I've found a way to reduce your your cost and pack weight. You only need carry 1 or 2 good solid stakes and amend them with a $2 set of 6 'Potato baking nails'.
They're 4 1/2" long with a nice head on them, which helps retain slippery lines so often used by lightweight backpackers. They have a sharp point on them that can easily be sanded down/rounded off so they don't damage gear in one's pack. Plus, they can be used for baking your spuds in the campfire when not in use with a shelter.
The reason for carrying along 2 Ti or other strong stakes, is to make 'starter holes' about halfway into the ground. This helps keep one from beating these stakes into the ground which could easily ruin them. A little bit of care and you've got some 'dual duty gear' on the cheap <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> Of course these will only work in places where one regularly uses thin style tent stakes.
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!
I like the idea of using a decent stake to make starter holes for your other stakes. I'll try that idea when using wooden sticks for stakes. As far as cooking spuds. Just wrap in foil and put in hot coals. Yummmmm.
Loc: Central Texas
Cheap? You want cheap? I've ended up using U stakes made from coat hanger wire. I have a nice selection of Ti stakes and Y stakes and V stakes that I use when going west (from Austin, TX). But going east, I use the U stakes, including on AT thruhikes. They can't be pounded into earthcrete, but they will last an entire thruhike. If I lose one all I have to do is borrow someone's multitool and scrounge a coat hanger. I cut one leg about 7 inches and the other about 5. They weigh the same as regular 9 inch Ti stakes, but hold much better in the loose forest litter east of the 95th longitude. I use these on my hammock tarp. As you know, hammock tarps are set high, so the tension is more in line with the stake than it is for tents and tarps set close to the ground. The extra "hold" of the U stake seems to work better for that.
I've made U stakes from Titanium, piano wire and everything in between, but the softer steel of coat hanger wire seems to do the better job. Getting to this point was a matter of evolution and opportunism rather than planning or design. Staying with it is a matter of functionality.
I, too, carry a Ti stake (a lightweight 7-incher) in the bag to make pilot holes in uncooperative soil.