When you go on vacation, you stalk travel sites for cheap flights and expertly cram everything into a carry-on to avoid baggage fees. But you gladly splurge on worthwhile experiences like a trip to Hawaii to hike a volcano and pay tribute at Pearl Harbor.
When you make dinner plans with friends, you suggest a home-cooked meal or look at reviews to find a good restaurant that’s not too pricey. But you happily pick up the check — with the credit card that earns all the points.
When your tires start losing traction, you research things like tread-life warranties and compare the cost of installation. But you willingly shell out for replacements, knowing the importance of good-quality tires.
If this sounds like you, you may be what we call a Cheapist. Not a cheapskate or a penny pincher — there is such a thing as being too frugal. You just don’t want to waste your money on cheap stuff that isn’t worth it.
At Cheapism, we believe you can live well no matter what your budget. The New York Times has called us “a Consumer Reports for the cheap," and other media outlets have named us “Best Shopping Site” or “Best for Being Frugal.” On Cheapism.com, you’ll find meticulously researched buying guides and price comparisons, captivating slide shows, and common-sense advice. (Many are also published in Spanish.) Whatever the subject, our goal is to help you save money and time and spend them wisely.
We know you want to find the best products and services out there at the best price — but that can take time. Our team of professional journalists and researchers does the work of digging up those gems so you don’t have to.
It starts with searching the web and looking at consumer trends to get a sense of the top products out there — and what shoppers like you are looking for. Then we turn to trusted sources that make recommendations based on rigorous hands-on testing. While a general consensus may emerge among those professional reviewers, their recommendations don’t account for how the products actually perform in “real life.” So we page through hundreds of online reviews posted by consumers — taking time to weed out fake or paid reviews and pay close attention to what users say about long-term performance, practical features, and potential flaws. Only then do we make our picks, choosing products with a critical mass of positive reviews and low enough prices to make them an excellent value.
We do not accept any payment or other gratuity from any manufacturers or retailers in exchange for recommending or discussing their products. Our picks are based entirely on our own exhaustive research and adhere to strict editorial guidelines. We do participate in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence our recommendations.
Note: Cheapism does not accept or publish guest blog posts. Any solicitations, as such, will result in the sender's email being blocked from our servers.
- An economic system in which individuals acquire high-quality goods and/or services at a relatively low price or cost.
- The theory that cheap (low in price or cost) doesn't have to mean cheap (of little value or poor quality).
Origin of cheapism
circa 2009: from cheap, low in price or cost; not expensive
Max always tries to buy gas in New Jersey because it's cheaper than in NYC. He shops for fruit and vegetables at Costco instead of the pricey supermarket. He registers domain names with GoDaddy because it costs 200% less than the competition. He gave up his land line and cable years ago. Max has spent the last 27 years managing content, traffic, and monetization for internet companies and running large-scale consumer-focused websites. Prior to launching Cheapism.com, he served as the VP of marketing and monetization for Viewpoints Network and before that as general manager for ConsumerSearch.com, until it was acquired by The New York Times Co. Before his internet career, he worked as a journalist, which is why he loves content so much. Max holds an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School in New York City and a B.A. in World History from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He lives in New York City. You can reach him at max at cheapism.com.
Ori prides himself on reinventing his wardrobe while discovering gems from his favorite designer, John Varvatos, at bargain prices on eBay. It's become a bit of a problematic obsession, but he is trying to control himself. Ori is a leader and multicultural individual who has built and managed teams across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. His family has unfortunately fallen victim to these traits, having to relocate and adjust their lives multiple times. Prior to joining Cheapism, Ori was CEO and co-founder of Literally Media, leading its growth to become the largest collection of humor and internet culture brands in the digital media space.
Felix moved to Brooklyn where he could afford a larger, more light-filled apartment than any he might have found Manhattan. He tries to purchase everything on his credit cards, making sure to pay off the balance every month. The mileage he earns by charging all his purchases helps offset his travel expenses — and Felix travels a lot. Felix has worked in technology for the past 18 years, having cut his teeth at The New York Times Digital. He subsequently moved through several dot-coms into his own consulting practice. Felix has been developing custom website back ends for longer than he cares to remember. He has a degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago.
Kara just replaced a pair of boots she had been wearing and repairing for almost 20 years. Naturally, the new ones were a Cyber Monday deal. While living in notoriously expensive New York City, she managed to save enough money to backpack around the world. Before joining Cheapism, Kara was a senior copy editor and web editor at Advertising Age. She also edited for ESPN The Magazine and New York magazine. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Danny is a Los Angeles-based editor and writer who covers food, travel, and more for Cheapism. He’s co-author of the guidebook 100 Things to Do in Los Angeles Before You Die, 2nd edition (Reedy Press), and his work can also be found on Thrillist, Time Out, TravelZoo, KCET, and elsewhere. He grew up in Boston and received his B.A. in English from Vassar College. He’ll sing you an opera aria if you ask nicely. Danny has enjoyed DIY projects that save money since long before it was the cool thing to do. Whether he’s growing his own vegetables, pickling them or cooking elaborate dinners from scratch, he’s pretty convinced the food tastes better than spending a fortune on a night out. When he does go out, he has a knack for tracking down the best free events and concerts in town, along with finding delicious, cheap eats at holes-in-the-wall or food trucks. He’s also never met an impulse buy that he couldn’t pass up in favor of bargain hunting for a better deal.
Kris is a writer, editor, and sometimes graphic designer. She’s worked for the Rocky Mountain News and most recently as managing editor for Modern In Denver magazine. Her home is furnished almost entirely with curbside, Craigslist, and thrift store finds, and she enjoys the call of the bargain hunt. She will pay more, however, for a great cup of coffee and top-shelf brown liquor. Kris lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons, and two heeler mixes.
Pat Shrader has been in journalism since President Reagan was in office. He has worked as an editor, webmaster, copy editor, and reporter in Chicago, Indiana, and Texas. He lives in Chesterton, Indiana. Words he lives by: If a car can’t last 20 years, it’s not worth owning.
Marc Levy has been in journalism for more than two decades, mainly in New England, as a reporter, columnist, copy editor, and editor in newspapers and online-only sites. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Liane shops consignment websites for bargains, re-heels her favorite old shoes, and collects coupon apps on her phone. Before joining Cheapism, Liane was the editor-in-chief of WSAToday, a business magazine for the footwear industry. She was also a senior editor at HitFix and a senior writer at EW.com.
David has worked in business journalism for more than 20 years at newswires, print publications, and online. He loves a good bargain and particularly enjoys finding ways to save using retailer loyalty and credit-card rewards programs. When not thinking of how to save money, he likely can be found looking for ways to spend it — particularly on travel and home improvement.
Suzanne has held a variety of positions over the course of her wide-ranging career, from work in the documentary film industry to media consultant and market researcher to professor of English literature. Her job of raising two young children has taught her to see every cheap deal scored as a contribution by proxy to their future college tuitions.
Jennifer Magid has worked as a writer and editor in publishing and marketing for almost two decades. She has written for outlets ranging from InStyle magazine to Psychology Today and for a number of grocery and personal care brands. Jenn is frugal by proxy: She is married to a certified cheapskate, which has been good for her wallet but bad for her shoe and handbag collections. These days, she never, ever buys her fashions full price. Jennifer holds a master’s in journalism from New York University. She lives in Connecticut with her family and an admittedly expensive-to-maintain standard poodle — the one anomaly in her cheap lifestyle.
Lacey Muszynski has three loves in life: Mexican food, bloody marys, and snarky writing. She's a writer and editor in Wisconsin, a very underrated state, especially if you ask a Wisconsinite. She's eaten a ton of burgers for Serious Eats, listicled for Thrillist, edited trade magazines, and written for many Milwaukee and Madison publications. At any given time, you're most likely to find her at the grocery store deciding what to do with that $1 discount bag of not-quite-moldy-yet lemons. (The answer is limoncello.)
Erin has spent the past decade as a writer and editor in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and Boston, where she now resides. She loves visiting local thrift stores to add to her growing glassware collection and thinks hiking in the (free!) great outdoors trumps any gym membership. Prior to joining Cheapism, Erin was a reporter and editor at Boston.com, Time Out Austin, and Time Out Los Angeles, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, Eater Austin, The Local Palate, and other publications. She will never say no to tacos and a great gin cocktail.
Rachel is a Michigan-based writer who has dabbled in a variety of subject matter throughout her career. As a mom of multiple young children, she tries to maintain a sustainable lifestyle for her family. She grows vegetables in her garden, gets her meat in bulk from local farmers, and cans fruits and vegetables with friends. Her kids have plenty of hand-me-downs in their closets, but her husband jokes that before long, they might need to invest in a new driveway thanks to the frequent visits from delivery trucks dropping off online purchases (she can’t pass up a good deal, after all).
Maxwell is a California-based writer who got his start in print journalism, a career that satisfies his love of research. That penchant for learning also fuels his desire to be a discerning consumer — whether he’s looking for his next pair of headphones or rock-climbing shoes. When he’s not hunched over his laptop, you can find Maxwell sending routes at the crag, playing Magic: The Gathering, or hanging out with his buddies at the bar. As a UCSC alumnus, he’s also a proud banana slug.
A native of Queens, New York, Alina has a bachelor's degree in corporate communications from Baruch College and enjoys writing about culture, tech, travel, and lifestyle. Prior to joining the Cheapism team, Alina worked as a U.S.-based correspondent for Vision Times and interned for several media outlets during college. In her free time, Alina loves to try out as many new restaurants as she can, go on scenic hikes with friends, tackle a hot yoga class, or spend hours going down a Wikipedia/Reddit rabbit hole. Always looking for ways to stretch her money, Alina loves to stay updated on money-saving tips and helpful life hacks that make everyday chores more manageable.
Wilder Shaw sneaks his own candy into movie theaters, makes his own birthday cards, and laughs out loud at the very idea of valet parking. What a guy. He's an LA-based writer whose byline you've seen in places like Thrillist, Time Out, Citizine, We Like LA, and numerous others. But let's be honest, you probably recognize him from when he played Trick-or-Treater #2 on an episode of The Nanny. Stalk him on Twitter and Instagram.
Anna Christakos is a web producer and writer in Austin, Texas. Dubbed "The Frugaler" by her husband, Anna thrives on finding fun ways to save money. She's been baking her own bread since before it became cool (thanks, COVID) and also enjoys thrifting, selling old clothes, and exploring free activities in the city. Anna finds that cutting back on everyday expenses can be both frugal and rewarding.
Blakelee is what some might refer to as a modern-day nomad. She hops around the country (and often the globe) to experience what it’s like living in different places and cultures, always with her laptop in tow. Constantly in pursuit of a good travel deal, Blakelee will do just about anything to get one — even if that means waking up at 3 a.m. to catch a cheaper flight, sleeping on the floor of an overnight ferry to get around paying for a hotel room, or squishing 10 days’ worth of clothes into a backpack to avoid baggage fees. Before working in production and social media, Blakelee spent three years in Madrid, where she taught English and explored Europe in her spare time.
Allison was born and raised in New York. She loves hiking, good food, and cheap clothes. After a trip to a flea market or a hike on a long trail, she might be found searching for a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
Alina worked as a violinist for almost two decades before joining Cheapism in 2022. Having studied violin in Cleveland, Paris, and Vienna, she then moved to the U.K. and Finland to play in symphony orchestras. Her cat and four rescued dogs are her passion, as are spicy food and good wine. Alina hopes to learn how to be thrifty from her new colleagues.
Phelan hasn't bought an article of clothing outside of a thrift store since 2016. What's the point in paying full price for clothes when you can thrift a Versace shirt for $10? His academic career began in a small mountain town in upstate New York, continued at a massive high school in Austin, Texas, and finished with a bachelor's degree in commerce at the National University of Ireland, Galway (his accent is unique, to say the least). Phelan has been working as an analyst for Cheapism since moving back to his home state of New York in 2019.