Making the Most out of Mommy Blogging: The Woman Behind Money Saving Mom
Crystal Paine is not your average mommy blogger. She doesn't tell you about her day or post picture-perfect images of her lifestyle for you to envy. The homeschooling mom of three based in Kansas wants to help you make ends meet, to use many pieces of information to make choices about everyday purchases. With 4 million pageviews a month, she operates one of the most well-known coupon-clipping blogs in the country, and her new book, The Money Saving Mom's Budget (Gallery Books), wraps all of her practices up in one place.
Paine told Her.meneutics that her blogging began as any other site back in 2004. "I mentioned that I spent $17 on groceries that week, and people started asking, 'How on earth did you do that?' " she said.
She created an online course that taught some basic strategies, such as how to create a meal plan and how to combine the manufacturers' and store's coupons for a double deal. "People were saying, 'I need more practical information. I need you to break it down: what should I buy at the store this week? The goal was finding practical ways to save on groceries," she said. So her blog turned into a mix of posts, including daily deals on products, tips for managing money, and ways to live more simply.
Paine, who attends an independent Baptist church with Southern Baptist leanings, sees her blog as a different kind of ministry model, one that helps people get down to the nitty-gritty details about their finances.
"I try not to use 'Christianese' so someone who is unchurched can't catch on," she said, noting that she points to her faith in various posts. "I see it as though I'm digging a well. I'm providing people help with food and clothing, helping them get out of debt, and then they're open to hearing the gospel."
On the surface, most of Paine's posts show you how to get free samples, save a few bucks, or organize your life. But she says her readers glean bigger principles.
Her mantra is to find deals, stretch your money, live on less, save more, and give more.
"It's not just about saving money but about having a purpose and a plan for your money," Paine said. "If you don't have a budget, you're not going to know if you're saving money in the first place."
I asked her about studies that suggest people may end up spending more if they have a coupon. "It's not a good deal if you can't afford it," she insists. "It's not a good deal if you don't need it. If it's going to take up space in your home, don't buy it."
As with any financial site, her blog features several advertisements along the site. She sends money made from six ad spots (about $36,000 a year) to Compassion International and Show Hope, the adoption ministry singer Stephen Curtis Chapman created. All of the proceeds from her book will go to Compassion.