Who is the girl behind Cheap and Cheeky?

About Me

About Me and Why Should You Care?

Well, you shouldn’t. But obviously you must be a little curious or you wouldn’t be looking at this page, right? So allow me to introduce myself and tell you all a little bit about me. 

About me – Who is the girl behind Cheap & Cheeky?


I love finding ways to get more out of life on a budget

I love finding ways to get more out of life on a budget

My name is Melanie and I’m a 40 something, free thinking, old school alternative goth chick who has kind of mellowed out over the last several years.

I love skulls, twisted movies, combat boots, and industrial music.

I’m a loyal wife and career mom, but I still enjoy a little “me time” once a month to go dancing and socialize with other creatures of the night. 

Between work and family, I spend the remainder of my (very little) free time watching TV, perusing social media, and working on this blog and YouTube channel.

This is me today, but here is a little peek into the girl I used to be and how I became the jaded frugal woman I am now.

Growing up in the 80s…

Originally a native from Los Angeles, I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley.

I guess you could say I’m a valley girl, and I still totally have the accent to prove it. Like, can you tell?

Me at 4 years old in the late 70s

My parents were divorced when I was 8 and mom suffered from severe depression, so I was often left to fend for myself and did not have much supervision growing up.

I learned how to be self-reliant at a very early age.

My family did not have much money while I was growing up, so I knew the importance of a dollar.

I wanted to be financially independent as well, so I got my first job when I was 15 and have worked ever since.

What I looked like in high school. I was into heavy metal and hair bands before I got into goth.

After high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life.

So I went to college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations from Cal State Long Beach, which I paid in full with my own money.

Back then, college was much more affordable than it is today.

Adulting in the 90s…

In the mid 90s, I got my first computer and discovered online MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) where I became obsessed with the world of online games.

I started playing a game called Realm where I actually my husband Brian. He was a high level player and gave me a bunch of free “virtual” stuff which swept me off my feet. I’m such a nerd!

But he lived in AZ and I lived in Cali, so in 1999, he moved to LA to start a life with me.

I met my husband playing online games!

Doing it up Gangsta style in the 2000s

After Brian moved out to Cali, we moved into our first home (a fixer upper in Lakewood, CA)  and I became obsessed with HGTV and DIY television.

So much so, that I decided to get another bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

But houses weren’t my thing. I wanted to work on hotels!

So with a 2nd degree in hand, in 2006 we decided to leave California behind and move to Las Vegas, where I was fortunate enough to land a job doing hospitality design for an architecture firm working on hotels, restaurants and casinos.

Then Brian and I eventually got married in 2008 with a very un-traditional “Mobster” themed wedding. We had our wedding in a cheesy Vegas chapel where we were married by “The Godfather”.

Our Las Vegas Mobster Themed Wedding

This is probably the only photo you will see of him. Shh, don’t tell!

My bridesmaids were flappers and my nephews were gangsters carrying toy Tommy-Guns. Even the guests were dressed up. It was so fun and people still talk about it today!

And then the bubble burst…

When economy took a dump in 2008, I found myself out of a job and our home was underwater. I was unable to find another full-time job for the next 2 years.

Then in 2010 came another shock. I was pregnant with my son Jaxon!

8 months pregnant with my son

I was 36 and I wanted this baby so much! But we were broke and saw no future in Vegas. So we decided to move to Phoenix to be near Brian’s family where we currently live today. 

It’s getting hot in here…

I never thought I would live in Phoenix. It’s 100 degrees for over 6 months of the year and everything is brown and beige. I’m not going to lie. It was tough going at first.

I’m definitely not the stay-at-home mom type. I am a total type A who needs to be around people and make that bread!

So after I had Jaxon, I went back to work and Brian was a stay-at-home dad since we couldn’t afford day care.

Jaxon likes being in pictures

My little boy Jaxon

But we were on such a limited income so I was always looking for ways to save money and make a little extra money. So I had to look for creative (legal) side hustles so that we could get by. 

Do the hustle!

One day, one of my former co-workers received a box of hair care products at work and I asked her about it. She told me that she got them free for being a product tester.

I was like, “Whaaaat?!” I want to get free things too! I mean, who doesn’t? This is just what my family needs right now.

So she introduced me to a site called BzzAgent and I was hooked from that day on.

Since then, I have discovered all kinds of ways to get free stuff.

Airheads Candy Smiley360

Free candy? Don’t mind if I do!

Finding freebies was once a hobby, but has since turned into a passion and definitely an addiction.

Over the past few years, I have gotten to try out all sorts of products ranging from skin care, health supplements, makeup, food, and even scored a LCD HD Television set! For free!

And boy, do I love free stuff!

But getting free stuff does not pay the bills.

While Brian was still home with Jaxon, I landed a great job as a logistics manager where I try to make sure freight shipments get to demanding customers on time.

Much of it involves yelling at carriers and providing psychological counseling to distraught customers who are freaking out because their package is running late.

Can't afford Christmas?

Need extra cash for Christmas? I can show you how we do it.

Obviously, this leaves me very little free time. However, I have found other ways to make extra income with very little effort and without spending a dime!

How the heck did I become a blogger?

I know how much people are struggling and I really wanted to show others how easy it is to get free stuff and earn a little extra cash. So I decided to start this blog to help other families in the same boat.

Cheap & Cheeky, Product Reviews, How tos, and Rants n' Rambles!

Cheap & Cheeky, Product Reviews, How tos, and Rants n’ Rambles!

Originally Cheap & Cheeky started out as Enjoy Freebies in 2014 as a tiny product review blog. But now Cheap & Cheeky has evolved into not only a trusted name for product reviews, but also a family-friendly lifestyle and frugal living blog.

You can also find me on YouTube!

I am picky about products that I review. I always look for unique products that people can actually use to make life easier and more fun.

I also enjoy throwing in the occasional rant & ramble – just to spice things up.

My family is often my test subjects and are occasionally featured models for my product reviews.

Jaxon likes helping me review toys and games

Jaxon likes helping me review toys and games

Even my dog helps out!

My dog Archie loves reviewing dog food and treats!

My dog Archie loves reviewing dog food and treats!

My husband does not like being in pictures (don’t tell him about the wedding photo), so for all intents and purposes, I will make him a stick figure.

He is a “prepper” and loves to try out products that we can use in case a meteor strikes the earth or if we are stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

This is a perfect drawing of my husband

Brian will try the products, but won’t be filmed.

Read This:  IMG_0304-1024x768

Thank you for being here!

This is my personal site and I am always learning as I go. I am grateful to have you share this journey with me and I’m really glad you are here.

I’ll give you details about sites you can join and free apps you can download to make getting free stuff and even free cash fun and easy.

I hope you find this site helpful so you can get more out of life on a budget too!

Because it’s not all about me. It’s about YOU too!

Would you like me to review your products? Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Don’t be shy! Feel free to contact me by filling out the contact form below. I’d love to hear from you!


What do you gotta say? Drop me a comment here!

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