodles and shopping at thrift stores could finally pay off?

Do you consider yourself a Cheapster? Have you found the hours worth cutting coupons or losing sleep running down the aisles of Walmart fighting viciously over the last “Let’s Rock! Elmo” with your otherwise quiet and reserved neighbor from across the street on Black Friday to be worth it? Why or why not? Tell us ont he comment boards and on Facebook.

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Carmen Herbert

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