The Winner (and Kick-Ass Idea) of Our Hustler Contest!

This was probably the hardest contest I’ve had to help judge, but MAN was it fun. Y’all had some CRAZZZZZY good ideas out there! I couldn’t even come up with half of them if I tried, haha… Seriously, check some of these out (full details are in the giveaway entries):

  • Re-starting up a balloon animal/shape making business
  • Updating a CPR training biz with new mannequins for students to train on
  • Adding to a non-GMO farming pasture raising rabbits for meat and goats for dairy
  • Launching a new voice-over side business
  • Revamping a hand crochet beanie hat store
  • Adding a paint booth in the back yard of a custom bicycle shop!
  • And, one of my favorites cuz it’s so old-school, building a new arcade from scratch by hustling gumball machines :) You don’t hear about those businesses much these days! (Perhaps cuz there’s not much money in them anymore?)

Half of those up there became our runner-ups :) At the end of the day though, Deals2Buy and I had to go through all 100+ of them and whittle them down to our fave handful, and eventually all the way down to our favorite of the bunch. We considered variables like creativity of the idea, how successful it probably would be, the research that had gone into it, the overall game plan, and most importantly *how* the $750 we were giving away would be used for it. Not everyone spent the time getting into a lot of details, but for those who did it certainly helped us put them closer to the top. And really proved how passionate they are about their ideas too. We really wanted to help out *everyone*!

But, as contests normally go, there can only be one winner in the end. And that winner of our first (annual? :)) Hustler Giveaway –  beating out over a hundred others – is… drum roll please…

Caitlin! Congratulations!

Her idea was not only well thought out, and FUN, but also happened to align exactly with the kind of stuff we’re all about here on this blog and at Deals2buy: being smart with your money. It wasn’t the only reason why we picked her of course (see variables above), but we were def. excited she landed where she did. I wish her products were already out there!

Here was her entry and brilliant idea:

Custom Credit Card Sleeves and Envelopes

Okay, you see these everywhere with company logos on them etc, but what if they had inspiring sayings to support savings or better yet, could seal?

I got into credit card trouble after grad school and found the only way to make progress was to not carry any credit card around with me. Living totally off debit/cash was a huge change for the positive, but there were times when I was traveling or wanted it in my pocket for emergencies that require a credit card, such as renting a car.

But if I had easy access, it was too easy to really, really “need” those shoes on sale. Ever see the scene in Confessions of a Shopaholic where Isla Fischer freezes her credit card in a block of ice to stop herself from using it? I am using that principle, but anyone can carry it anywhere.

So, my idea is to use the $750 to create custom Tyvek peel/seal envelopes and open-end credit card sleeves with different art. Funny, well-designed, possibly inspirational designs. Tyvek cannot be ripped, so you have to cut open a sealed envelope, not just tear it open. Or, the open end sleeves are not sealed but can act as a protector and reminder all in one.

I can market them, design the sleeves/envelopes, whip up a website and source the printing myself b/c I already do all of the above as my career. I also know mail regulations and how to set up a system to mail orders out easily and quickly. I just don’t have the cash right now to do the first print order. $750 would get me set-up with ~5000 sleeves and mailing envelopes for 1500 orders.

Ideas include:

– “Only in Case of Emergencies” for parents to give a teen or college student a credit card that really is only every supposed to be used in emergencies. This could also be cash in the envelope to go in their wallet, but tidily packaged up.

– “I am saving $____ for _____.” Leaving room to use a Sharpie to write in a goal amount and what it is for, to stop anyone from spending needlessly when reminded that “I am saving $5000 for my dream wedding.”

– “We do read every line of the credit card statement. Love, Your Parents”

– Famous quotes about frugality, maybe even a JMoney one!

– I have more ideas, but this gets the gist across.

This is not an idea that would have me rolling in the dough, but maybe I could earn a tad of cash to go towards my student loans while helping other people save. Or using it as a tool so I would sell them in sets of three for a price TBD. Open to suggestions for cost. What would you pay?

At worst, I can use these as lead for my marketing consulting side hustle!

I told Caitlin I wanted to be the first one in line to buy them :) Not only cuz they’re cool as $hit, but they’d make for awesome presents to people too. Especially those who you KNOW could really use some help w/ their money, but you need a more subtle way of telling them, haha… Perhaps we’ll even give some away on this site later once they’re created? Or sell some J. Money ones? ;)

When the site is launched, I’ll let y’all know. Feel free to get on Caitlin’s email list too if you want to be one of the first notified when her products drop.

Congrats again, Caitlin! Keep on hustlin’ everybody!

PS: Big thanks again to the folks at Deals2Buy for hooking our winner up with so much money and encouragement! Very VERY cool of y’all. Make sure to check them out, everyone, next time you’re looking online for some coupons – especially in the electronics department. Thanks guys!!

(Photo by FromSandToGlass)

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  1. Free Money Minute July 9, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    Congratulations Caitlin! Nice idea.

  2. Aimee July 9, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    That’s a great idea!! Congratulations Caitlin! The college student emergency money/credit card part could really take off. A parent or relative could even put an emergency gift card in it. I would probably spend $5 each. Good luck with your new biz!

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      $5.00 is a fair amount I think too. Maybe like 3 for $10 in packs as well!

  3. Michelle July 9, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Sounds like a great idea! :)

  4. Cedes July 9, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    That sounds like a fantastic idea! I can honestly see a market for this, especially the idea of parents using it to give their kids a credit card or emergency cash.

  5. David Hunter July 9, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    That’s a great idea, Caitlin! Rock it!

  6. Carla July 9, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Congrats Caitlin! This is an awesome idea! J. Money and I are going to be fighting for that first spot in line. Please let us know when things are up and running!

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      I’ll let you win only if the first one you buy is for me ;)

  7. SuburbanFinance July 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Wow, what a fantastic idea! I love it! Congrats, Caitlin!

  8. akilah July 9, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Congratulations! Awesome idea. I could have used this last year when my 15 yr old went to Fiji and pretended he was a ballet with my “emergency” credit card. I want one

  9. akilah July 9, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    *baller not ballet

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      I think ballet would cost you much less in the end ;)

  10. Erin July 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    I LOVE this idea, and I will definitely buy a few! I’m like Caitlin, I carry around a credit card “in case of emergencies” but then I walk past Ann Taylor, and the dress I see in the window is calling my name, and before I know it, I’ve charged $200 for clothes I don’t really need. If I couldn’t get into my credit card, no money spent!

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Thanks for showing her some good support! Hope she can turn them around pretty fast while we’re all jazzed up :)

  11. Debt Blag July 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Oh that is totally clever. Congrats Caitlin!

  12. Stefanie July 9, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Love this idea! Hope to see them in stores soon! Congrats Caitlin!

  13. Melanie July 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    This IS an awesome idea!! Congratulations, Caitlin!

    I like the option to “mad lib” your goal onto the cover; great way to personalize AND keep your goals fresh. So… when can we preorder?!? :)

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      That was one of my fave ideas too from it. She should include a nice sharper along w/ them :)

  14. Jake @ Common Cents Wealth July 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Congrats Caitlin, I think that’s an awesome idea. It seems pretty simple, but those are normally the ideas that succeed. I would be interested in giving them away as presents and keeping one for myself!

  15. Ms. S July 9, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Fantastic idea Caitlin! Congrats! I’d definitley buy these when they go into production. Let’s make that happen. :-). They’ll be great stocking stuffers too! Ready to pre-order. Coolest giveaway idea ever, J!

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM


  16. Ben Luthi July 9, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Congrats Caitlin! Awesome idea!

  17. Emily @ evolvingPF July 9, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    I think this is a great idea! Although I probably wouldn’t buy any… Maybe as a passive-aggressive gag gift for some I’m very close to.

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Hahaha… that would work ;)

  18. Sarah R. July 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I love this idea! One idea, I think they should be sold in two-packs. Maybe they could come with a designer one, and a plain white one. Something like that. I’m thinking that realistically you will have to cut that sucker open about once per year. Personally, I’m not going to want to shell out another $5 to get a new one when that happens. Just a thought.

    1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      GREAT suggestion. ‘Cuz you’re right, once you cut it open it’s a gonner. Def. need multiple in packs.

      1. J. Money July 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        Also – a lot of people have more than 1 credit card!

  19. Shafi July 11, 2013 at 4:43 AM

    That’s a great idea, Caitlin! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  20. Kevin @ July 31, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Congrats Caitlin! I hope to see this go to market and help people save some money!

  21. don Roberto December 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Caitlin, will you let us know when you get this business underway? Or, if it’s already underway, will you let us know where we can buy these?

    1. J. Money December 27, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      I’ll check in with her, Don. I’d like to blog about them again myself once they’re ready – she has an excellent idea!

  22. J. Money December 27, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Okay, I heard that they’re coming out by the end of Spring – latest. She’s currently working on the design and website, and then shortly will be making test runs and doing focus groups until they’re ready to get out the door.

    So we shall have them soon! Woo! I’ll keep y’all posted. Have a great new year, everyone :)