2011 GRS Video Contest Winners

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.

Success Stories

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip: As you can see, there were far fewer entries to the Success Stories category than to the Money Tips category. In fact, there were fewer entries than prizes! If we do this again next year, you may want to remember that your odds of winning are much higher if you submit a story instead of a tip.

 

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):

 

    • 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.

 

 

 

    • 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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website Winner

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…

Note: If you'd like to watch more great personal-finance videos, check out the 2010 GRS video contest winners.

 

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Justin
Justin

Wow- that was an awful lot of videos you went through my friend.

Very impressive stuff though- just proof that you can live a great life in America but be smart with your money at the same time.

In fact, I think your life is better if you’re smart with your money, because its one less thing you worry about day in and day out.

Jenny
Jenny

These are all so great J.D. And of course I’m THRILLED to be a runner up and win a signed copy of Your Money: The Missing Manual! 🙂

I loved Kevin’s rap about saving on cable too. It was full of great information while still being so creative and funny.

Thanks for such a fun contest!

Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

Woohoo! Thanks for hosting this contest and choosing me as a winner!

I loved going through all the videos and learning tips. I had no idea about Probate until I watched Chip’s video, and he does a great job of making boring stuff interesting!

Zane Claes
Zane Claes

Thanks for this! I’m honored to be a runner up… and all I can say about Ian’s story is “wow.”

Jenny
Jenny

Ian’s story is just amazing. My husband and I have been researching self sustaining homes and would love to know more about how he did it and how it’s going for him.

J.D. – I would love to read Ian’s story here if he agrees to write about it!

Steven Zussino
Steven Zussino

There were some great entries – I received a lot of feedback from the video.

Congrats to the other winners (will take me a while to see all the videos).

I look forward to receiving the book.

Brandon
Brandon

Great story Ian! Your story is encouraging to me since I recently graduated with many student loans of my own. I hope to knock them out shortly just like you did!

Sara
Sara

Chip’s videos are AMAZING! So funny! (Not that Kevin isn’t hilarious, I’ve just watched his before.) I also want to hear more about Ian’s story, ahem!! 😉 Great winners!

Michelle
Michelle

Woohoo! Thanks for including herCatwalk! As a long time reader of GRS, this has pretty much made my day!

Terry
Terry

Ian,

Great video!

I like the way you were able to capture on film each individual step.

Your self relant approach is inspirational.

Have you read “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson?

retirebyforty
retirebyforty

Congratulation Kevin! great jobs on all the videos. 🙂

Karina
Karina

Congrats to the winners!! These were so inspiring; and kudos to JD for hosting this great (and surely time-consuming) contest!

Pat S
Pat S

Some really good choices. Thanks!

Chip Chinery
Chip Chinery

Thank you JD for sponsoring such a fun event! I am honored to be honored, and inspired to see so many great topics and videos from the Get Rich Slowly community.

Don’t forget to look out for Geezers in your lives!
– Chip

Bill at FamZoo
Bill at FamZoo

JD,

Even though I got edged out, I have to say the winning videos are all epic. I particularly enjoyed Kevin’s rap and Chip’s Pword videos. When I saw those, I knew I was done for!

Enjoyed participating in the contest and I appreciate the honorable mention.

Cheers,
Bill

Lo-Wa
Lo-Wa

These are all very inspiring! Thank you, J.D.

I love stories like Ian’s. If he’s willing to share them with us, I would very much like to hear more details about how he economized while saving up money by bar tending and eating ramen noodles.

I am pretty darned good about managing my money, but Ian seems very resourceful and it would be awesome if he’d share his wisdom here!

JL
JL

I was so inspired by Elizabeth’s How We Built Our Dream Home. I would be interested in seeing their reader story on GRS. My husband and I are interested in doing the same thing.

I’ve heard it costs more to build than buy. How did they avoid running into construction and budget issues? How were they able to keep costs down? Well done, everyone!

The Other Brian
The Other Brian

Really? All I could do was feel sorry for her neighbors that now have a 3-story house blocking the little bit of sun they get in Portland.

Ian
Ian

Thanks, guys – and thanks, JD! I have written an article for the Reader Stories series, and I believe JD will be publishing it in the next couple weeks. That should answer a lot more questions than I could address in a 2-minute video. 🙂 Lo-Wa – Working at a restaurant has a few perks…like eating there for free instead of buying one of your daily meals at all (free is even cheaper than ramen). JL – To me, the key to building a house is to spend the money on the things that are important to you. I would… Read more »

imelda
imelda

Wow, that’s a lot of men!

Sorry, I know JD was fair and impartial – because he’s JD – but that’s where my brain goes when I see 3 first-place men and lots of women runner-ups!

Amanda
Amanda

Really?

imelda
imelda

Um, really. Did I break a rule or something?

(oh, I know. I mentioned gender on the Internet. Everyone, attack!)

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth

Just coincidence, Imelda. Last year, two out of the three winners were women. Next year — if we do this next year — who knows?

imelda
imelda

Cool – thanks for the reply. 🙂

Amanda
Amanda

I too would like to hear more details about Ian. Including how his home was built to not need utilities. Elizabeth’s was produced well. I think her story is more common–still having a mortgage. Therefore, Ian’s story was more of an inspiration. Anthony: I used this strategy while we were in debt. I only put the amount of debt on the card that I knew I’d be able to pay off in one year (and we’re out of debt-never to return, hopefully). I don’t think these offers are as common as he suggests. I only watched one other of these… Read more »

Ben
Ben

I agree, those definitely deserved a prize, nice job Kevin, Ian, and Chip!

Thanks for picking me as runner-up – seems appropriate since I talk about winning tickets and how most people don’t participate in contests 🙂 If you enter, chances are – you might win!

thanks for the contest.

Bella
Bella

I just wish I had a need for a renaissance garment!
All the stories were so inspirational, now to go plan my own world domination – or at least cubicle freedom 😉
thanks JD for running the contest.

Caleb
Caleb

Thanks for including me in the Success Stories J.D., you were a real inspiration for getting me out of debt.

Mary H
Mary H

Congratulations to the winners! I really enjoyed their videos.

Sara
Sara

Congratulations to the winners! I got a big kick out of Kevin’s rap, and I will definitely be checking out his blog. Chip’s probate video was also very helpful and well done.

xoxobra
xoxobra

My wife and I eat a lot of yogurt (mainly for fruit smoothies, meaning we use a good cup or two of yogurt a day), so that homemade yogurt video was one of the best things to happen to us last month. We’re currently on our third (and most successful) batch and have already saved a decent amount in a few weeks, so the yearly savings will be nothing to scoff at. Thanks!

Corrie
Corrie

Yay!! I’m so glad that was useful. We’ve made a few batches, and peach continues to be our favorite. 🙂

Concojones
Concojones

Ian, your story is really amazing (plus you come across to me as one smart dude). Looking forward to your guest post!!

Corrie
Corrie

I’m behind on my blog reading so I only just saw that I’m a runner up – thanks! I can’t wait to watch the other videos here!

Jen
Jen

Congrats to the other winners. Yes, I do love torturing geeks. That is why I married my husband, who built the R2 from scratch in our garage. I did find the head at Ikea in the lampshade section, so I am a contributor to his geekness.

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