The Shop Smart Scholarship Winners
Shop Smart Inc. is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Shop Smart Scholarship. Applicants competed for $10,000 in scholarship money with essays explaining how their college experiences are or will be "enabled by remarkable frugality, ingenuity, effort or thrift". The five winning essays, chosen from more than 4,300 applications, demonstrated unique, and sometimes extreme, money saving strategies while pursuing a college education. Each scholarship winner received a $2,000 scholarship from Shop Smart Inc.
To apply for the 2013-2014 Shop Smart Scholarship, please visit our scholarship application page.
2012-2013 Scholarship Winners
Rachel Chaney of Greensboro, North Carolina
Rachel taps into her university's monthly surplus sale, snapping up odds and ends like typewriter ribbons and CPR dummies while others are fighting over laptops and computers. She then resells them for a profit. "It's kind of ironic when you think about it," she writes. "The university ups the tuition to buy new stuff and I buy the old stuff to resell to pay the new tuition."
Carlos Ovalle of New Milford, New Jersey
Carlos offers haircuts to his fellow dorm residents. "My dad has been cutting my hair ever since I was a small child so naturally I picked up his technique and applied it to a service." He also turns a tidy profit by stocking up on soda, bottled water and energy drinks and selling them to other students. "My idea was that if I can sell these drinks to the people in my building for a reasonable price, they would forfeit a trip to the cafeteria and just buy their drinks off me. It worked!"
Jamie Scott of Gainesville, Florida
Looking for a way to reduce her grocery costs while in school, Jamie discovered a talent for extreme couponing. She had amassed a large stockpile of toiletries and non-perishables when she got the idea to resell her purchases to others in her community who were also looking for ways to cut costs. "I made sure that my prices were low enough to help everyone else out too," she wrote. "An item that would typically cost between $5 and $10 at a retail store, I sold for $2. I sold over 1000 items to people in my community. This money helped me pay for two classes that semester as well as books."
Erin Supinka of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Erin was inspired to try living on $40 per week by a tweet from the White House about how a payroll tax cut might affect American families. "It asked Americans to share what losing forty dollars a week would mean to their budgets and daily living. Forty dollars, a recurring theme; how much did it mean to me?" She then took her efforts a step further, sharing her experiment in frugality on her blog. "I share my expenses, my failures and tips I figure out along the way. I hope, that although they may not go to the extremes I have, students and fellow budgeters will find my blog and see what I'm doing to make a little bit of money go a long way."
Haley Thatcher of Dayville, Connecticut
In addition to picking up and reselling discounted electronics, shopping at discount food stores and working two part-time jobs while in school, Haley set out to survive a New England winter without heat in order to cut costs. "At night I would use a space heater so that it was at least slightly warm," she notes. "Paying an extra fifty dollars on electricity as opposed to hundreds in oil saved me much more."