Zion’s Bank selected Weber State University junior and criminal justice major Jamie Trujillo to compete in the Cheapster Challenge.
The online reality series, presented by Zion’s Bank, features 13 students competing head to head in specially designed challenges to show off how thrifty they are. The grand prizewinner will be awarded $10,000 cash, and the winning school’s student association will also receive $10,000.
According to Trujillo, almost all of the challenges were filmed in one day. The lowest-scoring participant was eliminated at the end of each round. She also said the challenges will be aired in weekly increments online, and the last one will be filmed sometime in November.
An e-mail is what prompted Trujillo to participate in the Cheapster Challenge. She said she received it from WSU, and that it was one of the few e-mails from WSU that she has ever read.
“I saw it and I was like, ‘Oh, well, that’s what I want to do. That’s easy,’” Trujillo said. “I wanted to jump on it.”
Trujillo’s 60-second entry video was selected out of more than 1,000 other entries from students attending different colleges and universities in Idaho and Utah, including one student from each of Utah’s major schools. She was selected to compete in “The Big Event,” and the introductory episode was filmed in Murray last Wednesday. She said her entry video didn’t feature what she would do with the $10,000 prize, but instead highlighted her current methods of being cheap.
Trujillo said her thriftiness isn’t something she is necessarily good at, but has come out of obligation.
“I’ve been paying for this school, up to this semester, 100 percent out of pocket,” Trujillo said. “So it’s kind of on obligation to be as thrifty as possible, to be as cheap as possible, to make sure I can afford everything.”
She said her tactic was to get a feel for it and take the lead from the people who lost the previous challenge.
“My strategy was originally to kind of follow the lead, as long as I wasn’t the last one,” she said. “I don’t want to necessarily fall behind, but I need to see what people are doing so I know not to make the same mistakes.”
Elizabeth Neff, Zion’s Bank public relations officer, said the bank invented the reality series as a way to educate students, especially millennials on ways to save money and plan for the future. According to a press release Neff put out, research Zion’s Bank conducted in 2011 found that 13-28-year-olds were more likely to rely on extreme budgeting behaviors and were less aware of effective money-management techniques.
Trujillo said she would like to encourage everyone to tune in and watch her compete on CheapsterTV.com and like the Cheapster page on Facebook.
“(The) first episode will air online next week,” she said. “Filming went well. I had a really good time.”