The next time someone calls you a cheap bastard, take it as a compliment.
“New Englanders are notoriously cheap but they don’t talk about it,” laughs author Kris Frieswick. Well kids, the secret’s out. Frieswick’s new book, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Boston (Insiders’ Guide/Globe Pequot Press, 296 pages, $14.95), is a goldmine of freebies, cheapies, tips, tricks, and bargains too good to be true. Skeptical? Let it go, tightwad. These are the real, cheap deals.
A Massachusetts native and “second generation cheap bastard,” Frieswick, a former Phoenix columnist, is the daughter of a coupon king so thrifty that supermarket cashiers have been known to close their aisles when they spot him coming. A mortified Frieswick fought her cheap roots for years, but the smell of a bargain eventually proved too seductive. She and assistant Christine Walsh combed every inch of Boston to research this book, and discovered along the way that you don’t have to muck through smelly dive bars to find cheap pints or dollar burgers.
Most budget guides are geared toward penny-pinching students, but The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Boston is a veritable bible for young professionals and the professionally hip. For example, who knew that Cactus Club, Barneys New York, I Soci, and the American Repertory Theatre are all great resources for chic on the cheap? Frieswick has compiled a stellar collection of restaurants, nightlife, high-end salons, beauty schools, art galleries, theaters, parks, museums, music clubs, and tips for taking free vacations. She even includes health care, clinical trials, and blueprints for a romantic (and thrifty) night out on the town.
“Boston is trying to be a livable community,” she says. “People want to live a quality existence, on the cheap. I included a lot of places that might be familiar to locals, but not to tourists or students. It’s a comprehensive listing of the top bargain stores in the city.”
And how exactly did upscale spas and snooty Back Bay boutiques feel about being included in a publication whose title is so devoid of glamour? “Nine out of 10 times, when I told people the title of the book, it was met with huge laughter,” says Frieswick. “Everyone wants a deal.”
The book is part of a series from Insiders’ Guide, which has published similar penny-wise books for Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Frieswick hopes to publish another edition in two years or so, but it’ll take you that long to check out all of the bargains in this version. Whether you’re a Boston Brahmin, a stereotypical schnorrer, or a mingy-minded newcomer, this Cheap Bastard will show you an invaluable side of Beantown that money couldn’t buy.