We Just Gave Out $28,800 in Prizes. Here’s What the Winners Took Home…
That’s a wrap on our live blog for Black Friday 2015!
Thanks for staying up with us through 48 hours of deals, tips, Red Bull, cartwheels, turkey, ads, tweets and more.
It’s been a whirlwind holiday already, and our whole team has had so much fun chatting with readers and helping you find the gifts on your holiday shopping wish list this year.
Topping everything we’ve done, though, has to be our Choose Your Own Prize Giveaway.
We asked you all to tell us what you want for the holidays — and nearly 25,000 of you responded!
We scoured the entries to choose a new winner for each hour of the live blog — and awarded a total of $28,800 in prizes to 48 winners!
Narrowing down this list was certainly a big task, but it was inspiring to read all the creative, thoughtful entries. We’re grateful to be able to offer a little something extra this holiday season to these awesome Penny Hoarders:
1. Debra G.
Canon T5i Bundle
Debra asked for a camera for her daughter. With this gift, the inspiring photographer can complete her portfolio and apply to a magnet school for visual arts.
2. Claudia D.
Dinner Out with my Mom
Claudia won a $150 Visa Gift Card to take her mom out to dinner. In her entry, she simple stated, “I just want to spend more time with her.”
3. Jennifer D.
$500 Gift Card to Kroger or Publix or WalMart
A single mother to three, Jennifer won a gift card for groceries, which opens up room in her budget for Christmas shopping.
“I know it sounds very boring,” Jennifer said, “but… money is always tight” when you’ve got three little ones at home!
4. Katie B.
$500 Gift Card to Men’s Wearhouse
Katie wants to surprise her husband with a wardrobe upgrade. The couple just had a baby, and some new suits and accessories will give Katie’s husband a confidence boost in his search for a long-term career.
5. Amanda G.
$500 for California Real Estate Exam
After a few hard years of debt and penny hoarding, Amanda, her husband and their one-year-old son are ready for the next chapter in their lives.
Her husband has passed his Real Estate training, and Amanda requested this gift to cover the fee for his state test and help him start his new career.
6. Rebecca B.
Large Lego Set
Rebecca won a Lego set for her son! Money can be tight, especially around the holidays, and we’re happy to help her check this fun gift off her shopping list this year.
7. Michelle E.
Proofread Anywhere Course Tuition
This Penny Hoarder wants to earn extra money at home proofreading transcripts. Taking this course will give her the skills she needs to boost her family’s budget.
8. David P.
Two Tickets to a Broadway Show
David asked for the gift of a Broadway show for himself and his 11-year-old daughter Johanna — named for the Sondheim song in Sweeney Todd. Enjoy your first trip to New York, Johanna!
9. Jennifer J.
Single mother Jennifer will graduate from college in May 2016. Going to school and working to pay for it has meant less time with her daughter, so she wants to celebrate with a spa day at a resort — “quality time where it’s just us” — with her daughter.
10. Erinn T.
Erinn wants to surprise her hard-working husband with a snow blower for Christmas, so he doesn’t have to shovel the driveway all winter!
11. Heather M.
School and Art Supplies
Heather, a teacher, asked for a stock of school supplies for her classroom.
Things like paper, pens, pencils, crayons, glue sticks and construction paper, Heather says, “would help my students in my classroom whose families don’t have money to buy these supplies.”
12. Joe F.
Trip for Two to New York City to See Wicked on Broadway
Joe got a Cochlear Implant in October and can hear clearly for the first time in his life. He’s been a Wicked fan since the show’s debut and is looking forward to the chance to finally enjoy a live performance and share this life-changing trip with his wife.
13. Cecilia M.
$1,500 for a New Wardrobe
After eight years on disability, 58-year-old Cecilia recently went back to school to complete an AAS Degree in Social Services.
A new wardrobe will give her confidence when she re-enters the workforce next semester for clinical field work.
14. Hillary H.
VIZIO 55′ Class 1080p LED Smart HDTV – E55-C2
A mother of two with one on the way, Hillary wants to thank her husband for everything he’s done that allows her to stay at home with their daughters.
This TV is a token of her appreciation, she says. “I know it isn’t much, but I know this is the one thing he really wants!”
15. Karla V.
Decorated Christmas Tree
Karla is spending her first holiday season away from family after moving to a new city for her husband to go to school.
This gift will brighten their Christmas and help the newlyweds start their own holiday traditions.
16. Allegra A.
$2,000 Apartment Security Deposit
Allegra and her daughter are staying with friends after a very challenging year. They’re ready to succeed on their own as a single-parent family, and this security deposit can get them into an apartment and onto their next adventure.
17. Sarah F.
Crock Pot With a Timer
Sarah wants to come home to good home-cooked meal after long, unusual hours working for a law enforcement agency.
Also, says this Penny Hoarder, “It would help me save money since I wouldn’t be getting food from a restaurant as often or stocking up on frozen dinners as much.”
18. Jacqueline M.
Jacqueline and her husband just found out they’re expecting! She’s working seven days a week and saving up for a house. Covering the expense of this essential will go a long way in setting up a home for their growing family.
19. Deborah M.
ezRead Electronic Reading Aid — TV Digital Magnifier Mouse
Deborah is gifting this reading aid to her 81-year-old mother-in-law, who’s lost significant sight over the past year. Deborah says, “I would love for her to be able to have the gift of reading again.”
20. Judy M.
American Girl Doll
This doll is a gift for Judy’s seven-year-old, who has wanted one all year long. Judy was recently laid off from work, and looks forward to the opportunity to surprise her daughter with this gift from Santa.
21. Candice D.
The cold, dry air throughout the winter does not agree with Candice’s asthma. The gift, she says, will help her “literally breathe easier” this holiday season.
22. Coral T.
Coral asked for this gift for his wife, one she’s always wanted that he can’t afford.
“She’s the most deserving person I know and I love her with everything I am,” says Coral.
23. Ashley F.H.
$500 Worth of Red Heart Yarns
Ashley has been making hats for chemotherapy patients since her mom passed away from Stage 4 brain cancer five years ago. She’s made and donated over 150 hats already, and this gift will go a long way in making more.
24. Tena M.
These devices will motivate Tena and her husband to get off the couch and be active during the cold winter months.
25. Martha C.
Martha is caring for her sick husband and wants him to have beautiful fish to watch throughout the day. The addition to their home will offer serenity for the caretaker, too.
26. Alex H.
iPad Pro and Apple Pencil
This graphic design student — trying to get through college debt-free! — can use the new iPad Pro as a drawing tablet, note-taking tool and planner to increase his productivity now and after graduation.
27. Charles S.
Celestron 130 SLT Computerized Telescope
Charles wants to inspire his children “to look beyond just the things in their immediate vicinity — that AMAZING experiences are there if you apply a little bit of effort.”
We concur, Charles!
28. Kimberly H.
Kimberly’s two boys are skilled vloggers, each with their own YouTube channel. All they want for Christmas is a video camera to make great videos for their fans.
29. Dan A.
Silhouette Curio Bundle Cutting Machine
Dan’s wife is out of work after an injury, and has been trying penny-hoarding tricks for making extra money — including launching an Etsy shop (congrats!).
He can’t afford this gift for her for Christmas, but knows it’s exactly what she wants for her new home business.
30. Arlene M.
A Year’s Supply of Hearing Aid Batteries
Arlene says the expense of buying hearing aid batteries for her deaf daughter every two weeks, “kicks my butt” — we’ve got you covered for the year!
31. Kathey J.
$500 Pre-Paid Visa Gift Card
The card is a gift for Kathey’s 12-year-old granddaughter, Kacey, who has autism. It will help cover the cost of the guitar lessons Kacey has her heart set on.
“Kacey is my shining little star and with this prize I truly believe that she will shine even brighter,” she wrote.
32. Sabrina S.
60′ Class (59.5′ Diagonal) 4K UHD LED TV w/ webOS 2.0
Sabrina asked for this gift to say “thanks” to her dad, who raised three children on his own. He’s sacrificed what he tried to save for his dream TV to help his children, including replacing Sabrina’s computer, and she can’t wait to repay him with this surprise on Christmas.
33. Padilla M.
Professional Espresso Machine
This coffee lover dreams of opening a coffee shop that helps motivate people to pursue their dreams in the arts. This essential piece of equipment is the perfect place to start!
34. Anne R.
Apple iPad Air 2
Anne asked for help buying this gift for her husband, because their daughter’s medical bills have eaten away at their budget. He needs the iPad for work, and the screen on his old one is shattered. Anne wants to thank him for his hard work with this surprise.
35. Aimee W.
4moms momaRoo Bouncer
Aimee is pregnant with her first child and was recently laid off from work. The bouncer will offer a wonderful start to her baby’s life!
36. Roman J.
Root Canal and Crown
Even with a dental discount plan, the quote for Roman’s dental work is over $1,600. Even the down payment of 30% is out of reach for the family, so his fiance requested this prize to help cover the cost and relieve his tooth pain.
37. Lindsey Z.
Titleist 716 AP1 Irons
“This gift would knock my Dad’s socks off,” says Lindsey. She can’t wait to surprise him with this gift — one the soon-to-retire Buffalo, New York, police officer can enjoy in his retirement in Florida!
38. Cayhleen H.
Wii U With Mario Kart 8
Cayhleen’s tight budget doesn’t leave room for gifts for each person in her family, so she wants to surprise them with this one they’ll all enjoy.
39. Paula A.N.
Money to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
Paula is a senior on Social Security Disability, who used three credit cards to get through some tight financial fixes. Paying off this debt will help keep her credit clear (and make for much less stress this holiday season!)
40. Bonnie H.
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer
This single mom of four boys works full time cleaning houses. She saves money by cooking and baking healthy treats at home — but she’s been using a 20-year-old hand mixer! This will free up some time to enjoy those creations with her boys.
41. Lauren C.
$500 Towards My Wedding
“Every penny counts,” Lauren points out. She and her fiance just had a baby, which makes it tough to save up for next June’s wedding. This money will offer a little boost for the big day.
42. Julie C.
22-inch LED Flat Screen TV
Julie is retired and lives in subsidized housing, where cable is free — but she doesn’t have a television.
No car means she has trouble getting to synagogue on Friday nights as often as she’d like, and a TV will enable her to stream the services from Central Synagogue in New York.
43. Nick T.
Nick is starting nursing school and asked for help replacing his old computer, so he has what he needs to succeed.
44. Sterling M.
Giant Defy Advanced Bicycle
Sterling asked for “a better way to commute to work.”
Riding a bike will save him the money he’d spend on gas, and help him feel healthier and happier from the exercise.
45. Angela S.M.
Two iPad Minis
Angela is a mother of twins with autism. “Technology seems to open a door for them,” she says, so these tablets will be the perfect learning tools.
We were also excited to find Angela is right is here in our own St. Petersburg! We were able to visit her this morning to hand-deliver the iPads — which she swiftly tucked away, so she can surprise her sons for the holidays!
46. Geesa J.
Tickets to Disney World
Geesa’s 3-year-old loves Mickey Mouse! He’s been asking non-stop to go to Disney World, and she can’t wait to surprise him with this gift.
47. Shannon W.
Shannon asked for this gift for her 15-year-old son, Connor, who is in a wheelchair. She says, “I’d like to strap that GoPro on his chair and show some real adventures!”
48. Abbey S.
Dining Room Table Set
Newlywed Abbey and her husband can’t wait to have a proper dining table, so they can invite guests to their home without pulling out the plastic folding table.
Stay Tuned for Cyber Monday
Thanks again to everyone who entered, and to all of you for following along for our inaugural Black Friday live blog.
But we’re not done yet! Join us again starting Sunday, November 29 at 12 p.m. EST for 36 hours of live Cyber Monday coverage.
Happy Holidays, Penny Hoarders!