A friend bought me a PP carrot stick and bought myself a generic ebay
knockoff(I'm a tightwad too) I like them both equally well, the PP stick is a little heavier and doesn't taper at the string end. The only complaint I would have about the generic is that the string that came with it was really light and made from a courser material and it pulled my horse's hair when I would stroke him with it, so I had to order another string from my favorite rope supplier, CB Knots.
I have seen a CA handy stick, and instead of having a leather loop at the end for the string to go through, it has a moulded plastic loop. Stacy Westfall endorses a stick made by Weaver Leather that is very much like the generic stick I have, but it comes with a higher quality string, and it is very reasonably priced in most tack catalogs.