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.

Still, she wrestles with the tension that her blog, while offering tips on where to save, has a string of advertisements that entice people to spend.

"You can't just be a charity because you can't afford to run it," said Paine, who has a group of seven people working for her to keep the blog posting daily. "It's hard, because I'm constantly helping my readers to remember that less is more, keep it simple."

She keeps her own life so simple, in fact, that she wears the same six outfits over and over again with two pairs of shoes, a lifestyle carried over from her early years of marriage. She and her husband lived on a beans and rice budget to stay out of debt while he attended law school, keeping the household budget to $35 a week.

At 30 years old, Paine didn't simply fall into Internet success. She didn't attend college but spent three years studying how to run an Internet business. She had tried launching two web-based wedding supplies and book-selling businesses that flopped before Money Saving Mom eventually took off.

"When we were living on less than $12,000 a year, the goal was to stay out of debt, tithe 10 percent, and to survive," she said. "More recently we've been in a situation where we can think not just about the best deal but more in terms of stewarding our money."

With the uptick in income, she supports local businesses, Christian ministries, and encourages generosity whenever possible. A focus on simply saving money can encourage self-centeredness, said Laura Hartman, a religion professor at Augustana College and author of The Christian Consumer.

"Nowhere did Jesus say 'Pinch your pennies.' He says 'Give to everyone who asks,'" Hartman said. "He applauds the widow who didn't have enough to live on but gave it all away."

Paine's book focuses on tips and practices driven by spreadsheets and lists, getting down to the bare bones of priorities and goals. Like Dave Ramsey, who endorses Paine's book, she shuns credit cards in favor of cash, insisting that cash-only results in less purchasing.

"The point of living frugally is to create a different kind of abundance, a spiritual abundance, an abundance of time, the ability to be festive without the burdens consumptions bring with it," Hartman said.

In the final section of the book, Paine addresses contentment, a likely challenge for many who struggle with ways to make ends meet. Her book is less focused on an explicit theology of consumption, but it connects different parts of life to show how finances are intertwined with someone's lifestyle. For instance, she says that if your life is cluttered, you will probably leave your finances in a mess. Her philosophy of consumption is multi-faceted, one with many components that need to be addressed before a consumer can find true financial success.