A History of Cheap

Name:  The Cheap Chick

Location:  A townhouse in an undisclosed suburb north of St. Paul.

What’s My Deal:

For years I wanted to write a blog about something, to get my writer yah-yahs out and express my endless opinions.  However, I didn’t want it to turn into one of those “today I had a sandwich for lunch,” kind of sites.  This was an actual concern for me – as a child, my diary entries consisted of what my mother made me for dinner.  Truly.

Then one day, after reading one of those “I did X for a year” books on the market, it dawned on me; I needed a year-long challenge that I could blog about.  Of course, this brilliant idea was followed by an immediate brain-fart as I couldn’t think of a single challenge idea.

The VERY NEXT DAY, my BFF Lou announced from that moment on, she would only spend $20 or less on everything she bought.  Which was a total LIE, because she has totally spent more than $20 on stuff since then.  But what she did do was give me the very best idea for my challenge.

From August 28 of 2007 to August 27 of 2008, I did not spend more than $20 on any single item I bought.  There were obvious exceptions – mortgage payments, utilities, health care, my highlights – but in general, I spent $20 or less on all my food, drink, clothing, shoes, accessories, entertainment, books, etc.

There were some highlights, like discovering the joy of Steve and Barry’s (which has since, sadly, closed its doors for good), and the thrill of thrift store finds.  There were also some definite lowlights, like not buying any home goods for my poor townhouse, or passing on the most perfect shoes.  All in all, I learned to stretch the thrifty skillz my Mama gave me and find the very best deals.

Along the way, the site and I began to get attention from the local media.  Probably because I was shoving my blog down their throats via weekly e-mails.  Starting with my first visit to the Kevyn Burger Show on FM107 (Thanks, Kevyn!), I now have weekly gigs on Fox 9’s Morning Buzz and The Cooper Lawrence Show.  Next stop?  OPRAH.  Can you hear me, O?

Cheap But Not Easy Now:

In July 2008, my web developer launched the new and improved Cheap But Not Easy site.  And in August 2008, my first challenge came to an end.  What then?  Should I rest on my thrifty laurels and coast through my spending life?  I didn’t think so.

On September 1, 2008, I began my newest challenge (how else would I stay your frugal living expert?), 3 Reasons Why To Buy.  I have to have three good, practical reasons for every purchase I make.  Only one of the three can be a mental health (i.e. it will make me happy/less depressed/not want to throw myself in front of a bus) reason.  None of the reasons can be “because I want it.”  And yes, Lou came up with this idea, too.  I should really pay her or something.

And that’s where I am today – trying to curb my impulse buying, trying to spend less in a very bad economy, and trying to figure out three reasons why I need one more purse.  Or pair of shoes.

The Cheap Chick, Revisited in 2009:

Yeah.  About that 3 Reasons Why To Buy challenge.  That… kind of sucked.  Great idea in theory, but in practice, it made for a most boring blog.  Therefore, I switched to a new and improved challenge – for one full year, I have to blog once a week about every single purchase I made during the previous week.  Every bottle of water, every roll of toilet paper, every Totino Party Pizza, every everything.  It’s kind of like a food journal, but for spending money.  The theory is, if I have to share with the world what I’m buying, I’ll buy less.  And so far?  It’s actually working.  Sort of.  I still have to cut back on my Totino Party Pizzas.

Another big change around here occurred when some jerkwad person bought my URL out from under me.  No longer could I be Cheap But Not Easy.net.  So my developer made the executive decision to change the overall name of the site to just The Cheap Chick.  I also FINALLY landed me a dot.com name – The Cheap Chick.com.  Woot!  However, that does mean there is no more Cheap But Not Easy.  May it live forever in our hearts, if not in the blogosphere.

What You’ll Find Here, And What You Won’t:

Yes to – thrifty deals, frugal how-tos, reader tips, stuff to do in the TC and beyond, product reviews, book and movie reviews, rants for/against Target, love notes to Totino Party Pizzas, endless questing for perfect hair care products, nerding out about the MN Ren Fest and costumes, bad date tales, love to the people, and world peace.

No To – politics, religious discussions, bad manners, slamming on others (except for Target when they piss me off), and children’s issues.  Because I have no kids of my own; therefore, I have no room whereof to speak (and not because I don’t love kids.  I do – from a distance).


  1. Posted November 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM | Permalink


  2. Deanna Jones
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    I think you are doing a great job on Fox 9 in the a.m.
    Keep it up.
    Was that Angie Kinser in the Ren Fest Pic. that you showed this a.m.?

  3. Posted January 1, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    Any clothing or shoe and boot rental places in Mpls/St Paul ?

  4. Posted January 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    “I still have to cut back on my Totino Party Pizzas.”

    I would say “me too” but the truth is, I will never cut down! NEVER!~

  5. Posted April 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Hi Cheap Chick,

    My name is Kristen Humphrey, and I work for Hadley Media, the marketing agency in charge of all partnership & event marketing for Cirque du Soleil’s big top shows currently touring the U.S. One of these shows, OVO, will be hitting Minneapolis this spring beginning May 26 at the Mall of America. You can find out more about the show at http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/ovo.

    I am reaching out to you because in all markets we like to partner up with strong, local websites and blogs. I have had much success with bloggers like yourself in several different markets, and would love to work with you as well. Basically, I would be able to provide you with exclusive discounts on tickets to the show as well as some complimentary tickets for giveaway contests. Are you available later this week to hop on call to further discuss anyways there may be to work together?



  6. Posted April 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    I wanted to let you know about a FREE alternative sports & music tour that will be hitting the Twin Cities on May 28. The Journeys Backyard Barbeque Tour will feature top extreme sport athletes including XGames/VH1 star Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, flying through the air in gravity-defying demonstrations of the best of skateboard, BMX and freestyle motocross in a 60,000 square-foot “alternative sports playground” set up outside Maplewood Mall. Free headliner concerts, a Battle of the Bands for local acts, and an interactive “FunZone” with free giveaways will be part of the fun. For more information, visit: http://www.journeysbbq.com

    Thanks, and enjoy!
    Beth Pursley
    Journeys Backyard Barbeque Tour

  7. John
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    I am a fan of Erin (The cheap chick) very fun additude and very sexy !!! :-)

  8. Sara
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Hi Cheap Chick,

    Just wanted to say I love your blog. I am one that can sure use some frugality tips and your sense of humor is a blast. You make me laugh out loud. Keep up the good work.

  9. Posted August 23, 2011 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    I am selling the domain name “www.frugalexpert.com”
    If you are interested in owning this domain, please contact me.

  10. Posted August 26, 2011 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    Greetings Ms. Chick: I travel a lot and like to tune into local news when possible. I surfed accross Fox 9 and have become addicted to the Friday “dance off”…I’ve never seen anything this funny on a news program…ever! I do not know if you are a regular on the “dance off” or not, but if not, you should be…you are by far the best dancer on it…Ever consider “Dancing with the Stars”?

  11. Mark
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    u seem so much likable (??) and yet smart for keeping and getting the spot on “9”. I’m a fan of yours because i like all natural american girls that go for it! The rest will lie with u whether a response comes from post or not. I am in NE metro, single with puppy ( pain in u know what ), living on water and very busy with an enermous load of family obligations…. I’m single, no kids, never married…
    If respond…. somewhere of your choosing and wow! could be cool??
    probably sounds wierd, however I’m going for a longshot never taken before.
    Sure would be awesome to find out either way!!
    However if this stuff works, let me know, I’m not used to it.

  12. Paul White
    Posted September 15, 2011 at 7:23 AM | Permalink


    Do you need “Guest Bloggers” for your blog? I represent a large community of writers who are trying to get their unique family friendly content published on sites such as yours. My writers are just looking for exposure so there is no charge to you for the content.

    The writers I represent are professionals and are not churning out garbage content that reads like a sales ads. Each piece takes time to create and is usually 700 words or more in length. We hope to establish a long term relationship with you. You can also feel free to monetize the articles with banners ads or Google Adsense etc.

    PS. I am sure you will want to see some writing samples so just let me know and I can show you several.

    Paul White
    Inventory Manager
    (913) 837-3055

  13. Gary Greb
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Although, I really enjoy the advice you share with us, I was disappointed on your recent halloween tours on Fox 9, that you did not mention the “Ghosts of Anoka” tours that are offered each year as a fund raising event for the Anoka County Historical Society, in Anoka, Minnesota, the Halloween Capital of the world. It is a great value, and an experience no one soon forgets. We tell actual stories of happenings in downtown Anoka, along with some interesting local history. You would really enjoy it. Gary Greb volunteer docent ACHS

  14. Mike
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    Hi, CC.

    Just saw you’re comments on The Fox9 Buzz about using rice to dry out a wet cell phone. Rice is good as a drying agent, but if the cell phone stops working because of “sweat-wet,” that may not work by itself. Two years ago, my cell phone stopped working when it was in my shirt pocket, and I sweat A LOT that day. When sweat dries, it leaves salt deposits (like the white lines in the armpits of a dark shirt), and that can conduct electricity. Not much, but enough to short-out some connections. To fix it, I soaked the phone 1 day in distilled water (it MUST be distilled), rinsed it out (again in distilled water), then did it again. After the second rinse, I put it under a fan, and that’s it! I’ve been using the same phone since then without any problem!
    Now, I’ve got to go and put salt in my coffee… :)

  15. Posted April 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Permalink


    Dear Chipchick: This may surprise you? I have seen you many times on Fox 9. believe by your picture you look like one of my daguhters class mates at Richfield High School class of 1990? Your class mate at that time was Roberta Houlton (Bobbi Houlton). Hope I am right on this one

    Bob Houlton

  16. Posted April 17, 2012 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    Hello. I have a business that I wondered if you would checkout and comment on. Maybe share a link to our website on yours. We would gladly do the same for you on our company blog.

    The company is I Want Cheap Eyeglasses. We sell eyeglasses for anywhere from $29.99 and up. We try to keep prices low to help our customers who may not have optical insurance. Or have optical insurance that doesn’t cover their whole household. We feel that everyone that has a need for eyeglasses should be entitled to a low cost solution. But not have to look like they got their glasses used, at a flea market. The products we carry are quality products without the brand name mark ups.

    Feel free to email me if you are interested in doing this for me. And of course feel free to delete this comment if you like. Not trying to spam your comments. Would love an email either way! Love what you do!!!

  17. Brook
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    Party Pizzas Rule! Period.

  18. Posted April 23, 2012 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    Yup! That’s me! How’s Bobbi doing?

  19. Posted May 21, 2012 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Hi Cheap Chick,

    My name is Sydney Burdick and I’m head of US Communications for Europe’s largest hotel price comparison site, trivago.com —

    I wanted to reach out because I’m coming to St. Paul to meet local bloggers/writers and talk to them more about trivago, the data we provide journalists, etc. — including cheap travel deals and weekend destinations just outside the Twin Cities for example.

    I work with international journalists and bloggers alike and thought, after taking a look at your blog, that it would be worth getting together to chat! If the June 8th doesn’t work for you just let me know, I’ll be around for a couple days before and after that as well!

    Event Information:
    CoCo St. Paul
    213 4th St. E – 4th Floor, St. Paul, MN 55101
    Friday, June 8th, 2012 @ 11- 1 p.m.

    Lunch will be provided! RSVP by May 25th to sydney.burdick@trivago.com

    Hope to see you there!

  20. Amy
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    Today, September 5th, you quickly mentioned a cheap place (School, I think) to get your teeth whitened. I did’nt catch what you said. I would love to know where it is because I want to check it out.


  21. Posted September 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    Herzing University in Crystal, MN!

  22. Katherine
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    You mentioned something about a low cost dental school/clinic last week. Where was that?

  23. Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Herzing University in Crystal MN!

  24. Marty Whelan
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Loved your black dress today(Monday) on the Buzz, where did you get it?

  25. Posted October 2, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    It’s from Savers – Merona by Target. $15!

  26. Carl Johnson
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    Hi cheap chick. Hope you are doing well. I have Twins season tickets. Would you like to go to a game with me? Hope to talk to you soon!!

  27. JoAnn Hernandez
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    I saw you on tv this last Thurs. Episode about foot care. Could you please tell me the name of the cream you recommended at the end of your spot? TV cut away to quickly. I think it sold for $10.

  28. Posted June 11, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    Yup! It’s Flexitol Heel Balm. Love it!

  29. Brian
    Posted August 18, 2013 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Chick, you’re too young to remember “Hints from Heloise”…Yes, you referred to that old column in a “Cheap Chick” segment on Fox 9. Best to you…and HaC.

  30. Anna
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    What was the name of the site where you can apply for cheap food for the hollidays? I just saw it on the news on 10-29-13; you would get a Turkey, Chicken, Pork… Also, YOU ROCK!! I LOVE it when you’re on Fox 9!!!!!

  31. Posted November 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Hi Cheap Chick,

    Saw your show for the first time! loved it…the one with window bubble wrap and water!!!
    I have an E-book I think you would like…please check it out and if interested I can give you a copy and we can discuss what you would need to help get it out there!

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  • Chosen by The Cheap Chick

    The Cheap Chick's Daily Deal

    Where I Thrift

    Everyone has their favorite thrift stores, right?  Okay, you do if you love thrifting as much as I do!  Here are the stores where I enjoy popping tags:

    Saver’s in Bloomington – close proximity to Prestigious West Bloomington and Edina equals excellent, higher end thrift scores.  Remember, if you donate?  You receive a 20% off coupon you can use right away!

    Saver’s in Columbia Heights – it’s the nearest thrift store to my house, and they have the NICEST staff of any Saver’s in the TC, in my humble opinion.

    ARC Value Village – For me, ARC is hit or miss.  I either score BIG, or leave empty-handed.  Either way, I always enjoy perusing this tidy, friendly shop.