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This crazy journey I’ve been on the last 14 years (and yes, you CAN make money blogging!)

Yes, you can make money from blogging! In this post, I share my story — and I tell you how you, too, can start making money from blogging!

My Journey to Making Full-Time Income as a Blogger

How I Started to Make Money Blogging

In 2005, I started this thing called a “blog” — something that most people in my circle of friends and family had never heard of before. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I had a big dream: I wanted to find a way to earn enough money from home so I can supplement our meager income to allow me to be able to stay home with our baby girl, Kathrynne.

In addition to my big dream, I also had perseverance — something I was going to need in big supply over the next few years. I was very, very determined and that determination drove me not to give up even during the many, many times when I wanted to.

That little blog had a few readers. Then a few dozen. I kept blogging, kept commenting on other blogs, kept writing articles for other sites and linking to that blog, and kept networking with other online entrepreneurs.

Over the course of many months, that little blog grew a tiny bit and then a tiny bit more. Pretty soon, I woke up one day and realized that I had a few hundred readers. That idea just blew my mind.

My first blogging header{My first official professionally done website header — added when I switched from Blogspot to Typepad.}

The Income Began With a Little Trickle

I started watching what other successful people were doing, read books and blog posts on monetizing a blog, and jumped out and experimented with a number of things.

Pretty soon, there was a little trickle of income coming in from that blog. When I say “trickle”, I truly mean it. It started with $10 per month, then $20 per month, then $50 per month.

If you would have divided my blogging income by the hours invested in blogging, I was probably making what would amount to a few nickels per hour. However, I was learning, the blog was slowly growing, and I was truly enjoying the process of writing and interacting on a blog.

Speaking at My First Blogging ConferenceSpeaking at my first blogging conference — I was a scared, insecure mess inside and I can see it written all over my face in this picture.

Starting to See the Potential to Make Money Blogging

As time marched on and I kept plugging away, I found other creative ways to make money blogging — like selling ebooks and then an online course on cutting your grocery bill. I went from making $50 a month to a few hundred dollars per month.

I started to see the potential. And I began to believe that it truly would be possible to earn a part-time income from blogging someday.

My husband and I began talking about adding a niche blog dedicated to frugal living. There was a lot of interest in the topic, it was something I was passionate about and experienced in, and I was pretty sure I could do some specific things to monetize a frugal living blog that I couldn’t do on the blog I currently had.

My Second Blogging ConferenceMy second blogging conference — I was still nervous and scared, but I felt more myself and more whole and I can see it in my face here.

How MoneySavingMom.com Began

It took about a year from the time the initial idea was birthed to when the final product, MoneySavingMom.com actually happened. But in the fall of 2007, I announced the launch of MoneySavingMom.com on the other blog I had.

I still remember the post where I let the world know MoneySavingMom.com was official. I said that I was probably going to blog on MoneySavingMom.com “about 3 times per week”. {Yes, 3 times per week. That still cracks me up!}

The first version of MoneySavingMom.com was on Blogspot. It was an all white background with capital letters at the top of the page that said MONEY SAVING MOM. {Clearly, I was very into bells and whistles. ;)}

I had spent $10 to buy the website URL and that was all I could afford. Later, I paid $25 to have the teen daughter of a mom I knew design a header for me. But those were the very humble beginnings of something that I could have never imagined…
My first radio interviewMy first radio interview — again, this was a completely unnerving experience for shy me. I felt like just going back to my hotel room and crying when it was over because I was sure I had totally bombed it.

Rapid Growth Beyond What I Could Imagine

Since I’d already put in countless hours to build an online platform over the two previous years, knew how to run a blog, and had a pretty good grasp on what topics people were interested, jumping in with MoneySavingMom.com was much easier than it would have been had I been starting from scratch.

I also was at the right place, at the right time, because the economy was beginning to tank, coupons were becoming popular, and the media started to do a lot of coverage of money-saving ideas and frugal living topics.

My initial readers told their friends who told their friends, people found me from random searches and stuck around, and within a few months, MoneySavingMom.com had grown to 14,000 to 16,000 pageviews per day.

It. was. mind-blowing!

I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew that I needed to continue to produce good content and continue to do all I could to help people save money. I also continued to learn all I could about win-win ways to make money blogging.

My First BookMy first book: basically an exercise in how to do everything wrong! I learned so much, and wished I could have done it all over again because there would be so much I would change!

Fulfilling My Dream — and Making So Many Mistakes

Within a few months, I was making $800 to $1200 from MoneySavingMom.com. And the income just kept increasing. By the end of the first year, I was making the equivalent of a full-time income from blogging.

All of a sudden, I woke up and realized that not only was I living my dream, it was a LOT more work than I could have ever imagined — especially as the blog continued to grow!

The Story Behind MoneySavingMom.com

The past 14 years have been a journey… one riddled with many ups and downs. I’ve made many mistakes, let people down, and sometimes posted things before taking time to really think through what I’d written.

Over the years, I’ve also been arrogant, said and written hurtful things, and taken on too much and stretched myself too thin. Many times, I’ve had my priorities out of whack and given my family the leftovers instead of my best.

Through it all, I’ve grown, matured, been humbled, had to ask forgiveness, and learned a great deal about my own limits. I’ve gone from a very black and white person who thought she had everything figured out and thought she should share her very legalistic, dogmatic views with everyone, to discovering this beautiful thing called “grace” and realizing that there are very few hills worth dying on.

My First TV Interview

My first TV interview — I was a complete nervous wreck. Literally shaking from head to toe!

I’ve grown up a lot,  faced a lot of fears, and done things I never thought I was humanly capable of.

In addition, I’ve confronted many of my long-held insecurities head on. And I’ve had many opportunities to work through my long-held tendencies to be a people-pleaser.

Scared of the Scrutiny from Making Money Blogging

You see, as the blog took off and became something more than a little mommy blog, I struggled a lot. Part of me was so excited about the growth and the possibilities. The other part of me wanted nothing more than to just run away from it all and go back to being a stay-at-home mom.

As a normally private person, I hated having my life scrutinized by people I didn’t know. I was scared to come out and talk much about the business side of my life — the meetings, the responsibilities, the opportunities — because I knew some people wouldn’t be happy and would criticize the fact that I was making a good income, was running a thriving business, and was no longer just the frugal stay-at-home mom blogger struggling to make ends meet that I had been when I started blogging.

My Second Book

Growing Into My Own Skin

I love being a wife and mom, managing my home well, saving money, and getting great deals. I’m also a business woman who loves marketing, entrepreneurial ventures, and strategy and monetization.

It took me awhile to be brave enough to say that I am both out loud. But once I did, it has freed me up to make decisions that were best for our family.

Knowing who I am and embracing that has been so freeing for me. Yes, I still regularly get emails and comments from people who wish I was different. However, for the most part, this community has rallied around our family. You have no idea how much you bless us.

allume-conference-smilebooth-0154My 4th(?) blogging conference: This time, I went with the sole desire to pour into others and look for other people to bless. Guess what? I completely forgot about my usual insecurities and ended up having a blast!

I Would Have Never Imagined This Life

Looking back over the past 14+ years, I never would have imagined what my life would look like today. I never would’ve pictured myself running a business with multiple team members, speaking at events, working with brands, teaching people how to blog, doing media interviews, or being a New York Times bestselling author.

Nor would I have pictured that this blog would be the catalyst for our family to get in a much better position financially. I never, ever envisioned blogging would allow us to no longer live on a beans and rice budget.

And I couldn’t have dreamed that blogging would allow us to could pay cash for a house and give generously. Or, that it would open the door for Jesse and I to work together from home.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to get to work together with my husband and best friend! While we have our disagreements and struggles, we are a definite team. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him encouraging me, supporting me, and being my biggest cheerleader.

THANK YOU For Being a Big Part of This Journey

You all have been a big part of this journey. This blog would never have grown like it has nor would the doors of opportunity have opened without you. I am forever humbly grateful for each of you.

While the income from this blog has been a blessing, the community I’ve found in you all has been priceless. You’ve supported us, loved us, prayed for us, and cheered us on — through thick and thin. And you’ve forgiven me when I’ve made mistakes and you’ve been incredibly loyal.

Looking Ahead to the Future

I don’t know what the next 14 years of my life will hold. Right now, I’m just focusing on living one day at a time!

I want to live each day that I’m given to the best of my ability. As long as I’m given the privilege of blogging here, I want to use this platform to make an impact.

Blogging has broken me. Blogging has healed me. And, more than anything, blogging has taught me that perseverance pays off.

So no matter where you are in life right now, I want to encourage you: Keep on. Press forward. Keep learning, keep experimenting, and keep holding onto hope. And most importantly: don’t give up! The best is yet to come!

Want to learn how to make money from blogging?

Are you a new blogger or a longtime blogger? Are you still trying to figure out how to really make money from blogging? You don’t want to miss my new brand-new class on How to Make Your First $100 From Blogging. Best of all, it’s FREE!

In this free class, you’ll learn:

  • 5 tried and true ways YOU can make money from your blog today
  • The #1 mistake most bloggers make that keeps them from earning an income
  • My secrets for building a 7-figure blog on a shoestring budget
  • Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me your burning questions about monetizing a blog

>>Yes! I want to learn how to make money from blogging!<<

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197 Comments

  • Kandace says:

    Crystal, thank you for this message! I’ve been a reader for several years now and I’ve enjoyed seeing you truly come into your own with your business. It is amazing and inspirational! I re-started my blog recently and I’m only posting twice weekly to allow for other interests and family commitments. And because that’s all I want to do right now. I’m not sure where I want to take it, but for now I’m enjoying the process. I can’t wait to read your next book and watch your blog and business continue to grow!

  • Wow! What a post! I had the Elite Blog Academy page pulled up ready to input my payment info, but ended up on Twitter (long story, but totally related to making my purchase.) Saw your post pop up on Twitter, and thought “I wonder if she’s plugging Elite Blog Academy?” So I clicked over out of curiosity and was like “Okay, maybe not.” So I had to chuckle when I got to the bottom of your post. Then I was like “Hey, she’s got a referral link. Im’a use it!” Then I was like “Hey, there’s a coupon too? Sweet!” Thanks for all your hard work and example of perseverance all these years, and all within the bounds of managing your priorities. I was just thinking about how my blog has been growing and starting to feel unmanageable with all that’s going on and how that was part of how you got into your “Survival Mode”. I thought to myself “I don’t want to ever have to “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.” I want to never get there in the first place! Growing a blog without going there is tricky, though, and I’ve realized that it’s going to take some money spent on some help. I’m hoping (no, I know!) Ruth’s program is going to give me even more clarity and focus to work efficiently on this little blog of mine. Thank you for the perfectly timed coupon!

  • Smitha says:

    That’s the thing about you…..you always encourage everyone so much at the end of each post that it will fill my day with positive attitude. I am from India and honestly I used to think that I save better with what methods I have been brought u……BUT I learned so much from you both on financial and personal front. And trying to implement whatever I like.

    Though I am not here to start a blog(own business scares me/I hate the stress of it….I left my corporate job to be with my kids) I learn from your positive attitude, willing to give and most importantly your encouragement.
    PS: I like to read new terms you write in your blog posts…..that’s how I am learning new English 🙂
    Always (Actually multiple times everyday) looking forward to your posts. THANK YOU.
    I very rarely comment on any of the blogs I follow but I do when its due.

  • Tracy S. says:

    I’m so privileged to have been able to watch the transformation of your blog into what it has become since probably 2006! And I rejoice in the blessings that it’s given your family! You have blessed so many people through this experience, with wisdom and financially. May you be more blessed to be more of a blessing in the years to come in whatever you do!

  • Lindsy says:

    We love you!

  • Jodi says:

    Crystal,
    Thanks so much for sharing. And I just have to tell you that the picture of you and your husband is so beautiful! You two should do some modeling:)

  • Maryalene says:

    This was a beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. It can be scary to talk about your personal life online — so many people seem to be waiting in the wings ready to pounce and tear others down for any perceived fault. From where I stand, I think you’ve always been extraordinarily gracious and kind to those people.

    Anyway, the part of this post that really resonates with me is the line about giving your family the leftovers instead your best. That’s where I am as a WAHM. You want to keep the wheels turning so you don’t lose momentum with your work, but it seems like business success comes at the expense of family time. It’s a struggle. But thank you again for this honest post and the inspiration!

  • Melanie E. says:

    I remember reading your original blog!

    And I love that last picture of you and your hubby, so sweet. 🙂

  • There really isn’t a contradiction between being a devoted mom and an ambitious businesswoman. I enjoy reading MoneySavingMom for the business sense and learning how you manage the logistics of your busy life, not the Rite Aid deals. I imagine I’m not the only one!

    • Leah says:

      Me too!!! 🙂

    • Well, thank goodness there is a tab to separate the deals from the posts for those who feel that way! Without the savings, whether DIY tips or store scenarios, there would not be as much “money saving,” so much as a mommy blog. I personally like the posts about your family, dreams, and ambitions. I also love the posts that help my family save money, as well as the opportunities extended to fellow bloggers, to collectively share via giveaways and posted scenarios, weekly savings to others. Crystal is always more than generous in her outreach to other bloggers, and one of the reasons I follow her blog daily; her blog helped me envision my own blog as not just a mommy blog, but as a whole-living, savings-infused blog. I think one of the secrets to this blog, is the whole-living aspect, savings and stories alike, that make this blog so popular! It’s posts like this that help make households and blogs alike run! Crystal is the best!

    • Guest says:

      Yes! I have been here since 2007 for those same reasons!

  • Julie Crabb says:

    What a blessing to read this article this morning! Thanks for this and the pics of your hubby and kids. I know they were an important part of your journey.

  • Crystal,

    Thank you for everything. As a reader, your posts seem to time up perfectly with disasters in my house. I remember having an especially bad few days (and even questioning my life path) and then reading your post about courage being about showing up and giving it your all. I really needed to read that one at that particular moment.

    And now, as someone who has recently started a blog, posts like these are so insightful and encouraging. I feel like I am not giving much back to you in return, but I just wanted to say thanks!

  • Liz says:

    It’s been nice to watch you grow and succeed. I found you blog several years ago (when MSM first started) as I was searching for CVS coupon! This blog has saved me money over the years and I appreciate all the recipes you provide. Thanks for sharing – definitely love the post.

  • Deborah says:

    It’s fun to read about your journey and I am happy for you! Blogging is no small job nor does it only take a few minutes!

    I can relate to the way blogging has grown me and blessed me. My blog isn’t some huge success by business standards, but there are so many ways it has personally had a huge impact for me.

    Through my years of reading blogs and then starting one, I’ve come to realize it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do there are going to be people who don’t like it. There are going to be people who want to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. Life is just like that, even outside blogging!! 🙂 “Talking” from behind a screen just makes it too easy sometimes. 😉

    I’ve also grown in the realizations that we all make mistakes. We all mess up. Different people relate to different things at different times. There are so many factors that play into and affect each of our lives. Diversity makes life interesting!

    Blessings~

  • Jen says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing!

  • Cris says:

    I started reading your blog back in 2009 when I discovered couponing blogs while looking for diaper deals after the birth of my son. I found you on the favorites list of another blog. Back then I was reading way too many blogs, but yours quickly became my favorite. I remember a couple years back you mentioned possibly quitting and I’m just so glad that didn’t happen. That was when you and Jesse decided that help was needed or would go crazy doing it all alone. So happy for your family to be able to benefit in so many ways from having so much success. And happy for all of us that come here everyday and get so much out of your inspirational posts!! Here’s to another 10 years!!!

  • Autumn says:

    You are such a beautiful person inside and out. I have really enjoyed and appreciated your blog and therefore always find time to return even when time is so limited. Like other comments prior, I have watched you grow, feel like I’ve grown myself and because of this blog saved a large amount of money through the years following you. I have laughed, been inspired, intrigued and awed over your content and journey. Thank you for your honesty and sharing yourself and your precious family with us! Congrats!!

  • Jacki says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article and advice. I need all the encouragement I can get!

  • Kerri says:

    Thank you for sharing your life so openly. You have challenged me to grow into my own skin and to bring the best version of myself to everyday of my life.

  • CJ says:

    I love that you share how long it took for you to get where you are today. Also all the hours and trial and error. It gives bloggers a realistic idea of long it can take before you actually start to make some decent money blogging. I also love that you share that it takes a team to run a blog of your size, I think it is encouraging for other bloggers to know how much work goes into a successful blog and not to give up. (P.S. I like your new web design but I still adore your old header with the piggy bank – that header still just makes me smile).

  • Mackenzie says:

    Beautiful post Crystal! Thank you for sharing such a brave story 🙂

  • This is a very inspirational post. You give me hope of success for my blog and I am excited to continue blogging. Thank you!

  • Beth says:

    Great story- and thanks so much for having the courage to share more of the business side of things. I think that “frugal” means different things at different times, and your honesty in these instances is a blessing to many.

    In my own journey as a working mom, I’ve thrown out the word “balance,” and cling to the idea of set priorities. I think you have had a strong influence on not just listing them (God, family, work etc.), but in taking the time to operationalize them in daily life. “What activities are really in service to those priorities” and “How much weight do I give each of the priorities” have become the essential questions in choosing how I spend my time. It’s not good enough to just pick a few here and there, and it’s not possible to give 100% to everything, all the time. Thanks for helping to shape my perspective!

    Best of luck and many blessings!

  • Thank you so much for your insight, Crystal! I discovered your site back in 2008, and have enjoyed watching you grow, as a person and as an online success.

    Your encouragement, and articles regarding blogging and other online sources of income, gave me the confidence and determination I needed to find a way to make money online, while being able to stay at home with my 4 sons.

    In turn, I was able to leave a very abusive relationship and provide for myself and kids in a way I never before thought possible.

    You have truly touched my life in a positive way, and for that I am grateful.

    I wish you continued success (in life and in your business ventures), and can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring for you.

  • sandra says:

    out of everything I’ve read of yours over the years, this is my favorite!

  • lyss says:

    Love this! I guess I’ve been “with” you since your blogging beginning! I got married in ’05, and I know I found your blog before then. I remember being so encouraged by the articles on your first site during my confusing courtship days. I know you say you regret things you wrote back then, but honestly, I just remember it being so encouraging to read stuff by a likeminded Christian girl! : )

    Okay, so as far as making money directly from a blog, it’s just by ads and affiliate marketing? I understand you make money other ways, but from the blog itself, is that all? Honestly, I’m just curious. Not really desiring to start a blog.

  • Simply said – thanks for being such an encouragement to us all, Crystal! You inspire me!

  • Crystal, do you know if the EBA course covers material that is not already covered in Blogging for Profit Without Selling Your Soul?

    Thanks! (And thanks for sticking with blogging by the way. You inspire me every week as I read your encouraging, transparent posts.)
    🙂

  • Laura says:

    Please tell me what monetize means?????

    • Great question Laura!

      I *think* that it means just making your blog able to earn income. I’ve also heard it used to means earning by running adds and affiliate links only. Maybe someone else can help out here too?

      That’s a question I’ve always had too.
      Thanks for being brave enough to ask,
      Lea

  • Thank you for all that you do for your blog. I’ve been a reader for years (like since 2008!) but only recently started my own blog. I’ve gained a whole new understanding and respect for what you do and how you put yourself out there, and I admire your perseverance and thick skin! Thank you for continuing to inspire and encourage others through your work!

  • Ai says:

    Thank you so much for giving so much of yourself through this blog, and blessing countless number of people! Reading about your journey is inspiring. What a beautiful path God has put you on! I started my blog in the spring of this year, and there are times when it could become overwhelming when I let it. It’s only been a few months, and I realize what a delicate balancing act I’ve entered into. I’m thankful for your example of keeping your family and God first, and being intentional in making the most of those relationships.

  • Jolene says:

    Crystal – I’ve been following you from the beginning. I absolutely love your blog and the fact that you are so down to earth and humble. I look at your blog normally once a day and have shared with tons of others. Keep doing what you are doing. I have to say one of my favorite posts was when one of your children cut your “New to You” couch. It was an awesome reminder of how words can have a huge impact. You have a beautiful family and thank you for sharing with us through the years.

  • Amie says:

    Thank you so much for your blog. It has helped me many times. PS. Your eyes sparkle in that green top you have on with the photo of you and your hubby.

  • My husband and I are just little part-time bloggers, but I appreciate all of your tips and advice. We’re not making tons of money (maybe not even nickels an hour), but we’re making enough to cover our blogging expenses and enjoy blogging as a couple. I have loved following your story, love the “Say Good-bye to Survival Mode” book, and look forward to what the next ten years will bring for you. 🙂

  • Jill says:

    What a cool story, Crystal! I’m so glad to have been a part of the whole journey with you, since I was a reader from the very beginning of MSM and before. The work God has done in you (and me) the last 10 years is beautiful!

  • amy says:

    I came to your site today because I have to scrape together money for the accident deductible and coverage of the resulting ticket I received. I’m fine – only hurt financially. 🙁

    Your blog popped in to my head first as a resource for looking for cost cutting ideas.

    You are inspiring and helping others. 🙂

  • Delorise says:

    Fantastic post. I have been following your blog for a couple years now. Was great to get the background story.

  • Christie says:

    Just makes my heart smile to hear of His amazing grace! Thank you for using your platform to bless others in so many ways — for all your words of encouragement, and for being a living example of perseverance, generosity, and humility. I pray God’s continued blessings on you and your family!

    (p.s. I’m another one who’s been following since the days of Biblical Womanhood).

  • Deon says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m a fellow Kansan and have just entered the world of trying to make money from blogging. I recently became a SAHM and dream of having the financial and family success that you have. Reading your post today was so helpful, especially with the reminder to keep plugging away!

  • Thank you for so openly sharing your story. You are truly and inspiration. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts for several years, You are so genuine and always share great tips and advice. Thank you!

  • su says:

    Dear Crystal,
    I have been following your blog since last 3-4 years.. but in all these years my day always stared with visiting your post first and rest of the things only after it.. it just inspires me ..gives energy and motivation to do many things in Life.You give us opportunity of challenging ourselves for many really important things.Your blog is now a part of my LIFE. I learned about couponing, living on small budget,about Dave Ramsey through your site only. In my first visit only i couldn’t resist myself from watching all videos on budgeting and felt like i know the lady who is going to help me…with her own struggle..so you are my Dave R. (sorry Dave R.:))you wouldn;t belive i check your blog for something new in every single hour..it addicted me in a good way.
    The way you put all your efforts and hard work in making others lives happy makes me feel like an emotional bonding with you and your family.
    so in short my each day starts with your blog…and we want you to keep progressing like this.. i wish.
    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS AND SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US TO MAKE OUR LIVES BETTER.We really appreciate you Cystal. Thanks again and best wishes for future.

  • As someone who has followed you since your earliest blogging years (and who has also grown and changed a lot since those early years!), I loved this post! I’m so thankful that I’ve also learned a lot and grown these last ten years as well. 🙂

  • Audra says:

    Crystal, you have a beautiful spirit and your authenticity is what draws me in and makes me trust you. I visit your site for so many recipes and life tips. And this post has particularly been so encouraging, as I begin to lose steam and wonder why anyone would care about what I have to say on my blog… But I will continue on. Blessings to you Crystal, thank you for being human 🙂

  • Sia Hills says:

    LOVE this! My favorite para is: “Through it all, I’ve grown, matured, been humbled, had to ask forgiveness, and learned a great deal about my own limits. I’ve gone from a very black and white person who thought she had everything figured out and thought she should share her very legalistic, dogmatic views with everyone, to discovering this beautiful thing called “grace” and realizing that there are very few hills worth dying on.” What a brave thing to be so transparent, especially on the path to discovering grace, and what a beautiful lesson to share with us all.

  • Sheri says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing journey our Father has taken you on! Thank you for staying faithful and obedient; for keeping Christ 1st! You are a beautiful example of being the “original” God created you to be, Crystal. Thank you for blogging and blessing me so many times through your goal setting, savings ideas, and excellence!

  • Kris says:

    Beautiful post!

  • Georgia says:

    I’ve been following you since the beginning and have enjoyed the ride! And it was fun to see the old header you had…my son always pointed out the pig whenever he saw it, even on the spine of your first book. we miss the pig! lol

  • Priscilla says:

    Just curious. Are you renting out your house in Kansas or was it sold before your move to TN?

  • Robyn says:

    Love, love, love this, Crystal! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Thanks for keeping it real, and for being YOU. You bless. 🙂

  • Donna says:

    I can not begin to tell you how this post has blessed me! Almost two years ago I discovered blogging, and within about three months I knew that having my own blog would be a perfect fit for me. Then I discovered people were making money blogging. So, long story short, I will build my own blog but I haven’t yet. I actually went into a store today I hardly ever go in and stumbled upon a For Dummies book about blogging and I bought it. I’m getting closer each day. I can feel it!

    Your entire post was so encouraging to me, but I absolutely lost it when I read, “The best is yet to come!” You see, our church is in the middle of a capital campaign and the title of the series is “Hoperising. The best is yet to come!” I know that in order for me to be able to bless my church, I have to be blessed first! There will plenty of time for me to give because we need to raise almost nine million dollars as a church for the vision.

  • I loved reading your story! It is so encouraging to this little blogger in the huge blogiverse! I’m really hoping to figure out how to take Ruth’s class and will save this code just in case!!!

    • Laurie Villotta says:

      I have also been a reader since the beginning. I really miss your posts about how readers paid off debt or how readers saved for their goals.

  • Liz says:

    Aw, Crystal, you deserve all the blessings you have received! I have been reading since 2008, and I feel like I’ve gone right along with you on Money Saving Mom’s journey. You are a truly inspirational person who has touched my life over the years. God bless you and your family always.

  • Lizzy says:

    LOVE this post! I’ve been here since ’07/08? and He continues to shine through you–such a beautiful mix of humility, compassion, wisdom, and confidence–always encourages me. And I love the pic of you & Jesse and then the kids–precious!

    • I love that picture of Jesse and me, too! It was our first time to get professional pictures done since our wedding. Can you believe it?!

      Thank you so much for your kind encouragement and for being a long-time reader!

  • Lauren says:

    Crystal, What a beautiful post and glimpse into your blogging career. I pray that the next 10 years is just as fruitful, if not more so!

    I bought your Supermarket Savings (was that the name? I can’t remember!) back in 2005 (or 6?). It encouraged me to be a good steward of the money God blessed us with. It also helped me dig and search for other strategies to take care of my family and home. The snowball effect of that course has brought lots of blessings for my family.

    Thank you for that help all those years ago and for the encouragement you continue to give today!

    • Wow! You have a great memory! Yes, it was called “Supermarket Savings”. I actually tried to dig up a picture of the front of it to use on this post but couldn’t find one!

      Thank you so much for your kind encouragement! I’m grateful to have been an inspiration!

  • Zan says:

    Such a great post. The Lord has truly bless your family and used you to encourage others tremendously.

  • My husband and I have been tossing around a really awesome idea for my blog for a few months now. I’ve been afraid to move on it, but just last night started making preparations for the launch. After I was finished for the evening, I saw this article. Such perfect timing! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and for encouraging others!

  • Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Your story is very inspirational, and you clearly deserve all of your success! While I’m sure it comes at a price, your openness is truly appreciated by so many of your readers.

  • Leslie says:

    Crystal, I had to tell you what my 3 year old daughter just said… I walked into the room and my son had pushed a button on my laptop, waking it up. My daughter started exclaiming (and that is not overstating her reaction) “Mommy! Look! Look at the BEAUTIFUL picture! It’s so beautiful! It’s so pretty! Mommy, look at the beautiful picture!!!!” There was also a lot of jumping up and down involved. So, I came over to see what all the excitement was about, and… it was the picture of you and your husband from this post. 🙂

  • I wanted to say thank you for being a generous blogger too. You have shared a few of my crock pot freezer meals and it always gives me a nice spike in my traffic. There are a lot of big blogs out that that don’t share a lot if it is from another blogger. But you have a place for us to submit ideas and you help others get noticed. So thanks!

  • Tara says:

    I have been reading from the beginning. Thank you for all you have taught me and so many others.

  • lela says:

    I’ve been reading your blog a long time, perhaps the whole 10 years. I remember buying a book that you self published (more the size of a pamplet) something about daughters staying at home till they married.

  • I love reading about how you got started and so wish I had followed from the beginning! If nothing else, I think it would help remind me that you started from scratch and it has been a journey to get where you are. One of my biggest struggles is determining where I should invest the majority of my efforts with growing my blog during this season of my life – I have a 4 yr old, 2 yr old, and another on the way so life is crazy busy and my blogging time is definitely limited. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your journey and doing what you can to support other young bloggers like myself!! 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you, this post was a blessing to me. I’m two years on my site. I have so many ideas and plans but I’m trying to figure out what is sustainable.

    I knew intellectually that a blog would be a lot of work but it wasn’t until I was in the thick of it that I really understood just how much work it was and how it never, ever ends. You’re never ever done. There’s always more and more and more and more you can be doing on the blog.

    p.s. loved how you used photos of yourself to help tell the story.

  • Theresa L says:

    Oh, Crystal! You have no idea how much I needed your words today. A couple months ago, I took a leap of faith and decided to start a direct sales business with Usborne Books. I love the product and know I can make a go of it, but it’s been so slow. The last couple days have been especially frustrating. Thank you for this great encouragement! It was exactly what I needed! God bless you! *HUG*

    PS. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of your kids all together like that! SOOO cute! <3

  • Alana says:

    Thank you for allowing us to see your journey, and your fears. It really encourages me to not stop and to keep blogging away. Thank you! The promo code for the Elite Blog Academy seems to not be working for me.

  • Kristia says:

    Such a great post. In 2008, I was searching online for money saving ideas. I didn’t even know what a blog was, but I stumbled onto yours. We’re also in a different place financially than we were in 2008–I still read your blog, but less for the money saving tips and more for the business/blogging motivation. It’s been fun to see you evolve over the years. And honestly who wants to be the same person we were 6 years ago, hopefully, I’ve evolved too–lol.

    I see the Economides family in the radio interview picture. I LOVE that family. I’ve been following them for years too.

    Have you ever written a post on what you learned and what you’d do differently from writing that first book?

  • Renee says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I found your other blog in 2006 after I got married. We knew once kids came I would be a stay-at-home mom however I had no idea how I would do that. I found your blog and started reading and said I can be a stay-at-home mom! My kids are now 5,4,1 and I still find inspiration from those posts as I prepare preschool activities for my kids, remember to go grocery shopping while their tummies are full, and go to the important store first so you can say no to the rest of the stores when they get tired. Thank You!

  • LOVE THIS! I am so proud of you and so honored to have gotten to be part of this journey since practically the beginning! I remember that first blog header like it was yesterday!! 🙂

  • Heather c says:

    Crystal, thank you so much for sharing your story and thank you for how much you’ve helped my family and I these past several years. I too had never heard of a blog and 5 years ago when I had just left my job to be a stay at home mom to my brand new baby another mom who I traded coupons with told me about your site. It changed my whole outlook and gave me confidence that my husband and I could get by! You’ve not only showed my family how to save money but your honesty has more than once made me feel so much better on days I’m feeling like a bad mom or just overwhelmed. I think that part of your blog is part of what makes MSM so special, your honest and open and don’t act like every single moment of your life is perfect. I’m sure it’s hard to put yourself out there like that but know it’s helped a lonely stay at home mom more than once get through the day. 5 years and 2 kids later, thank you for letting us follow your journey and helping us along the way! I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years holds for your blog… You deserve all the success in the world :0)

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational story! I’ve been following since 2009 and really enjoy your blog. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. I enjoy your perspective on things. We are a family on a very tight budget and your site has helped us many times. Thank you!

  • kathy wallace says:

    Bless you! You kept on your journey and overcame many things that some would have let stop them. You have enriched so many people’s lives and continue to do so. You are sharing your
    talents with others and trying to help them be better at blogging, shopping or whatever. I truly enjoy reading your blog and look forward to it and hope you continue for many years to come. I am so happy you get to work with your spouse and he is supportive and your family is just precious. Thanks for sharing.

  • Challice says:

    I remember searching for a way to help our family budget and my friend kept telling me about the mom blog that showed you how to save money couponing. This was back in 2008. I followed every detail to the letter of what you would post and how to do it. I spent a lot of money at first, learning the ropes and all but later on I was able to work it out using your blog. From that point on I have followed you since. Sometimes in a daily dose, more often times in spurts since my family of 4 has grown to a family of 7 in the past 6 years.
    Lately I have been finding myself in the same financial boat as it was back in 2008. I saw this blog post on my Facebook feed and thought, “even if I can never do it, Crystal has always made me believe I could.” And taht can give me the confidence I need to continue plugging along with making it work.

    God bless.

  • Kris says:

    Yours is my favorite blog. I never miss a post. My friend and I just started a healthy living blog. We can only hope to be as successful as you one day. 🙂 thanks for all the great info!

  • Stephie says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful article. Your article and all your posts have been such an encouragement to me as a blogger. Your amazing endless ideas to help save money has been so valuable to my family. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your blog and look forward to more inspirational ideas. (www.designingbee.com)

  • Erin says:

    I really appreciated this post. I’ve followed this blog and read your books for several years because I could relate to the need to declutter, live creatively and frugally, and raise a family during some difficult but common financial years at the beginning of our marriage. (I say ‘beginning’ but it has been 12 years!)

    I understand the shift from living pay check to paycheck out of necessity to transitioning into a new phase of life which allows us to steward our resources wisely (time, money, etc.) now that we aren’t a paycheck to paycheck family. Allowing ourselves to shift focus while still maintaining good habits that we have formed over the last decade has been a blessing. It has given us the ability to still live on one income and completely pay down our student loans and eventually save with the second income. It still calls for intentional living and sacrificing, but all the hard work and frustrating years have finally paid off and we are reaping the rewards….and it is because we did not give up our drive and motivation toward our vocational, family, and career goals. In the end, those long term goals are what bring us the greatest push. Thank you!

  • amity says:

    Crystal,

    You are such an inspiration and I love how honest you are. I love being the keeper of my home more than anything, but I also love being a business woman as well, believe it or not there are times when I feel guilty about that! Thank you for sharing your life with us 🙂

  • Laura Smith says:

    Very inspirational! Blogging definitely does help you grow. I’ve been reading MSM and your other blog since 2007. Money Saving Mom was the first blog I read and I didn’t even know you could make an income blogging. It’s definitely hard work, but I think it’s so worth it. I’m so grateful to be able to earn good money while being able to work from home with my 7 week old daughter by my side.

    I’m excited to see a course geared toward intermediate bloggers. I signed up for the course, and I’m excited to get started.

  • Crystal, you are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and story. I respect you so much and I am THRILLED for your success!

  • Lance says:

    Thanks for the tips and suggestions. It is really interesting to look back and see how things start. Sometimes I wonder if we imagine how big things can really get when we first start.

  • julie says:

    I started reading in 2009 after we had just moved to Oklahoma for my husband to begin his air traffic controller training. I had recently became a SAHM we were about dead broke and about $30,000 in debt-at least. We knew hubby would eventually be making a 6 figure salary and certainly didn’t want to be in debt when we got there-we wanted to be able to achieve our own financial goals and help others as well. Other than Dave Ramsey, your blog was my biggest inspiration to get us out of debt, keep us out of debt, and enjoy living simply. Thank you! (and to believe, in all my time reading, I think this is only the 4th or 5th time commenting!)

  • I remember getting on my computer in ’07/’08 when my husband was applying for law school and typing in “how to survive law school as a family on a budget” (or something like that) and finding your blog. I’ve been reading faithfully ever since. Your candor and encouragement have blessed me time and again.

    Thank you!

  • You can definitely see a whole change in your level of confidence from the first picture to the last…just through a picture. 🙂 That’s awesome!! I believe that our biggest hurdle and battle isn’t being able to actually accomplish what we desire, but our doubt that we can in fact accomplish our dream. If we truly believe in our dreams and desires we can go so far with a limitless God. I love stories like yours that prove this is true!
    Cooking Up Faith
    http://www.cookingupfaith.org

  • Love this Crystal! Such an encouraging post to all of us behind you as you share such a beautiful and honest glimpse into your story. I just love your humble and determined spirit. You deserve every ounce of your success! Cannot wait to see how God continues to use your life.

  • Molle Smart says:

    Crystal, even though we have not connected often I do come to your blog as a safe heaven giving you some much needed wisdom in an chaotic mom’s world. I’m glad you are talking about this topic as it is a big part of what you have grown into as of now. Change is healthy, and Change is good. God bless you for saying yes to his calling in your life and being submissive to his will!

  • Tracy says:

    Thank you Crystal for sharing yourself with us. I’ve been with you since your Biblical Womanhood days and have loved watching you grow and have learned so much from you. You have been a huge blessing to me and my family. You may have shared this before, and of course you may not want to share it at all (in which case, just delete my comment), but how are you and Jesse working together now?

  • I was blessed by your honesty and transparency in writing this. Thank you.

  • Sarah Mae says:

    Such a great post! And I love that picture of us with Sally – so funny! 🙂

  • This was such a fun read! God has gifted you in so many ways and I have always admired you.

    The section on growing into your skin…I so relate to. It has been quite the unexpected journey!

    Thank you for the way you serve others by being open and humble with everything you are learning – truly beautiful.
    Lots of Love,
    Courtney

  • Loved this post, Crystal.
    And I love how real you are about it all.
    It’s clear to see, you’re made of the good stuff. 🙂

    You’re an inspiration, girl. Xx

  • “I love being a wife and mom, I love managing my home well, I love saving money, and I love freezer cooking. I am also a business woman who loves marketing, entrepreneurial ventures, and learning everything I can about strategy and monetization.” Me too, me too! (Except for the freezer cooking part. Haven’t gotten there yet. 🙂 ) I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom from the time I was a girl, and even though I went to college and got a degree, I never imagined that nearly two decades later I would become an entrepreneur who absolutely loves the business side of things. That’s not true of a whole lot of creatives, and I don’t take it for granted.

    I did a double-take when I saw the photo of your first radio interview and thought, “What? Isn’t that Dennis Rainey? Her very first interview was on Family Life Today?” I hovered over the photo, and sure enough. Wow! What a way to start. 🙂

    I’ve been a reader since 2007 when I was big into couponing, and I remember anxiously clicking over to your blog (back before I used a reader) to check deals! It’s been so fun to watch you grow and thrive and to be blessed by the way you’ve generously shared your experiences, knowledge, and heart. Thank you for being faithful with what you’ve been given!

  • chelsea says:

    Crystal I’ve been reading your blog since shortly after my oldest was first born, 7 years ago now! I vividly remember a friend telling me about this great blog to find coupons and deals, before you were a household name. I have always enjoyed your refreshing honestly and transparency. You are one of the reasons I was inspired to homeschool in the first place. Thank you for everything!

  • Carrie says:

    Crystal, I have been a reader for a LONG time, and I have even written a few posts for you during your homemade Christmas gift series. In fact, I am even a part of your latest book-the backpack food drive example. Anyway, I remember your site when it was the green header :). And I loved it then. I love it now. I love seeing you grow and change! Your site was one of the first couponing sites I came across and follow faithfully. I used to spend so much time each day reading, gleaning, and learning from you. I still read-of course! Not as long at a time as I used to, but still I am learning from you. You are an amazing example! God is good!

  • Brittany says:

    GREAT and encouraging post for us newbie bloggers 🙂 Thank you for sharing and for your humble spirit, always such a blessing!

  • Very happy to have read this post. You are so encouraging. Blogging is harder then I ever expect and had ZERO clue as to what I was doing when I first started. I love hearing about your journey. Thank you for sharing. I really did need to hear (read it)

  • Kate says:

    I LOVE this post! Thank you so much for opening your heart and for your honesty! This was such a great post. There are so many bloggers out there on high horses and pedestals its so refreshing to read “I wasn’t perfect” haha. And holy moley those are cute kiddos!!

    I haven’t been reading for years – I wish – but you’ve already been such an influence! Thank you for being you!!

    Kate

  • Laura Krokos says:

    Thank you sooooo much Crystal!!! It is seriously such a blessing to hear your journey. It’s so easy to think blogs that are doing really well have always been… well, big and doing well. haha. I love learning and learn so much from hearing the journey. So seriously thank you for sharing!

  • sara says:

    I am doing all of the research that I can and writing my little heart out while my blog is getting built. What books to read, the best way to start, how to make money with the blog eventually..etc. I have been reading your links and they have helped me to stay calm and stay inspired. Thank you for encouraging bloggers brand new and professional.

  • Sarah says:

    I absolutely LOVE your honesty in this article. What an amazing road you have gone down.

  • Jessica says:

    i am not a blogger but found a lot of inspiration in your post. I don’t know why exactly but your blog is just one i come back to naturally, i don’t have to bookmark it or follow on facebook to come back from time to time to check out “what’s new”. I go through spurts of reading more regularly but i never forget it’s there. I think because it is just broad enough and just specific enough to stay relevant and fresh.

    I am in a situation right now where i need to be looking into starting a career or making money and every time i think about it i am confronted with all my insecurities and “limitations” and overthinking things and convincing myself why it wouldn’t/couldn’t work. Your perspective here helps with a gentle nudge in the direction of what we all know to be good advice when stuck in anlysis overload: “just do it!” .

  • Love this Crystal! You are amazing and I’ve loved following you for these past 4 years! You are a true blessing to so many and thank you for sharing your blogging wisdom. I’m taking Ruth’s course right now and I LOVE it! So worth it!

  • Thank you for writing this post! I have been following you for a little while and I love your tips and what you stand for. My husband and I are working hard to live a simple, debt free life and we are really close! We were just able to by our first home (unfortunately not cash- but my goal is to pay down that mortgage, our only debt, ASAP!) and I have finally worked up the courage to start my own blog about decorating and our home life. People like you, and all of the other amazing bloggers I follow have really inspired me, so thank you so much for being such a great role model!

    • Liz says:

      You should leave the name of your blog below! As a person who is just casually scrolling through, I read your comment and thought that you remind me of myself, and that I’d like to check out your blog. Is that blogger-tabboo? To leave your own blog as a link under your comment?

  • Tasha says:

    I remember the early days of your blog. Your blog was the first blog I bookmarked and began reading regularly. It must be very rewarding to see all the hard work come to fruition and your dream realized.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! The blogging world is a wonderful, scary, exciting place and it is so inspiring to hear how others have been able to navigate through and keep their heads above water.

  • Cheryl says:

    I began following your blog in the fall of 2007 having no idea at the time that it was so new…..a friend of mine knew your sister (who I later got to know) and recommended your blog…..one of the first blogs I started following….and still continue to follow. I’ve learned (and am still learning) like you, that I don’t have it all figured out and that not all hills are worth dying on :). Sometimes those lessons are difficult and painful, but I’m so thankful for God’s grace!!! Thanks for your encouraging words and honesty!!!! Both are great qualities that are often lacking in our culture!

  • Thank you for writing this! I’ve been blogging for two years and this morning I will be writing out my plan for my first professionally designed website. I’m excited and nervous and often feel like I have no idea what I’m doing! I have about 350 subscribers and each day I learn something new about how to serve my readers. I appreciate your story and the encouragement 🙂

  • Never feel bad for being successful. You are doing something right and that is something to be proud of! Also, advice on living the frugal lifestyle means a LOT more from someone who has been there (and you definitely have!) but isn’t anymore. Good for you!

  • Crystal – is it so weird that I teared up reading this post? Yes, yes it is. But it happened. 🙂 I have literally been here from the beginning and have watched you grow and change into the beautiful wife and mom that you are today. Your ministry of a blog has been such a blessing to my life. When I started reading, I was a single woman looking for ways to get out of debt and live frugally. And I’m now a wife and mom to a preschooler with one on the way and a full-time (debt-free) blogger! Thanks for inspiring me and being a dear friend on the other side of the screen all these years!

  • Reading this made me smile so big. I feel like I’ve virtually walked along with you for many years. Some of these same thoughts have gone through my mind lately. The Lord used the blog to build a business that my husband and I never saw coming. He is blessing our socks off and we are FINALLY finding deliverance from the debt that has been hanging over our heads for so long. HE is good and provides just what we need – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally – at the perfect time. I’m a better person today than I was 10 years ago. Thank goodness! 🙂

  • Sarah Brooks says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. This is my fourth year blogging (I just bought my $10 domain). Thanks for demonstrating that hard work and perseverance can pay off. A few months ago you shared my review of “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode” on your Facebook page. I received over 2,000 views on that post, the most I’ve ever had. It was such an encouragement for this “little” blogger to keep going and not give up. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  • You’re such a blessing, sweet friend. May God continue to bless you so you can bless others.

    Nell

  • Sarah Fuller says:

    Thank you so much for sharing a look at your journey in blogging. It is so comforting to know that continuing to plug away and keep learning and experimenting can really pay off in the long run. I am two years in and really needed to hear this. I appreciate you and your talent.

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for the truth in your line “I gave my family leftovers instead of my best”.

    That was a real eye opening statement for me. I hope it will stick with me and remind me to always give my family my best, my 100%.

  • Jennifer says:

    I still remember being a stay at home mom with my husband making 19000 a year. I stopped a complete stranger at target with a coupon binder and asked her more desperately than I like to admit now, how she did it. She pointed me to this blog. That was about 2008. It has blessed and completely changed our home! We are also not in that season of life but pass on what we’ve learned to others who are. I’ve said it before, but you’ll never know the impact of your faithfulness to do the work God has called you to do.

  • Joyce Ibitoye says:

    I am thinking very seriously about blogging. So I started to research and came across your article in Pinterest. I am so glad I did as it was such a blessing to me to read about what it has cost you to get so far. Thank you and well done for writing this, persevering through tough times and your honesty.

    I hope you keep growing stronger in every area of your life

  • Camille says:

    This is so inspiring to read. I have been blogging for about 6 months and I have to remind myself daily to stay motivated and inspired –keep working towards the bigger picture. It is so awesome to read about someone else’s journey and know in the end it is worth it.

    Thanks again,
    Camille

  • Stephanie says:

    Wow I cant tell you enough how much I loved reading this post. I’m just starting out on my own internet journey and I am so excited and so scared but this was a really good read for me today. Exactly what I needed.

  • Ashleigh says:

    this post has totally inspired me to keep on keeping on! I just started a blog to keep myself busy and to bring in an extra income for my family eventually. I have found so much joy out of writing and I hope to go as far as you one day!

  • Victoria says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful advice. I’m a new blogger and this was really helpful.
    http://www.liveloveeatright.com

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Crystal. I started my blog this past January and as a full time attorney, wife, and mom of a one and three year old, it’s difficult to pump out quality content while managing a family and truly trying to give them my best. God has truly rewarded you, so don’t mind the naysayers because “Haters gonna Hate.” Cheers to you and to your success story!

  • Crystal says:

    Love, love, love your blog! I have read you for years. You inspire me! Thank you for always being so honest. So happy for you!

  • Hannah Iway says:

    I just found your blog now as I was researching for some blogging tips. Thank you for the info above. My blog is new, just one month and sometimes I am not sure if I’m doing it right, whether my blog is just too personal or helpful for others.

  • April says:

    I have been hoping you would write this very article. Thank you! This gives me a lot of hope. My blog has been a very gradual journey, and I still have a long way to go. For now, I am constantly turning away money-making blog opportunities because I don’t know how to make time for them. Soon I’m going to embrace this and steam ahead because goodness knows I love blogging. OH!!! If you don’t read the rest of the comment read this part: That first book that you wish were different—-Don’t let perfectionism get in your way!!! That book helped me a TON. I LOVED IT! Use less laundry detergent. No one else has ever suggested anything so simple. And starting a budget with just grocery budgeting! These were great tips for us! Thank you!

  • Cathy says:

    I do have a very small blog and write sporadically. I’ve always loved writing and would love to make money doing what I love. I come back to your website to read your blogging tips (and everything else too) but specifically the blogging posts and wonder if I have what it takes to do this. I’ve always been one to give up easily when things don’t progress the way I think they should or become too difficult. I second guess myself, wondering if people would be interested in reading what I’ve posted and so very afraid of confrontation and possibly offending someone.

  • Casey Hardin says:

    Thank you so much for posting this article. I have a dream to make a living from blogging and I have a long way to go, but reading your story has been so encouraging!! I wish you all the best and am totally inspired by your journey. 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Many congrats on your success Crystal. Watching you grow over the last few years has been inspiring and as a new blogger it motivates me to keep going. Your blog is a gem and has been so useful to me for years now. Thanks for all that you do!

  • This is a wonderful post – I’ve been to your site a couple of times before but it’s nice to read more about how your blog came to be, and where it will be going in the future! Congratulations on following and realizing your dream 🙂

  • I love your honesty! Congratulations on your success. I love stumbling upon your website every few days!

  • Erin Nichols says:

    Thank you for sharing! What an inspiring story! It gives me hope thatmy dream of writing for a living may not be just a dream. I appreciate the reality of your post, the trickle, the fear of scrutiny. It resonates with me. Congratulations on your success! You seem like a hard working, much deserving person!

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for writing this. I’m super new at blogging, and love reading how others started. 10 years! WOW that is a long time and a lot of experience. Great job! 🙂

  • Karla P. says:

    You provide some needed encouragement (I just started a blog a few days ago). I enjoy and appreciate your humble attitude.

  • ALICIA says:

    Amazing journey! I hope to be like you – start out slowly, create good content, and eventually my goal is to be able to pay all my “basic” (reoccurring bills) from my blog alone. I’m always looking for new ways to make it happen. Thanks for sharing! – Alicia @ http://www.girlonahike.com

  • Chhavi says:

    Really inspiring. I started my blog and have a few readers. This is the best article I read today, totally made my day. Pinned.

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I am just beginning in the blogging world and it is quite refreshing to hear that we all come from the same humble beginnings.

  • Kanika says:

    Very inspiring. I started blogging few months back and this is going to help me to keep on writing no matter what the output you get. Following you and saving your post.

  • I really appreciate this article. My goal with blogging is to share what I know about being thrifty and getting out of debt with other young women who go through the same struggles that I do. My goal isn’t to make it my full time job, but it would be nice to make some side money off of it. It’s only been two weeks, and there is so much to learn!

    This post has been encouraging to me and reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect. Making mistakes and owning them is part of the process.

  • I really appreciate this article. My goal with blogging is to share what I know about being thrifty and getting out of debt with other young women who go through the same struggles that I do. My goal isn’t to make it my full time job, but it would be nice to make some side money off of it. It’s only been two weeks, and there is so much to learn!

    This post has been encouraging to me and reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect. Making mistakes and owning them is part of the process.

  • Mom2MomEd says:

    This is such an encouraging post. We are in early days, but already seeing growth and potential–hugely motivating, right? I like your comment at the beginning of the post about perseverance. It’s so necessary! So many people quit things right before they would have really taken off. ~ Malea @ Mom2MomEd.com

  • John says:

    This post ha really blessed me! I am just starting out myself and hoping to learn from those that have been there. Thank you for this post! One day I hope to be a blessing like this to someone else,

  • bee says:

    thanks for sharing your story so honestly. There are so many blogs that talk about how you can start making a income in 3 months etc, it so refreshing to hear your journey with such candour, especially the lessons you learned about who you are as a person.

  • I love this story and how honest you were. Blogging is definitely a journey and you experience both good and bad. Thank you for writing it!

  • Christine says:

    I loved your story and would love to follow you. I have been wanting to start a blog for sometime now. It all seems Greek to me. By filling in my email am I now subscribed?

  • Heather says:

    Such honesty! Really appreciate that. I want to launch out as well as blogging is something I have considered for a while. This shows the struggles and the triumphs and gives encouragement in spite of. Thank you

  • Alejandra says:

    I loved reading this blog, thanks for sharing your path of grow your blog, a blog doesn’t grow in one day, there’s still a lot to learn for me yet, reading your blog today has been like a attending a “how to blog course”!

  • I just love this so much, Crystal. I’ve only been blogging for 3 years and I feel like I’ve lived 3 lifetimes with all of the choices that need to be made, the person it’s changing me into (I think for the better), and the priorities I need to stick to… I can relate to the hard things you mentioned here, and hoping for my first conference soon, but to learn how to write from a heart that just loves and wants to serve people. Thank you for persevering, such an important practice in patience and character. Much love to you, and big virtual hugs.

  • Jasmin says:

    You are truly and inspiration!!! I’m just starting and very nervous but feel passionate about blogging and can only hope to be where you are someday !!! Thanks for sharing your story !!

  • This is exactly what I needed to read right now. Thanks so much for your story! 🙂

    Jennifer

  • Julie says:

    Oh, Crystal, I am so excited about your story! I started blogging and this helps me a lot. Pinned.

    Julie,
    https://www.julieannepeters.com/

  • Frances says:

    I’ve just discovered you and your website and honestly love your sincere authenticity and refreshing honesty. Thanks for sharing your story – you are such an inspiration xx

  • Renee Cook says:

    Love hearing your story and journey. It’s encouraging to stick with it as I currently fit somewhere in your “starting to see potential” paragraph 🙂 Also, I am just learning how to be comfortable with the shared passions of raising my family AND running an online business. So much to learn over here, so, thank you for sharing!

  • Chris says:

    I wanted to say how wonderful it is to read so many comments from other women like me who have read MSM from the beginning, or soon after. I hope it encourages you to know this. What a blessing to have so many faithful readers who have been with you on your journey. 🙂 I remember so much of what you wrote in this post, and the pictures too. I know you give all the glory to God, Crystal, and may He continue to guide you and Jesse. I am so happy for you.

  • I have enjoyed your blog for years. Thanks for being such a positive person and for sending so much encouragement out to everyone. The world can be a dark and scary place sometimes, but you are definitely one of the light bringers. Thank you!

  • Stephanie Mann says:

    Crystal, thank you so much for your post–I needed that encouragement today. I’ve been following you since 2010 and now, ALL my friends follow you as well. Thank you for sharing your journey and especially for opening up your life to strangers–I couldn’t do it but SO GRATEFUL that YOU had the courage!! Much love and prayers for the future!! Steph

  • Erin Rose says:

    I just wanted to jump on and say how much your blog has meant to me over the years. I started following it in 2008 when my husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer. We were struggling to make ends meet and so I knew I needed to coupon. You taught me so much and you are the only money saving blog I follow still! Life is a lot better now, husband cancer free, and we have three kids adopted thru foster care. Thank you for all you have done for our family! I love your down to earth style and honesty. Thanks!

  • J says:

    Crystal, I’ve been following you since Silas was born. I’m writing right now in a Choose Gratitude Journal! I remember that law school post you took down and it came while I was in law school and on my own! Thanks for everything you do. Please keep blogging about your life, you do a great job!

  • Julia says:

    I have been with you from close to the beginning and feel like I have grown into adulthood with you. I got married in the fall of 2007 and all of a sudden had two stepkids and needed to figure out how to save money on family life. And now as your income and mine have grown and changed your blog continues to make sense to me.
    Keep being you and doing what your are doing!

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