By Ali Kirk
Frugal people of the world unite; and perhaps be rewarded for pinching those pennies.
Zions Bank is introducing a new web reality series that hunts for the biggest cheapskate in all the land — well, at least in the greater Idaho Utah area. Cheapster has already narrowed it down to 10 contestants, who will all compete for a $10,000 grand prize.
Brad Herbert, vice president and emerging market manager of Zions Bank and the mastermind behind Cheapster, said they searched campuses in Utah and Idaho and narrowed it to 10 contestants, who will compete on a reality show to prove they are the ultimate tightwad.
Herbert said money, at least where college students are concerned, is not a top priority.
“We actually did a research project earlier this year to learn more about students and their financial behaviors,” Herbert said. “One thing we understood from this research is that students’ current knowledge in the financial arena is lacking; it’s not something that’s really primary to them. Students are focused on school and doing their homework.”
Two current BYU students and two BYU grads were chosen to compete in the web series.
Lance Halladay, a BYU grad from Louisville, Colo., said his interest in the competition was sparked from the get-go.
“I saw a commercial that was looking for contestants for a reality show,” Halladay said. “They said the winner would win $10,000, and I thought, ‘yeah I would like to win $10,000.'”
Halladay said his persistence will carry him through to be that last man standing.
“I think I have a great chance of winning it,” Halladay said. “I would say that one of my passions is being cheap. This will help me out in the competition. I have a drive, and I think it will carry me throughout.”
Josh Pacheco, a senior from Houston, shared a few ways why he was a shoe-in to enter and win the competition.
“I’ve learned all my life to find value in things for the cheapest amount possible,” Pacheco said. “If you look at me, you look at my car, you wouldn’t think that I was cheap, but I am. I’ve lived on friend’s sofas, I have lived out of my backpack. Those kinds of things don’t bother me.”
Pacheco said his background might also serve as an advantage.
“I’m the only Hispanic in the competition,” Pacheo said. “I think differently, I come from a different culture. I’ve been to a lot of places, I’ve learned a lot of things that allows me to think in different ways. I have more creative ideas than most.”
Brent Hutchinson, a Cheapster contestant and a junior from Provo, studying sociology, said if he does make it to the end, he might invest in a new set of wheels.
“I would invest or save the money,” Hutchinson. “I thought about maybe getting a car. The one my family uses is pretty beat up.”
Zions Bank’s main purpose with the Cheapster web series is to help students, Herbert said.
“Zions Bank is going to step in every now and again within the episodes kind of as a sponsor role, and talk more about real life practical finances and tools about how to save money, for those who don’t necessarily want to live off Top Ramen,” he said.