Friday, May 15, 2009


If you Googled "The Cheap Chick," you probably found one of two things:

1. This website
2. The all-girl cover band for Cheap Trick

So, you need to keep clicking to get yourself over here:

That's my new web-based home away from home for all things frugal and fabulous. I used to love this web URL, but I had to kill it and get a new one. Sorry, Blogger! No hard feelings *smiles sheepishly.*

This is no longer the home of The Cheap Chick. If you stop here, you're missing HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of my frugal living posts. And that, my friends, would be a tragedy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Coming Soon, To An Internet Connection Near You

Tomorrow is a Very Important Day. For me. Possibly for you, too, depending on how jacked up you get about these things.

I'm unveiling the all new, improved, and vastly more better Cheap But Not Easy. Don't worry, you don't need to do anything different - you can still find me the way you normally do. I'll take care of everything (or rather, my most awesome Web designer will).

You COULD send flowers if you want to. You know, as a 'congratulations on your new site' gesture. I'm just saying.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Walk The Walk

There you have it – just two of the many store brands I use. If I’m willing to put a store brand IN MY EYE, don’t you think you could try one, too?

Tip Of The Day: To All The Store Brands I’ve Loved Before; A Photo Essay. Proving once and for all that I practice what I preach, I do as I say, and I don’t take any wooden nickels. Or something. Moving on.

Tip For The Weekend: Honestly, I feel sorry for everyone in the blogosphere, because none of you will be spending time with The Cutest Boy On The Planet (otherwise known as my nephew, Piglet), and I will. It sucks to be you, but life is tough sometimes.
So my tip for you poor, unfortunate souls? Make due with some other adorable baby and snuggle the heck out of them. Ask permission from his/her parents first, though.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: I’ve said it many many many times, to the point where you probably want to track me down in the vast northern wilderness where I live and beat me with a name brand product, USE THE STORE BRANDS. Name brands are fine, I guess, but store brands are just as good and much less expensive. Dare I say it? They’re CHEAP. And? FABULOUS.

For the uninitiated amongst you, store brands are the knock-off products on the store’s shelf labeled with the store’s name. Such as Cub Foods, Roundy’s, Target, and that wonky stuff that begins with an E from Wal-Mart. I’m totally blanking on the name right now.

Probably because I hate shopping at Wal-Mart. Seriously, CLEAN YOUR STORES. Is that so very hard?

Anyway, stores make their own version (usually the exact same product without the fancy name brand label) of just about everything. Packaged food, beauty supplies, health supplies, even spices:

Ah, Flavorite. My first store brand love.

They even make store brands of Rachel Ray’s favorite product:

And if you call it EVOO in my presence, I will THWAP YOU. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Some folks claim that store products are inferior to name brands, and on occasion, they’re sort of right. For example, Target-brand Pantene is not quite as good as the real Pantene – it’s not as rich or as moisturizing as the real thing. However, Target’s version is also half the price as the over-priced Pantene and it works good enough.

Which is really the whole point – most store brands are as good as the real thing, and if they aren’t, they are GOOD ENOUGH. They do the job, they do it cheaply, and they don’t ask for anything from you. Except for maybe a little respect and understanding of their cheap ways.

And besides, makers of Pantene and all other mid-priced to expensive shampoos and conditioners? And soap? And laundry detergent? I’m not going to pay premium prices for something YOU RINSE OFF IN UNDER 1 MINUTE. Why would I want to watch my hard-earned cash circling the drain?

Here’s my challenge to you, my fearless readers. Pick just one new store brand and give it a try. Except for Target’s Thin Wheats – those are nasty, and you’ll simply have to buy the real thing. Fortunately Wheat Thins go on sale all the time. But I digress.

Try one new store brand and then send me an e-mail at I’ll post the best review in an upcoming episode of Cheap But Not Easy, and that winner will receive a $10 gift card to the coffee shop or fast food place or book store of their choice. Do we have a deal?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheap Distractions

Tip Of The Day: Sometimes thinking is HIGHLY overrated. How can you switch off your brain without relying on traditional methods like drinking, eating, shopping, or ill-advised affairs – none of which are particularly cheap or fabulous?
Here are a few tips on shutting down without overindulging.

Tip For Tomorrow: I tell you all the time to buy the store brand and not waste your money on the name brands. But do I do that myself? Tomorrow I’ll present photographic evidence of my frugality, for your viewing pleasure.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: It hasn’t been the easiest summer here at the Cheap But Not Easy Empire. I’ve had many and much things to contemplate, including Major Life Decisions. Ick. How fun is that?

So every now and then I need to halt the gerbils spinning in my brain by distracting myself with other things. Unfortunately, many of the tried and true “drop out of life” techniques require money, a stout liver, and George Clooney. None of which I have at the present moment.

What’s a poor, stressed out Chick to do? Fortunately for me (and you, my fearless readers), I’ve discovered a few ways to forget about life for awhile. Insert lame Cheers joke here.

The Cheap Chick’s Cheap Distractions:

1. Go to your (musical) happy place. One of the best things about music is its ability to completely change your mindset. Music can also take you mind completely OFF something, especially if you A. listen to it loudly enough and B. listen to the right stuff.
For me, only one band will do. When I need a break, I travel to my Happy ABBA Place. A little ABBA Gold or the soundtrack to Mama Mia turned up to eleven, and I am SET. Can you really worry about your life while listening to Fernando? Try it. See? It’s impossible.

2. Think about your one true happiness. If you sit down, relax, and focus on something that makes you deliriously happy, even for a minute, it can do so much good for your psyche. Think of it as a teeny mental vacation. For FREE.

For my mini breaks, I always think about this guy:

I know. I KNOW. He’s so cute, you can eat him with a SPOON. And I get to see him in two days. Who’s the lucky girl?

Once upon a time, I thought about this guy:

But he’s been replaced by my nephew. And Gerard Butler.

3. Focus on someone else’s problems. If you’re sick of dwelling on your own life, dwell on somebody else’s for awhile. Preferably somebody you don’t know and never will, so you’re not taking on their problems as your own. Like you do with your friends. Okay, that last one may be just an issue for me.
I find reading about Britney Spears’ mental break down, the Ben and Jen break-up rumors, or the whole ‘Will Jennifer/Jessica/Insert Female Celebrity Here Ever Find True Love’ story line to be VERY soothing. How bad can my problems be compared to the epic Z-list Celebrity Battle being waged by LC and Speidi? Besides, Life and Style is less than $3 an issue.

4. Get lost in another world. No, not the soap opera. Sadly, that’s been off daytime broadcasting for years, and they even stopped airing the reruns on Soap TV. Bastards. I’m talking about something a bit healthier and challenging for your brain. Get lost in a good book. Ooooo, I sound like a PSA for the library.
Seriously, though, the best distraction is deep submersion into a good story. I STRONGLY recommend Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – and it’s been out long enough you can probably find it at Half Price Books.
If your brain is just too tired to read, how about watching a classic summer flick? I just re-watched Meatballs with Bill Murray for the 50 billionth time last week and it STILL makes me laugh my large booty off. We are the CITs, so pity us…

Those are just four cheap, simple and non-destructive ways to tune out. What are your ideas? How do you cheaply shut off YOUR brain?