Welcome! I’m so glad you found the website!
Why I Started Wichita on the Cheap
I’m Carolyn Erickson, and I started this site because I know from experience that you don’t have to live outside your means to live a full and fun life. I also thought it would be a nice thing to do for our community. I have a photo of my daughter and I at Botanica one Mothers Day when they had free admission for moms. It was such a treat, but I would have missed it if a friend hadn’t told me about it! Back then, I would usually hear about a great deal or event after it had already happened and people were buzzing about how much fun they had. Back then, there wasn’t a website like Wichita on the Cheap to keep track of all the affordable things to do in Wichita, but I really wished there was!
How It All Started
It was serendipitous that a fellow writer in another state was starting a national network of “on the Cheap” blogs at about the same time I was thinking, “Someone ought to write about free events in Wichita before they happen.”
Whenever I hear myself say “someone ought to,” I know that “someone” ought to be me. Or – if it’s not going to be me – I’m not going to give myself permission to complain about no one doing it.
I pitched the idea to a magazine I was writing for at the time and they weren’t interested, so it fully fell on me to get it done. The upfront costs were minimal, I had the necessary skills to make it happen, and after much consideration, I took the plunge.
I was so nervous when I published my first post in September 2009 – about Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day – that I didn’t even tell anyone about it. But over the next couple of months I had heard about so many great freebies and inexpensive events I couldn’t keep them to myself anymore. In December of 2009, I began posting several times a week and promoting the site on social media.
There was not really a business plan. When someone would ask, “How do you make your money?” I said, “I’ll let you know when I find out.” The most important thing to me was that it served a need; I figured that people would love it so much that eventually the income from advertising would be enough to support the site and me.
I was right about one thing – people love it. This site has become pretty popular, for which I’m so grateful. I get to write about really great deals, find out about amazing inexpensive events, meet new people, spend time with readers on social media, and learn new things all of the time. (It has also opened doors for me to do other things that I would never have imagined myself doing, like teaching classes on how to build websites. That is so cool!)
There’s a downside, too. Ironically, I’m really busy writing about freebies and deals and taking on other work projects, so I don’t have a lot of spare time to attend many of the cool, free events I write about. Our family is rich when it comes to having plenty to do. We do take advantage of free and inexpensive events when we have the time, but I’d like to do that more often. Really, I’m working on making Wichita on the Cheap less of a one-person operation by inviting others to submit deals and occasionally even hiring other writers to write posts. (Contact me if you have experience and you think you would enjoy this type of work! It isn’t for everyone, but some of us absolutely love it.)
Still, the goal is the same as it always has been – to let you know about opportunities to live it up on less, right here where you live. (And there are lots of opportunities, or else I wouldn’t be so busy keeping this website updated.) If you’re on a budget I encourage you to get out and explore something new, even if it isn’t necessarily something you would normally think to do. Use the Free and Cheap Events Calendar to find something. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you can have! I’m terrible at bowling, but had a great time going with the kids one summer (who bowled for free) when it was so hot. And even though I’m not a rock collector, our visit to the Wichita Gem and Mineral show one spring was memorable and fun. I could give you a ton of examples like that. (Which means we actually have been getting out and doing things, now that I think of it.)
Anyway, the point is that no matter what your income level, there’s good, clean fun to be had here in Wichita, on the cheap.
Wichita on the Cheap is brought to you by freelance writer Carolyn Erickson, who has called Wichita her home since the 90s (and she’s been a cheapskate longer than that). Although this is her job, her primary motivation for Wichita on the Cheap comes from a real appreciation of all that Wichita has to offer and a desire to help others enjoy it.
Wichita on the Cheap receives an average of 80,000+ pageviews per month, and in the peak seasons that number is much higher. One of the things readers consistently tell me is that they appreciate the positive, family-friendly, and local-oriented nature of the publication and the community of readers. Feel free to join the tens of thousands of people who make up that community on Facebook, Twitter, and via the free email newsletter subscription. Wichita on the Cheap is a member of the Living on the Cheap network, which is a national network of frugal folks who like to share money-saving info about the cities in which they live.
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