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3 Important Things I Learned When I Was 33 (+ a special birthday request!)

3 Important Things I Learned When I Was 33

Psst! You can watch (or listen!) here to the video where I share more about this post & the lessons I’ve learned this year here.

Next week, while we’re in South Africa, I’ll be turning 34. It’s hard for me to believe I’m not 17 or even 25 any more. But it’s true.

As I’ve been reflecting on this past year, I was thinking about what I’ve learned as a 33-year-old and areas I’ve grown in. Here are three important things I’ve learned and/or really grown in this past year:

#1: It’s Okay If It’s Not Perfect

This might seem like I’m stating the obvious. But here’s the truth: I chased after perfect for a very long time. I wanted to be organized, exact, detailed, thorough, on time, and just plain together.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to pursue excellence, because it’s not. But this past year, I’ve really embraced that life is often messy. That things don’t always go as planned. That people are okay with me not having my act together.

And it’s been really freeing.

For instance, I had to get my driver’s license renewed last week because it was expiring on my birthday. The last time I’d gotten a new license (10 years ago?), I had painstakingly agonized over getting my signature as perfect as I possibly could using that clunky pen and touchscreen you have to write on.

This time around, I signed my name and pressed enter without even so much as a second thought. When they handed me my temporary license, I instantly noticed how messy my signature looked compared to my last driver’s license.

To me, that messy signature was a visible reminder of how much more relaxed I am about life and how much less I’m stressing about getting things “just right” these days.

3 Important Things I've Learned When I Was 33

#2: The Best Friends Are Those Who Cheerlead AND Challenge You

This past year, I’ve come to really appreciate the beauty of life-giving relationships — the kind where it’s a two-way street and there’s abundant give and take. I’ve intentionally worked at investing in relationships with people who not only love me for exactly who I am, but who challenge me to be the best version of myself that I can be.

I don’t want relationships where I’m being coddled. You know, the kind where people are only saying quiet affirmations, telling me how amazing I am, and generally just stroking my ego.

Nope, I don’t want that at all. Yes, sometimes it feels nice, but it’s unhealthy and it does nothing to spur me on to grow as a person.

Instead, I want to surround myself with people who will not only be my cheerleaders, but who will also have the courage to speak truth to me when I need to hear it.

This weekend, one of my friends called me out on something I said on my makeup tutorial on Periscope. I had said that my face without makeup on is “SCARY”. She challenged me to consider what kind of messaging I was speaking to myself and about myself.

Her words really impacted me and I was so grateful that she had the courage to speak words of truth that I needed to hear.

3 Important Things I Learned When I Was 33

#3. You Aren’t Going to Please Everyone

You just aren’t. And as a 33-year-old, I’ve gotten really secure in this.

I sometimes forget, but for the most part, I’m really and truly okay with disappointing some people. Because it’s just a fact of life: you can’t please everyone all the time. But you can sure exhaust yourself trying.

This past year, I’ve grown more confident in who I am and who I’m not. I’ve grown confident in who I’m called to serve and inspire and who I’m not. I’ve gotten much better at saying “no” and at walking away from opportunities that weren’t a fit for my gifts or season of life.

I’ve also become a lot more content. There’s a lot of talk about “hustle” and “growth” as online entrepreneurs, and while I don’t want to become stagnant as a person, I’ve become really okay with no longer feeling the need to chase — after fame, after numbers, after opportunities, after more.

Because of these things, when someone tells me something they are disappointed in (that I don’t have this option on my site, that I’m not attending that conference, or that I blog or don’t blog a certain way), it doesn’t bother me like it once did.

3 Important Things I Learned When I Was 33

Just two weeks ago, I got three lengthy emails in the space of a week outlining why these three different individuals didn’t find my blog helpful. I had Jesse read these emails and we talked about them.

We looked to see if there was truth or wisdom in them that I needed to learn from. And ultimately, we decided that what these readers are looking for is not what I’m offering here. There are many people offering what they are looking for and I’m happy to point them in the direction of someone else who can better meet their needs.

But instead of being all hurt or bothered that I was disappointing these people, I realized that I have to focus on doing what I’m gifted at and what I’m passionate about. In doing so, I will bless and encourage those people who need to hear the message I have to share.

P.S. Watch my 3 Important Things I Learned When I Was 33 video here.

Would You Do Me a Birthday Favor?

If you’re usually a quiet reader here, I’d LOVE it if you “de-lurked” this week and either left a comment on this post introducing yourself or sent me an email introducing yourself.

Hearing from my readers is one of my favorite things, so if you have a moment, I’d love to hear a little about you — where you’re from, how long you’ve been reading here, and anything else about you/your family that you’d like to share. Thanks SO much!

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462 Comments

  • heather says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal!! Years ago your blog was the first that I started following. I was a new mom at the time and new to staying at home and I found your blog encouraging and insightful. Years later, yours is still one of the few that I faithfully follow. What I appreciate more than anything is your transparency! It keeps it all real. Thanks for having a transparent blog!

  • Dona says:

    I just have to say that I think you are pretty darned incredible! I don’t know you, personally, but I’m really proud of you! I’m 62….and I remember being 33, almost 34. 🙂 I loved my 30’s. So have fun and enjoy your life! And, like your daughter says, “Mom, don’t worry so much about what other people think!”

  • Robyn Norbeck says:

    I started reading your blog for the deals back in 2008. Been a reader ever since but never take the time to comment. I appreciate your blog and your recipes and appreciate your honesty and humility! Thanks and happy birthday!

  • Kandra Hawkins says:

    Love this post….it took me until 40 to do these. You have figured them out early bird! Happy early birthday ?

  • Crystal says:

    I have been a reader for 7+ years. One of my favorite things about this blog is that you are REAL. I dont always agree with everything you say and somethings that work for you definitely do not work for me, but at the end of the day, you tell it like it is without sugar coating, but still being positive. Over the last few years I have dealt with health issues and struggled to find my new normal as I learn to live with a chronic illness. Sometimes I have felt alone in that, but as I have tried to be more real and authentic with people, especially about what I was facing, they became more real with me, and I realized EVERYONE has something, some problem, some challenge. I have so appreciated you opening up about your own health issues. While different from mine, I can empathize with how tired you have been and trying to prioritize, and ultimately putting yourself and your family first! And that you lead a Christ centered life. Thank you for being you!

  • Hi Crystal, I have been a reader of your since 2005, I think…I just know it was when your blog was another name (which my nearly 45 year old brain can’t remember what that was…) Anyway, watching God bless your family, grow your family, take you through difficult times has been such an encouragement to me over the years. We are a homeschool family living in Lakeland, FL. In June, we graduated our first 2 boys. This school year has been very quiet so far…only 2 students. Today is our twin sons 18th birthday, so I thought it was only appropriate to say Happy Birthday and make a comment. We moved to Florida seven years ago from Oregon. It hasn’t always been easy, but we obeyed God’s directions to move and we see His hand in every joyful and difficult time!!! He is faithful!! May your time in South Africa be incredible. My husband & I will be assisting in leading a team to El Salvador in March and our twin boys will be going…their first missions trip. Can’t wait to see what God births in their hearts. Thank you for always being open to sharing how life in your home is. It’s been a great joy to watch you grow in God’s grace. Happy blessed birthday to you!!

  • Happy Birthday Crystal!

    I’m a 40-year-old part-time University Professor married to a soon-to-be Lutheran Pastor with 10-year-old twins (boy and girl). I’ve been reading your blogs since Biblical Womanhood days (how long ago was that????) coming over for your grocery course via Living on a Dime. I love the changes you’ve made to your blog over the last year or two and I’m really enjoying you sharing your stretching and growing – it’s been inspiring.

    I hope your 34th year is even better than the last one!

    Thanks for being inspiring, helpful and practical,
    Lea

  • Alissa says:

    Hi Crystal!! I have been following your blog for almost 2 years and it is what allows me to find the balance that I need to homeschool my two sons (5 and 2) with special needs. Your relaxed, honest perspective on life helps me to continiously evole and to be a better person and a better mother. Thank you so much for inspiring me during such an important part of my life! Happy birthday! 🙂

  • Renee says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m turning 34 this week too!
    I have never left a comment but I have followed you for a few years and have learned a lot from you!

  • Emily C says:

    I’ve been following you since Biblical Womanhood, too, so quite a while now! I live outside Memphis, and your blog is the one I would have written if I had the time. Happy birthday! Cheers, Emily.

  • Megan says:

    Hi Crystal! I just wanted to let you know that I first heard about you while listening to you on Family Life radio. I believe they were doing a segment on your book, “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode”. This was probably about a year and a half ago. Since then, I have been a work in progress as I have prioritized, organized and set goals. God has used you in so many ways to help change my life! I just started homeschooling my children this year (K and 3rd) and I know that there is no way I would have been able to do this, had I not implemented so many of the things that I have learned from you. Your work has been a tremendous blessing! Thank you so much and oh, Happy Birthday!!!!

  • Adrienne says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I think you are wise beyond your years! Since becoming a SAHM this past year, previously a working mom since HS, I have been following your blog. I too celebrated my birthday just last month. The lesson I have learned is contentment. I can be happy with less (stuff) and have more meaning (time with my family) in my life. Thank you for the wonderful money saving suggestions and tips you have given that keeps me able to be home with my family.?

  • Tammy Carey says:

    Happy birthday! I found this scrolling on my Facebook feed and it spoke volumes to me…having just turned 34 a little over a month ago, I recognize so much of myself in your writing. Thank you for your honesty and openness, it really is appreciated by someone who is still working in growing a little more each day. 🙂

  • Happy (early) Birthday, Crystal! I am so happy that you are improving since your surgery and cancer scare! I have been a reader for 4+ years. I love your insight, encouragement, transparency, interesting articles, wonderful recipes, and positivity….the list goes on and on. You inspire and motivate me! Thank you for sharing your life with us! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  • Stacy says:

    Happy birthday! I love this post! It’s been fun watching you grow.

    Thanks for all you do to encourage us!

  • Terri says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I’ve followed your blog since my very early Motherhood days. My babies are now 10, 8, & 3. Your blog is always inspiring! I love that you keep it real and that you are wise beyond your years. That you realize what is truly important & don’t chase fame.
    I Homeschool my children & today my middle son finished his book report on “The Cricket in Time Square.” Chester realized fame was over-rated too! LOL!
    Happy Bithday & Enjoy from Houston,TX

  • A Lil Honey says:

    Hi Crystal! This came up through my Facebook feed today and I clicked because it applied so much! Today is my birthday too and I’m just turning 33!!! I truly appreciate you sharing your wisdom and working so hard. I’ve been trying to start a blog too and struggling with the “You can’t please everyone” thing. It is refreshing to hear this from you! Thanks so much again! Happy Birthday! And God bless you!!!

  • Amy Olson says:

    Happy Birthday beautiful! I am from Rochester, MN & I’ve been following your blog for about a year now! I don’t even have kids yet but so many things are so helpful for my life right now in taking care of my home & hubby! I love what you have to say and admire you tons! I work as a NICU nurse. I’ve been married 9 months & I love Jesus first and foremost! Thanks for doing what you do Crystal, you are awesome at it!

  • Sarah C says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been following your blog for the past 5 years or so. I’m married with 2 little girls. My life is…the wife of a karate instructor. It’s a fun ride but it’s been a challenging year for us..probably our most challenging yet. I’m enjoying your introspective blogs as I reevaluate my own life.

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve been a reader since 2008 (I think!) and have enjoyed reading your blog over the years. I especially appreciate your candid posts about learning to let go of perfection…I’ve struggled with that for years!! Happy birthday and enjoy South Africa!

  • Jess says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve followed you for a few years now. I too like your honesty. I was at MOMCon and got to see you in person over the weekend. I appreciated your session and took to heart your encouragement regarding friendships. I had an opportunity that night to let a couple of great ladies into my life. God used your session to get me ready. Thanks!!

  • Erin says:

    Hi Crystal, I turned 34 this year as well! I started reading your blog while my hubby was in university (he graduated in 2014). While he worked on his degree, I worked from home and during those 4 years, we added 2 more children to our family (we already had one when we decided he should go back to school). I was looking for a way to save money and was inspired by the fact that you put yourselves through school without debt. I love your grocery shopping posts and would love to see what those look like now that your family is making health a priority. We love your baked oatmeal and brownie recipe and I’m currently working through Your make over your mornings course and Dave Ramsay’s total money makeover. Thanks for being an inspiration! Our family is a work in progress but we really are trying to bring structure and discipline to our lives.

  • Carrie Bennett says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m a quiet reader who loves the deals I find here but I’ve also enjoyed some of your more personal posts. I’m 36 and learning some of these same things – I’m a Pastor’s wife and mom of 3 boys whom I homeschool. We live in Arkansas near the Bull Shoals Lake (my sister was hoping I’d run into you while you were vacationing here). Hope you have a great day and year!

  • Lisa Prieto says:

    Hi Crystal happy birthday! I’m Lisa and I live in Oviedo, FL just outside Orlando. I’m a working mom with two kids, my husband of 14 years and two rescue dogs. By day I am a civil engineer and I am an office manager for a consulting firm. I have been reading your blog probably about 2 years and I love how open and honest you are. I am 37 and a lot of what you say resonates with me as I am getting more and more comfortable and content just being me. I love reading your blog because you are an inspiration and I learn a lot 🙂 thanks for all you do

    Oh and when I feel like people don’t like me I put on Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” and sing it really loud – it always makes me feel better.

  • Jeanene says:

    Happy birthday next week! I live in Utah and have a wonderful husband and 3 children with one more on the way. I’ve been reading your blog for about 4 years now and it has blessed my life! We’ve really struggled financially for the past two years and it’s encouraging to find ways to save money and also hear from you and other contributers about past successes (and learning opportunities)!

  • Jana says:

    I began reading your blog about 6 months ago. I am a Texas girl, transplanted to Southern California. My husband is the director of a Christian Camp on the top of a mountain. We moved three years ago and my life changed forever. I went from being a full-time working (teacher) mom, to a stay-at-home, homeschool mom! Yikes! I found your blog when trying to learn how to save money, but it has become so much more! I love when you share what books you’re reading, devotionals you’re doing, and just about life! Each morning I get up, work-out, then (because I don’t want to go up the stairs yet) I sit my sweaty self down to read your blog and spend some time in the word with SheReadsTruth.org! (I just noticed that you are doing the Galatians study too. I saw your cute little study guide in one of your pictures! Awesome!)

    Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thanks for being a part of my morning routine, and an encouragement!

  • Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday! I, too am 34! I just wanted you to know I’ve been reading your blogs for a while and really enjoy them. I often feel encouraged and chuckle in agreement and glad I’m not alone. Thank you!

  • Rachael says:

    I’ve been reading your blogs for about 8 years now and I’ve found your journey as a blogger, wife, mom and person encouraging and inspiring. I do love that you are being real and not trying to be perfect online. I love all different kinds of posts from cooking, how to, deals, and just day in the life of types. A little about us….our family has lived overseas as missionaries and now we are doing the normal life thing ….homeschooling, I work a couple days a month and we’re buying our first home. Happy Birthday Crystal! ~ Rachael

  • Kelly says:

    About 5 years ago a friend suggested your blog to me. We were on the verge of having our first baby (and me quitting my job to stay home) and your blog really taught me how to manage our finances. Actually, come to think of it, your blog was really one of the first catalysts to my husband and I getting out of debt and living within our means. Wow, I hadn’t thought of it like that before! So thank you for your years of service to the online community, it has been a tremendous help and encouragement to this family!

  • Carla says:

    Happy birthday! I have been a reader for a few years, originally finding your blog after hearing an interview on our local Christian radio station. I love your recipes, and how open and honest you are. Living in the Seattle area where cost of living is pretty high, I have really appreciated your recipes for cooking from scratch as well as practical ways to stretch our money. Have a wonderful year!

  • April says:

    Hi! I am a stay-at-home mom of 4 and began reading your blog in 2008 right around the time my first child was born. I was just quitting my job and our income was cut in half, so your blog was so helpful in learning how to make it all work. Your blog was the first blog I ever read or followed, and it’s almost always still the first one I check. I’ve followed a few others over the years, but your blog is the only one I’ve consistently followed. I think part of the reason is because of your tone–you are always upbeat and encouraging, yet honest. And at the same time, you’re very good at the second point in your post–being a cheerleader while challenging your readers too. I’m very thankful for your diligence in continuing to blog–you have been an encouragement to me!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Crystal! Today is my 33rd birthday and it is my goal to be able to look back next year and reflect on such positive changes is my life. I too am a perfectionist who is becoming more and more comfortable with the beautiful messiness of life. I hope to be more relaxed, surrounded by loving and fulfilling relationships, financially and physically fit. 32 was a decent year for me and 33 is going to be better I’m sure. Thank you for your inspirational post and I LOVE your Periscopes in the morning. Thank you for all that do and all that you are. Happy early Birthday and safe travels.

  • Cindy says:

    Hi Crystal! I am a 41-year-old mama from Kansas with 3 kiddos…girls ages 10 and 8 and a boy, age 5. I have been reading your blog for years…actually I think I used to even read another blog you had for awhile…one on which you posted more homeschool-type stuff? Anyway, I started reading this blog for the deals, especially the drug store deals, and financially it really helped me through the transition of leaving the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom. Since then, my priorities have shifted and I no longer invest my energy in finding the best deal, but in becoming the best me…and maybe in some ways that has been inspired by the ways your content has changed over the years too. I appreciate your honesty, openness, and encouragement and find so many of your recommended resources and ideas to be extremely inspirational. I am just finishing up the Make Over Your Mornings course and through the daily projects, I have made so much progress in living my days the way I had wanted to be living them, but was failing to do. My mornings and evenings are so much more peaceful and enjoyable and I have really jumped into things I’d been wanting to do. Instead of rushing to get things done and falling exhausted into bed, I am consistently getting Bible Reading in everyday, I found time to take my kids jogging in the afternoons to train for a kids mini-marathon, and I signed up for a photography class that I always wanted to take. Once I get all the way through the course, I plan on taking a second run through it and tweaking things a bit further, living the life I’ve dreamed instead of just letting life happen to me. Thanks for persevering and choosing to put yourself out there even when it’s hard. You have made a significant difference in my life. And I am better for having “met” you! Happy, happy 33rd Birthday!

  • Kati says:

    Happy, happy birthday! I’m not far behind you… but I can totally relate to this post………… well, most of your posts, truthfully. I appreciate your honesty, transparency, and realism. I’ve been following your site for about a year now. Does it offer everything I’m looking for? No. But neither does any other site. That’s the beauty of the world we live in – we have the freedom to create what we believe in, and the freedom to choose what we use to meet our unique needs as individuals. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great job. You touch more lives than you realize. I find comfort in knowing I’m not the only person who feels “stuck” in a particular spot, or who had a massive epiphany just before going into the operating room. Thanks for doing what you do.

  • LeaDawn says:

    Crystal – happy birthday! I have been following your blog since 2009. I love how it has transitioned from a coupon/deal focus to an inspirational/real life blog. I feel like your blog has changed as my needs as a reader have changed. My husband is in his 4th year of vet school, and I work from home part time and care for my 3 boys. We try our best to work hard and minimize our debt. I love your thoughts and insite and words of encouragement. I can’tell wait to start attacking our student loan debt and making financial traction.

    We are also Christian, and I love how your love for Christmas shines through in your decision making. I love your compasion and pasion for giving. You are an inspiration to me. Thanks for all you do!

  • Rachel Jones says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I have been following you for several years now and always find something that interests me, is useful or makes me think about changes I’d like to make in my own life. I live in Utah with my husband of 21 years. We have three kids at home and one married with baby #2 on the way in a few weeks. I truly appreciate your positive, uplifting and Christlike messages. I also love how down to earth you are. Best wishes for a great year and Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings for you and yours.

  • Jenna says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I have been reading the blog since the beginning of this year. I honestly have no clue how I found it but I have been so blessed by your transparency and the real life that you share. We moved to Independence, MO the first of the year and became a single income family. We don’t have any children yet but are praying that the Lord would see fit to bless us with a child. Your blog has given me many ideas to stretch our budget and to be a better steward of our resources. I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip!

  • Lora says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I have been a follower since 2009 and I also enjoy your book, ‘Say Goodbye to Survival Mode’. You are a great inspiration to me and I find your posts very helpful! I am 36 and I was surprised that you are younger than me just because I feel that you write with such wisdom. Thank you for your offers, you have inspired me to try new things, such as Life Action Camp..(I think we may have been there the week after you), that I would have never done with my family had I not found out what a great experience it is through you. Thank you for all you do! Happy birthday!

  • I have been a reader for the past several years and I look forward to hearing about what is happening in your world. I love your insight and your faithfulness to our Father.

    Happy Birthday.

  • Melanie says:

    I’m originally from SC and my pastor husband and I came to Nevada 6 years ago to start a church. I’ve been reading your blog for 5-6 years and I love it! I’m almost old enough to be your mother but I have learned so much from you. I’ve couponed for years but following you helped to bring me into a new era of it. I’ve been able teach others from what you have taught me. I love how open you are in your writing! I love the posts from your sisters and the family recipes too. Happy Birthday to you! Praying for you and for your trip!

  • Abbey says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years. I am a quiet reader, as opposed to a loud commenter. 🙂 I appreciate your content posts, like this one. They cause me to think through areas of my life in fresh ways. I appreciate your emphasis on setting goals, being gracious, and learning from difficulty. I am a Christian, a mama of three (one of my little ones has Cystic Fibrosis, which continually challenges me to grow), homemaker, wife.
    Thank you

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal!

    As someone who is going to turn the big 3-0 this fall, I can identify with the points you made. It feels good to be growing into my self and understanding more deeply who God made me to be. It also feels good to be able to accept God’s grace – and other people’s grace – more readily than I did ten years ago. I keep having momentary pangs when I realize I’m going to turn 30 soon, but when I sit down and think about it, I’m not sure I’m sorry to be leaving my 20s. I learned and grew enormously in my 20s and I am grateful for each year of my life, but I’m also grateful for who I am now and what the future may hold for me in my 30s.

    I comment occasionally but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever introduced myself. I’m a homeschool/unschool graduate and I live in the midwest. I am unmarried and have no kids and I work in the social work field. Ten years ago, I assumed I would have met Mr. Right and started a family by the time I turned 30. I also never imagined myself ever working in social work. But I find myself embracing joy and finding contentment with my life right now, and after spending many years struggling with depression and processing through anger and unhappiness, I am grateful for being able to deeply feel joy and contentment these days.

    I have been following your blog for several years, and I was an occasional reader of your older blog as well. I have appreciated and been encouraged by your openness and authenticity as you share your personal stories on your blog throughout the years. Thank you for sharing yourself with others and for being a great example of Christian living! Once again, happy birthday!

    • “I’m not sure I’m sorry to be leaving my 20s. I learned and grew enormously in my 20s and I am grateful for each year of my life, but I’m also grateful for who I am now and what the future may hold for me in my 30s.”

      I loved this phrase! Thanks so much for taking time to comment!

  • Caroline Deeter says:

    Hi Crystal. Happy Happy happy birthday!! Your blog is a such ministry to me. You encourage me, challenge me, inspire me and teach me constantly. I absolutely love your blog. I have been a follower since 2011. I homeschool my kids too and I love reading about your homeschooling experiences, among everything else. The Lord has blessed your voice and you are such a wonderful example of a child of God. I can’t tell you how many things I tell family and friends about what I read on your blog. You gave my husband and I the courage and direction to pay off all of our $96,000 in debt in the last 3 years which includes our mortgage. The principles in your books have helped us achieve “audacious goals” as you say because you taught us how to break it down into bite sized pieces. God bless you. Thank you for all you do.

  • Brenna says:

    I am 42, live in california, ive been reading your blog for around 4 or five years. I have a sweet husband and four children. I came here for the money saving ideas. Ive enjoyed the variety that your blog has become. Your words often inspire me. Blessings to you!!

  • Diana says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal!

    My name is Diana, I am 27 years old and I am from India. I moved to US two years ago with my husband, we are in NC right now. I am a quiet follower here, I think I posted a comment once or twice in the past. I had a hard time when I reached US, I didn’t have a clue about budgeting in dollars since my brain was thinking in Indian rupees. Then I got introduced to your blog through a random google search and I have to say, You are a life saver! I love your inspirational posts a lot. And I love your family. Your posts have helped me change my perspective on many areas.

    May God continue to use you! You are a blessing!
    Diana.

  • Jennifer M says:

    Happy Birthday! I don’t comment often, but I’ve been following your blog since about 2008. Sad to say, but we’ve grown apart. I used to read or skim every single post, but now I only click your emails or FB posts when the subject line is intriguing. I almost clicked the unsubscribe when I was last trimming my inbox, but I just couldn’t do it — I’ve “known” you for too long! haha

    I hope you have another great year! I’m one ahead of you and can say 34 was a pretty good one. : )

    Jennifer in TX

  • Have a blessed birthday, Crystal. Thanks for your generosity to share what you learned over the years. You are indeed a blessing to many.

  • Cindy says:

    Hi Crystal. I will be turning 33 in a few days) and live in South Africa. I’ve been married for 9 years, have two little girls and I am a music teacher. I’ve been reading this blog daily for about 7 years I think. Crystal, you are such an inspiration to me- in fact, you are my role model in life.

  • Tracy Timberlake says:

    I’m so glad to read you’re coming back to South Africa! The weather is beautiful at the moment. I live in Johannesburg but will be in the Cape Town area serving with a missions team 3-10 Oct. If you need a ‘local’ for anything, please call on me.

  • Connie Vassilev says:

    First of all- Happy birthday!!

    Second- I found your blog at a time when I was at home with small children and needed every bit of help with saving money. Learning the in’s and out’s of the drug store game has saved us so much over the years and allowed us t bless so many from our stockpile as well.

    Third- I’m glad you learned how to say “no” at such an early age. I’m still trying to learn that lesson.

    God bless you and your precious family. Proud to call you a Tennessean now!! I was just tickled pink knowing you were moving to Nashville.

  • Dori says:

    I have enjoyed your blog since I found it so many years ago – you are encouraging and positive about life, even when it’s tough. Happy Birthday and thank you for being a good influence on women of all ages!

  • Jessica Painter says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I hope you have a blessed day. I read your blog daily but am one of the quiet ones. I don’t comment. Not because I don’t think you have great ideas, because honey let’s face it you are amazing. And I feel in my busy schedule the good Lord speaks to me through you at times. I have bought your book and learned so much from it, and your blog. You inspire me to live each day more in the moment. God bless and enjoy your day

    With love and hugs
    Jessica

  • Miranda says:

    While I’m not a Mom myself, I really enjoy reading your Blog. You always have such great tips and tricks, and opinions on things. Being 31, I find the advice of someone who seemed to just go through the same thing and being able to reflect on it very timely.

  • magdalena salameh says:

    Happy early birthday!!!!! I love love love your blog and I have been following for a couple of years now… I just turned 39 and I am realizing how my priorities are changing as I am nearing 40…. and I love love love reading your posts about the changes you are making in your life… I can so relate! Hope you have a wonderful trip next week and an amazing birthday!!!!!!!

  • Karen says:

    Hi Crystal, Happy Birthday! This is my second go-around with you and your site. I have been having vision problems all summer, and had to reduce the amount of reading I do. Slowly adding a few things back.

    Currently living debt-free, with no mortgage payments or car payments. Adjusting to living on DH’s retirement income; it is challenging at times.

    I do enjoy the site and the information provided. Thank you!

  • Tonia says:

    Hi Crystal
    I’ve been reading your blog since your oldest daughter was born. I signed up recently for your Makeover your mornings course when it was on sale. Really good. Thanks.
    Keep up the good work and happy birthday.
    Tonia (from Australia)

  • Cayla L says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I’ve been reading for about a year and a half & I can’t begin to tell you how helpful your blog has been. I’m a perfectionist also, and with a two year old & a baby, you have helped me realize that it’s ok to lay aside lofty aspirations of a perfectly clean house 24/7. I’ve learned so many things from you, plus gotten some awesome deals and freebies! =) I’m always amazed when you write about people emailing you with complaints. You seem to have such grace with these type of people. Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

  • Louise says:

    Hi Crystal, I have been following you from your very early blogging days (all the way from New Zealand). I’ve loved watching your family grow and been inspired by you so many times!! I really feel like i know you now 🙂
    Love Louise

  • Charleyne Sedore says:

    I have been reading here for over a year now. I love your grocery and cookin/meal planning tips. Although my 2 children are out on their own and I have grandkids, your ideas are so good I tell others about them, and use them for my husband and I. We have 3 to 4 of our grandchidren all summer, every weekend and every Wednesday. Cooking for 6 can be expensive. I love what you do. Keep it coming. Thank you. Happy Birthday.

  • Sarah G. says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I am a sahm to 3. I have been him for 7 years now. I think I have been reading your blog pretty much the whole time! You are an inspiration to me, I admire your discipline. Some people long to meet movies stars or famous singers, I want to meet money saving mom! Lol! Enjoy your day and keep up your great work! Happy Birthday from Michigan!

  • Melodie says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m 41 and currently 36 weeks pregnant with our second child. I’ve been married for 18 years with 14 of those spent wishing for a family. God graciously granted that desire 4 years ago with the birth of our daughter and we were pleasantly shocked earlier this year to learn we would also be blessed with a son! Not where I ever thought I would be at 41 but isn’t it great how God knows what we need better than we do?! We waited so long for our first child that we knew we wanted her to be at home as much as possible. We committed to making whatever lifestyle changes were necessary to make that happen. Right after her birth I was offered my dream job and following much discussion and prayer, we moved to a new state, I started a job that I adore and my husband became a full time stay at home dad. It is never what we envisioned but it works oh so well.

    I’m quite the perfectionist and your blog helps give me the freedom to release a good bit of that! It encourages me to let things go and focus on fewer things. I have a demanding job that provides little time at home, yet I also want everything in my home to be perfect. So much of what you write helps me to focus on the more important things – just spending time with my daughter. Thank you for always keeping at it. You really do make a difference!

  • Ashley says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal! I have been reading your blog for a little over a year and have loved the transformation in your writing! I am almost 28 and the struggle for perfection is/was real, especially in the “Mom comparison department.” But, your encouragement and grace-filled words have really inspired and challenged me. I strive to be intentional, I strive to give it my best and then let it go, I strive to make wiser financial decisions because life is more than just in this moment. These are just a tiny glimpse of what I have gleaned from your site. I still check your posted sales and coupons, but embrace how your blog is about rich living (in an emotionally/relationship healthy way). Thank you! Your blog is a blessing in so many ways ?

  • Jessica says:

    I’m Jessica and I’ve been reading since 2007. At that time, my husband unexpectedly lost his job and our first child was turning 1. Now she’s 8, and we have a 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter too. I’ve had unexpected health problems over the years also, including post-partum depression after my son was born, Hashimoto’s disease and several surgeries on my sinuses and mouth.

    Over the years, I’ve quit my job and become a SAHM/WAHM mom. I do copywriting from home. I love being home and the flexibility that working as an independent contractor offers. If a child is sick, it’s not a problem. If there’s a special event, it’s okay. I can be there!

    I’ve also been able to enjoy the outdoors more and start a new hobby – knitting! I’ve crocheted for 28 years- I taught myself from a book when I was 8.

    You inspire me with your clutter-free living!

    Happy early birthday and safe travels to South Africa.

  • Andrea says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I am a long time reader (I can’t even remember how long!) but I have been reading faithfully ever since. I’m 47 and a homeschooling mum of one from Canada. I love your honesty and transparency. We are all just doing the best we can and despite our different circumstances we all have that in common. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Mary m says:

    Yes! I’ve been a reader for long enough I can’t even remember how long. Somehow you always hit right on what I’ve been struggling/pondering. I’m a mom of 6 turning 36 in a few months. I’ve spent the better part of my young adult life making babies. Suddenly I woke up the other day and realized I’m headed towards 40 and after that is 50, how did that happen!? What did that happen?! It all seems so close and looming and I still think of myself as my 25 year old self because that was how old I was after my firstborn. This realization also came with the one that I am a grown woman now and don’t have to answer to anyone but Him and that was very freeing! Thanks for all your uplifting words!

  • Deborah says:

    Hi Crystal! Just wanted to say hello, and let you know that I have benefited from the content of your blog for a LONG time! I appreciate your ideas and the time you spend to be specific (but not legalistic) about how things are going in your life. I am also a homeschool mama, so seeing a peek into how those things work is also a great encouragement to me! I purchased your course this summer and have just (this morning) started the MOYM lessons. I’m really looking forward to what I will learn! Happy Birthday!

  • Ashley Harrison says:

    Hey Crystal! Happy birthday! I am Ashley, I am an almost 30 year old stay at home/ homeschool mom of an almost 2, 4 and 6 year olds. I have been a quiet reader for at least 7 years, you have been a friend in some very lonely years. I love the deals but seeing your family grow and walk in faith thru life is inspirational. God uses you to ministry to me and my family often! Thank you for all do!

  • Hannah says:

    Hi Crystal! My name is Hannah. 🙂 and I’ve been following your blog pretty much since I got married about a year ago. It’s been SO helpful and very encouraging to me. My family used to go to New Hope in Wichita several years back, and I remember talking with you a couple times, but I wish I had made more of an effort to get to know you! I really hope I meet more ladies like you to learn from. 🙂

  • Amanda L says:

    I have been reading since before I had kiddos, so at least 5 years! I started reading for the deals, but have stuck around for your deep and honest content pieces. I love how you share your heart and speak truth! My 2 and 4 year old girls benefit from the deals you share here. I just picked up a fun Crayola Christmas gift after a post you did yesterday. You are inspiring and so refreshing with all the negativity on the Internet. I am just entering my 30s and hope I can use your advice to make them the best decade yet. Happy Birthday!

  • Suzie says:

    I’m a lurker! But, I have benefited so much from reading when I can…I just don’t have time to comment. I credit your book on kicking survival mode (along with another) for helping me get out of a huge slump about 1.5 years ago. Have a Happy Birthday when it arrives.

  • Therese Allison says:

    Happy happy birthday! May you continue to grow in God’s grace and wisdom.
    I’m a 45 year old mom of 6 children and 7 grandchildren. Today is my “baby’s” 18th birthday. We will be empty nesters in the not too distant future. I know most of the young moms can not even begin to imagine that day coming but it does and all too soon so pour into your children while you can. Other than our walk with Christ there is nothing more important.
    Thank you for all of the encouragement and good info!

  • Jacque Ellis says:

    I have been reading your blog for several years. I started when I first started couponing. I used to sort of skim over the blogging portions and just look at the money saving tips. Now I do the opposite. You are a great writer and I love how you write about real life. I’m 35 years old and my husband and I have tried for years to start a family. Reading about your fertility struggles reminds me that there are plenty of others out there that have the same issues. You are always encouraging and uplifting. It saddens me to know that people take the time to write hurtful things to you. (Seriously, don’t people have better things to do?) I am glad you have decided to publicly address how you deal with them, because it shows how strong of a person you are and that is even more encouragement for the rest of us.

  • Joy A. says:

    My name is Joy, my husband and I will soon be celebrating our 6 year anniversary and we have four children ages 5 and under. I have been reading and following your blog back when you were running Biblical Womanhood and then have followed and read this blog from its birth. Happy Birthday!

  • Gloria says:

    Happy Birthday! I check your blog everyday (mostly, I do have 4 children)! Your words speak to me and always seem to fit what I’m going through at times in my life. Your encouragement is what always keeps me coming back and all the extras (savings and tips) are the frosting on the cake!

  • Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be hitting 33 in November myself… I began following you back in 2010 when I became a sahm upon the birth of my first. You have been such an inspiration and source of wonderful information. I grew up with a single, working mom, so I never really learned homemaking skills. I am now a sah-homeschooling-mom and this information is vital! From freezer cooking, to organization, to routines, to inspiration…. you help me with it all! In fact I even hosted a goal and routine setting meeting for my moms’ club based on your information that has transformed my life. The best of everything I have learned from you is to give myself and others grace. Thank you for continuing to write, teach, and encourage!

  • Lauren says:

    I started reading your blog about 6 years ago. I had a new baby and longed to stay home with her. I checked in every day to find deals, and to learn about menu planning, new recipe ideas, and frugal living. I’m now homeschooling my 3 little blessings, and feel soo thankful. We live in East Tennessee close to Chattanooga. My hubby is a Senior Pastor of a small church, and works as a DBA for a company in Chatt. I turned 34 in March, so I’m right here with you. Thank-you for all that you do, and Happy Birthday!

  • Sheila says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, and I must say that I’m excited that you live in Tennessee. I live in Brentwood, and I keep thinking at some point our paths will cross. I appreciate your honesty and how you don’t write to impress others. You focus on what’s important in your life, and you aren’t afraid to share the struggles that you may encounter.

    I’m a true only-child perfectionist, and I struggle with giving myself (and at times, those I love) grace to be imperfect. I’m still a work-in-progress, but I’m a happier person when I can acknowledge those moments and redirect my thinking to what’s really important to me and my family.

    Safe travels, and maybe I’ll run into you one day!

  • Amy says:

    Hi Crystal! I started reading your blog when I had my first daughter 2 years ago. It has really helped me during my transition from working full time to being a stay at home / work at home mom. I have learned so much from you about budgeting, couponing, mothering and giving myself grace. I just had my second daughter 4 weeks ago. I’ve done so much better this time around because of what I have learned here. Thank you! Happy birthday!!

  • Cherry says:

    Happy Birthday! I just celebrated my 34th birthday this month as well, and I too, feel like I’m learning much of the same lessons. Your recent focus to stop being awesome and instead be wise was spot on!

    I read your blog everyday. My favorite posts are the personal ones, esp. ones with cleaning or organizing tips. Yet, many times my husband will ask how I heard about a good deal or how I was able to save so much money on something and I’ll tell him, “MoneySavingMom!” No kidding. Thanks for your hard work!

  • Janice Morrow says:

    Dear Crystal,

    Here I am delurking:-) Happy Birthday! I can’t tell you how many times your articles have come at the “right on time moments” for my life. I started reading your blog about 3 years ago. I’m not a big blog reader, but I enjoy reading your blog! Seeing your God stamped humility and vulnerability touches my soul. Thank you for ministering to me in specific ways.

  • Christine B says:

    Happy Birthday! I wish you lots of blessings this year! Thank you for sharing your tips, your book recommendations, your joy, and your life with us! I enjoy your site so much. God bless! 🙂

  • Jayme says:

    Love your blog, have been reading for a long time!!! Keep it up, you’re helping so many people save money and do better in life.

  • Laura says:

    Hi, Crystal! Happy birthday (next week). 🙂 I’m a long time reader – been reading since your Biblical Womanhood days (and the other one about homeschooling little ones…can’t remember what that one was called anymore).

    I’m from Minnesota and have been married for 7+ years. We have four children (all 6 and under) and life is crazy go nuts! I also work from home part-time so I’m juggling that on top of all of the care-giving and pouring myself out day after day. I love the encouragement that you provide here and the positive environment you strive to uphold – there’s so much negativity in the world and it’s nice to come to a place where you and others are building up instead of tearing down. God bless you and your family, especially as you go to South Africa next week!

  • Rachel says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal! I love Jesus and am married to a pastor. We have two precious munchkins, a 2 year old boy and a five month old girl. Your blog has been a blessing to us! Thank you for living an obedient life.

  • charity says:

    HI Crystal hope you have a wonderful Birthday and a safe trip to and back from Africa. You are a beautiful example of a God Honoring woman inside and out. I appreciate all that you write and do for this blog it pours words of encouragement into my life just at the right moments. I have been reading your blog every since right before you closed down your other personal blog (Sorry don’t remember when that was date wise.).May God bless you with another great year of life and load of accomplishments for him!

  • Cheryl S says:

    Hi Crystal from Northeast Kansas. I started reading your blog about a year ago. I always looks forward to your posts they are the first thing that I look for and don’t scan past. Thank you for being honest about your life and not sugar coating it. Life isn’t always pretty.

  • Hi Crystal! Happy early birthday!
    I have been reading your blog since 2008, I believe. I have enjoyed watching you change and grow and have been inspired many times by you openness and frankness.
    A little about me: I am a homeschooling mother to four girls. One turns nine today, once turns ten on Friday, one is seven, and the youngest is four. Our days are full of drama and giggles. My husband is an artist (jasonsacran.com) and is handsome, kind, and very supportive. I will turn 34 tomorrow, and I’ve often thought that if we lived closer (I live in AR) we would probably hit it off. 🙂
    I hope you have a great birthday week and keep posting what you feel led to post. It’s fantastic.

  • Happy early birthday! How fun it will be to celebrate in South Africa with your family! I’m 33 turning 34 later this year also, and have been following your blog since way back in my single teacher days. Now, I’m married to my wonderful teacher husband and a stay-at-home Mom of a 18 month old little boy, with another one on the way (due shortly before my birthday). We’ve always lived frugally so this stay at home dream would be a reality. You always provide wonderful encouragement in the journey! I love the personal things you are willing to share…and you are right. We can’t please everyone all the time. It’s freeing to realize that. Keep being who you are, and shining for Jesus in all you do!

  • Linda says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I’m a long-time follower since 2008.

    I emailed you back then thanking you for your wonderful blog that has taught me so much.

    While my needs are a little different now, your blog (and you) still feed me.

    I suspect your journey next week will also feed you in ways that can’t be explained unless you are there experiencing it first-hand.

    Praying for travel mercies for you and your family, that the people you meet there will see Jesus through you and that this is your best birthday ever.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Amber Dixon says:

    I think you are WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for all that you do!

  • Sarah N says:

    I’ll “de-lurk”. ? I’m Sarah(33) from Minnesota, wife of almost 13 years and mom to two boys(11 & 9) and a girl(7). I’ve read your blog for pretty much as long as it’s been around. It’s incouraged me tremendously, esp during the time when my kids were very little and we had little resources. Now I’m inspired to keep bettering myself from your blog and I really enjoy your daily periscopes. Happy Birthday!

  • Shawnda says:

    Hi Crystal, I’m Shawnda from Rochester, NY. I have two boys and my oldest is just around Silas’s age. I’ve been reading your blog for years now and while the deal posts are great, I really draw inspiration from your journey. Thanks to you, I remind myself that what I’m doing is ok and that it’s ok to say no to things. Happy birthday and safe travels!

  • Pam M says:

    Happy BIrthday !! What a great way to celebrate ! I will look forward to reading about your trip. I have been following your blog for awhile now and enjoy how down to earth it is. Life isn’t perfect and we need to be reminded of that. God is good and sometimes we forget how wonderful our lives really are. Glad to read your post today and hear how if everything isn’t always as perfect as you feel they should be you are still good with that.
    Enjoy your BIrthday trip !

  • Rosanna Powers says:

    Hello! I have had your blog on my facebook and quite honestly don’t really read many blogs. I love your honesty and down-to-earthiness. I can relate to so much. I will be turning 34 next week too! I have to say I learned the same things in my 33 years. We learn to embrace life more, have more fun and just choose joy in life. I wish it was something we learn at 23 but, I will take it better late than never. Enjoy your birthday and I love the fancy/sporty outfit look. It’s like a mullet for an outfit, business on top, party on the bottom.

  • Lexi says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I’ve been following you since 2009…you are the first blog I ever read and started to follow consistently. The wisdom you share has helped me many times. I’ve started several conversations with my husband with “I read an article on money saving mom and it made me realize”. Most recently I had been slipping into the mindset that we needed to take on a car payment. Sharing one “well loved” car was just not convenient anymore. Then you posted an article about that. Thank you!

    Thank you for all you have poured into your blog and investing in others for all these years. It seems that God is really blessing you. And I love seeing photos the last year that seem more fun and silly and like your embracing who you are and having fun!

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi Crystal!
    Your blog is one of about 2 that I regularly read!! I love your honesty and simplicity with life. I love your love for God and family. I hope your next year is beautiful!

  • Mary R. says:

    I’m stepping out and “de-lurking” also. I’m Mary, 31 years old (32 in November!), wife to my amazing husband and momma to our little girl who is 16 months old. We live in Southwest Missouri. I’ve been reading and following your blog for several years now and I really enjoy it! Your blog was the go-to place for me to find Dillon’s deals but when they stopped doubling coupons over 50 cents and eventually left the area, it made me really sad.

    Anyway, your latest blog post was great! I’ve also struggled with trying to please everyone and since I really stink at housekeeping, especially with our little one around now, it’s an encouragement to be told it’s okay to not strive for that perfection. Also, I’m encouraged by the fact that you’re not afraid to tell people that you love Jesus!

  • Susan in St. Louis says:

    Happy Birthday!! And enjoy traveling with your family!

    I don’t comment much these days, but I still check in often. I’ve been reading your blog since 2009…can’t believe it’s been that long! I’ve definitely seen you/your blog evolve over that time, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed observing the process. Though your blog is different now than it was then, I know that you are in a much healthier spot personally, and that is the far more important thing.

    Thankful for you!

  • Danielle Douglas says:

    Hi Crystal –

    I’m a 43-year-old mom of four and a Boston girl who now lives in Worcester, MA. I have a feeling we’re very different politically/religiously, but I love that you don’t make that a focus of your blog, instead focusing on aspects of your life that allows for different types of people to connect, too.

    I discovered your blog when I was at a tough time in life – I’d just learned that I was unexpectedly pregnant with twins. This came at a time when I was looking forward to returning to my career (I’m a medical editor for a well-known journal), at least part-time. I’d LOVED being home with the older children, but was ready for a change and this unexpected blessing threw (control freak) me a curve ball.

    Looking back, I was experiencing prepartum depression (I eventually got badly needed treatment for postpartum depression). Besides the crazy hormones, part of the reason was our financial situation – we were drowning in debt from fixing up our 100-year-old house and now my plan to work more and pay down the debt would not be possible for several more years.

    I stumbled upon an article about a local woman who fed her family for almost free with coupons. I read her book and began couponing. This new obsession led me to find your blog. I enjoyed reading about your quiet, simple life (I’m a very social person and mine tends to be go, go, go, with lots of activities and chaos). I found it very soothing. I also was amazed to read about your financial history – it was so foreign from what I’d been exposed to. Your recommendations led us to Dave Ramsey. Three years later we were debt free! We are currently working on our emergency fund. The freedom this brings us is amazing! Thanks so much for helping us to find our way.

    My twin girls are now four years old. Life really got easy last spring when they became fully potty trained. We have such a close, loving family and I know it was meant to be. These past few years of challenge were so worth it because I truly appreciate how good life can be now. AND, being a mom of four (including twins), I’ve really learned to let go of control, perfection, and worry about what will be. It’s so much easier. (As different as we are, we are SO similar, too!)

    Your blog has definitely changed since I began reading it, but I totally get it and identify with way you and your family – and your needs and interests – have grown. Although I do miss the quiet reflections on your home life (baking with the kids, freezer cooking, just organizing a cabinet), I’m so happy for you in your exciting new endeavors (speaking, South Africa). I think it’s great that you are staying true to yourself.

    Thanks for being a part of my life!

    Danielle

  • Mary says:

    Hi Crystal,
    My name is Mary and I’ve been reading your blog for a little over a year now. I’m married to a wonderful, God loving, faithful man for almost 8 years now. We have two boys. Maxwell is 6 and Calvin is 4. We live in Indiana.

    What I appreciate most about your blog is your honest transparency. Your willingness to “put it out there” in a way that encourages and at the same time challenges me. Thank you.

  • Jen says:

    Hi, I’m Jen from Kansas City. I’m 32, and I started reading a couple of years ago when I was overwhelmed that I couldn’t figure out who to be the best mom, have the best budget and manage a full time job and family. I married a wonderful man who had 2 older boys (one is autistic) and we had a baby quickly as he was older and didn’t want to wait too much longer. I was thrown into an instant family and needed help. Your blog has been helpful to me – mostly to just chill out and know I’m not alone. I’ve gotten a lot of usable advice here. Today I’m doing great and eventually my job allowed me to work from home. It’s been fantastic and I plan to keep doing this as long as possible. 🙂

  • Sherri says:

    Hi! I’m Sherri from SC. Married for 20 years, mom of four (10,12,13 and 16) . I have been reading your blog for several years and I LOVE it! You were the first to teach me about couponing, which I still try to do. I love the CVS deals you post each week. My favorite posts are family, organization and living frugally oriented. I love moneysavingmom and I will remain a loyal reader!!

  • Stephanie says:

    I am Stephanie a SAHM to a fantastic 5 year old boy who just started Kindergarten 🙁 I have been married for 6 years (we have actually been together for 21 years) to a wonderful man. I have been reading your blog for about 5 years. I really love your postings about friendships this is definitely an area I seem to struggle in. So reading #2 about friends that cheer and challenge you was a reminder of the kind of friends I want in my life. Have a great Birthday and thanks for all the great posts.

  • Amanda says:

    Hi, Crystal! I’m Amanda (31) from Virginia. I’ve been a long time reader and follower. I think I started reading your blog in 2007/2008. I love all your posts. You’ve helped on my frugal journey, as well as my personal journey in life. Several of your posts have touched me and encouraged me throughout the years, along with several posts that practically helped me too. I’m learning to be less of a perfectionist as well, to let go and let life happen, to be more patient. I’ve also come to realize life is really messy, things don’t always go as planned, but like you said, it’s okay if it’s not perfect. 🙂 Look forward to hearing more about your journey.

  • Emily says:

    Hello Crystal,
    Happy Birthday! I’m a new stay at home mom of a 10 month old baby girl! I’m 27 years old. I’m a certified teacher working on my masters online and a Pastors wife! I’ve been reading your posts for about a year, I appreciate your posts about saving money and different things you learn! Because of you, I’m a faithful Aldis shopper! I can relate to the feelings of trying to please Everyone and perfection, I am working doing my best but not changing who I am! It is a very hard balence for pastors wives/ministry leaders and bloggers like yourself!
    Many Birthday Blessings to you and your family!
    Emily

  • Melissia Dillmuth says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and I had the pleasure of meeting you in Colorado Springs when you did a taping at Focus on the Family. Our family (w/ husband & 3 kids) recently moved from CO Springs to South Korea to work in the Voice of the Martyrs office there, serving North Korean defectors across Asia (www.vomkorea.kr). Although there is nothing I would rather do and it is very rewarding, the ministry is often challenging and draining. I continue to follow your blog and am always encouraged to keep serving, even when it is not easy. Happy Birthday!

  • Dana says:

    Happy birthday!!! I think I’ve commented once before (other than a giveaway!) but this is an easy bday gift! I started reading maybe 3 years ago to follow deals, then decided that couponing wasn’t for me and I’d just shop at Aldi instead. I’ve stuck around to follow the journey of your sweet family and get inspiration to be the best wife, mom, and friend I can be!

  • Linee says:

    Just wanted to say an early Happy Birthday! May God bless you and keep you.

    You do an incredible job and more people need to start realizing how much work goes into what you do.

    You could not have chosen a better country to celebrate your birthday in, South Africa is the best country in the world 😉 I hope that you have an incredible time!!

  • I said it on Facebook and I will say it again I LOVE that you are blogging on here more. I love that you allow guest posts because their perspective is important and unique, but I love that we get to hear mom from you!

  • Susan says:

    Crystal,
    First of all, happy birthday! I am in a different stage of life than you, with a son about to graduate from law school in May, a daughter graduating with her undergrad degree in December, and my youngest a junior in high school, but I can honestly say that I find your blog so encouraging and your spirit so up lifting. You are wise beyond your years! Keep on doing what you are doing and keep on sharing your wisdom with others. It is obviously the calling God has placed on your life! Hugs from Louisiana!

  • Lisa says:

    Hi! I am “de-lurking.” Living in SE Mass, married with a senior in high school, I found you a couple of weeks ago because of the Marie Kondo method and must finish how you made out with that, lol. Also, look forward to your trip. Enjoy and “Happy Birthday!”

  • I’ve been a reader of yours since before you were blogging here…Biblical Womanhood…was it? Anyway, that really encouraged me through college, and then you started this when I was a new wife and mom, it’s been a wonderful blessing! I’m so glad you shared about Dave Ramsey; I’ve been a listener and it’s led me to become interested in finance (and motivated me while we were living on hubby’s smaller-than-mine salary for our first year of marriage while we paid off my student loan) and now I’m a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. I’m not in the USA so the deals aren’t for me these days, but I love your content posts and Periscopes.
    Safe travels and a happy birthday!

  • Candace says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I’m Candace from Michigan. I’ve been reading your blog for about 5 years and still find it very informative and useful. I would also like to let you know that I ordered the “Choose Joy” t shirt and get compliments and comments on it every time I wear it. It really seems to resonate with a lot of folks. Thank you for all you do and Happy Birthday!

  • Jessica says:

    De-lurking:) I’m about to turn 30 (gasp!), from small town MN, full-time working wife and mother of two little girls. I kind of idolize your blog. I know you’re always talking about how you don’t always have it all together, but it sure seems like you do! My hubby works 50+ hrs/wk and still manages to be the Sunday School teacher at our church. I work 40 hrs/wk and struggle trying to get my girls to dance and basketball practice while trying to fit in house cleaning and an occasional date night! We live in the country so there’s always 3 hours of mowing the lawn in the summer or just as long to plow the driveway in the winter. Finding time is ALWAYS a struggle.

    Your blog was the most helpful when I NEEDED to be frugal in 2008-2011 when I stayed home with my girls. The money issue isn’t as tight since I went back to work, but I still find myself reading your blog every day for the normalcy of it all. Up north here it’s harder to find families living their faith. But ‘lurking’ and being seen, only in the background of course, is pretty much how Minnesota Nice came to be. Honestly I’m not likely to comment much (this is the 1st time in 7 years…) but I thought I’d let you know how much I enjoy reading what you put out there. How incredibly brave of you to just let your misgivings be known to the world. Here I am nervous that I even had to put my name at the top!

    Thank you for all you do and God bless you and your family:)

  • Mindy May says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy Birthday!! I read your blog daily and even wake up to watch your Periscope every morning. I am from a suburb of Chicago, IL and I have 3 children (12, 3, and 6 months). You are definitely teaching me some wonderful things! You are doing a great job and I enjoy hearing from you every day!

  • Beth says:

    I’m 35, been reading for several years. I identify strongly with your words about friends that challenge you. I recently just had to slowly wean ties with a friend because I realized that she was draining me emotionally. I still love her and wish her well, but I could not be the person she was wanting as we are in totally different stages of life. Now I’ve realized that she was not building me up, but merely putting me down to make herself look better. I’ve made some huge changes, dropped 30 pounds, and I don’t feel so sad and unsatisfied with myself. I’ve had to focus on what type of friendships I need and have started to make new connections. I had to step back and see that I am a good person with very special gifts to offer.

  • Leianna says:

    Happy Birthday! I am seriously only writing because you called me out, I am one of the lurkers. I have been enjoying your blog for all of about a month. I started following when I bought your Make Over Your Mornings course. The course was (is) awesome and I am so glad I finally did it!

    I am a stay at home mom with 2 littles, 3 and 1. My life is full of blessings and change. I am learning to let go of perfection, learning how to be a better friend. I have already accepted that I’ll never please everyone, for some reason that one came naturally.

    Have a wonderful trip and again, Happy Birthday!

  • su says:

    Dear Crystal,
    Wish you a very Happy Birthday.
    I am following your thought process through your blog since 2012. I cannot end my day without reading what’s on your blog.The experiences you share,you write about your personal growth as person it helps me to understand about our family life too. You always encourage us to LIVE GOOD LIFE and not just spending day.
    Thanks for sharing and making us part of your learning through your own journey.
    Thanks

  • Rhonda Cochran says:

    First off Happy early Birthday! I hope its a wonderful day and trip for you. I have been lurking/reading for over 5+ years. I started couponing with a real gusto about 2010 after seeing some of my local ladies on morning programs. I believe I found you because one or more of them started putting some of your blog posts on their websites… (consumer queen, simple savings savvy, money saving queen and coupon closet). I found your website although not local to me, still relevant and refreshing. I love personal stories, love learning about your family and the day in day out things going on. I like to know the people behind the posts. Keeps it fresh and fun. Just wanted to stop in and say “Hi” and hope you have a many more wonderful birthday’s and blog postings to come.

    Rhonda
    Oklahoma

  • Catherine says:

    I have been reading this blog forever, it seems. I gave up commenting and reading comments year’s ago because so many people are so mean and nasty on the internet. Then, if I find a place where they are not, I don’t get anything done! 😉 I’m very glad you moderate comments. No-one needs that kind of nastiness in their life. Keep writing, it’s so worth it!

  • Jaclyn says:

    Happy Birthday!! I’m 33 too. 🙂 I’m from Southern Illinois and have been reading your blog since I became a SAHM in 2008. My husband and I have been married for 13 years. Those years have been a roller coaster of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I love to read your blog and have to admit that yours is the only one I check and read regularly. I love how honest and encouraging you are. Thank you so much for all you do!!

  • Kim says:

    Hi Crystal! I’ve been following you for many years now and I always appreciate your wisdom and insight. I was able to meet you at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati, OH a couple years ago and to this day my husband STILL teases me about how giddy I was to have a personal, face to face conversation with you! You are a beautiful woman inside and out! I wish you a very happy birthday! I will be praying for your trip to South Africa. It has been my lifelong dream to do something similar, so I will live vicariously through you!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi! I hope you have a very happy and blessed birthday next week! I’m Elizabeth, 26 yr old single person, and I’ve been reading since college :). When I was in college, and even now as I pay off loans, I really needed the money and coupon tips. But just as your blog has grown since then, I have too and I love all parts of your blog!! It puts a smile on my face when I’m down and reminds me I’m not all alone. Thanks for being so open and honest! Many blessings 🙂

  • Debbie says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been following your blog since before you were pregnant with Silas. I’m a married CPA with two adult children. I am inspired and impressed with your writing skills, money saving ideas, and ability to act on your money saving ideas by purchasing your home and rentals without the need to take out a loan. I’ve used your redbox rental codes on numerous occasions – thank you! Thirty four years old … you’re still a youngster.

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi,
    Happy Birthday!! Loved this post as I am learning not to people please, but to try and please God. Working hard on that every day. Thank you for your encouraging and real posts. I am a homeschooling mom to 3 wonderful children and a wife to a great husband. Thanks again for all your hard work that you do to help others!
    Hugs, Becca

  • Jen says:

    I’ve been a “quiet lurker” for about a year and don’t really like commenting, but felt I should to let you know that you are an encouragement to me. I enjoy your blog because I can identify with the constant struggle to be perfect. I think that is why God in His wisdom blessed me with 11 children. I actually used to try to co-ordinate our outfits and my husband’s tie on Sunday mornings when my older children were young–now we just try to make sure everyone has clothes and shoes on in time to make it out the door!

  • steve cousins says:

    Nearly retired, married to wonderful girlfriend, stay at home mom and partner for 36 years. Financially independent due to living within our means and saving aggressively. Don’t read as much for advice but more to celebrate younger adults doing life right. I’ve always tried to spend time with people who win at life. You are doing that because of your faith, your family and a tender heart. It’s an honor being hit friend

  • Christen says:

    Happy early Birthday Crystal! My name is Christen, and I live in Birmingham. I’ve been a loyal reader for over 5 years now! I have 5, soon to be 6 children, ages 7 and under. I have learned so much from reading your blog through the years; everything from grocery budgets to freezer cooking to homeschool ideas to healthy eating and most recently makeup tips?. Your blog and authenticity has been a true blessing to me! I look forward to reading your blog for many years to come!

  • Ruth firl says:

    Happy birthday to you:-)

  • Holly says:

    Also de-lurking. I’m Holly from Kansas (hey from the home state!) and I’ve been a reader for over a year now. I check your blog everyday (it’s one of my three daily morning stops) and I love it. Even though I originally started coming to read on the frugality tips and coupon deals, I’ve stayed because I love the stories you tell of your life. While we share very little besides being married and loving a good deal, I find you super inspiring, mostly because you’re not perfect, which I adore. I also struggle with chasing perfection and I’m trying to learn to let things go as well. Anyways, thanks for the wonderful blog.

    P.S. And a very happy early birthday!

  • Amanda says:

    Happy Birthday! I have been following you for at least 6 years. I love your blog and check it every day. Thank you for all of the great inspiration!

  • Julie says:

    Hi, I’m Julie, 31, wife and mother of 5- and 3-year old girls. I’ve been reading money smart stuff from your website for about a year, but moreso in the last few months, as I love to read and see your honesty about money and life! Happy 34th Birthday!!

  • Becky Hurrie says:

    Thanks for the article and Happy early birthday ! I don’t usually comment much on your things but I have been a follower for probably 5 years? Crazy how time flies!
    I am a homeschool mom to 4 kids ages 3 to 8. I will be 33 next month so I really enjoyed this article! I can relate to a lot of things you say and sometimes not but that is the beauty of diffirent personalities and we can all learn from each other (well almost all ;-))
    I also love that you are visiting South Africa again…I think I mentioned before that my husband is from there.
    Thanks for all your hardwork with your blog! I hope you have a special time with your family.

  • Carla says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal. I’ve been reading your blog for a lot of years now, and appreciate the encouragement to make to do lists and get things done. I am the mother of a large family and need to keep moving to get everything done that needs to get done. Also, you show me some areas that need to be taken care of, like encouraging those around me, that don’t come naturally to me. Thanks for this blog over the years.

  • Kaari says:

    Hello! I’ve been a reader for about 6 months and really enjoy it! So many thought provoking and helpful posts! My husband and I live in northeast Ohio with our 3 kids: 2 boys, ages 6 and 3, and a little girl who just turned 2. I am a licensed occupational therapist but am currently a stay-at-home wife and mother.

    God bless you and your family! Happy birthday!

  • Erin says:

    Hi! I’m Erin and have been keeping up with your website for past year but a lot more the past few months. You have been such an encouragement to me and I love reading you’re post!
    As you’ve been going on this journey of taking a step back and not putting unrealistic expectation on yourself, it’s also something The Lord is dealing with me on. I’m a momma to 3 kiddos 4, almost 3 year old, and a 13 month old with number #4 on the way in January. We are also in the process of church planting and my husband is working full time as well. I’m always feeling pulled in a ton of direction and see all the things I’m
    not doing right or should be doing. Needless to say, I put a ton of pressure on myself to be this perfect mom, wife, homemaker and now pastors wife. I think I should be up early in the morning, exercising, having a quiet time, getting breakfast started, having play dates all the time, having a spotless house, etc because that’s what a good mom/wife is. Even if I’ve been up all night with a teething little one that’s still what a good mom should be.
    My sweet husband has always been so supportive and told me time and again I don’t need to be this perfect person and try to have everything perfectly together.But it wasn’t until this past weekend that The Lord really got my attention on how my kids and husband don’t need a super mom or superwife, they just need me to do realistically what I can do right now. The Lord started breaking me of the insecurities I had of why I felt like I needed to do things perfectly and juggle everything, when something’s I didn’t even need to have on my plate right now. As you have said, it’s truly freeing now as I start to evaluate my commitments, my passions and my family and how I can truly make more of an impact being who God has made me, not who I’m trying to focus myself to fit in a mold to be. I’ve gone back to making the time to write and simplifying things to be focused on my main callings.

    I just wanted to again say that I appreciate so much your honesty of where you’re at, as it’s been such an encouragement to me and helped me to see that I’m not alone in this walk or the pressures we put on ourselves, but how God doesn’t want all these unrealistic expectations on us. He just wants our focus on Him, living our lives in obedience, and being filled with His love so we can pour out love to those around us. So thank you again! And I hope you have a wonderful birthday! ?

  • Allison says:

    Happy birthday! I am 34, live in Cleveland, OH, married, working mom of 2 boys. Love your blog and been reading it for about 7 years, only blog that I regularly read. I just feel like I can relate to you… You are so real and as far as personal growth I love your views and encouragement. Nice to know people are going through similar experiences. I really LOVED your book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I enjoyed MOYM too. Thanks for doing what you do! You rock!

    Hope you have a wonderful trip with your family. I know you will all bring so much good and love to South Africa.

  • Mary says:

    Hi Happy Birthday! I have been following you for awhile. I love the encouragement I receive from your blog! Thank you for all you do!

  • Deborah says:

    Have a terrific birthday, Crystal!! May your new year be blessed abundantly!

    Loved your list of things and areas you’re growing in. God has been growing me in some of them, too.

    I also had to laugh at the three lengthy e-mails that were sent to you. Not that it’s all that funny or fun to receive them. I just shook my head and laughed because they felt the need to explain why your blog wasn’t helping them instead of just using their time and moving on and finding a place that was inspiring them. What funny creatures we people can be!

    Have a great week!

  • Lisa says:

    Happy early birthday Crystal! My name is Lisa from North Dakota and I have been following your blog for five or six years now. I do not come to your blog for coupon specials and deals. I come to read your blog because you are very inspirational to me. Your blog is so much more than just money saving tips it is a place where I can come to better myself and to get motivation. Thank you for what you do, you provide me inspiration every day. I am loving the periscopes that you do also. thank you! “delurked” 🙂

  • I comment sometimes, but I wanted to say Happy birthday! I’m a couple of years ahead of you in age, but around my 33rd birthday I started wondering why everyone is afraid of their 30s. I am loving my 30s! It’s a time to really discover who you are and what’s truly important. I’ve never felt so secure in who I am as I do now. I’m so happy to see that you are finding the same things. Not that we don’t have growing to do, but we are more confident in which direction that growth is headed.

    Anyway, enjoy your birthday trip!

  • Ruby says:

    Hi Crystal!
    I am in my early 30s and have followed your blog for four years. I completed Makeover Your Mornings and also found Trim Healthy Mama through you, which is now helping me lose those ten to fifteen pounds I’ve gained since our wedding and since having five kids. I love your practical advice. Thanks, and keep it up!

  • Nikki S. says:

    HBD Crystal! I am a long time follower but have never commented. Thank you for your positive outlook on life! I enjoy following you here and on Instagram. Your posts are always a bright spot in my day.

  • Katy says:

    Happy birthday! I’ve been reading your blog since 2008 or 2009. I used to be hard-core CVS extra bucks girl during the recession. Ah, times have changed (okay, so CVS really changed how much I could get free from Extra bucks!). I still remember emailing you when you were either pregnant with Silas or had just had him to wish you well during that special time. I was feeling nostalgic since my last baby was born in December 2006. You wrote back a simple but heartfelt thank you and I was forever a fan just because you took a minute to write back. I’m in Michigan and I blog, not profitably but soul-satisfyingly, at ExperiencedBadMom.com. Again, Happy birthday!

  • Heather N says:

    Happy Birthday!

  • Lori says:

    Lori here – part-time participator, and full-time lurker! Love your blog, especially personal updates like this one. Wanted to mention how blessed I have been by expanding my circle of friends to include folks who need a little more “pouring into”, because of age or circumstances, and maybe aren’t always able to reciprocate. Once upon a time, I had a person befriend me during a time when I needed it…and it literally changed the course of my life. My prayer is that I can pay it forward and use my friendship to lift someone else up 🙂

    • YES! Absolutely! Sometime I need to write a post on the three levels of friendship I seek to have in my life — the mentor friend, the two-way street friend, and the mentee friend. I think it’s so important to have all three!

  • Laura says:

    I started following your blog to learn about being more frugal and using coupons – which I did. I enjoy your Instagram posts. I have three daughters: one aged 23 who lives and works in CA, one aged 20 who goes to college in NY, and one aged 18 who just started college in OR. My husband and I live in MA. This year was a milestone for me because when I had breast cancer 9 years ago at age 44 my primary goal became being here (in every sense) until all my girls were 18 … and I was blessed to be able to do that!

    My signature is also gotten increasingly messy as I’ve moved toward my current outlook on life – embrace the chaos. Hope your next year is messy good!

  • Tyna Begley says:

    Love your site. I also realized in my mid 30’s that I didn’t care so much about what others thought of me. It was very freeing. Of course, I now only wear my hair in a pony-tail.

  • Melody Benschoter says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I sure appreciate how much you’ve grown and how willing you are to be vulnerable and real here on your blog. You are an encouragement that it’s ok to be who God made you to be!

  • Doretta says:

    Happy Birthday! I don’t have time to read all your posts but I really appreciate your blog. I have been blessed to see how God has used your “five loaves and two fishes” multiplying them to bless thousands of others. May God continue to give you grace and wisdom as you graciously, vulnerably share your journey with us. I believe that only eternity will reveal the long-reaching effects of your labors.

  • Melissa says:

    I am an avid reader and lurker. Happy birthday! I just turned 34 as well and have three children. I am an attorney, married to a teacher/national guardsman, and life is so busy. For several years now, I have spent hours poring over your site, admiring how you get so much done. There was a time I had to walk away from reading here because I was discouraged at how little I was able to get done. But I realize that I do (most days) the very best I can with what God has given me. I can’t compare but I can learn and grow from and appreciate the things you offer your readers. I absolutely love this site and am thankful for it!! Keep up the great work!!

  • Misty says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I want to thank you for your honesty in blogging. I love your blog because you are willing to share so much of your personal life: the good, the bad and the ugly. I love that you are not afraid to be human! Keep up the good work.

  • Chelsea says:

    Hi Happy Birthday Crystal. I have been reading your blog for about a year & we have some things common: we both love Jesus, homeschool, & want the best possible deal! My husband & I have four children & live in Washington state.

  • Jessica Menster says:

    Hi Crystal!
    You are right- I am one of your “lurker” readers! I’ve been following you literally for years and you are the only blog that when I type in an “m” on the google search bar- it goes directly to your site! Every single morning and several times a day I check to see your new posts- why? Because like you, I’m in my 30’s- (38- how did this happen so fast?!!!) and I am, by choice, a stay at home mom. I have a master’s degree in my field, but feel that right now, while they are school age, my kids and family are who need me most. It is so hard sometimes and you really inspire me to stick it out and not fall to the pressure of the outside world telling me to go back to work. I have followed your tips about how to start a blog and I joined the Blogelina class with free hosting you offered a couple of months ago- little by little I’m figuring it all out and am starting my own blog- still working on getting the design and the rest just right- but, hopefully soon I can share some of my own thoughts with the world too! Thank you for all you provide regular moms like me and a huge Happy Birthday to you!

  • Kelly A. says:

    Since it’s your birthday…..I’ve been reading your blog for YEARS….and have never, ever left a comment. I’m a follower of Christ, wife, mommy of three, and full-time working mom (occupational therapist) from southeast Michigan. I very much enjoy your blog and read it daily. You inspire me, encourage me, and make me smile! Happy Birthday….and keep up the good work.

  • Venestina says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I’ve been following your blog for some time now. I usually dont leave comments because I never know if they are read or if they make a difference. Right now Im going thru so much on my life that finding a balance just seems impossible. We need to get it together to get out of debt, and finally my husband and I are on the same page about finances (it took a while and getting ourselves into so much debt lol ) and reading your blog gives me hope. I would love to start living frugally, to enjoy the things in life that money cannot buy, enjoy my kids and prepare them with the tools they need to grow up.
    My husband and I live in NY with our two girls, 4 and 1 year old. We would love to move out of the city for a better lifestyle for our family, and we are just starting to get ready for that. Getting out of debt is the first step and reading that it can be done really helps.
    Thank you so much for your work, it has really impact my life and I wish you many blessings!

  • Jessica says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve read your blog for the past 4-5 years. I started reading your blog so I could learn how to save money. I also enjoy reading about your personal life. You’re not afraid of being vulnerable and showing others your struggles.

  • Rhetta says:

    First of all, happy birthday! Second of all, I love your blog. It is one of the very few that I read (semi) regularly. I am a 30-year-old wife and working mom of two young kiddos, so saving money and enjoying life while doing it are two of my top prorities! Like you, I did a good bit of reflecting on my most recent birthday, and found that “perfect” just doesn’t have the allure that it once did for me. I am really focusing on making this the year where I learn to enjoy God’s presence in the ordinary, every day moments of life. That’s where His glory really shines for me and through me. If you haven’t read the book “Simply Tuesday” by Emily Freeman I highly recommend it! Thanks for the great blog content and keep up the good work :).

  • Susan says:

    Hi Crystal! I have been a quiet reader for several years and have never left a comment on any social media site. But I wanted to participate in granting your birthday wish! I have learned so much from your blog. In fact I will be turning 49 in two weeks and I wish I knew now what you know at 33! Keep up the great work and have a blessed birthday!!

  • AshleyB says:

    I’m a long-time reader, but I’m not sure I’ve ever commented. Maybe once before? I don’t remember

    Anyway, happy birthday from Raleigh, NC! I teach at a local university, and my husband and I have one child who is fourteen months old (his name is Silas!). I started following your blog when my husband and I were just starting out and on a very, very strict budget. I loved your practical tips!

    I have kept following, though, because I love your honesty and the peeks into your life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Donna T. says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal!! I have been meaning to write for a while now to let you know just how much you and your website have inspired me. In passing, a fellow couponer mentioned your website — this was, wow — five years ago! Upon returning home, I visited Money Saving Mom for the first time, and I’ve been visiting several times a week since. You have inspired me to plan menus (we ate way too much fast food back then), set goals, and focus on becoming debt-free. I have especially enjoyed your one-hour cooking sessions — it’s amazing what can be accomplished. Mostly, I just appreciate how you put yourself out there, even writing about your own challenges and difficulties, so that we can remember that life isn’t all roses for anyone. I credit you and Money Saving Mom for helping me get so much closer to my goal of being the best mom, spouse, and person. So, Thank You, Safe Travels, and Blessings to you and your Family!

  • Jennifer Roberts says:

    I have read your blog now for 4 years and I love love it! Yet more importantly I love your heart! As a sister in Christ I cherish that so much! Your morning scopes inspire me and challenge me so much. I just want you to know that you are being used a vessel to so many people sending a message of hope, being intentional, and living a life of meaning. Also as a recovering perfectionist I am gleaning so much of your journey to let it go and it does not have to be perfect! May God continue to Bless you and your family.

  • Leah says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been following you for a few years now. Thanks for encouraging me throughout the years to live a frugal but full life.

  • Stacey says:

    I have been reading your blog for….six or seven years now I guess. Total and complete lurker, I admit it.

    Happy Birthday to you!

    I so enjoy reading your take on things and while the approach and the lense that you look at the world may not always be the same, I still enjoy the read. Always. Its something I look forward to every morning.

  • Jen says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal. Love your learnings from this year — especially the one about recognizing that some readers aren’t going to find what they are looking for from your blog and that’s okay. No one person can be all things to everyone and recognizing that fact is so important…even for those of us without a blog! Since starting to read your blog, I’ve gone from working full time with two kids, to SAHM, to working part-time. During my different “seasons”, I’ve focused on different aspects of your blog. Time management, money saving, learning to say “no” :-)!! Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • Lacey C. says:

    Happy birthday from this busy reader 🙂 I don’t have time to interact regularly on the blogs I follow but hope your comments section on this post is particularly full. Hope you have a great birthday!

  • Carol says:

    Keep up the great work!
    Your openness is a breath of fresh air.

  • Tara G. says:

    We’re a military family currently in AR and I found your blog years ago when you were in the law school years. Thankful you’ve continued to share your journey- it’s brave and encouraging and very much appreciated. Blessings on your family as you travel and minister and receive, too! AND Happy Birthday!

  • Tonya says:

    Happy Birthday! I have also been a long time lurker and this is my first comment. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Even though I am older I appreciate reading and gleaning from your blog. I especially like the post about goals for your health each month. I appreciate your honesty and transparency.

  • Melissa says:

    I suppose I am generally a quiet reader, I have popped up a few times and commented. 🙂 As a fellow blogger, I understand well the things you face, and yet am continually inspired by the way I see Jesus in you. Your drive for honesty and constant genuine words makes your blog a safe and inviting place. While I enjoy the deals you share, you heart and journey with God and your family is what keeps me coming back to your blog on a daily basis. Keep up the beautiful work!

  • Zoe Rohr says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Happy Birthday. I am a relatively new reader (about 1-2 months). I found your site when I started trying to budget and save money on groceries and meal planning. I would have to say you and Passionate Penny Pincher are my favorite blogs right now. I love what you do and look forward to reading your posts, although I don’t often have time to comment!! Hope you have a lovely birthday and keep doing what you are doing!!

    Zoe

  • Kris says:

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter…I am in Auburn, AL and have been lurking for close to 5 years!

  • Kassie says:

    Hi Crystal,
    New reader here. I think I’ve looked at your site before but because I live in the rural hinterlands of Utah and can’t coupon or bargain shop (1 grocery store and a Family Dollar in town)
    I didn’t think your site was a good fit for me.
    However, I listened to your podcast on Powerofmoms.com and decided to check out your mornings course. I signed up to take the course and its been so helpful. So I thought I’d check out this site and I’ve loved watching your old scopes. Thank you for all you share. Currently I’m waiting on an ILL at my tiny library to read Simply Tuesday 🙂
    I am a wife of 28 years, with 9 children, ages 26-4. Still learning 😉

  • becky says:

    I read your blog every day. I am a single adoptive parent and I marvel at how much you get done each 24 hours. You are providing something helpful and I wish you well.

  • Julie says:

    Happy Birthday from Indiana! I hardly ever comment on blogs for some reason. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time–since your old one. I think it was called Biblical Womanhood or something like that. It was the first blog I ever read. This blog encourages me in setting goals, working on my grocery budget, finding good books to read, and many other things. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I am more than 10 years older than you and still haven’t figure out the “you aren’t going to please everyone” thing. It is exactly what I needed to hear today. I am a high school teacher and yesterday one of my students made a negative comment to me about my class (which I totally pour my heart into each and every day — I see it as a mission) and it bothered me for the rest of the day and on into the night. I literally have made myself sick over it even though there’s more than a hundred other students who are getting so much out of my teaching. Talk about focusing on the wrong thing! Thank you for your little reminder that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. You have definitely lightened my load today! 🙂

  • Leeann says:

    Hello and Happy Birthday! I’m also 34 this year and have been reading your blog for years. I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment, but I don’t remember for sure. I only follow two blogs and yours is one of them. I really enjoy checking each day what you are up to and what deals you have. I have told many friends about your blog. Thank you for all you are doing! I really appreciate it!
    I live in Idaho and have five little girls. We love to read and love hearing about the books you are reading. You inspired me to start a blog where my girls and I are reviewing books. I just got signed up with Tyndale to review their books and got my first free book to review! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Happy Birthday!

  • Lacey says:

    Hi, single mom of two boys 7 and 4 (my whole world). And I work with the National Guard as a nurse and in the emergency room. Love your blog! Appreciate all the hard work you put into it 🙂 Shout out from Mississippi<3

  • Mary Johnson says:

    Hi!
    I’ve been a reader for 5 years, I started reading your blog to get store deals. Your blog helped us get out of debt, learn to cook from scratch, get new recipes, realize we are not alone on frugal living.
    I also homeschool my two daughters I love hearing about your goals, fitness ,and homemaking ideas . I have grown and learned so much from you!! Thank you!
    I’m a 31 almost 32 year old stay at home mom who doesn’t feel so alone anymore 🙂

  • Gencie says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal!
    I’m a 5+ year MSM follower from Kentucky, and I love your blog and your heart! My husband is in seminary and we love to save money however we can. Thanks for all your motivation in every area (self-discipline, homemaking, time management, finances, etc) – I really need the push sometimes and I can always count on your blog to motivate me!
    Enjoy your trip to South Africa! Take lots of pictures for us!

  • MJ says:

    I’ve been lurking for several years. We live in IL and have 2 preschoolers. I’m in my late 30s and love the current direction of your blog. Thanks for openly sharing with us. Have a wonderful birthday!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been reading here a couple of years…actually, I think you had a blog by a different name, something about homemaking or I can’t remember, I read then too. I enjoy your personal posts above and beyond the coupon and “deal” posts.
    We have three children and are just starting using Sonlight for homeschooling.

  • Emily says:

    Hi Crystal!

    I’ve read your blog for many years but never commented. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being yourself and doing what you do. You are a blessing!! I have been encouraged time and again by your transparency and authenticity. You and your family are beautiful inside and out! Thank you for sharing yourself ?

    Lots of love from a reader in Oxford, Mississippi ❤️

  • I’ve been following you since way back in 2007-far enough back to have been reading your old blog.
    *You inspired me to cut our grocery budget which helped us get through on one income even when my husband’s work gave him 6 weeks of furlough. *You moved my heart to consider homeschooling which I had strongly protested against even though my husband was a homeschool graduate.
    *You have helped me get my act together as a homemaker and focus on keeping my home neat and organized.
    *You have inspired me to work at paying off our mortgage early. Lord willing within the next 2 years (10 years instead of the conventional 30).
    *Finally, you have inspired me to start a blog of my own. I’ve always wanted to, but in my season of life it was just not going to happen. I feel our family is ready to take on this new challenge. I pray it opens doors and helps us reach our financial goals!

    Thank you for all you’ve given and may God bless you on your birthday!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi there,
    I am a reader of your blog for about 3 years. I love the perspective you offer. Your blog motivates me and encourages me when I am feeling down. I am close to your age and I cannot say how much I can relate to your post about feeling comfortable with who I am now. I feel much less need to please others unlikke 3-4 years ago. I would try so hard to make everyone happy. And often it was at my own expense, or my family’s expense. Thank you for being so honest and open. It is greatly appreciated! Keep up the great work! You’re awesome!

  • Lily says:

    Happy Birthday! I love your blog and enjoy getting ideas from all your guest bloggers as well 🙂 I was actually coming on here to tell you about a deal that I found today. I have two girls and inevitably they wanted to be Elsa and Anna this year and rather than fight it to outfit them in a creative and homemade costume (like I usually do) I decided to just go with it. I scoured the internet and ended up finding a super deal on Costume Express – with their code “COSTUME40” I got 40% off and they have $5 flat shipping as a promo now as well. I got BOTH girls costumes shipped for $23.95 (less than ONE costume in a retail store). Win!

  • Faith Dossett says:

    Hello Crystal, I’ve read your blog since Biblical Womanhood, so I’ve been with you for several years. I’ve enjoyed watching you “grow” through your blog. I live in northeast Texas about 40 minutes west of Shreveport, LA, and about 2 hours east of Dallas. I am a retired RN now; I retired in 2012 as a weekend telephone triage RN. Before that, I taught in the RN program at a close-by community college. My husband is also an RN. In the 1990s, both of us reached a stalemate in our careers; we decided we wanted something new and different. We went back to college together, got another Bachelors degree (nursing) and became Registered Nurses. We wasted no time in going to graduate school, and we commuted to University of Texas at Tyler. Each of us graduated from there in August 1998 with not just one — but two Masters degrees (MS in Nursing and MBA). We’ve been married 40-1/2 years. We are an integral part of our two grandsons’ lives (who live just a block away), and we are enjoying every minute of that. Congratulations on building your Money Saving Mom blog to something great; I am proud of all your accomplishments in all areas.

  • Diane says:

    Happy birthday! I’ve been reading about 6 yrs and have commented but I used to use my yahoo account which I had to delete after crazy amounts of spam not being filtered…..I homeschool and so appreciate your blog. We are debt free and it’s nice reading posts that inspire me and challenge me. After your grocery budget post last year, my husband and I increased our grocery budget and it’s been very helpful.
    P.s. glad you are feeling better! There’s nothing like feeling well after feeling awful.

  • Jessica says:

    I’ve been trying to un-lurk the last few months, because I appreciate you so much and have been following you forever (I bought Supermarket Savings years ago and haven’t left!). I am turning 35 next month, and I homeschool my 3 boys (10, 7, 5). I have stepped out of my comfort zone and teach a pretty full load at the community college in the evenings. I have learned so much from you. For instance, we eat together as a family every night. I have tonight’s supper in the crockpot that I will take with me to the college, and the boys will go on to sports practices after we eat in the faculty lounge. 🙂 I got into stupid debt about 3 years ago after being totally debt free the first 10 years of my marriage. I am working hard to pay it off now. I admire where you and your family are financially, and even though I am not there even after years of following, I still am able to approach each day with gratitude and vision. Love your scopes! Happy birthday!

  • Mary Beth says:

    Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!
    I have followed your blog for a few years. I appreciate all the knowledge you impart to your readers. I am a stay-at-home mom and I am always eager to save money and s-t-r-e-t-c-h each dollar as much as possible!!! You give me encouragement and support through your blog. The kids now say…..”did you learn about this on moneysavingmom?” It is fun to announce freebies/discounts that we can enjoy thanks to your sharing with us I am always telling my friends about you too and hope they will take advantage of learning from you. Thanks for your honest posts and showing us the “real” Crystal. I love how transparent you are and how you really have such a passion for what you do. I pray that you will contnue to press on and that you will have good health in the days ahead!

  • Michelle says:

    I haven’t commented in years, but wanted to wish you a happy birthday! I hope it is wonderful. I’ve been reading your blog since 2008. Since you’ve kindly allowed me a glimpse into your life, here’s a snapshot of mine: I’m 39 (yikes–how did that happen!?!), a mom of three little joys, a wife and an attorney. Your blog helped me balance our finances and even find ways to save after reducing our income by 50% to allow both of us more time with our kids. As a huge bonus, it is fun to read. Thank you for giving me the gift of a new perspective on life and finances. Again, happy birthday!

  • Cheryl says:

    Hi Crystal, Wait till your 44th birthday! I turned 44 in June, when I turned 34 I had 2 toddlers, now they are in 8th and 6th grade-enjoy your family and God Bless! I’d like to hear from you in 10years…..

  • Nicole says:

    Happy soon-to-be Birthday! I caught your scope this morning, and you are right. It’s simple to be a people pleaser-to follow the path of least resistance. It’s also easy to be a member of a clique, to have your ideas, actions, and words poured into you by the company you keep. What’s not so simple is living in our day and age, where speaking your truth causes you to not simply be a person of opinions, but a person gauged under the scope of single-minded, ambiguous, anonymously- driven criticism. Still harder, is finding the time and means to love yourself, to progress in your uniqueness when others prefer standing still. In a few short months I’ll be turning 33, and I thank you for your insights into your past year. It’s awesome to know that being a woman in your thirties just gets better and better, for more and more of us with each passing season! I needed to hear this today!. Thank you.

  • Mona says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I hope you have a great day! I turned 41 this year, but I quit counting at 28. 😉 I’ve been reading here for several years. I don’t remember how I found you, but I’m glad someone pointed me in your direction. Your posts on starting a blog from nothing are very inspiring to me and I hope to one day make a little bit from my blog. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Beth says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I’ve been a reader for 6 years or so and appreciate your encouragement and tips for saving money. Ours oldest (of 3) is a sophomore in college, and the other 2 are hot on his heels. I am an engineer and stopped working to stay home with my kids, but now it seems very scary to not be bringing in extra income with the college bills coming in. I appreciate all the options for earning income that you post. Thanks for all your hard work.

  • Caroline says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal!

    I am most certainly a lurker:). I can’t believe I have been reading your blog for 6 years now and never left a comment. I didn’t realize till today that we are the same age- well about- I have a few months till 34. I have three kids and love reading about deals and love your honesty about what you are going through in motherhood and life.

  • Kris says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I’ve been following your blog for years & have left a few comments now & then – one time you even responded immediately and I was shocked because I just wasn’t expecting a response, and you invited me to write/submit a quest post (which I never did). I have watched you and your blog change over the years and continue to work on more changes. I am happy to see you evolve in a way that makes you happy and see how much you have grown from the various posts. As a reader, I expect that not everything you post is going to apply to me, but that it is my job to sift and take what I can from your posts. Here’s the perfect example, for years you have posted about Aldi – but we didn’t have any out here in Southern California, so I would just read all about the good deals & think “man are they lucky!” and now – in the next few weeks, Aldi is opening up stores out here and I can’t wait to go try it – thanks to your blog! Keep doing what you’re doing and you will be just fine!

  • Emily says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal!!! I have been reading your blog for years, but rarely comment. I live in NYC with my husband. I am currently transitioning careers from a 9-to-5 into the entrepreneurial sector. It’s a little nerve wracking, but I’m excited and it’s inspiring to see how you support your family through this blog. I really enjoy the encouraging and thought provoking posts here, and the community of readers (and their guest posts) are wonderful!

  • Adrienne says:

    I’ve been reading off and on for 2 or 3 years. I started watching your periscopes about 2 weeks ago. I’ve really enjoyed them. Your such an encouragement. I’m a stay at home mom of 2 boys. They are 5 and 1 1/2. Thank you for what you do and Happy Birthday!

  • Summer says:

    Happy birthday! I am one of those quiet readers that is addicted to your blog. I have been reading it since almost the very beginning. Keep up the great work. There will always be people that don’t agree with you. I was just listening to a ministry speak on this on TV this morning and they were talking about how the enemy does not want us to fulfill what God has intended/planned for us. So simple and yet, so true. Be blessed. 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Happy Birthday Crystal! I also have a birthday coming up this week. I’m 1 year behind you.

      I’ve been married for 11 years to my first boyfriend and high school sweetheart. I’ve been a mother for 5 years now and am blessed with three children.

      I am a Christian, stay at home mother, homebirther (all three kids!), homeschool mother.

      I am a small scale homesteader who is still learning. We have way too many chickens for eggs (we go thru more than a dozen eggs a day and my kids are still small)! We have a few goats for fun and use their milk to make soap. I am an ameateaur gardener with large scale ambitions. I have over planted and under-produce the last two years I’ve tried gardening. I haven’t got into canning yet. I’m scared of not canning safely (and drinking raw milk) 🙂

      I am an organizing freak, semi-minimalist (I hate clutter), thrift store shopper. We live in a house with a 1,000 finished square feet and a basement and it feels plenty large. In fact, I want more children in the future if God provides. My house is plenty large if I keep toys at bay!

      I am a vegetarian but my husband is not. I make most of my food from scratch (simple meals) and I love my freezer.

      I read your blog because you are so encouraging and uplifting. Also you are a list person like me!

      I identify with you (perhaps I am incorrect) but I feel like an introvert who sometimes puts myself out there in the areas I am passionate about or the environments I feel comfortable in. Most of the time I’m happy staying at home with my family!

      I love seeing posts on organization and living with intention. You have found a ministry suited to your gifts! Keep on being an encourager!

  • Christine says:

    Happiest of Birthdays Crystal!
    I’m an older single adoptive and foster mom that works full time in MA and loves Jesus.
    Don’t know who long been reading but it’s been a blessing. I’ve learned money saving and organizing tips that allow me to spend more time and money (boy scouts, sports, dance) on my kids, won an Amazon gift card that bought diapers&wipes that foster care doesn’t pay for, great slow cooker recipes to feed hungry little mouths, and home school resources that supplement my kids public school education. I love minimalist tips; and I’ll get there someday, but just can’t let go. I know at some point I’ll need xyz for the next kid that arrives or another foster parent. I love your transparency, candor in a world where just about everyone else seems to have a hidden agenda. There’s something here for every type of mom, keep up the good work!

  • Happy Birthday Crystal! I have been reading your blog forever it seems like. I never knew that we had birthdays so close together! LOL!! I celebrated mine last weekend!! Many blessings to you!!

  • Maureen says:

    Hi Crystal! I am a quiet reader who enjoys your blog and your books. I live in upstate New York and I am the mom of a spunky 9 year old girl. I hope you have a Happy Birthday!

  • Rachel says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great one and look forward to hearing how you celebrate it. I have been a reader of your blog since Biblical Womanhood and didn’t you have “Moms of Littles” too? I told my husband a long time ago, that any family that can graduate law school debt free is someone I want to listen to. I am glad you archive your Periscopes on Katch.me because my Ipad now has IOS9 and I can’t find the app for Periscope anymore? Not sure what happened – long story on loosing all my data. Thanks for all you do. I have made an occasional comment here before – but not very often. I also purchased your Make Over Your Morning course for me and for a friend – so thank you for making that feature possible. Best Wishes.

  • Jo says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m married to the man of my dreams and first-time mom to a two month old baby girl. I’ve been reading your blog for as long as I can remember, You are such an inspiration to me, and encourage me every day I read your blog. Thank you for being so REAL!

  • karen b says:

    Birthday Blessings!! not real sure how long I have been following & have commented a few times. used to really love your freezer posts & it inspired me to do more freezer cooking plus I got lots of yummy recipes we still use 🙂 miss those. no not all of your posts have been a benefit for me but that is ok. wife of 24+ years & mother to a 19, almost 18, & almost 15 year olds.

  • sandra says:

    i am a “quiet” reader. just want to say how much i love your web site and how helpful it is. i am a 56 y/o Registered Nurse from Kingsport, Tennessee. You are doing a good service and a great job! Keep up the good work!
    P.S. i think i love best that you are an everyday person who shares her life with us!

  • Megan says:

    I have been following you for 4 years now. I came across your blog right after I had my son and decided to become a SAHM. Oftentimes your blog keeps me smiling when I’m having a hard day and gives me inspiration to keep on going. I’m now a mom of a teenager, preschooler, toddler and newborn. Thank you for all that you do and for sharing with us how real, life can be!

  • Ruth says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I’m Ruth from NE Alabama, wife to my wonderful husband of 30 years, mother to my beautiful daughter Aimee, homemaker, former homeschooler(daughter is in college), and loves the Lord. I have been reading your blog now for about 6 months, I’m glad you learned these things young because I’ve turned 50 and have just learned these things myself. Keep teaching because I’m learning!!!!! So very glad that you are feeling better. God bless you and your family!!

  • joely says:

    Hi Crystal and Happy Birthday. I have been following your blog since 2009 I think. I am a mom to a middle schooler, a full time working physician and a want to be (so far from there even with your help, LOL!) minimalist. I really enjoy your freezer cooking and meal planning posts, your inspirational ideas and your financial savvy. Thanks for your candor and your upbeat approach. I check your blog frequently as a way to relax and center myself throughout busy days and nights. Thank you for being you!

  • Anne says:

    Happy birthday! :o)

  • Angie says:

    I have been a silent reader here for almost a decade. I am a Missouri mom to 2 boys, 15 and 11. We homeschool and strive to serve God in everything we do. My husband and I have been married 20 years! We rented out our “dream” home 3 years ago, moved into a travel trailer, then a small shop home, and have never looked back. We are living off the land and excited to be going off-grid this next year. The amount of satisfaction we have received from letting go of stuff, and the expectations of “normal” society is so freeing!
    I would have to say that my favorite part of your blog is when it involves your family. I have enjoyed watching your kids grow, your marriage bloom, and your self-esteem flourish. Best of all is that God is obviously at the center of it all!
    Can’t wait to see how God uses you and impacts your family in South Africa.
    Happy Birthday!
    Angie

  • ANgie says:

    Hi Crystal 🙂
    Ive read your blog for years and I love it! I love how real you are probably more than anything else!

  • Amber F says:

    Hi! Although I would be referred to as a “quite reader”, I absolutely love what you write (blog and books), so I tell all my friends about you. Love how Real you are! Keep on writing! 🙂

  • Kathy says:

    I am a “quiet” reader. I’ve been following your blog since before you were pregnant with your son. So it’s been, I think, 6-7 years. Back then I didn’t have any kids and I was to embarrassed cause this is a mom blog and I wasn’t a mom. Now I have a 4 yr old and a 2 1/2 yr old. I have always LOVE your blog and have been always telling other people to go to the website. You are an amazing person and have love to see how u have matured and conquered so many situations in your life. It’s been an inspiration for me. I’m from south west FL., a stay at home mom.
    Thank you!!

  • Erin says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal!
    I’m a quiet, regular reader of at least 2-3 years. While we are different in many ways — my two boys are teenagers, I work full-time outside the home, and I live in Fargo, ND — I often find inspiration from your posts and the posts of others that you feature on your blog.
    Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with all of us.

  • Nicole says:

    I’m a wife and mom of an infant and toddler (boys) in PA. I’ve probably been reading your blog for three years or so. And it has been a real blessing to me in so many ways. Your family’s story is absolutely inspiring. I even made my husband read about how you and your husband worked through law school without debt. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Vicki says:

    I’ve been a long time reader of your blog. I love your blog and books. They have really helped me to reach my goals.

  • Tabitha says:

    I have been reading your blog for about 5 years. Not sure what brought me to your site but I have enjoyed watching your life circumstances change, children grow and seeing you encourage others to financial freedom. I want to say thank you for some of your more recent blog posts about how to approach life when finances become less tight. I am a mom of five (three bio and two adopted) who lives in SC. Thank you for following God’s lead and sharing life with “strangers!” Happy Birthday!

  • Angela says:

    Happy Birthday! I have been a reader about 4 months. I live in the Middle East, in ministry. Thanks for your great posts, they are always encouraging. And you are almost exactly 5 months younger than me. 🙂 And, feel special, I have never commented on a blog post in my entire life!

  • Tracey says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal!

    I’m a mom of 6 children, 10-19 (my only daughter is 12). I’ve home schooled my children from the beginning. My oldest two sons are graduated. My third son is a junior this year so he working on his generals at a community child through Post Secondary Education Option (so his tuition and books are free!). So I’m only teaching my youngest three.

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a few years. Before you were even pregnant with Silas.

  • Stephanie says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! You are such a beautiful soul! I have been reading your blog for a few years now and absolutely love it! Your encouragement and advice to live each day simply and authentically have really resonated with me! Whether it is making over my mornings, telling my husband everyday how much he means to me, or trying to save money at the grocery store, your advice is priceless! I totally agree that you cannot make everyone happy and that is something I am learning for myself too. I am going through a tough time in my life right now but I notice whenever I am on your site, your advice speaks directly to my soul and I instantly feel better! I hope you have a wonderful birthday surrounded by everyone you love!

  • Megan says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I’m a quiet reader who has been reading your blog since the beginning. I am a mom of 4, and your blog has been a blessing to me in these years of raising children on my husband’s teacher’s salary while sending them to christian school. You have really inspired me and helped me to stay within our tight budget. When reading your blog every day I realize that I’m not alone in this journey. Thank you for all your hard work!

  • chrystal says:

    I am also a quiet reader! I LOVE your blog and the simplicity of it. You have helped me save tons of money for our family and we’ve even paid off our mortgage, now living debt free! I am a mom of 2, ages 6 and 9, and live in NC! Thank you for all you pour into this site and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • cwaltz says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve read your blog on and off for several years. I came here originally to cut costs in my household. My life experience did not give me an upbringing that really taught me fiscal responsibility, it’s something I had to learn on my own. Fortunately, I’m not a horrible study. My present home is Virginia, however I spent over a decade in the Navy and served in a variety of places, including a year and a half overseas. I’m a bit older than you(by over a decade actually.) I’ve got a husband who loves me and has done so for over 2 decades despite my many failings. I’ve got 4 beautiful children, three now grown.

    Anyway, my extra years have taught me that our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses. You have a sensitive spirit and a kind heart Crystal. I suspect this may also mean you take offense and are hurt by criticism easily. Just because your message isn’t what these people need NOW does not mean that there will not be a point where they won’t/couldn’t be learning something from you. That doesn’t mean change, on the contrary, live your truth. It does mean though that we let God decide who we are called to serve instead of just dismissing people because in some way, shape or form they were disappointed with what you offered at a particular moment.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday again.

  • Jennifer says:

    Happy birthday! I have been a reader for 3 years. I love your great ideas for saving money and time. As a lawyer mom of a 4 and a 2 year old, I have little time to come up with creative savings ideas on my own. I really appreciate all of your effort and energy you put into this. May you have a very special day surrounded by wonderful people.

  • Sandra says:

    Happy Birthday! What a youngster, especially considering all that you have accomplished. Glad you are feeling better. I usually just read your emails but have discovered that not everything is sent that way so occasionally, on a lunch break, I will come over to the website. I work fulltime outside the home, raise two kids at home (one at college) and volunteer a lot so my bargains have to be easy. Your lifestyle advice is inspiring too.

  • Agnes says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I am a mom of three from Kentucky. I find you very inspiring. Thanks for always keeping it real! Enjoy your birthday. I just turned 47 a couple of weeks ago, so 34 sound young to me 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy Birthday! I’ve been a quiet reader for years…I don’t remember exactly when I started reading, but I think sometime around 2007-2008? I remember Silas being a baby. I am currently a stay at home mom to a 3 year old with another on the way. I love the posts that you write the most. Your blog is an inspiration for me to try to live frugally and within our means. Thank you!

  • Michelle R says:

    I live in Texas and have been following you for 5 years. I watch you on Periscope each morning with my kids and my family and I attended Life Action Camp the week before your family. What was your favorite part of Life Action Camp? My favorite part was the worship and teaching time. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

  • pat says:

    I’ve been a quiet reader for probably 3 years. I’ve commented a couple of times. I enjoy your honesty and your being real. I enjoy the frugal posts and family ones as well. Happy Birthday and have a blessed and safe trip!!

  • Kathy in Illinois says:

    Happy 34th birthday, Crystal!! I turned 64 the end of August! I live on a farm in Illinois with my retired {Corps of Engineers} husband of 40 years. I was a teacher and a substitute teacher, but mostly I was a stay at home mom. I have a son 37 {works at a major health insurance Co.} and a daughter 35 {works as a Kindergarten teacher in Denver, Co.} . I am a quiet reader but have commented a few times. I have been reading your blog for many years and enjoy it and love hearing about your sweet, sweet family. Your children are so cute and you and your husband are doing a great job raising them. Hope you have a lovely birthday full of love and lots of surprises!
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  • Christine says:

    Boy you are young! I had just gotten married when I was 33. I wished I had been married younger however I loved living by myself and taking care of myself and am glad to have had that experience. I was 35 and 39 when I had my two children. Enjoy your youth! I just turned 48 and am on HRT already! I literally thank God for the hormones. I feel so much better. Glad you are so happy with your life! Happy Birthday!

  • Brenda says:

    Happy Birthday! I too like many of your readers came onto your blog for deals but found a gem, you! You are a REAL inspiration and I applaud you for keeping true to yourself. Thank you for all you do and wishing you many more birthdays with family and friends.

  • Bobbie says:

    I am a lurker 🙂 I have been reading for several years. I have two very little children -20 months and 2 months- and I read for encouraging posts. I work in law enforcement. I’m tired. I am turning 30 next month. Pretty much sums me up 🙂 thanks for keeping it light and showing people that you are real. Moms have enough to to feel guilty about, we don’t need to hear about how perfect other people’s lives are so we can just feel like we are failing. Love your blog!

  • Davonne says:

    Happy (early) birthday!! I’ve been reading your site since the tail end of Biblical Womanhood.

    I live in northeast Kentucky and my kids are close in age to your kids so we always enjoy your read-aloud recommendations 🙂

    I’d like to share with you that my 8 month stint of overtime hours at my husband’s office are coming to a close this Friday & I’ll only be working about 10-15 hours per week beginning on Monday! My girls & I will plan to begin the Make Over Your Mornings course starting next week so we don’t lose this good momentum we’ve built of getting up & ready first thing every day.

    Have a safe trip in South Africa!!

  • Ali says:

    I can’t even remember how long I’ve been reading your blog. At least 3 years but probably up to 7? Happy Birthday! We are a homeschooling missionary family. I usually check out your blog while we are in the US (like now) but I also try to check in whenever I can when we are overseas. I’ve even won a giveaway a looooong time ago. Anyway, I enjoy all your little blurbs on here and jump in on a bunch of the deals and giveaways when I can. Or, if we are overseas, I alert my mom to some good stuff to buy and send us. Thanks for what you do here!

  • Theresa Queen says:

    I like “what you are offering here” my dear. I must cuz I have had you on my FB feed for some time now, whereas others, I have stopped following for one reason or another (and sure didn’t find it necessary to tell them-how shallow and insecure would that be). Keep up the good work, have a safe trip, bless you hunny-bunny.

  • Amy b says:

    Hi Crystal,
    Happy Birthday! ??? I’ve been a reader for about five years, and your blog is one of my favorites!
    I’m a Midwest girl, been married to my man for 6 years with two kiddos, ages 3 and 1. I stay at home with our kids, and have a shop on etsy. I used to work as a cardiac nurse, bit quit when I was pregnant with our second baby. I love to read, cook and garage sale!

  • Annemieke says:

    Happy Birthday from THE Netherlands!! Love your blog, I follow you on Facebook, Pinterest etc. I have learned so much from you, Thank you for that! Blessings, Annemieke

  • Cathy says:

    Happy birthday and hope the year ahead is filled with blessings. I have been reading your blog for years. The first one on saving money that I started reading. As I have gotten older(54), I have realized by showing our weaknesses to others, we can help them. In turn, they can help us. This is His plan, not stuffing it all in and smiling. The road is bumpy at times, and it is nice to share the ride with someone. So now I have DELURKED !

  • CindiS says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I have been reading your blog since 2008 or so. Married for 27 years with four children (homeschooling the final two through high school right now). Grew up in South America as a missionary kid and a bit surprised to find myself living in the US. Our family of six also lived in South Africa for 5 years and I cried through each post you wrote about your first trip there. I am so excited for you to make this next trip and to hear what God will do through you. I enjoy your blog for the practical information, the encouraging/inspirational posts, and the continual challenge to us as readers to continue growing with God in all areas of our lives.

  • Charissa says:

    Happy, happy birthday, Crystal! Money Saving Mom is my favorite website and has been for quite a while. You are a blessing to me!!

  • Janell in Georgia says:

    I don’t understand people that think they need to belittle someone. If you don’t like the blog, don’t read it. First they used their time and energy reading something they didn’t like and then used more time and energy because they felt the need to tell you they didn’t like you. There are plenty of more blogs out there, go find one. I read several blogs daily. Not every article they write pertains to my life. If the topic doesn’t fit me, I skip over it.
    I’m 45 (46 next weekend) and I wish I could be more like you. I have not reached the point you are. I have not learned to be happy where I am in life and not take offence to what people say. I am working on it though. Happy Birthday!

  • Heidi says:

    Hi Crystal! I’m Heidi from Illinois. I’m a part time nurse and full time mom of 6. Your blog has been a favorite of mine for years. I find it helpful, inspirational and real. Thank you for always keeping it real as you say…. and , please don’t ever listen to the haters. You are so right when you say you will never please everyone. There are so many negative people in the world. We definitely all need to focus more on the positives in life for sure. I’d love to attend one of your conferences some day. I’d love a chance to meet you ! Thanks again, and keep up the great work!!!!

  • Kim says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I’m so happy that your medical issues have worked out and you have rested and recharged a bit!

    I love your blog, love your starting your perspective and family/ professional adventures with us all!

    I’ve been reading for about 8 years. I’m 48 and live just outside Philadelphia!
    Your blog has given me encouragement over the years- thank you!

  • Sarah says:

    OK, fine, you want me to de-“lurk” so here it is 🙂

    I stumbled on your website back in 2011. I had a two year old and really wanted to get pregnant again. We were relatively stable financially, but hubby wasn’t ready for baby #2 yet. It took a miscarriage for me to be humble enough to listen to God tell me to just relax and wait for hubby to come around.

    So to divert my energies and focus from baby mode, I took up couponing. While I came to your website for coupon matchups, I stayed for the articles. Even after we did move forward with baby #2 and life got pretty busy (as a working mom with two little kids, then moving cross country and getting a new job while hubby worked on transitioning to a new career) I still stopped by your website every now and then.

    In those non-couponing days, I still found great advice, both practical and inspirational, that I could implement in my busy life. But I also love how open and honest you have been with your personal and financial challenges and successes. It’s so easy to get caught up in the urge to be perfect, sometimes at the expense of honesty. I don’t know why, but motherhood seems to bring out the perfectionist in all of us.

    One of my favorite features you had was your weekly goals, complete with follow-up at the end of the week with what really happened. Most weeks have at least one of two that didn’t get done and that helped to reinforce that’s normal, and helped me keep things in perspective. Of course, our goals are different, but so often you show an example of showing yourself grace.

    By the way, my friend recently started a public Facebook group called “True Beauty – Let Your Light Shine”. They have a weekly challenge to post selfies without make-up. Because we need to show an example for our daughters and each others’ daughters that they’re beautiful without makeup, plastic surgery, extreme dieting, etc. God doesn’t make junk!
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/625369187581606

  • leona says:

    Crystal, I have followed your blog for quite a while now and find it encouraging, especially how open and honest you are able to share (this does not come easy for me). I also appreciate how you include your family and have such positive comments about your husband. In today’s world it seems we only here negative comments and not how wonderful our husbands (men) can be. Thanks again

  • Jan T says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I’ve been following your blog since 2009. At first, I most appreciated your couponing and money saving tips. I also felt a connection to you right away. I was also homeschooled and now homeschool my own kids, I loved (and still do!) a good deal, and I was dealing with some of the same mothering issues that you expressed. I hardly ever coupon now, but I still appreciate your godly wisdom and thoughtful posts. I’m mom to 5 blessings (ages 3-15). At 36, I’m just a little bit older than you, but I can totally relate to what you’ve learned this past year. I’ve been “growing up” in the same areas. 🙂 The 30s have been very freeing. Have a wonderful birthday! I hope that this whole week is filled with sweet little reminders of God’s faithfulness and grace in your life. Your life is a gift to many.

  • Darcie says:

    Hello and Happy Birthday! I have been following you for at least 5 years – I can remember when Silas was born! I love your blog and check it often to get bits of encouragement and perspective. Thank you for being transparent and being real – it is refreshing. Enjoy your birthday!

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for your blog. I am a long-time reader. (I’m not sure exactly how many years, but I remember when you had Silas.) I live in Omaha, NE. I’m a part-time substitute teacher and part-time SAHM. I’m a wife and mom to an 8-year old daughter and 5-year old son. I love to read your positive and encouraging words everyday! I’m praying a special birthday blessing over you!

  • Pamela says:

    Happy Birthday!!

    I’ve been reading you for years and what I really appreciate about your blog is that you show the professional side of it- you don’t pretend that you’re able to run a really successful blog all by yourself during your kids’ nap time! So many blogs out there don’t show the behind the scenes stuff and seem to present a totally unrealistic image that no one (not even the blog writer!) can live up to! I like your authentic self 🙂

    In many ways we’re very different as I work outside the home, don’t plan to homeschool, and don’t identify as Christian anymore (long story there). But you’ve inspired me a lot as to what is possible in life- that we don’t have to be victims of our circumstances and that we can always make steps towards our goals. So, thanks for writing!!

    • “That we don’t have to be victims of our circumstances and that we can always make steps towards our goals.”

      YES! I love that! Thank you so much for taking time to share — and I’m really glad that people can see what happens here is a total team effort and a whole lot of work by a whole lot of people. I’d be sunk if I tried to be pulling it off by myself!

  • Becky says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I’ve followed your blog since 2009 and I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment. I will also soon be 34 and you’ve inspired me, as it seems that we’ve gone through life changes together. I especially like that you seek God’s best in the balance of striving for excellence while accepting limits. Keep serving Him and the rest follows. 🙂

  • Lacey says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I too am one of those lurkers that never comments. I have been reading your blog for years and look forward to reading it daily. I like to go off your reading suggestions, but I can honestly say I haven’t read a whole lot of them. Thank you for including a glimpse into your daily life with being a mother, wife, & business woman. I appreciate it!

    I am a mom of two wonderful girls 15 and 9, and I am married to a wonderful man that is truly my best friend. We live in Montana and I am thankful for that every single day. It truly is God’s Country!

  • Cassie says:

    I’m a lurker. I’ve not commented before but I’ve been reading your blog for several years. I began mostly for the coupon and grocery deals. Once I began working (commute of an hour one way, four days a week), I really just read for the entertainment. When I would see a great deal on your website, the store would already be sold out. Much frustrations! So, I just do the best I can with printable coupons.

    Let’s see, Happy Birthday. At 33, I was raising a three year old boy and had been married for 10 years. Wow, where has the time gone? That boy is now a freshman in college and I have a 12 year old boy at home. We celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary this year. Lots of ups and downs in those years.

    I love that you present the good and the bad from your life. You’re real! You don’t try to put on the “happy face” and you let us see your struggles.

    Thanks So Much for your blog! Love it!

  • Robin Lynch says:

    Hi Crystal!
    I have been a reader for close to 2 years now. I have to say I have been getting more out of your blog recently. I love how real you are in your posts. You connect with readers (well me at least).
    Because of how you have been branching out it has helped me break out of my comfort zone and I too have been scoping. I am so excited about what is to come.
    I have commented a few times before but I have become quite a bit more active in social media recently because I now see the value of the connections I am making.
    Thank you for being you. I am so glad that you have become a success story to show the world what can be achieved, not always easy but worth it!

  • Erica says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I am a long time reader of your blog, since right after my oldest was born almost 8 years ago. You really helped us during some very lean years of medical school, and I continue to look forward to reading your blog every day. Thank you and God bless!

  • Christine May says:

    Hi Crystal, my name is Chris. I live in Erie, PA. I started reading some of your blogs on Facebook. I was struck by your “simplicity”(please don’t take that as a negative!”) and your aim to be a positive force in your family’s life. I am dealing with putting my mom & dad in assisted living, selling their home & belongings (where they raised us & lived for 40 years!) This has been VERY difficult & emotional. I have really enjoyed reading how you worked through some difficulties & came out better on the other side. It has given me hope when I didn’t have much. Thank you for being so honest! Love your blogs!

  • Christine May says:

    Ps: Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day! !

  • ids says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I have been reading your blog on and off for about 6 years. I am a mom to 3 girls 4 and younger so I really am thankful for your encouragement for moms of small children!
    Ida

  • Hannah says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been reading your blog for 4(?) years now but was familiar with you from the days of your Biblical Womanhood blog. I’ve been so encouraged by your increasing transparency the last year or so. I’ve been growing in similar ways recently, learning how to let go and not let perfect get in the way of joy while still striving for excellence in big goals and dreams.
    Your story has been an encouragement to me in so many ways. May the Lord continue to grow you in His grace and peace in the coming years.

  • Jules says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal! I’m a young 52 year-old breast cancer survivor living with my husband in a suburb south of Kansas City, MO. I’ve been reading your blog for years & loved the Makeover Your Mornings course although I can’t remember if I’ve ever left a comment. My oldest moved to the Northeast after grad school & my youngest is a senior at university out of state. I’m learning so much from you & I truly appreciate your transparency. Thank you!

  • Jill Roberts says:

    Hello! Funny that you mentioned your birthday today, as I was just thinking about my next birthday (not until June) but we will be in Disney World and I will be 44!!! It was hard to think about this morning… but then I got over it. I hope you have a great birthday next week!

  • Anna says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Hope your trip goes wonderfully! Safe travels!

  • Christy says:

    Hi, I have been reading your blog for several years now. I am a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 3 from Charleston, SC. I love your blog. I love that you are “real”. Life is very stressful and reading your blog reminds me that I am not the only one going through this life. You help to inspire me and remind me to look for the good in all things. I pray you have a wonderful birthday!

  • Lauren says:

    Aww happy early birthday. As a recent inducted member to the 30s club, I found myself reflecting on relationships and God’s abundant grace in the life around us… it makes the aging process that much more sweet. I have been reading your blog from Southern California since, I believe, the beginning and I must say that it has grown into something I truly look forward to because you share a bit of yourself (both trials and joys) along with us readers near and far. I am thankful for your wisdom and deals 😉 as I seek to be a wife and mother to 3 little ones and to glorify God in every aspect of what I do. May we all press on to love God and people more every day. <3

  • Elly says:

    Hi Crystal. Long time reader and lurker here. I started reading your blog when I quit teaching to stay home with our 5 1/2 year old daughter. My husband and I live in a historic location in the Midwest. I also have children ages 35 and 32. We are an unusual family and I would not change a thing.

    I am 55 years old and am just leaning that everything does not have to be perfect. I sincerely appreciate the transparency, honesty and encouragement you share.

    Happy travels!

  • Beth says:

    First of all, happy birthday! I am married to a wonderful man in full-time ministry, so I have been a “money saving mom” for a long time. Five of my six children (ages 16 to 29) are gone from the home now, but I care for my disabled mother full-time so my nest is not empty. I enjoy your posts and have gotten lots of free Kindle books from your updates. You have to do what God has led you to do and bless those He has for you to minister to. He is the only one we ultimately will answer to for how we have spent our time and energy. Have a blessed day!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy birthday!! My name is Stephanie, and I’m from Indiana. I’ve been reading your blog since 3/19/08! Please don’t think I’m a creepy blog stalker!!! I just intentionally saved the email my sister sent me that day with a link to your site because it impacted my life. I had been doing coupons and somewhat rolling CVS ECBs on my own for quite awhile and when she came across your site she knew I’d like it. I’m single and only a “mom” to my dog, but I have learned SO much from you! You helped me save thousands of dollars, as well as get thousands of dollars of free stuff to donate to a local group home and a women’s shelter. I can’t begin to tell you the number of friends, family, cashiers, coworkers and strangers I’ve sent to your site and “trained” to use coupons, etc!! ? One of the best examples is my niece who had just given birth to twin girls that February and was able to diaper them (until thru were potty-trained) for almost free!!

    Beyond the money saving, I love your heart and that you’ve never been afraid to let your love of God shine through everything you do! Thank you for allowing us to watch you and your family grow in so many ways. I’m sorry for such a long post, but I want you to know that even though I never speak up, you have definitely impacted my life in a positive way!! Thank you for all you do! I pray The Lord blesses your 34th year abundantly more than your first 33!! ❤️

  • Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I’ve been following you since the year you were pregnant with Silas, and I was also pregnant. You were my first intro to couponing and frugal homemaking. Since then, we’ve both grown and changed. I choose not to really coupon anymore, but I still follow your blog for other content that I find interesting and uplifting. Oh, and I’m in central Colorado.

  • sahmpaw says:

    I found your blog when I googled Price Book. Yours came up. I was instantly smitten with the picture of you and Jesse. What drew me in further was that you were a follower of Jesus as I’m a newer Christian and that you homeschooled (we do too!). We have been on the Dave Ramsey plan since 2008 and we are super frugal. I felt like I had a lot in common with you and immediately started following. This was in the fall/winter 2014/2015. I don’t know where I’d be without your blog. You have saved our family so.much.money on all of the amazing deals you post and the articles you post from other bloggers. I love all of your books too. Just be encouraged that you are changing other people’s lives. I hope you don’t shut the site down like you have been tempted to do because you are a huge blessing to other mom’s out there.

  • Amy says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal. Amy from NC here. I am married, 2 girls, work f/t outside the home but love the glimpse into your life and your heart. This is the only blog I check daily. I’m looking forward to your thoughts about the Habits books by Gretchen Rubin. I realize it might be a while with your traveling and everything else you do! Thank you for all you do to improve this world – to God be the glory.

  • Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday! I have enjoyed reading your blog for many years. I have learned so much about saving money. I am a first grade teacher and mother to 2 young adults, a daughter 23 and a son 20. I have been married for 26 years. I too struggle with disappointing people and getting everything done. Teaching is a very stressful career. I appreciate your honesty about your struggles in these areas. Enjoy your trip with your family.

  • Dominique says:

    Gosh, you called it..lurking. I’d not thought of it that way, since reading your daily posts are my indulgence. It would be quite one-sided if we met since I know so much more about you. So let me lean forward and tell you that I’ve been reading your posts for the past 6 years when a girlfriend suggested your site. I work full time outside the home and have a self-supporting 24 year old. Happily married with three adopted dogs. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • Happy early Birthday, Crystal! My name is also Crystal, and I live in Florida. : ) wishing you a wonderful birthday with your family as you travel to South Africa. : )

  • Hi Crystal! I’ve been reading for about 4 years now – I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 boys living in NC. I am not following you for the coupons or frugal tips – although those are great. I follow because I enjoy you – your posts and well-written, original and inspirational. I love how genuine you are – seeing how you and your family do real life is so refreshing! Happy, happy birthday to you!

  • Jessica says:

    Happy B-day! I learned about drug store shopping from here 🙂

  • Jaime says:

    Happy birthday!! =) Thank you for all that you do for your readers. You encourage us when we’re down and somehow you say just the exact words I need to hear. I live in Ohio with my husband and our one (and only!) daughter Allison, who will be 2 next month!

  • Susan says:

    Happy early birthday wishes from the northern suburbs of Chicago. I have been following your blog for a few years now – not even sure how I stumbled across it. In some ways, we seem vastly different – I don’t homeschool my children, I am not Christian (actually converted to Judisiam) although I do consider myself to be spiritual, and I am a good decade + older than you – but I just enjoy your blog. I enjoy your truthfulness, your honesty, your willingness to just be you.

  • Angel says:

    Hi Krystal-

    Happy birthday! I have never commented on anything on your blog before although I have been reading it for the last 7 years. Thank you for all your hard work. Your blog is only one of two that I have ever followed. I am a 33 year old homeschooling mom in Michigan with 6 kids and one on the way- due end of January. I like trying to save money and also am a minimalist and runner. I try to squeeze marathons in between the pregnancies.:) I have done 3 in the last 2 1/2 years. I also love to read and was homeschooled myself. God bless you and thank you for your blog. It has been a blessing!

  • Angel says:

    oops! sorry spelled your name wrong- I have a friend named Krystal- yours is Crystal though.:) Long day…

  • Heather Harlow says:

    Happy birthday! My birthday is Friday. I should have guessed you were a fellow Libra!

    I do truly enjoy your blog. It’s the only email I’ve removed from my “promos” folder on gmail. 🙂 And, don’t let the nay sayers get you down.

  • Kristen says:

    Hi Crystal! I found your blog about 3 years ago from a friend. I’ve loved reading and learning over the past years. Thanks!

  • Aubrey says:

    Hi, I’m a lurker who just wants to poke my head in and say I appreciate your blog. Thanks for being real!

  • Megan Stitt says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I have been reading your blog for about a year now and I absolutely love it. I look forward to reading it every night after my kids go to bed. I even got my sister to subscribe so she doesn’t miss anything either. My favorite part about reading your blog is that you are not afraid to tell the truth whether it’s about a review of a product or what’s going on in your life.

    A little about me. I live in Missouri with my husband and 2 kids. I am a stay at home mom to a handsome 3 year old boy and a beautiful 16 month old girl. I have an Etsy shop too, Charming Little Baby, that I opened in June.

  • Jean says:

    Happy Birthday! I just had a birthday too! I live in upstate NY on a small farm. We farm for ourselves. I have 4 older children. 33, 32, 26, and 22. 3 boys, then a girl. We have a 5 year old foster daughter too. I love reading your blog and getting great recipes. Keep up the good work!

  • Karen says:

    Hi Crystal,
    Happy Birthday!! I don’t know if I ever left a comment, not sure, however I love your blog and all that you offer all of us …from your vulnerability, to your great ideas, to your awesome deals and freebie resource alerts. I’ve been reading for maybe 2-3 years, and I’ve really enjoyed getting your emails. I homeschool our two boys, so I really appreciate those ” free app friday” alerts, as well as all of the other resources that make it possible to home educate our children, and to take good care of our little family. Thanks for being “real” and sharing your life with us. It is a blessing to be one of your readers…

  • Katy C. says:

    Crystal, you are such an inspiration to so many not only because of your awesome ideas and encouragement, but because you are “real”. Your “real” life is what inspires me most. I truly appreciate the ministry you have and how you’ve helped me get my mommy-life more organized and do-able. Thank you for being bold and speaking Truth! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You rock!

    Redeemed, Katy

  • Christine says:

    Happy Birthday! It is such a joy to see your journey and to learn from it. I am amazed at all you’ve accomplished at just 33 years old, and inspired to do more myself! And to think about areas like you have outlined where I need to grow and improve. Thank you!

  • Kara Dalmacio says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal!
    My name is Kara from AZ. I have subscribed to your emails for over 2 years now. I really enjoy your posts and tips in all areas– even though the homeschooling posts doesn’t apply to me :-).
    I also enjoy your Periscopes. I like that you are real and honest in your videos/topics.
    Hope you have a great birthday and an awesome 34th year!!

  • Katrina says:

    Happy early birthday!! I am a quiet “lurker” who has followed your blog for about five years. I recently joined the “30’s” club myself-and live with my wonderful husband and our almost 2 year old son in NW GA. I catch your periscope every day (sometimes on replay)-they are such an great way to start the day! I also leaped out of my comfort zone and came to hear you speak in June when you came to Atlanta! It was an inspirational night! Thank you for all you do – and have a great trip to South Africa!

  • Varsha says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal. I will be turning 34 in a couple of days too. 🙂
    I am a long time reader about 6 years. Leant how to coupon … more than that leant a lot about life from you.. I love every single encouraging posts you post here. I love that you are so true and real and do share both your ups and downs. And this make me realize that I am not the only one with struggles .. I keep failing every day in something or other and your encouraging words make me get up and start trying again…. I need that a lot … Thanks and God bless you and your family..

  • Holly says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I have been following your blog now for probably less than 6 months. I am so glad that I found your site. It is such an encouragement to me! I am a SAHM to two beautiful twin girls who will be one in just a few weeks. So hard to believe that they are almost one! I am also a Pastor’s wife. Thanks for being genuine and such an encourager! Many birthday blessings to you!

  • Melanie says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I have been reading your post for about 4 years (I think) your money saving mom group has taught me so much. I started reading you while I was a stay at home mom living in Tn trying to learn all the tricks. I now am a working mom living in AZ with my Preacher husband. I have read other people’s post, but I stuck with your’s due to your personality and you being real.

    I turned 34 this past July, I think there is something really special about being 33. I feel like it was the age I “got it” life seemed more comfortable and I no longer tried to be perfect. Thank you for being you!

  • Holly says:

    Happy Birthday! I have never posted before, but have been reading your blog since 2010. It challenges me to be a better mom and encourages me to keep pressing on in the midst of the daily grind. I make a point to read it every day. I live near St. Louis, MO and my kiddos are 11, 10, and 6.

  • Erika says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! I started reading your blog as a newlywed (so, like 2008 or 2009? I remember Silas being born so, at least 2000, right?). You helped me learn to coupon and save so much money through my husband’s residency (and pay off his loans in his first year!). I totally appreciated you then, but I really appreciate you now! Ever since having my second baby two years ago (at which point life just went crazy!), this has been such a great place to come and read about life from a mom who is figuring things out too. Thanks for being so authentic and for your fantastic perspectives and honesty. I can’t tell you how many times you are saying just the encouraging thing I need to hear in the midst of an overwhelming day (or things you are dealing with and how helpful just hearing that motherhood/womanhood can be a struggle for someone else too sometimes!). You are just so refreshing! Hope you have a great birthday!

  • Lisa says:

    You are an inspiration! Happy Birthday.
    You should know that as you near 40, more things that you once agonized over, just don’t control your time anymore. It’s quite freeing!

  • Beth Z says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I’ve been a reader for about 5 years now and enjoy all of your helpful tips and blog posts. I love how real you are – it helps me give myself permission to not be perfect at times. As a first-time mom to a now 10-month-old baby girl, I have lots of opportunities to be imperfect, and I am realizing that it’s okay as long as I am doing the best I can! Your books have also helped us become more organized financially and introduced me to Dave Ramsey, which is so great because I am also a stay-at-home mom now, something that never seemed possible before your money-saving tips and a household financial makeover! Thanks for all your helpful advice. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

  • Tate says:

    Happy birthday from a central Florida lurker! I’m a 35 (ugh, really?!?!?) stay at home mom of a very fun and dramatic 4 year old and an almost 3 month old baby ball of colic. Oh, life.

    I’ve realized lately how my choices have made my life and social circles (so much!) smaller and have found a lot of joy in reading blogs like yours. I’m quite a worrier and a perfectionist by nature; the combination often leaves me too nervous to really live. I was planning more to that statement but, if I am to be honest, that’s about it. Still, your words, and those of other positive, kind and dare I say inspired bloggers, make me feel like I can begin to change, grow and be a better me for myself and my family. Thank you!

  • Heather says:

    I first starting reading Money Saving Mom when I became interested in couponing. It’s the only such blog I follow now, over five years on. I rarely coupon anymore and the deals hardly ever have something I need, so your post has me wondering why your blog, of all the ones I used to read, survived in my daily routine.

    We have don’t have a lot in common. I’m a 36-year old woman, single, no kids, living in a tiny apartment in a large city with no family around. I’m not religious. I’m not struggling financially or desperate to save pennies.

    The only thing I can conclude is that by being open about who you are–your priorities and life–you invite your readers into a community. That’s a hard thing to do. Most of the time when someone writes on a daily basis from a strong view point, their consistent readers are similar in core ways. Other readers are gradually alienated because they feel so different. It’s hard to feel encouraged by or take advice from someone who you don’t think would like you.

    But your blog is different. I like the mix of content–small tips to encouragement, menu plans to big ideas–and I like the tone. You don’t assume your readers are just like you. In the past you mentioned that you felt you were judgmental when you first started out (and apologized to anyone you offended). I’ve never been offended, but I think this must be on your mind because over time your blog has become more welcoming. I appreciate the Internet’s ability to bring me into contact with people different from me. It’s all too easy to go the opposite route.

    One of the things I’ve learned in the past few years is that it’s okay to take what applies to me, or a single kernel of wisdom, and leave the rest. For a long time it seemed like if I didn’t love everything in a book, for instance, then I couldn’t learn anything from it. Once I realized I was doing that, I also realized how ridiculous it is. Wisdom and growth (and tips and tricks) can ring true no matter the source. So I’ve grown as a reader too.

    Thank you and happy birthday!

    (The other reason I continue to read your blog, which is small but important, is that you make full posts available in the RSS feed. That makes such a big difference to me!)

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write this long comment. It truly made my day. I appreciate you being a reader here and it always makes me so, so happy when my blog can reach across demographics. I feel like there’s so much that I can learn from people who come from differing perspectives and I love the diversity we have in this community. So thank you for being here!

      Also, I’m a big believer in full posts in RSS feed — because a lot of people don’t have time to click over and read a post. 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    Happy Birthday! I too am turning 34 soon (tomorrow!!!). Isn’t it a crazy time in life;). I have been reading your blog for years- maybe 4 or 5?!? I love your honesty, vulnerability, transparency, humor and ability to challenge me. I read here almost every day, but I RARELY comment on anything. But for your birthday, I will come out of “hiding”;). As a fellow daughter of Jesus, your unwavering stance to keep your blog true and glorifying to your Heavenly Father spurs me on to live the same way. As a wife to an awesome husband, your blog encourages me to actively love my husband well. As a mom of four kids under 9, your blog reminds me to cherish my kids and train them up in the way they should go. Thank you! You are a light shining in the dark! Keep on!!

  • Kristi says:

    Happy Birthday!! This is my first comment on this site ever..just for you! I’ve been lurking since the very beginning days of your mom blog when you only had one kiddo. My favorite part about being a long time lurker is getting to see how you’ve grown SO much. Have a wonderful birthday overseas! 🙂

  • Crystal says:

    as a quiet reader for the better part of 3ish, closer to 4 years….thank you for your blog. I’ve watched the transformation and love the peek into the real you. I think in general we women are seeking other real women. So it is an encouragement to see more and more women being real about the ups and downs in life…..because in this life, we will have trials. It’s past time we stop acting like we don’t.

    As a side note, I’m turning 33 in just a few weeks and can’t believe that I am that *old*. Last I checked I was 25. I feel 25 and am shocked when I look in the morrow and don’t see my 25 year old self. How does time pass so quickly?

  • Heather Richardson says:

    Ok, I’m de-lurking here! I started following your blog about 5 years ago when I got married. I was trying to get into coupon-ing and being a money-savvy wife! After having two kids I stopped getting online so much and didn’t follow any blog regularly, until this past year when I came back to money saving mom because of some of your minimalist and cash budget posts. Now I read your posts a few times a week and find myself really loving the things you write about and are working on. The past year I have also been working on a lot of the things you talk about–not caring what people think and not spending so much time and energy pleasing people, discovering new things I love, simplifying my home and routines, focusing on important relationships, etc. I am really inspired by your courage in sharing a lot of these things and it helps me feel like I can be that way too. My life has become more peaceful and joyful because of these changes. I still struggle a lot with wanting things to be perfect, or wanting to come across as having it all together, but the more I try and to be comfortable with who I am, the easier it is to let my imperfections out and not care so much about looking perfect.

    Keep up the good work! I really enjoy your posts and I appreciate the goodness you share. 🙂

  • Toni says:

    Happy Birthday!! I’ve been a reader for a few years now, not sure exactly how many, but I love reading your blog! I especially love the more personal posts you’ve been writing lately, they are very encouraging to me. Thanks for sharing your insights and life with all of us!

  • Sarah says:

    Happy birthday! I think I started reading this blog sometime around when you announced your pregnancy with Silas. It has been a staple must read since, although I rarely comment. This blog has really been an inspiration for me. I live in Atlanta Ga and have 3 kids – 5,3,1.

  • Amy says:

    Hi Crystal!

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years now. I live in CA with my wonderful husband and three boys. I have enjoyed reading all your posts especially the ones you share about homeschooling. I appreciate your honesty, your real life posts, and and your sweet spirit. Thank you for all the work you put into this blog. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

    Amy

  • Dianne Park says:

    I have never commented on a blog before, but there is always a first! You are a delight and a blessing; I feel I am reading thoughts from a trusted friend and mentor. I enjoy hearing of your struggles, praises, and the fact that you are not afraid to be real to so many in an era where online relationships do not require honesty. I even “just showed up” several weeks ago when a friend called because her new puppy was diagnosed with parvo. She was crying so hard it was hard to understand her words, but I heard her tears and dropped the freezer cooking I was doing, and spent the next 4 hours with her as she held her dying puppy. Not what either of us had planned at all, but as we cried together, we crossed a bridge in our 20 year friendship that will endure for years. Thank you for encouraging so many people on how to be a friend by modeling it. We might be 20 years apart in age, but I am pretty sure we are sisters at heart!

  • Liz says:

    I am a 58 yr old frugal mom who has followed u for several years and give your website out to those who need the courage and wisdom to handle their family and finances wisely. I pray that as u face yr 34 u extend yourself grace to see the importance of peaceful acceptance of God’s plan for u and or family. Be strong and courageous this year and savor the blessings that sleep at your house.
    Well done, good and faithful servant. You truly have helped those in need both spiritually and financially. Take care of yourself

  • Brighid says:

    Happy Birthday! Delurking here. 🙂 I don’t have little children, I’d like to run a business/blog but don’t yet and I am, thankfully, past the place in my life where I need to find two pennies to rub together. So you might say that I’m not your target reader. Yet, everyday I find valuable insight, encouragement and smiles here. Keep up the good work Crystal!

  • Beth says:

    Happy birthday! I have been following you since I was expecting my first daughter, 7 years ago. I greatly enjoy your posts and emails! Thank you for your tips and inspiration!

  • HAPPYYYY BIRTHDAYYYY TOOOO YOUUUU!!!!!!!! 😀
    I just turned 35 in June. My daughter just turned 3 this month! I’ve been reading your daily email ever since my mom recommend it, before I became a mom! My husband says that getting a good deal is one of my favorite things (haha) so you see one of the reasons I read it (like learning about the free coffee for example!) 🙂

  • HAPPYYYY BIRTHDAYYYY TOOOO YOUUUU!!!!!!!! ?
    I just turned 35 in June. My daughter just turned 3 this month! I’ve been reading your daily email ever since my mom recommend it, before I became a mom! My husband says that getting a good deal is one of my favorite things (haha) so you see one of the reasons I read it (like learning about the free coffee for example!) 🙂

  • Becky Walters says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy Birthday!!!! May I ask when your special day is? I turn 34 on September 30th, so I’m curious.
    I’ve been following your blog for years now (I think it’s been at least 5) and I’ve really enjoyed the growth in you and the blog. I used to just use it for the coupon database, lol! But now I enjoy all of the encouragement that you give in other areas as well. Thank you!!!!

  • Rebecca says:

    Happy Birthday from New Zealand (where it’s already one day closer to your big day)! I’m a newcomer here compared to some of the others who’ve commented. I can’t remember how I came across your blog but I often find something to encourage and/or challenge me, and to make me smile. I’m a dairy farmer’s wife and SAHM to 3 kiddos who wishes she was as wise at 34 as you are!

  • Eleanor says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal!
    I have been reading for at least a year! I’m a 33 year old mostly SAHM (1 and 3 year olds) and an occasional part-time speech therapist. Your blog is incredibly relevant to me in my season of life and I always finds it encouraging and helpful in the best possible ways.

  • Shannon says:

    Hi Mrs. Crystal,
    Happy Birthday!
    I have been reading your blog for about a year. I am a middle TN, SAHM of 4 kiddos and love your financial/frugal advice, your printables, your book reviews and particularly your goals for the week. I think you are absolutely awesome! Thank you for the time and hard work you invest in your readers.
    Much Love, Shannon

  • Trisha says:

    Haha, who told you we have been here lurking?! Yes, it is true. I’ve been following your blog for a couple years and I think this will be my 3rd comment. Ever.

    I’m a mom of 2 boys (6&3). Stories about Silas really ring true in my home too 🙂

    I started here at your blog because I wanted to learn about freezer cooking. I’ve tried so many recipes from your Freezer Cooking download and we love them! I also hop on Periscope 3 or 4 mornings a week to catch your scope.

    Anyway, thanks for all you do!

  • Christine says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy 34th birthday! And since you made a special request, I’m leaving a comment for you! My name is Christine. I’m 40 and I am a stay at home mom to a 10 yo daughter and 6 yo daughter. I started following your blog in 2009. I was just starting to learn how to coupon and I eventually became a coupon maniac! But eventually in 2010, I started to get high blood pressure and took action and cleaned up my diet, exercised, and lost weight. My eating habits have changed dramatically so I hardly ever coupon any more. I have even become picky with the personal care products that I use. But I still coupon when I see a deal and stock up when there is deal on something we normally eat. I still follow you by having an email subscription. But I mostly read your blog for the honest posts about how you feel, not the coupon posts anymore. I love you honesty. Because it lets me know that other people feel the same way I feel also and we are all just human. Your blog is very inspirational and I love how it is Christ centered. You have helped me get into the habit of reading my bible every morning and praying and writing at least 3 things every morning in my gratitude journal. Thank you for all that you do for your readers! And make sure you give yourself grace and give yourself rest to heal your body from your surgery. Take good care of yourself. Praying for a speedy recovery. Happy Birthday again!

  • Erin says:

    Hi Crystal!! Happy (early) birthday!!! My name is Erin. I’m a married, SAHM to two girls , 4 and 1, from Pennsylvania. I’m 28. I’ve been reading for a year or more would be my guess. I’ve found your recent posts so very helpful!! I’m a perfectionist and a people pleaser. I’ve found you’ve been extremely encouraging in these areas and I’m working more and more at these things! Thanks for your very real and honest words! Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Jennifer says:

    Happy birthday! I’ve been reading your blog for years and can relate to a lot of what you say. I am a struggling perfectionist, have had financial issues where we had to budget really tight, and am dealing with chronic health issues. So your posts these past few weeks have been helpful! It’s hard with a go getter personality to be stuck sick and laying down a lot I always have to discern the balance of pushing too hard. thanks for always looking you do!

  • Tenille says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal! I’ve read your blog for years. I have certainly tried a lot of your recipes. You’ve inspired me to look at my life and decide how “minimal” I can live and still be comfortable. You inspire me with your passion for the Lord and loving on other people. The way you so freely admit that you aren’t perfect is perfect for me. I live in east TN. I wish you a great birthday!! Love you sister!

  • Stephanie F. says:

    Hi Crystal! I’d love to introduce myself as a long time reader. My name is Stephanie – I live in Massachusetts. I came across your blog a few years ago when I was trying to find ways to save money and cut down on our household expenses. I am so glad that I found you! Now I come on here for inspiration, household/organization tips, book suggestions and I just started following you on Periscope. It’s been great to watch you on there. You’re such an awesome person and you can tell that you truly care about your followers on there. Thank you for everything you do. I hope you have an amazing 34th birthday!

  • Laura says:

    Delurking to wish you a very happy birthday!! I turned 34 in May and have two little girls, 17 mos. and 4 1/2 years old. I started reading your blog maybe 7 years ago? I remember reading your words on “Biblical Womanhood, ” so how long ago was that?!?! Time flies. Anyhow, you have inspired me to live intentionally, to be wise with my money, and to let go of perfection–what more could I ask for?!?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

  • Priscilla says:

    Hi Crystal! I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple years. I was originally interested in your blog for the deals but quickly learned we have much in common. I just turned 34 last week and live in the KC area. I, too, am an introvert and have my hands happily full with 4 very busy children! I especially appreciate your personal stories and tips. I find something useful or inspiring most every day here. Thanks for all your hard work and happy birthday!!!

  • Denise says:

    Happy Belated Birthday,
    I have been reading your blog for awhile now. I started because I had been laid off and my new job didn’t pay as well and I need to watch my budget for my family. We have a boy 13 and a girl 15. I have continued because your words of encouragement ring true to me and I value the lessons I learn from you and your readers. Thanks for all you do.

  • Kerri says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I hope you feel better soon. I started reading your blog about 3 years ago, and read it daily. I enjoy it very much; the variety of topics, the resources, the ideas and inspiration. You do a wonderful job with it and have a great attitude! I’m 48, live in RI and have 2 delightful daughters 10 & 8 years old. I have a career job and work full time. I am recently divorced and starting a new chapter of my life with a wonderful man. As you express, sometimes life isn’t as easy, or what you expect. I believe it’s up to me to find the balance, stay upbeat and find inspiration to be the best person I can be, be happy and be a good role model for my daughters; all while staying organized, on budget, and keep the house running :). Your website and posts help me to keep it all together, and remind me to not drive myself crazy with perfectionism. Thank you for the time and energy you put into the website and posts!

  • Amy Chaffin says:

    Hi Crystal. Happy Birthday. I just want to say I love your blog. I also am at the age where I don’t have to be as frugal but enjoy it. My 3 children are grown ( I have 30 yr old Yikes!, a 28 yr old and 21 year old) They have made me a grandma to 5 little ones. I just want to let you know that you have learned in 34 years what has taken me to 48 to learn. You cant please people all the time. You have to say no at times, and as long as God is pleased with you that is all that truly matters. May your day be filled with good things as you continue to do his will in your life. Many blessings to you and yours. Amy Chaffin

  • Tiffany says:

    Happy Birthday from South Carolina!
    I’ve been an avid reader since 2007 when a friend tried to explain “CVSing” to me in order to save on diapers! I had my second child at the end of 2007 and my friend told me about moneysavingmom.com. I learned so much about the coupon/sales ad/extra care bucks game and bought many diapers at little to no cost. What I love most about your blog is when you talk about living minimally, de-cluttering, and recipes. I love the southwest rollups and energy bites! I work full time and it’s mine and my husbands goal for me to cut down to part time next year. Your blog is very encouraging and I hope to get to a conference one day! Also, I’ve been replaying your scopes every night. Thank you for all you do! You are real blessing! ((hugs)) Tiffany

  • Cindy says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal! I’m Cindy from Columbus, Ohio. I am a mom of 2 and I’m 35 years old. This post resonated with me a lot because I think I’ve learned the same lessons recently. I’ve been reading your blog since around 2007 or 2008. I started because I wanted to learn about saving on groceries but I stayed because I love your personal stories and encouragement.

    My friend and I were just recently discussing how it seems like most old ladies don’t care what other people think anymore and embrace themselves for who they really are. How wonderful that would be! We decided we’d like to get that attitude earlier in life so we can enjoy life more. Let’s all be young old ladies together! 🙂

  • Candy L says:

    i’ve been a lurker for a few years. I’m a mom of 2 boys 6 & 8. I’m also 34 and living in the heart of California. I love your freedom and joy for life. Being intentional is my goal. I’m not always sure what to do with boys all the time as they are both so different. Sometimes i just want to say, “go ask dad for once”. I love running and taking care of my own soul, but also want a peaceful and fun home. I work full-time from home most days. I love your blog. It is on my list of just a handful that i follow daily.

  • Jenny Culler says:

    I am also 35 and when I got pregnant with my first 6 years ago I started reading your blog and recommend it to everyone who even mentions wanting to save money. I live in South Carolina and a very large percentage of couponers here only use Southern Savers and I think I like your site better because it isn’t just about what you can get but it is also about what you can give and that is a lesson I think is very important and I try to teach it to my girls everyday with little or a lot we always have something we can share with someone in need and brighten their day. Keep on giving and you will be surprised by the trickling effect it can and will have on the world around you.

  • Kerri W. says:

    I’ve been blogging for more than a decade (I’m currently good ol’ 31!) and during this season of life, I’ve mostly stopped blogging myself and no longer have time to read much at all online…which is what happens when you have a 4 year old and a newborn, I suppose. But I have to say that yours is the one blog that I’ve consistently read for the last few years, and the one that I always look forward to checking almost daily.

    I have gained so much wisdom from both your money-saving posts and also when you take the time to be more introspective and share your heart. I’m grateful for all you do (and admire your ability to share with such a huge audience!). I’m pretty sure we’d be friends in real life, but for now I’m happy enough keeping up with you via the ol’ internet, since I’m stuck here in boiling hot southern California.

    😉

    Thanks for all you do, Crystal!

  • Catherine says:

    Hi, Crystal! Happy Birthday!

    I’m one of those “lurkers” you called out. 🙂 So here’s some info on me… I’ve been following you for a few years now. I’m in my mid-40s, from the suburbs of Chicago, not a mom (except to four-legged fur kids), and my friend directed me to you specifically for the coupon links when my husband and I had to really tighten the purse strings. I especially appreciate your honest postings, your faith, and not being afraid to share both. Sometimes I have a hard time with all the Mom-related postings, but I realize that is your target audience, so I just scroll past them. I know you are blessing so many with sharing your life as a Mom as well as pointing others to the resources you use. Thank you for all the giveaway opportunities and freebie listings as well.

    Keep doing what you are doing! Blessings to you!

  • Sarah A says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! Your blog has been such a blessing to me in so many ways. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it. I love your honesty and authenticity, and especially your encouragement to be authentic and true in friendship. I am a SAHM (partly WAHM, but only a few hrs/month) to three little ones, ages 5, 3, and 1, and as my husband travels 3 weeks a month and we live far from family, I often feel like I am struggling to just keep my head above water, let alone make/keep real friends and live out the grace God has given me in blessing others. I follow you on Instagram too, and I LOVE your encouraging posts and photos. (Especially the “oops!” ones – love your authentic heart!) So often they are just the boost I need to give me a better attitude to love on my little people and appreciate the little things I *can* do, even if they aren’t the big things I want to do. (I also started back up with cross stitch – it’d been over 15 years – because of your knitting… I love it!!) May your trip to South Africa be another life-changer for you! I’m so excited for you that your family gets to go also!

  • Martha says:

    Hi Crystal! I’ve commented a couple times before and one time you posted a “how to” tutorial of mine on your blog! I do not blog anymore, but I still love reading yours. I turn 33 on Monday (28th). What day is yours? Happy birthday!

  • Happy birthday Crystal!!! I’ve been a faithful follower for probably at least 6 years, and I love your blog, although I probably enjoy your “what I’m learning” posts as much as I do anything! Your heart is beautiful, and you’re an inspiration to me 🙂 I’m 32, a SAHM mommy of 2 busy children and a wife to my farmer! Being completely confident in who I am and the direction of my life is a work in progress for me! Thank you for your authenticity in your journey. God bless you friend! xoxo

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve definitely commented before, but happy birthday!!! I hope it’s a wonderful one and your new year is filled with all God’s blessings He has for you! You are a great inspiration and encouragement to me. Thanks for all you do!

  • Cindy says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy Birthday! I confess I am a lurker! 😉 I love your website, podcasts and posts!! I am just outside of Chicago and was introduced to your site a little over a year ago. I am 51, married and a housewife. Just this month I have recommitted my life to christ and I am striving to live a life he would want for me( VERY thankful for your free book listings of christian content). I find your posts very helpful and inspiring~so thank-you and God Bless!!

  • Lynnette says:

    Happy Birthday to you! I live in Friendswood, TX and have read your blog for over 5 years now and love the inspiration and encouragement you’ve given me to be intentional with my marriage, parenting, and life in general. I was thrilled beyond belief that your Make Over Your Mornings Course was released at the time I needed it most (I hadn’t woken up with an alarm clock in 4+ years…3 babies in that time span will do that to a person). But, my youngest is finally mostly sleeping through the night and your course gave me the encouragement I needed to create a practical and realistic morning routine. Now, every day (mostly…unless a child happens to be an early bird that day) I wake up BEFORE any of my kids and it has blessed not only my life, but my husband, my kids, and my friends as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do!

  • Elisa says:

    Hi Crystal, I’ve received your blog in my inbox for 4 years and have been an avid reader but never commented. I appreciate how you have shifted your focus (at least in my perception) over that time from penny pinching to frugal but learning to find depth and joy in everyday moments, even if sometimes that means not saving as much money. I first started reading as a newlywed and now have an almost 3 year old, almost 1 year old, and am halfway through a difficult pregnancy. I am a 26 year old pastor’s wife from WA. Thank you for your blog. I have especially benefited from your book recommendations and your blog was the very first I ever followed, now I follow many other blogs that I was first introduced to through yours. Happy Birthday!

  • Tracy says:

    De-lurking here to wish you the happiest of birthdays. I discovered you less than 6 months ago while my husband was going through surgery for stents. I have to say that your encouragement and distraction was a great relief to me. That said, he is doing better. It was priceless the morning after when he discovered he had veins in his feet, something we all take for granted. Anyway, one would think a 49-year-old empty nesting grandmother of one sweet Jonah (born in January) would be a bit out of place here. I find your posts thoughtful and encouraging. I enjoy them all. I truly wish in some ways you had been around when I was your age. Yes, I had Woman’s Day and Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Redbook, Martha Stewart and the like but it seemed the content was not always applicable and very much recycled. I certainly didn’t feel a connection with any of them, less Martha Stewart whom I instantly loved from her shows (before her unfortunate incarceration). She bred in me a perfectionist that still is problematic today. Thank you for all of your honesty in your blog, your encouragement and being someone that I could truly be friends with. It would be all the better if we were in each others neighborhood. Happy Birthday Crystal! I wish you many many more years of blessings without measure. God bless you!

  • Miriam says:

    I’ve been following you for years, probably a little after Silas was born. I love your take on money, life, homeschool, etc. You’ve challenged and come along side me in ways I’m sure you have no idea of. Thank you for being a cheerleader on this life as a mom, wife and Christian. 🙂

  • Janelle says:

    Happy birthday Crystal! I turned 34 in March and am a SAHM to 3 little girls. I have been following your blog since Silas was in diapers, but I’m not sure how long exactly! I rarely comment but I don’t see myself as a lurker:). I have found a lot of good deals through your site but a lot of encouragement in my walk with Christ, marriage, parenting, and just plain being myself too! Thanks so much for keeping it up even when it is hard. I appreciate you!

  • Rachel says:

    Happy birthday, Crystal! I have really enjoyed reading your blog regularly since I did the Makeover Your Mornings course in June. I have been married for 8 years and we have three daughters, ages 5, 4, and 11 months. I mostly stay home with the girls, though I still work part time (1-2 days a week) as an occupational therapist at a pediatric hospital in the Atlanta area. Thank you for your honest, real-life encouragement and challenges. I have really been enjoying listening to your “morning motivation” Scopes! I pray that you have a wonderful, life-changing birthday in South Africa!

  • Erin says:

    Never commented, but de-lurking by special request. 🙂

    I have 3 kiddos (6.5, 4, 2 months) and am an alternative high school teacher in Missouri. But this year I am taking a leave of absence to be home, and I LOVE it. Not sure I want to return to teaching.

    I’ve been following you for 3 years, since I started couponing, and I appreciate your encouragement and honesty. I have admit that, while I am not a jealous person by nature, I am a bit envious of your wonderful marriage and awesome friendships.

    I appreciate you. Happy, happy birthday!

  • Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday- I’ve been following/reading your blogs for 3ish years 🙂 I am a geologist in NM. My friend introduced me to you when I asked her about saving money a few years ago. I find your posts about your family and what you’ve learned really enjoyable to read! Keep up the good work!

  • Brandy says:

    Hi Crystal….Happy Birthday. I’ve been reading your blog since I heard you on an interview on Focus on the Family. I appreciate your openness about your faith and that you try to help moms. I am a wife and mom of 3 (ages 7, 2, and 1 month). I find you to be encouraging and uplifting. Thanks for all you do. …Brandy

  • Tangie says:

    Hello, I have been a lurker for about 2 years, never ever commenting. I am a 52 year old wife and mother to one great son (24). I find your blog interesting and informative. Of course being older with a grown child and no grandchildren, yet, I do not use alot of the info, but still there are always some other very interesting things I find and like or send off for. I think you do great. Happy Birthday.

  • Michelle says:

    Good morning Crystal, and Happy Birthday! I’ve been following your blog for a few years now. I found you when my kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom looking for ways to cut corners and make ends meet. I was a school teacher for 14 years before I quit to raise my own kids, and it was a tough transition. I really held on to your encouragements and looked for the joy in my journey. My kids are now 14, 11, and 8 and I still like to read your blog. I’ve gone back to work part time (which I love!), but keep you in my inbox because your goodness and joy make me smile. You remind me that life is good, I don’t have to be perfect, and God is in control. Thank you for your faithfulness to God and His mission for you. I am thankful for you every day.

  • Lisa Fawcett to says:

    Happy birthday!!! I am celebrating 40 next week, so cheers to a wonderful new year! I really enjoy your blog, and find myself catching up on it every few days. Great tips, and I love your honesty. Oh- and I love that you are going to Africa with your family! God bless you guys!
    Lisa

  • Sherri Y. says:

    Hi! I had found your blog several years ago and followed for quite a while. I stopped following for a bit, and then found you again a few months ago 🙂 I love your heart and willingness to be used to bless others. Have an amazing birthday!

  • Lenetta says:

    I’ve been reading since Biblical Woomanhood. 🙂 I’m a 39yo Nebraska farm wife and mom of 3. I suffered from PPD after all my babies but it was so bad after my 3rd that I sought treatment, ending up with progesterone shots which helped so much I couldn’t believe it. (I put an article about it in the website box under my name) I have had many blogs come and go over the years, but every time I clean out my reader, asking myself which blogs bless me, yours keeps making the cut! 🙂

    • Frances says:

      Thank you for sharing about your success with progesterone shots for PPD treatment! My husband, a nurse practitioner student, did his summer clinicals with an OBGYN who regularly offers progesterone shots for PPD treatment and my husband was so amazed he considered doing his final research project on it. I hope more women have this opportunity for hope and healing!

  • Lisa says:

    I’m a 30-year-old single woman who’s been reading this blog since 2008! During those 7 years, I’ve finished one grad degree, worked a lot of different jobs, gone back to school again, and now am finally in a full-time, more stable job. I’ve really appreciated your blog for the money saving advice (I’ve found it so applicable to a lot of areas of my life) and in non-financial encouragement – spiritual, life advice, etc. I’ve recommended this blog to several friends and even gave one friend the audiobook of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I also appreciate how you’re willing to share your life and struggles, and the way you commit to living with intention is really inspiring to me. Keep up the good work!

  • Carrie says:

    Hope you have a great birthday! I have been a silent reader for years. I enjoy your site, the deals, your insights, your family and all you share. Thanks for sharing and keep up the awesome work. God Bless!

  • Diane says:

    Hi Crystal!
    I live in middle Tn..Williamson County. I have been reading your blog for years. I can’t even guess how many years, but I started well before you paid cash for your first home. I got SO mad when people criticized you for being excited about meeting that goal and blogging that you felt like you had finally made it financially. I was so sad when people stripped your joy of that experience because they were jealous. Misery loves company, and I guess they expected you to live at the same income level forever. Honestly, I was disappointed that you issued an apology to them. It is the only time I have ever disagreed with anything you’ve written in all these years. And of course, it is your life and if that is what you needed to do I respected that. You’ve helped so many people! Your blog has been a part of my life for so long. Yes, it has changed, but you have changed, and so have your readers. You are awesome!!! Keep up the great work. You are LOVED!!!!

  • Sarah says:

    absolutely a lurker, so hi 🙂 i’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, and this post was a good one! i’m also nearing my birthday (one year younger than you!) and it’s always interesting reading your blog. i don’t use it as a comparison tool, as we are both on different paths in life, but i like to use it as inspiration to think deeper and challenge myself more (and of course for the great deals!). you share so much of yourself, both flaws and successes, and it’s both refreshing and comforting to read – always knowing that we are not alone in going through challenges in life!

  • Amy says:

    Happy Birthday! I have been reading your blog for years and love it, but usually don’t have time to comment. I am a struggling Christian mom with six kids ages 2-12 and a frugal, kind husband. Thanks for your work!

  • Katherine says:

    I’m a stay-at-home mom of four kids ages 10 months to 6 years. We have just found our homeschooling rhythm, which is super exciting for me. We’re sleep training the baby and I’m finally starting to get closer to the right amount of sleep, which makes me feel like I can accomplish great things instead of just getting through the next hour. My husband is a Lutheran pastor here in northern Iowa.

    I occasionally comment, but I’m more of a lurker. I love your site, and I’ve been reading since my oldest was born, so I’ve seen the transformation from the deal focus to more of the life stuff, and I have really enjoyed watching you grow. You’ve inspired me and helped me grow too. Hope you had a great birthday!

  • Tracy L says:

    Happy Birthday! Glad it finds you happy and healthy. I am from Ohio, happily married for 29 years, Mom of 2 adult sons. I love your blog – the reasons seam to change with my seasons! Lately I have enjoyed the positive outlook. We have had a rough couple of years and I am working on getting my glass half full attitude back.

    Just finished reading The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston and really enjoyed it. Safe travels for you and yours.

  • Christy du Mee says:

    Happy Birthday! My name is Christy a/k/a Lurker. 😉 My husband Matthew and I went to that expensive college with Jesse for one year, so it feels kind of like we know you (“Jesse’s Crystal”). We’ve been through the law school experience ourselves (Matthew studying, me working) and now have two kids. I can relate to so many of your posts about motherhood, keeping house, homeschooling, and reading. I can also relate to your posts about the seasons of life and how some seasons are for “extreme saving” and others have more margin. So freeing! I have learned from you and been encouraged by you on this forum. Thanks for all that you share!

  • Brynley says:

    Since you asked I will. I’m a quiet reader. I’m a mom of 6 kids and a Mormon. I also homeschool. We use Sonlight also. I get your emails. I scan through them looking for deals. I love reading your insights. It helps me to stay motivated as a mom. I have been following you for 3-4 years now.

  • Shelly Smith says:

    I have been enjoying your blog for many years, and occasionally comment! I was also blessed to meet you/learn from you at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati a couple years ago! I love your blog and all the personal things you share, about your faith, your family and your life! I also have a heart tie to Africa (Zambia, in particular) as I lived/worked there at a missionary hospital for a full year, and I hope one day to take my children back to see/experience a third world culture. It is sure to be life changing for all of you! I wish you a wonderful birthday in South Africa.

  • Kelli says:

    Hi Crystal-
    I have been reading your blog since you were pregnant with Kaitlynn!! You have encouraged me so many times over the years! I homeschooled our three boys (now men) all the way through high school. I stopped working while homeschooling and have just recently gone back to work part time. I now have a daughter-in-law and couldn’t be happier with our son’s choice! I love Jesus and attempt to be more like him year after year. I live in Arizona where it’s still very hot!

  • Theresa L says:

    Hi, Crystal! I’ve posted before, but just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday! I know you all will have a great time in South Africa! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    God bless!

  • KELLY says:

    Admitingly, I am a “lurker” LOL, but love to brighten people’s days so here I am! First and foremost, THANK YOU! Thank you for always being so honest, down to earth, and realistic. One of the most important thing people, my self included, need to make any situation better is to know they are not alone. So many times your blog really hits home with where I am in my life and I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not the only one in the world with a problem. Also, I’m so proud of how far you’ve come! I remember those days when “selfies” and silly faces were few and far between and now here you are with a VIDEO series and posting pics all the time. How wonderful to have had such a great journey of growth as a person! We all should be so lucky 🙂 have a wonderful day my friend and keep up the great work!

  • Happy birthday!! I just turned 32 myself yesterday. I’ve been a reader of yours for several years now. I’ve also been watching you on periscope (which I’ve loved!). Thanks so much for being real and sharing your life with us for so long! Looking forward to your new book!

  • Micaela says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Happy birthday. I found your blog earlier this year through a pin on Pintrest. I am a huge fan and have found it very encouraging. I am a 35 year old wife of 8 years and mother of five boys from teens to the age of 2. I also work outside the home forty hours a week. I just want you to know, you have really helped me with my faith and spiritual walk. Keep doing what you are doing. Know that I will continue to be an avid fan.

  • Adri says:

    Happy birthday a little early, Crystal. I’ve been following about 6 months or so…loved the morning tips. But then just recently you inspired me to retry THM! I had never really been able to “stick” that plan…but decided 2 weeks ago to try and do it as best I could and not get caught up trying to do it perfectly. Well, my husband and I both lost six pounds…just loosely doing it. I’m so excited about this. So, thank you for sharing your life lessons and tips. May God bless your trip, I know He will 🙂

  • Charly says:

    Alright, alright. I guess I’ll quit quietly stalking you. My name is Charly, and I’m 26 living in Utah. I have one little girl and another baby on the way. I’m getting ready to graduate with my nursing degree, and my husband already works as a nurse in the hospital here. I found you when I saw another blogger offer a discount on make over your mornings. I have followed you ever since and I’m so glad I found your blog/website. You inspire me to be better without feeling bad about who I currently am. Thank you for your work!! And happy birthday!!!

  • Steffanie says:

    Happy Birthday! I also turned 34 this past week. I totally agree with your list!! This next year will be busy raising my 3 year old son, having another one in January, starting my freelance graphic design business and reading and writing for my blog (still learning wordpress). I loved your make over your mornings course and all the encouragement I receive from reading your blog. Keep it up. Ill check in again before birthdays next year. 🙂

  • Nicole in Missouri says:

    I found out about your Morning Makeover video course from a referral and loved it! I am redoing it and have been truely blessed. Then I found your Money Saving Mom blog. Can I just say that you have found that niche that God put you here to do. You are truely called to help other moms and ladies. Keep it up. These tools you and your team have created are helping me and others. Thank you.
    YOUR LURKER FRIEND (of 2 months) NICOLE D.

  • Laura Miller says:

    Happy Birthday! My name is Laura and I have been a reader of your blog for the past 4 or 5 years. I have commented a couple times in the past but I am usually silent here. I am a stay at home mom to 3 girls (ages 10, 8, and 3). I have been married for 15 years. I live in Michigan. I have learned many things from you over the past few years. How to save money, new recipes, new books to read, how to be a better homemaker, doing a load of laundry from start to finish each day, and most recently make up tips. My 8 year old just said to me the other morning “Are you trying to do your make up like Money Saving Mom again?” I have learned how to make time to read and to challenge myself to grow. So many of your post have encouraged my through the years. I loved the Makeover your morning course and the new periscopes. Thanks for everything!

  • Brynn says:

    I just turned 34 Friday myself! I love your blog. I’m not big into the couponing stuff (just something I haven’t decided if it is worth my time or not). But I pretty much read everything else. I’m a baby blogger. I really enjoy writing and have been reigniting my passion for it in the past year. I have had to take a short break as I have a 3 week old and a toddler so just trying to catch up on sleep in between nursing sessions and potty training. 🙂 Thanks for all your words of encouragement!

  • Debbie says:

    I love your blog. Been reading for many years. You came to Bloomington IL to speak several years ago and I Loved your sweet personality and presentation. I loved seeing you in person. You are just as sweet and genuine as I had imagined ?
    I hope you have a fabulous birthday filled with love laughter and wonderful memories??

  • Kristin says:

    I found you through your morning makeover course on the raising clovers website. That course has blessed me and my family in so many ways and now I am a big fan of your blogs and videos:) through the morning makeover course I am making more time for myself and being more intentional about making time with each of my children everyday. As a result, I am rediscovering the joy in parenting again, whereas before I felt burnout most days. Thank you for your ministry and take heart knowing you are blessing others lives! Happy, happy birthday:)

  • Leigh says:

    I have been familiar with you and your ministry for awhile but never took the time to really check out your blog before. I have recently subscribed and wanted to tell you that I absolutely love your blogs and websites!! They are so very helpful and cover such a broad range of needs that it is awesome! I look forward to reading and learning from your emails every day!!!

  • Ellen says:

    Hi Crystal! Happy Birthday!! I have been following your blog for about 5 years now…right about the same time I had my first baby 🙂 My husband and I decided that I would stay at home with her and your blog offered ways and advice for me to save money that really helped us out!! I became an avid coupon user and deal/bargain searcher 🙂 So I started following because of the great money saving advice, but I have to say I have stayed because of the encouragement and hope you offer through your posts….I also have taken your Make over your Mornings course this last summer…I now have 2 children and it helped me so much to get back on track with goals and priorities (since after having the second on I felt way off balance!)…making the most of my time while enjoying my life at the same time…I am still a work in progress but you have really been an inspiration to me! I read some of what you write and feel that we could be great friends if we lived closer…many of the same thoughts and goals! I am in the process of starting my own blog right now…I felt called to do so after the birth of my 2nd child a little over a year ago…again your inspiration motivates me to keep going….thank you for all you do and are doing! I hope you enjoy your birthday and have an amazing trip! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Happy birthday. My best friend went to Africa I will be praying for you. I am 16 and found out about you by reading your book.

  • Ann-Morgan Krueger says:

    Hi, Crystal! Happy late birthday! I have been reading your blog for a couple of years, and am not an intentional “lurker.” 🙂 Yours is really the one and only blog I follow (although I really like Power of Moms, too), as I try not to spend a ton of time on the internet (since I feel it leaves my kids always staring at the back of my head!). I have four amazing kiddos, ages 12, 10, 7, and 2. The two year old keeps me hopping, and I homeschool the 7 year old during the day while the older girls are in school. I drive them back and forth (the bus is a little too “educational” for us), and am pretty busy with the three older ones doing travel soccer, basketball, showchoir, cross country, piano, and several types of dance. It means my time isn’t really my own until about 10pm at night, and I honestly just try to keep up with email and planning for the next day. I don’t do Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. I’m sure they’re all valuable, but I tend to put time and energy into the people around me and not into technology. Not that it’s bad, I just honestly can’t figure out how I’d add one more thing in! I absolutely love your heart…your humble, honest approach, and the way you always build up others. The closest I ever get to writing in is when I hear that someone has insulted you…really? What’s it like to have time to just tear down others?! I always want to take the time to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing and not take it personally, but I think it feels shallow to say it. The truth is, you are putting yourself out there, and it hurts when people (even ones you don’t respect) criticize you. Keep surrounding yourself with strong friendships and know that there are a CRAZY number of people who value you and are grateful for the work you are doing. God uses you to accomplish mighty things, Crystal! Praying for your family and your time in South Africa!

  • Michele Shannon says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I’ve been lurking around (but not skulking 🙂 your blog for nearly a year. I really appreciate your ability ‘keep it real’ without using it as an excuse to be rude or unkind. You are really real, working to become a better person every day in the best way you know how.

    Thanks for sharing part of your life and inviting us to introduce ourselves. Keep doing what you’re doing, changing and growing as you go.

    Thanks.
    Michele

  • Kim says:

    I’ve been a lurker for about a year. I absolutely LOVE your giving heart! I am a giver and find that people are less and less willing to givein this (can be cruel) world. I’ve been married to my husband for 7 years and we have 5 amazing kids (18(step), 8, 6, 6, 3). My husband was in the army reserve for 13 years and served 2 tours in Iraq before I met him. He suffers from PTSD, and I’ve often thought about starting a blog about being a veterans wife. I know there has to be other spouses out there wondering how they’re going to “survive” the PTSD flare. I’ve heard rave reviews about your new book and can’t wait to read it! I loved the 5 day video series! You have truly inspired me to chase my dream. And though I would love to help everyone, its just not realistic. But if I could help even one veteran spouse to know they’re not alone in their struggle I feel it would be worth it! Thank you! PS I dream of taking my family to meet our sponsor girl in Ghana!

  • Pam says:

    I have been lurking for a few months. I live in northern and just retired a few months ago. I got started by signing up for your Makeover your mornings course prior to retiring and have really enjoyed your site! My first year of retirement is focused on decluttering my home and getting some order to my life instead of living on the brink of disaster! Your site has given me lots of insight in serving, saving and possibilities for earning more so I can give and serve more. Thank you for your faith and values which we have in common. I am still learning as I enter this season of my life! Happy belated birthday! I loved reading about your family’s trip to Africa!

  • Frances says:

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for all the great shares.

  • Rakel says:

    I have been lurking for good 3-years and have loved every minute of it. I’m originally from Iceland, but have been married to my US Air Force soulder for 12-years now and together we have traveled and lived all over the world. We are currently living in Taiwan and finding it a bit challenging to blend in as a blonde 😉 Your posts have helped me tremendously in just seeing the good in every day and not overthinking things – but instead to be grateful and blessed for what I have.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your hard work.

  • Karen says:

    Been reading for several months. I am a Texan; lived in Borger, in the Texas Panhandle, then Canyon for a year at college. Moved to Lubbock, on the South Plains for DH’s job. Fast-forward, DH has retired from the same company after 41 years. I am a graduate of Texas Tech University, class of 1992. I worked at a big-box discount store for a long time.

    We live with 2 terrier rescue dogs. And I have found that your teachings/principles apply even in a home that has not been blessed with children.

  • Nichole says:

    Happy Birthday. My name is Nichole I have been reading your blogs religiously for about 6 months now. While your blog may not be what others may be looking for it has helped me in so many ways and I am very thankful everyday that I found your blog. I would like to just say thank you for all that the work that you do. Your blog has helped me more than I could ever express.

  • Tracy says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been following your blog silently for years 🙂

  • Kassiani says:

    Happy birthday! I am Kassi from Greece. I just got married and I love reading your blog!
    Keep up the good work!

  • Erin says:

    I loved this post!! As a fellow 33 year-old, I can relate to the “how am I not 17 or 25 anymore” thoughts. I haven’t been following you for very long (“met” you on the Impact Summit with Michael Hyatt) but I so enjoy reading your blog. Praying you have an amazing trip to Africa and a birthday to remember while you’re there 🙂

  • Amy says:

    I’m a quiet reader. Yours is literally the only blog I follow. I started following for the money saving tips but stayed for the LIFE tips. Your writing really makes me think and reflect on my own life. Thank you for being you and writing you!

  • Krystal says:

    Hello
    I have commented on your blog and few times via Facebook but pretty generically. I am a mother of a 10 and 8 year old. We are a blended family so I am a step mom of a 15 and 18 year old. All 4 kids are in our house most of the time. It’s always painful for me to admit I had a failed marriage and am not perfect! So you can see how helpful your blogs are for me. I loved the declutter challenge and the money saving tips. I am doing the go to bed early challenge. I also read most of the books you recommend . I enjoy your site and it is the way I spend my break time everyday!

  • Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for your post. I am a 33 year old mom to two girls from TN and every post you write I relate to them all and look forward to your post. Thank you so much for always showing me I’m not crazy, just normal.

  • Lori says:

    “delurked” ?? I love it! Happy birthday! I’m 33 and have found myself working on these as well. And I’m also glad to know someone else wonders why they aren’t 17 anymore!

  • Brinna says:

    Happy Birthday!!! I’m 33, and a new parent, and I really related to this post. I have always tried to make everything perfect, and with a baby I found myself feeling like I’ve failed at absolutely everything. I agree that you have to start letting things go, and I think there is quite some freedom in that. It allows you to focus less on what’s NOT perfect and just enjoy life. I enjoy reading your blog and find you very easy to relate to. I hope you have a wonderful day!

  • Lauren Gonzalez says:

    Happy Birthday Crystal!

    I am a 33 year old SAHM just north of Boston. I have two little boys (Che who is 4 & Tommy who is 1) who I plan to homeschool. I have been following you for awhile and I just want to say thank you! Thank you for opening up and sharing your life and thoughts and helping me to not just save money, which you have, thanks – LOVE Swagbacks and the other mobile apps you have shared and can’t wait to check out Aldi! :-), but also being a positive light and showing the love of Christ in how you interact with others and move through the world.

    I hope you have a great time in South Africa! Africa will always have a special place in my heart and I was blessed to go there in 1997.

    PS I have lived all over the country growing up, mainly in the midwest, so hearing the way you pronounce certain words, like crayon, makes me smile because I thought I was the only one pronouncing it different than everyone else.

  • Jessica says:

    I don’t comment often, but I have been following your blog since before my kiddos came along, I think about 8 years now. I am almost 34 and have two sweet munchkins, a six year old first grade girl and a two year old. I have been married to my best friend for 11 years. I have loved to watch you develop into who the Lord has called you to be over the years and one of the things that has kept me coming back faithfully to your blog is your genuineness and your willingness to be vulnerable. There have been many times over the years where you have not only saved me money or brought great knowledge to my homemaking, but you have been a voice of wisdom and peace for me personally as well.

  • Kristen says:

    Hi, I am one of your “quiet readers”. I am 33yo as well. My husband is my college sweetheart and we have 5 kids. I am encouraged by your posts and thank you for being vulnerable in sharing from your heart. I started blogging about a year ago (five-of-mine.com)…and have been learning what a process it is. Thank for all your hard work. Look forward to your posts.

  • Nicky says:

    Hello from Idaho! I love reading your blog post and especially this one! I have been working on being content for this years new year resolution! We took a 50% pay cut, moved our family, downsized everything in our life so my husband could be hat home more and be a part of our kids life! Being content was really hard. But it has become the most freeing feeling in the world!!! I’m glad you have found the same! I hope everyone can experience it!

  • Danielle says:

    I usually lurk 😉 I am 33 also! I am having to develope a thick skin in my 30’s. I like to blend in and now that we have adopted we stand out. Everywhere…

  • Courtney says:

    Happy birthday! I guess I’m a quiet reader – I’ve followed your blog for several years now but only commented a couple times. My name is Courtney, I am 25 and happily married. I have loved following your blog for all its encouragement, money-saving tips, and general all-around advice! I love that you’ve embraced the “mess” and that you are “real” with your readers! Have a great and blessed day! ?

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