UI student competes for $10,000 Cheapster series

University of Idaho junior Rachael Ashley has been chosen to compete for a $10,000 prize for herself and for UI in the second season of Zions Bank’s Cheapster reality web series. 

“Through an application and selection process, 13 college students from Idaho and Utah — there are three from Idaho, myself included this year — compete to
be the ultimate Cheapster by showing how frugal they can be in college and do, like, these penny pinching activities,” Ashley said.

She said Zions’ goal is to make money matter a little bit more while adding a really fun element to it.

All episodes air on Wednesdays. Three have been filmed and the fourth episode will be a finale.

The application process started when applicants submitted a short profile and an essay. Through that, people were selected to submit a video on why they should be the ultimate Cheapster. Those videos determined which 13 students joined the competition.

There is no one doubled up from any university.

“Zions Bank tried to have representatives from every college in the area. I think initially there were about 400 people that applied,” Ashley said.

She said her family owns a small business and as a result was always taught the value of the dollar and how to be frugal with her money.

“I have never been worried about her when it comes to money,” Rachael Ashley’s mom, Karen Ashley said.

Karen Ashley said her daughter has had a job since she was 15 years old.  Rachael was always doing something to make money, from showing a dog, selling hamster furniture when she was young or working a part time job.

Karen said Rachael  lives by the quote, “Everyone can save money but not everyone can save money.”

“It is cool to be a cheerleader for your university, but it is really the benefit is for them to start thinking about where their money goes, even if we give our self a cash budget every two weeks or every pay day. It seems to disappear really fast,” Rachael Ashley said. “As college students, we aren’t rolling in the money. A lot of us have part time jobs, very few of us have full time jobs, so there isn’t a lot of income. That is why we need to make our outcome count.”

She said there are tips in the show to save money when it comes to food, clothes, movie tickets or just every day life.

“I plan on going into the agriculture industry and agri-business, so I will be working with people and their finances and their business and how to make what they do better and make them more successful,” Ashley said. “I hope to help other people someday do better, but also do well myself.”

Erin Roetker can be reached at arg-news.uidaho.edu


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