Participation in the Get Rich Slowly video contest was down this year, which makes me a little sad, but the quality of the entries made up for it. In fact, the quality of the videos was so high this year that it was tough to pick a handful of winners.
As a reminder, contestants could share videos in two categories for this contest: Success Stories and Personal Finance Tips. The top video in each category wins $500. Ten runners-up in each category will receive a copy of my book, Your Money: The Missing Manual.
Let’s look at what your fellow readers came up with.
The winner of the Success Stories category is Ian, who described how he built his house without a mortgage. Ian’s was the first entry to this year’s contest, and it was one of the best. Many of you have watched this already. It’s worth watching again.
Ian paid off $35,000 in student loans and build a sustainable off-grid house. Like many of you, I want to know more about this. Ian has posted a slightly extended version of his story, but I still want additional details. I’ll pester him to see if he’s willing to write a guest post or a reader story.
Because I have a soft spot for financial success stories, I loved watching the submissions to this category. It’s inspiring to hear how other people have managed to make the most of their money. Here are the
ten nine runners-up, each of whom will receive a signed copy of my book.
- Laura: How I made it in New York City — Not all twenty-somethings move back home with their parents. Laura describes how she’s managed to make ends meet as an artist in New York. Great story.
- Elizabeth: How we built our dream house — Elizabeth and her husband were patient and creative in their quest to live in the perfect neighborhood.
- Julia: How I accidentally created my own profitable website — Julia used to sell home-made clothes on eBay. Demand grew. She turned to friends for help, and now she runs a successful (and geeky) business. Website: Garb the World.
- Jeff: New car payments aren’t all they’re cracked up to be — Jeff explains how driving an old Chevy Lumina helped him jump-start his retirement savings. Website: Good Financial Cents.
- Anthony: How my wife and I took advantage of 0% balance transfers to pay off $14,000 in one year — As you know, I don’t play credit-card games. But Anthony makes a compelling case that if you’re disciplined, playing this particular game can help you get out of debt quickly.
- Jenny: Becoming and staying debt-free — Jenny emphasizes choosing to be smart with money. She says making up your mind to do something is the most important step. Website: Ex-Consumer.
- Steve: Simplify your life (and your closet) — Could you go a year without buying any clothes? How about two? Steve did! Website: Grocery Alerts.
- Zane: How following my dreams led to great success — Zane stresses the importance of living your own life, not making choices based on what other people do and have. Website: Life by Experimentation.
- Caleb: Pocket changed: How I became debt-free — Three years ago, Caleb had $28,000 in debt. Today, he’s debt-free. Website: Pocket Changed.
Personal Finance Tips
The Personal Finance Tips category was tougher to judge. There were many more entries here, and a lot of good stuff had to be left off the final list. Ultimately, I had to go with my gut and pick the videos that resonated with me for one reason or another.
One difficult decision was whether I should favor creativity or favor content. Plus, some of the videos offered great tips, but tips that only applied to small audiences. This year’s winner, though, managed to blend everything together. Here’s Kevin, rapping about how he saves money on cable television:
But this isn’t Kevin’s only song about money. Check out this post from his website, where you can see two of his previous personal-finance songs. (“Haven’t Made a Budget” is excellent.) And if you’re a Glee fan (like me and Kevin), check out his Christmas song.
You can read more from Kevin at his blog, Thousandaire.
As I said, it was tough narrowing the rest of the tips field to just ten winners. With so many good entries, another person might have chosen a completely different group. That said, here are the eleven runners-up in the tips category (because there were more prizes than entrants in the other category, I moved the extra prize over here):
- Bill: The family 401(k) — A simple way to get kids to save for the future. Brilliant. Website: FamZoo.
- Corrie: How to make your own yogurt — Well-made instructional video that shows how you can save 50% on yogurt by making your own. I don’t eat yogurt often but if I did, I’d look into this.
- Dean: How to get physical fitness and wellness training for free — Dean has some creative advice for finding deals on fitness training. (And if you have questions, he says to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Shawn: How we cut over $1000 from the cost of our wedding — Some great suggestions for reducing wedding costs. Love this.
- Jen: How a home birth saves money — Even with insurance, Jen’s first two deliveries were expensive. When she had her third child, she explored the world of home birth — and saved $3000. (Jen, you can’t just include an R2-D2 unit in your video without an explanation. It’s like torture to a geek!)
- Genevieve: How to save money by repairing your glasses — You don’t need to spend a fortune on new frames — you can make them look like new for just a couple of bucks. (“Greetings, wealth turtles…” Ha! I love it.)
- Ashly: How not to blow your budget and still be stylish when celebration calls — Sharp production values on this one and some great tips to boot! Website: herCatwalk.
- Joanne (aka slackerjo): How to maximize the space you do have — Many of us have more Stuff than space. Slackerjo shares a frugal way to find more space.
- Andy: Ten ways to save money in two minutes — Andy has an awesome list (with examples) of ways you can earn and save more money.
- Cecile: How to use your expense-tracking data to build a budget that works for you — Cecile outlines how to create and follow a budget based on your spending habits. Website: La Tirelire de Cécile.
- Ben: How to get free tickets — Entering contests can be a great way to get free things, including tickets to cultural events. Website: Money Smart Life.
Lastly, here’s the winner in the Website category. This category was open to entrants with a website they wanted to share (which accounted for about half of all submissions). This $500 prize goes to Chip from Chip’s Money Tips for How I Saved $14,000 by Avoiding the P-Word and How to Save on Car Rentals. These topics may seem a little dull, but Chip’s videos are anything but. (Chip has lots more slick videos on his blog.)
How I Saved $14,000 by Avoiding the P-Word
How to Save on Car Rentals
As in 2010, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite video submissions in the months ahead. There are some great tips here, and some great food for thought. Who knows? After watching Chip’s videos, I may even write a post about probate…
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