BillShrink Giving Away $2,500 to Wise Bread Readers

By Will Chen on 14 December 2009 1079 comments

Editor's Note:  Contest has ended.  Click here to see list of winners.

BillShrink, a free website that gives personalized money-saving recommendations on everyday bills, is giving away $2,500 to Wise Bread readers!

In addition to the contest, BillShrink CEO Peter Pham also shared some great savings tips later in this post.  But first, the contest!

Blog Comment Contest: $2,000

Prize:  1 winner of $2,000.  BillShrink representatives will pick their favorite response.

How to Enter

BillShrink wants to give you $2,000 to start your New Year with a money make over. 

Simply leave a comment below and tell us in 2-3 sentences about what you’d do with $2,000?  The best response takes the grand prize.

Would the responsible you pay down your credit card debt? Put the money in savings? Buy low in the stock market? Or start a college fund for your toddler? Or … would rowdy you blow it on a ticket to Antigua? Or buy 14 bottles of Dom Perignon? Or get a flat screen TV or a new computer? BillShrink CEO Peter Pham also talks about how he would spend $2,000. You might want to check out Peter's response get some inspiration.

Don't forget to enter your email address while leaving a comment.  We can't contact you if you don't leave an email address!

Twitter Contest:  $250

Prize: 1 winner of $250. Randomly selected.

How to Enter

Simply tweet one of these messages: 

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.  It makes it easier for us to message you when you win.

BillShrink Facebook Contest: $250

Prize: 1 winner of $250. BillShrink will randomly select one of their new fans following them on Facebook.

How to Enter

Visit BillShrink's Facebook fan page and add yourself as a fan.  That's it!

(While you're in Facebook, don't forget to check out Wise Bread's fan page as well.)

Rules For All Three Contests

The Blog Comment, Twitter, and Facebook contests all end at midnight EST 1/08/10.  Winners will be announced on this post on 1/13/10. You can enter all 3 contests, but you can only win once. US residents only, must be 18 or over, void where prohibited (see official contest rules).

Interview With Peter Pham

According to your website, BillShrink has identified more than $1 billion in savings for more than 1 million people this year. Why are so many people overpaying on their bills?

Wireless plan and credit cards are inherently complex.  You have in- and out-network calling, overage fees, variable interest rates, annual fees – it’s really too much for a person to track. Each wireless plan, each credit card, markets their plans with different language, gives you options over different periods of time, and has different offerings, so it’s nearly impossible to make an apples-to-apples comparison.  BillShrink will do all that homework for you using technology that analyzes all of the fine print and tracks the best options on the market so you don’t have to.

Another reason people are overpaying is that options are constantly changing.  Credit cards, banks and wireless companies are competing for your business and continue to make new offers.  That’s why we’ve also built into BillShrink the ability to get alerts when a better deal comes along.  We’ll take into account all things like wireless termination fees, so you can see if you will really save more money in the long run.

 What was the best piece of budgeting advice you got or gave in 2009?

The best piece of advice I gave was to ignore those seeming appealing in-store credit card offers.  Salespeople entice you at the register with an additional 10-30% off your purchase and 0% APR promises.  But that impulse decision could cost you in the long run because after introductory rates, store credit cards are have interest rates that are generally higher than standard credit cards.  Not to mention that they are notoriously strict about late fees, which increase the rate dramatically.  All this and that’s not all, when you apply for a new card, an inquiry is made to the credit bureau, which may slightly lower your credit score.

How do you think people can save money on the necessities like gas and cell phones?  Is there a way to cut back without making sacrifices?

Absolutely!  Most people don’t alter their plan to better fit their usage, but like most, you may have selected a wireless package a year ago that isn’t the right plan for you now.  Most people are so afraid of overage charges so they buy tons of minutes or get the unlimited plans that they may not really need.

BillShrink assesses what you need and on average, we save people $300 on their phone bill, without them having to sacrifice any minutes or plan options.  For gas, many people by habit go to the same gas station.  But, if you can drive the same distance to a station that costs $0.50 less per gallon of gas, that could be a savings of $130 a year.

Do you think frugality will end when the economy starts to pick up?

I think frugality is here to stay, at least I hope so.  While this economically turbulent year forced many to change their spending behaviors, I think people will choose to remain frugal as it feels good to be wise about your dollars.  In particular, if people feel they are getting the same services for less money, the question simply is ‘why would I pay more than I need to?’ So maybe ‘Frugal is the new black!’

What would you do with $2000?

My weakness is food; I’m a culinary snob.  I’d consider blowing it on a trip to NY and have dinner with my wife at Masa, where the pre-fix menu is $500/person.
 
Never mind all the bill shrinking -- what do you think is worth paying top dollar for?

Vacations.  When I get the rare chance to go on holiday with my family, I love a fine hotel with great service, excellent restaurants, and a gorgeous pool.  That comes with a price tag, but the rest and luxury is worth it!

Can the consumers be sure that your recommendations are objective?
 
BillShrink is independent and unbiased.  This means that we present the best options to users and have no preferential display of any wireless, credit card, savings or gas recommendations. Our rankings are calculated by complex algorithms that match your unique spending habits with all the available plans in the marketplace, so in essence, we’re your personal financial matchmaker. We think our best value comes in continuing to alert you when a better deal comes along that could save you even more money.

So far your focus is on cell phones, credit cards, and gas prices.  But couldn't you expand this to a lot more goods and services?  What are your plans for the future?

We intend to keep saving people throughout 2010 and beyond.  We’ll add services like TV and Internet services, as well as a host of other bills so that we’ll save Americans another $1 billion next year.

Update:  Announcing the Winners!

Blog Comment $2,000 Winner

Winner: Joe Wilson

I would use the money to help pay off my wife's battle with breast cancer. I am on a fixed income (disabled) 64 years old. my wife has to work for health ins due to my sickness 20 years ago. she is a 62 year old pharmacy tech and works 40 hrs a week. we are staying even due to our good credit rating (796) but I have a wad of debt. paying off the hospital and certain other tests she has undergone will allow us to continue with her prescribed medical needs this coming year using Canada to buy certain drugs due to pricing . thank you for your consideration joe and kathy Wilson

Jenny from BillShrink explains why this was her favorite:

Whew! Wonderful to see 1053 respondents for the contest.  We read some funny and some very heartbreaking stories about people who really could use the $2000 cash.  We liked the below entry from Joe  & Kathy Wilson.  We appreciated that Kathy keeps a full-time job and that these are hard-working people who have tried to maintain good credit, but have medical expenses that are beyond their means.  Again, this was a hard choice and... well, we had a few runner-ups that we really liked as well. 

Twitter Contest $250 Winner:

Winner: MMC67.  Thank you Michelle Carter for tweeting about our contest!

Facebook Winner:

Anna Labbe who wrote:

Just discovered billshrink! hope to put it to good use for a financially better 2010! Winning that $2000.00 would be great too! How about an article on how to get your spouse on the same "page"with savings and finance!! Thanks!

Thank you everyone for participating in the contest!  We'll be contacting each winner directly via email, Twitter, and Facebook.  If you don't respond within 3 business days we reserve the right to give the prizes to an alternate winner.

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Guest's picture
Mandy

I would use part of it for our annual summer vacation, but the rest would go to our very pitiful Emergency Fund! What a boost it would be!

Guest's picture
Abhisek

I will invest that money in value picks!

Guest's picture
barbara

I would splurge and finally buy my urban hens a new coop. Since the I built is a tad bit scary and an eye sore of the neighbors. (I think with a crowing hen, the look of the coop is less disturbing) I've had my eye on one forever. I would take the rest and split it into two one half for the mortgage an the other half for savings. That would be the end of that.

Guest's picture
Jessica Westerfield

My husband and I bought our first house this past year as a foreclosure and ended up having to gut more of the house than we expected. Both being students funds ran out quickly and well lets just say my kitchen consists of a 6x6 folding table and a utility sink! No cabinets! Hey the plus side..you can wash your paintbrushes and dishes all in one sink!

Guest's picture
Carrie

I would use $2000 to pay off one of my student loans. That amount would be enough to pay off my highest interest loan, so I could focus on the paying off my other loans.

Guest's picture
Marianne

We moved to a small town on an island in Alaska and are diligently paying down our bills (good income minus anywhere to spend money = personal massive debt reduction program). But we get bored to death here (not to mention the high levels of depression)and would use the $2,000 to help hurry things up as we buy our way out of what we not-so-laughingly refer to as Debtor's Prison. HELP!

Guest's picture

It is not very original but we would use the $2000 to pay off one of our credit cards and pay down another. It would further us on our way to be totally credit card free by 2012!

Guest's picture
Tamara

I would, without a doubt, use $2,000 to pay down my credit card debt. I've been steadily paying down my balance for the past year, but still have about 2 years to go until I'm debt free. My ultimate goal is to purchase my first home some day, but first, I must clean up the mess I made in my early 20s with multiple cards and lines of credit.

Guest's picture
mmmiller

would go a long way towards getting my windows replaced. I have an old house with single pane windows that I am hoping to start replacing this year. Currently most of them don't even open anymore from being painted over so many times. My plan is just go room by room starting with the sunroom, but the quote for the sunroom alone is about $5000. The rest of the windows are normal standard sizes though and it should go more quickly after that.

Guest's picture
Anne

I'm a music education major, and I would use the $2000 to buy a new french horn. A Conn 8D instead of my old student model Yamaha.

Guest's picture
Andrew

First, I would use $1,000 to pay off the credit card debt I accumulated as a result of the new HDTV I recently purchased. Then I would deposit $700 into my savings account for safekeeping. Lastly, I would donate $300 to Compassion International to help children who live in poverty.

Guest's picture
Rhonda

If I won $2000, first I'd give $200 of it away. I'm not sure to who... maybe our local Christian church camp. Then, I'd take $100 and spend it on my husband for Christmas and give him $100 and tell him to spend it on me. (We bought a camera for an early joint Christmas present in November, so we won't be opening anything from each other on Christmas morning.) Then, I'd use the rest to tell my husband to take off work the rest of the year and not have to worry about making money to pay the bills! (He's self-employed, so he doesn't ever get paid vacation, overtime, or sick days.)

Guest's picture
Laura B

I would use the $2,000 to pay off a big part of our credit card debt, we don't have a lot of credit card debt but it would be a great peace of mind to that much closer. My husband and I were always really responsible when it came to our finances and then we had to move across the country for my husband's new job. The combination of the move and me being out of work has been tough.

Guest's picture
Adam

I'd split it a couple ways. I'd put some of it to our house principle so we can get to 80% LTV and stop paying PMI (shrink our bills). I'd also set some aside to save up for a future child so we can hopefully go to one income.

Guest's picture
Nicholai

My wife's student loans are consolidated and really low, like 2%. Our mortgage is 5.25%, so I would pay down the principal on our mortgage.
We love foreign travel, but would rather take cheaper weekend holidays now and keep plowing everything into our house to pay off that 25 year loan in just 7. With no house payment, we'd kill off the student loan in just a few months.

Guest's picture
Anna

Since my present living conditions are sub par, and since my husband's family has recently disowned him, I would use some of the money for moving expenses. We would love to start over in a new town. I would save the rest for a rainy day.

Guest's picture
ArmyDad

I will just be returning from serving overseas and a year away from my family. I would use the $2000 to vacation with my wife and two kids. A family vacation would be a great way to reunite our family.

Guest's picture
Lloyd

If I get $2000, I would split it three-ways. I'm new to being frugal, only just starting out on my own. So one part I'll put away in a SAVEings account or maybe invest for the future.

One part I PLAN on giving to my Dad to help him get his finances in order, with the proviso that he learn to take control of his debt. I owe a lot to him over the years for raising us as best he could so I would like to return the favor.

The last portion I would like to save toward a trip to my parent's home country. It's been 7 years since I last flew there, and though I DREAM of it often, I've never could afford to go.

I don't know if I'll able to manage to do all three on 2 grand and I'd rather not count my chickens before they hatch, so I'm leaving the nitty and gritty for the fortunate day, should I be chosen to win.

Lucky or not, I'm glad to see WiseBread and BillShrink giving back to the readers, especially this Holiday season. Thank yall and here's to another year of living wisely!

Guest's picture
David Horowitz

In order of increasing importance:

Ten percent for personal enjoyment
Twenty percent on holiday gifts for my family
Thirty percent to a meaningful charity
And forty percent to invest in my children's future

Guest's picture
Caleb

I would use the money to pay for my next year of medical school and go on a mission trip this summer to Honduras! That would be awesome!

Guest's picture
Maria

First, I would really be very appreciative that someone is able to help me and my family. Our main goal is to be able to move to New Jersey, so we can be near our family members and also, to be able to send our children to a better public school. So, we would need the money to be able have a down payment for an apartment.

Guest's picture
Guest

I’d be awfully tempted to buy my wonderful husband an HDTV that he’s been patiently putting off purchasing while we’re a one-income household. If the responsible side of me won out and I managed to resist this purchase, I would use the money to pay down our credit card balance.

Guest's picture
Tonia

I'd secretly plan a family retreat and whisk us all away for a few days - somewhere fun and relaxing, probably not too far away. I did this a few years ago during a tough time for our family and really, there's nothing like hearing your 4-year-old cheering from the backseat, "Mommy's a hero! Mommy's a hero!"

Guest's picture
Cathy

$250 to increase my grocery budget to get more fresh produce through the winter, my frozen reserve will only get me so far. (I haven't eaten breakfast yet and am currently starving so that's probably why this came to me first!)

$750 to emergency fund

$1000 to retirement savings to take advantage of the low market, I'm fairly certain the market will go up in the 30 years before I retire. :-)

Guest's picture
MikeTM

I would use it to help pay tuition for my last semester of law school, and prevent having to take out a student loan.

Guest's picture
monicar

I would use some of the money to buy some chartiable donations as well as non parishable food items and cash for the local charities in my area. I would also give a little more to our church, with the rest I would put towards our credit card and also put a little towards furniture for our living room (we dont have any in it right now cause we recently moved).

Guest's picture
Guest

I would invest the money in my wife. She has been a professional DJ for many years with a DJ Company. I finally convinced her to break out on her own. We are making long term and short term financial plans so she can start her own company. $2000.00 would be enough for her to get her own equipment and really get her going in the right direction!!

Guest's picture
Janelle

Wow what a blessing that would be! First I'd tithe $250 to my church. Then I'd send another $50 to Seattle's Union Gospel Mission. With the remaining $2,200, I'd put $1,000 in the bank to boost up the old emergency fund and use the rest for bills! We are snowballing our debt so that would be a great help to speed it up! Then, I'd sleep a little bit better at night too.

Guest's picture
Claudia

I would spend $1000 to pay down an old credit card debt (only one year left to pay!); $300 on work clothes and shoes since I've been neglecting my attire in my efforts to pay off that old cc debt; $200 on Christmas (the difference between my Christmas budget and what I will earn at the 2nd job I got for the holidays); $500 towards a family dinner / gathering which consists of about 30 people for which we usually do a pot luck & byob but it would be nice if I could order in and supply the drinks :)

Guest's picture
Dave

My wife and I purchased a reasonable 2-bedroom ranch house 4.5 years ago - at the height of the bubble - with the goal being to stay there until the second child arrived. Well, surprise, both kids are coming at the same time! Since our house is too far underwater to be able to afford to sell it, but we were responsible enough not to take out a ridiculous loan that would have qualified us for a bailout, we're staying here for a while. In this situation, I'd use the $2,000 to refill some of the savings that were depleted because of costs incurred on a variety of home-improvement (mostly space-gaining) projects that we've done over the past 3 or 4 months to get ready for our little ones. If anything was left over, it would get split between charitable giving, and saving for new camera equipment to document the babies.

Thanks for the opportunity,
-Dave

Guest's picture
Emily

I would pay off my last two credit accounts and take my children to Florida. My youngest has never been to the beach and the middle hasn't been since 2002.

Guest's picture
Angie LaMunyon

$500 would go to savings, $500 would go to debt, $300 would go to fixing my husband's truck up a little and $200 would go to charity through my church. The last $500 would go towards a vacation. Our friends who currently live about 50 yards away and whom we spend a lot of time with are moving to Australia next summer. I think it would be fun for us to go on a mini vacation together. Something they could enjoy as a couple, we could enjoy as a couple and something we could all enjoy together. Probably just a weekend somewhere.

Guest's picture

I will use this money to invest in companies with strong cashflows, less debt and a strong brand like, Johnson and Johnson, Berkshire Hathaway. I will make the investment through a college saving plan or a retirement plan that provides a better tax efficiency.

Guest's picture

I would use it to help soften the blow of the wedding my fiance and I are planning for next September. That's one industry that is NOT in a recession! I am doing my best to plan our dream wedding on a budget, but let me tell you, it is not easy!

Guest's picture
Andrew

Being a recent and ambitious college graduate (CS & Applied Math), I would invest the money in the startup of my own non-profit to support my development of a free online OS for the blind. A freelance programmer's got to eat too!

Guest's picture
R

I would go on a vacation with my family. I think we would either go to visit family in Florida or friends in the northeast. And actually, with $2.5k, we could probably bring the friends in the NE to FL! :-)

Guest's picture
Guest

I would most likely invest the money into a business venture first. Try to make money that way in order to pay some outstanding bills. Wish us luck.

Guest's picture
Julie

I'd love to use $2K for a grand tour of Italy and put my newly-acquired language skills to the test....but I'd be more responsible and use it to pay down one of my student loans. I'll enjoy the trip much more when I can take it debt-free!

Guest's picture

If I had an unexpected $2000 this year, with the auto sales tax deduction, it would be a nice chunk o' change toward buying my husband the truck he'd love to have -- it would be a blast to surprise him with a set of new keys under the Christmas tree! We've worked hard to pay off our only car and our credit card debt, so the other place I'd love to put it is toward a family trip to India before our daughter is too old to be seen in public with us. Thanks for the contest!

Guest's picture
FamilyofSix

I am trying to build my emergency fund and would apply $2000 toward that. ... or I would pay down my credit card. I haven't really decided which is a smarter way to save/spend my money.

Guest's picture
Pedro

I would use the 2,000 to pay down my credit card debt! It's time to start getting debt free!

Guest's picture
Nancy Palomo

I would place $1,100 in a high-yield savings bond ($25 for each week alive) to give me a push into keep doing this until my son, now 10 months old, is 18 years old. I would lend $300 to someone in the kiva.org program and then lend it to someone else once it is paid back and $300 to my church's program to help out those in need. The rest would be used to take my son, nephews, and niece to Sea World in San Antonio for a day of fun and learning.

Guest's picture
Lorena

My husband's vehicle recently required a complete transmission rebuild, which set us back significantly on our financial heels, so to speak. The overall cost was $2000, plus tax. I would use the $2000 from BillShrink.com to repay that money (which is sitting on a credit card, sadly) and ease our current financial stress.

Guest's picture
Terry D

I would like to be able to retire my refrigerator-it's 38 years old. It runs pretty well, but I know it uses a lot of electricity. The balance of the money would go into a money market account to build my retirement fund.

Guest's picture
Clay Templeton

I would pay off some debt and finally buy my wife a wedding band!

Guest's picture
Songbird

I would save for family vacation.

Guest's picture

i would use the money to help pay off my wifes battle with breast cancer. i am on a fixed income (disabled) 64 years old. my wife has to work for health ins due to my sickness 20 years ago. she is a 62 year old pharmacy tech and works 40 hrs a week. we are staying even due to our good credit rating(796) but i have a wad of debt. paying off the hospital and certaint other tests she has undergone will allow us to continue with her prescribed medical needs this coming year using canada to buy certaint drugs due to priceing . thank you for your consideration joe and kathy wilson

Guest's picture
Debra

I'd cartwheel with exhiliration all the way to my local Home Depot for some home renovation purchases. We need to baby-proof our house because I don't want my dear unborn children to fall from between the ancient metal bars in the banister to their death or mock me because of the remnants of henious foil wall paper that "decorates" our bathroom and the putrid green counter-top that distracts and assaults the senses. And I'll update our closet storage, because having a U-shaped rod to hang clothes from really tortures me and makes my OCD tendencies flare up in disgust every time I walk in the terrilby outdated walk-in.

Guest's picture
Guest

I would begin to pay-off a credit card bill that has exploded in recent months as we needed to renovate our new home (new doors, A/C and removal of hazardous particles in our attic). I would also set aside a few dollars for my son's 529 plan that I began 2 years ago when he was born. I would save a small portion to take my lovely wife out for a romantic meal. Since she is in school, she doesn't have very much time for herself or for our relationship.

Guest's picture
Emmy

$1000 would go straight into savings. $500 would help offset the costs of my beach wedding next year! I'd intend for the remaining $500 to be put toward my car note; but I'd probably place that into savings too.

Guest's picture
Mary

Through careful saving, I bought my first home this summer as a single 32-year-old woman. I will be getting the $8K tax credit, and I already have plans to put $5K of that toward the mortgage and use the other $3K to replace the older furnace (heat costs a LOT in Alaska). Because I've already made those plans, I would likely use the $2K just for fun: it could get me nice living room furniture (my stuff was free about 5 years ago) or help pay for a trip somewhere warm next winter.

Guest's picture
Matt S

I would pay the ONE nagging credit card I still have outstanding (approx $600) and FINALLY get this blemish off my credit rating. I'd divide $1,000 of the money between my two children and buy them some sort of index fund for the long haul, and, to give me and other family members a better option for Christmas and birthdays than just buying STUFF! Finally the last $400 would go towards a weekend skiing as the kids are just starting to get good at it and really appreciate the outdoors when it's cold outside...

Guest's picture
AppleTree

$2000 would go directly to my car loan. My husband is unemployed and taking classes toward his BA, so if we could pay down the car loan, more money would be available for his classes. $2000 would cut the loan by at least one third.

Guest's picture
Mareshia

My husband and I would use $1500 to pay down credit card debt and $1000 to start an IRA. You've got to start somewhere.

Guest's picture
Nan15

I would split the money 5 ways - ING Savings, ING Xmas/Birthday, ING Vaca, ING prorated annual bills. I would take out $100 bucks before I split this, to take my family out for a nice meal since they have been super cooperative and supportive about our frugality, decluttering and greening this year. My family has changed many habits and we continue to learn everyday to live better. However, the most important lesson I have learned is that we can have fun without spending alot :)

Guest's picture
Guest

I would purchase a vehicle for my 18 year old son. As a single mother of two we have always lived frugally but we don't have alot left over. Since my son gave up his summer this past year to car for my handicapped brother (his Uncle) he wasn't able to get a summer job to earn money for a car so I would like to be able to buy a good used one for him.

Thanks,
Carolyn

Guest's picture
Lauren Bayles

I would use half to fix up our neglected eye sore of a front yard, as well as our backyard, which is a disaster area, so my twin boys would have a safe place to play and I would have a beautiful area to relax and reflect. With the other half I would book a vacation for my husband and me so we could reconnect and rejuvenate our marriage, which has been severly challenged the past few years.

Guest's picture
Stacey Marcos

Wisely.

Guest's picture
Guest

I am a sophomore and more than anything I would like to finish college without student loans. If I had $2000, I would use it for next year's tuition and textbooks.

Guest's picture

I would take my guitar and my new hubby (who has never been out of the country), and head back to IRELAND! I'd play U2 songs on the streets, visit a sheep or two, and eat some brown bread. It would be money well-cherished, with fantastic memories to remain after it is well-spent. :)

Guest's picture
Arvin Bautista

Two years ago my car broke down and I needed to buy a new one to be my reliable mode of transportation during a very long daily commute. My parents agreed to let me buy the car using a home equity line of credit they took out, and I would pay them back with relatively low monthly payments, at the same interest rate as the HELOC itself; I'm about halfway through the loan now.

I know the rule of thumb is never to borrow from/lend to your family, so the amount of trust they put in me was/is incredible. I want them to know that they are always in my mind, forever grateful, and this would be a great way to show them that.

Guest's picture
Justina Clark

I would purchase a bar exam prep course for my husband, who will be finishing law school in May. I have been working full-time to since graduating from college to put myself through grad school and to help put my husband through law school (by paying all our living expenses, assisting with books, etc). Our July wedding put a significant dent in our savings, and I'd love to be able to give him the prep course for his birthday in April.

Guest's picture
David

I would either use the money to pay down a home equity loan or use it to help refinance the house to take advantage of the lower rates that are available now.

Guest's picture
Kim

$1k to fund our honeymoon....we got married one and a half years ago and I was a student so we didn't any money! And now spouse is underemployed and needs a little boost. We'd do one of those trips where you're a crew member on a small boat. The other $1k toward the student loan.

Guest's picture
Tee

How would I use $2,000? Smart, personal micro-investments:

Pay off the last of my student loan: $585
Pitch in for two of my son's community college classes: $400
Launch a creatively-budgeted campaign for my studio: $1,015

Guest's picture
Mike Evans

If I were given such a generous award, I would buy a car. Living out in the country without transportation is very difficult. Then, with a way to get to work, I would get job. That should give me enough to pay for some health insurance and the several hundred dollars worth of prescriptions that I take monthly. It would also enable me to take my old, sick mother around to the doctor and shopping. Oh, a couple of thou right now would be wonderful.

Guest's picture
EriBerry

If I won the $2000 I would put it toward our bills. My husband and I were married in August, prior to our wedding my husband lost his job. Needless to say it has been very hard living on one salary, paying for a wedding and paying our mortage. If I won the money it would go toward our credit cards and mortgage.

Guest's picture
mooniemel

I would pay some bills, give some to my family in need, and have fun. I have a mom who has been out of work for a while and our fun would be a family outdoors trip with me, hubby, and our kids :o)

Guest's picture
Carol

I would pay the lawyer bills for a 12 year adoption gone haywire. We brought our daughter home 12 years ago at 2 months old and have been trying to finalize the adoption ever since.

Guest's picture
Gilda

With $2,000 I'd go one of two possible routes. I'd either put it all in a "new" used car fund for next year (which we anticipate needing for our growing family) or spend it to go on a family vacation where we actually go away, like Disneyland or San Diego.

Guest's picture
Eric

I would use $2,000 to both pay down student loans and pay tuition for my graduate education. Since I have started at an expensive school, my company has decided not to help pay anymore. This would help (though not completely) fill in that gap.

Guest's picture
Melinda Rodgers

I'd help my sons -- One is just starting out on his own and having a rocky time, the other wants to go to college and financial aid doesn't cover everything.

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Guest

I'd get a cheap, sketchy, regrettable boob job.

No - I would pay bills, and if I'm lucky have enough left over to fix the furnace so we could have some heat this winter!!! Going on year 2 or no heat!!

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Guest

I'd get a cheap, sketchy, regrettable boob job.

No - I would pay bills, and if I'm lucky enough to have any leftover, I'd fix the furnace so we could have some heat this winter!!! Going on year 2 of no heat!!

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Erin

I am a recent college graduate (May 09) and my lease is coming up for renewal soon. I would pay my rent money for the next 6 months up front in order to barter for a lower monthly rate (guarenteed tenant). With all the money I would save on not paying rent for six months, I'd contribute to my Roth IRA for 2010. Exciting!

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Dan Yerelian

After taxes I would have $1500.

Use $1200 of it to pay down my medical bills, which are currently on a low APR credit card.

Use remaining $300 to throw a kegger for my friends and I. Will make a large Wisebread.com poster to hang behind the keg. Will also take pictures and make them available to wisebread.

Thanks!
-Dan

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Would also make a Billshrink.com poster to put behind the keg!

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asrai

Replenish our emergency savings account which got depleted with the purchase of a new furance (a necessity in mid-Western Canada). With my DH being unemployed we haven't been able to catch up on everything.

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I would pay down some old bills, and do some much needed home repairs!

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Ely V

I would pay down my student loans while I'm still in school! It would be such a big help as I only have about $4,000 left to pay off =)

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Kim R.

I would take the money and set up a Christamas fund for next year. I always feel strapped this tim eof year. No matter how hard I try to get ahead,gift buying still stacks up. This would give me freedom and our checking account normalcy duringa stressful time.

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beccalinaenator

If I had $2000, I would put half into savings to help pay with bills I have been struggling with for a few years (student loans and a credit card). I also have a car window that has been needing to be fixed for over a year.

The other half, honestly, I would use to put towards a vacation I am planning next year. I live away 12 driving hours away from my family, and as much as I dearly love them, all of my extra money goes to spend time with them (plane tickets, etc). I feel like taking some relaxing vacation would be a great stress-relief from the very emotionally draining non-profit job I am in, and I have never had a true vacation since I was little...and my parents never could afford much for a vacation for 5 kids anyway.

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Guest

I would put it towards a housing down-payment so we can purchase a house after our baby girl is born in February without my wife having to work so many hours.

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ispf

We have a simple plan for all "found money" - splurge a part of it, and apply the rest towards mortgage. So $500 will be for splurging - a nice fancy dinner for us, clothes and toys for the little one etc. The ramaining $1500 will go towards prepaying the mortgage. I know financially, that is not a great idea, but for us, personal finance is as much about the peace of mind ("totally absolutely debt-free, yeaaay!!!") as it is about the numbers in the bank.

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Rachel

Now that we are finally out of debt, I would use the money to do something nice for my in-laws. My mother in law has a sixth sense about our bank account, and when I was laid off, she would put money in without so much as a word in order that we could pay our bills without falling behind. I would love to do something nice for them as a thanks!

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Rosita

I would use $500 to buy 2 big ticket kitchen items I have been eying for a long time, but just haven't had the money to buy (a mixer and a grain mill). I would give $200 to help some friends who are going to be doing 3 years of missionary work. The remaining $1,300 would be used to pay down some bills.

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I have the fortune of working in the non-profit industry, which has allowed me to actively participate in helping improve people's lives. There is nothing more satisfying than giving a hand up! I'd use the $2,000 prize to help an entrepreneur abroad via Kiva.org and help myself dig out of credit card debt (I’m almost free!).

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David

I would use some of the $2000 to pay down credit card debt and then I would donate the rest of the money to charity because I know there are other people that need help more than I do.

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Nate

I'd put it towards paying off our student loans. The sooner those get paid off, the sooner we can afford a new house!

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Alan S

My wife and are recently married. We currently both own houses and have moved into mine. Her house is still on the market. I would figure out how to include a $2000 cash bonus to be included in the sale of the house so we can get our household costs down to one home.

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Michael

$2000 would let me pay off our car 5 months early, which would snowball into our house getting paid off 3 months early. That would save me $1460 in interest!

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Guest

I would use this money for 2 things, a water treatment system for our house and also a vacation to the cape...

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andyg8180

Since its free money: 20% will automatically go to charity. After that, 50% to clear some debt and the final 30% to my lovely lady to do what lovely ladies do best... shop!

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Kevin

If selected, I would use the contest winnings to help pay for our wedding we are planning for next year. We are doing our best to keep things inexpensive without being "cheap", but anyone who has planned a wedding recently know that's not easy.

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Stefanie

It probably sounds boring, but I would put $1500 in the emergency savings fund my partner and I are working on; $300 into some credit card/ tuition bills (we're both graduate students); and then use the $200 to throw a belated-birthday party/ new year's party to celebrate our loving and supportive friends and the hope that 2010 will be 100 times better than 2009!

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Jen

It would go straight to savings. Not glamorous, but true!

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This year, my husband and I have made great strides financially. We started a podcast to help keep us accountable with our efforts to become debt-free, we're planning to have our baby emergency fund funded by Jan, and then we'll be on paying off debt like crazy.

We haven't had a vacation in over 3 years so my irrational mind thinks it would be *really* nice to use the money for a vacation for just me and the hubs, but my rational mind thinks we should pay off our debt.

So my answer is, I don't know what I'll do with the money, but it will be one of those two things. :)

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Rachel

Indulgent me would replace my clunky 5-year-old Dell desktop with a shiny laptop/netbook ($200 or so), then turn over the rest to responsible me, who would split the remaining $1800 between paying off my credit card balances and savings.

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Jeannine Kerran

My normal response to getting unexpected money would be to spend it on something extravagant..say The French Laundry!! And spoiling our kids with stuff they use for like 5 minutes! But I am changing my ways! Our family is committed to living within our means...it is a group effort and I am so excited that we are on this new adventure together.

So the new me would use the money to help tackle the debt we accumulated in our past life!

Thanks

Budget Concious Kerrans

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max

first things first... pay off the credit cards that i don't use anymore!!!