1/01/2010

Happy New Year!



I wanted to take a few minutes to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

This past year has been full of challenges and rewards! The middle of January last year I didn't even have a blog. My sister Anna talked me into starting one and "the rest is history"! By February, I was nominated into a group of amazing woman for a chance at Mommy Blogger of the year from Scholastic Book Club. After a month of voting I was chosen as one of the 5 Mommy Bloggers! I was featured in the June edition of Parent and Child magazine. This fall again I had the amazing opportunity of being one of only 30 Deal Pro's chosen by Savings.com to travel to San Francisco, all expenses paid, for an awesome weekend of rubbing shoulders with Woman who I consider "famous" in the blog world and learning from them! It was wonderful! I was featured in many Houston newspapers through out the year and was on The CBS Early morning show in San Francisco and the National Show in New York. My own local Houston channel 11 station did a fun show this fall on 11 gifts for $11 and under thanks to an email to the reporter from my friend Suzanne. One year ago I could have never imagined that any of this would have happened.

I have made many mistakes this year and am still learning. This fall I switched to a different platform, and tried using a designer for my site. It didn't work out at all for me and my site was down for a couple of days. I found a new amazing designer and moved back to a platform I was comfortable with. But, in the process I lost many readers. As your readership grows you have to make changes, I just jumped to quickly without a firm plan and wasted a lot of money. I can't tell you how much ugly and mean email I got. I was very surprised. I assumed that I was "providing a service" for people that didn't cost them anything and never expected the ugly mail. But you learn to be thick skinned and move on.

The purpose of my blog is to provide a place for woman ( and some men too!) to learn how, and have the resources to financially take care of their families. Either to help make it possible to make ends meat, to build up your food storage, to free up some spending money or learn how to spend less. I try and keep it real. I don't always get my coupons cut out. Sometimes I yell at my kids, my house isn't always clean and I have cried at a Target checkout counter when I was sick or arguing with a (idot!) cashier...

Before I started couponing we were spending $1200 a month on food and toiletries. It took me a good 6mo. to learn how to coupon, get a good stash of coupons and feel comfortable with what I was doing. But I could not have done it without the help from a good friend Susan W. She held my hand and showed me what to do. With her help it finally "clicked" for me. That is what I want to do here. Somehow through the internet I want to hold your hand and help you learn how you can save yourself thousands of dollars a year! We now spend about $400 a month on food and toiletries. What can I do with that extra $800 a month? Well, here in Texas that is almost my house payment. I feel like we are living for free and it only takes me a few extra hours a week.

Because my family is my life, and I am so proud of them and all the funny and crazy times that we have I write about them all the time. I have been told not to by the "big" deal bloggers and the real professionals, but I can't help it. How do you not write about tips for traveling with 6 kids, and stuffed animal poop, imaginary pets, and my 3 year olds opinion of me naked? This is all part of my life and I have to share it somewhere because I can guarantee that I am not saying it out loud to anyone!

So, thanks for hanging in there with me, thanks for reading my little blog everyday and sending me kind emails... Thanks, The Woodlands readers for recognizing us in the grocery store and making my kids think I famous, it is easier to get them to clean their rooms that way! I hope this year brings you so much happiness and some financial freedom, please feel free to email ( mylitter@mac.com) anytime with any questions or concerns, I want to help everyone that I can, if I don't have an answer I find it for you!

Happy New Year!
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23 comments:

The Queen said...

Happy new year!

I can't believe you got mean emails. That is so weird!! People are strange! Thanks for sharing as you do.

Jennifer said...

Your blog encourages me to save money! However, I actually love reading your "personal" posts! I find them entertaining and it helps me realize that my household is not alone:) Congrats on all of your accomplishments! Nasty comments....all I can say is REALLY??? Looking forward to another year!

MM said...

Like the other comments, I can't believe you have gotten nasty e-mails. You can't imagine how much you've helped me in being a stay-at-home mom for my little guy. I literally could not have done it without your help. My husband and I are doing so much better with all of the money we've saved that we're ready to now expand the family.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the personal stories. My husband and I have gotten lots of laughs and look forward to when our little guy talks so we can have such cute little stories to cherish and tell him (and his wife) one day when he's older. After a long hard day when things are trying, those personal blurbs help to shed some laughter on life!

Thank you from a loyal follower and newbie mom and couponer! Keep up the fantastic work!

Gina said...

I love your blog, your blog has encouraged me in so many ways. I love the personalization, it keeps you different from the others.

Melissa said...

I just want to say thanks for all of your "deal seeking" help, direction, guidance and tips. We just started couponing this past summer and have already cut our grocery bills in 1/2! Thank you for making it easy, I'm a loyal follower!

Tracy said...

Congratulations on your success this year. I can't believe that you have been doing this for such a short time. As far as your impact on my life, let me just say that my little girl loves her pink, police bike, everyone raved about the olive-cheese bread at one of our recent parties, my husband loves the caramel cake so much that he attempted to make one himself today, and I feel so much more secure knowing that we have a stock-pile of some necessities to help us through the slow winter months. I love how authentic your blog is and the personal stories keep me coming back.

E said...

You're awesome, I look up to you, especially with 6 kids. I have two boys and sometimes feel like I'm going to rip my hair out or run out of the house screaming. I love your little blurbs about your kids. And I love not seeing you post for a few days because you're spending time with them. Thanks for keeping things in perspective. Here's to a great new year!

The Prudent Patron said...

Congrats on a great year of blogging. I love the style of your blog. Reading your blend of family stories, recipes and lots of deals was a definite influence on the style of my blog. I know there are blogs that overflow with every deal under the sun, but I would much rather read a blog that shows the best deals instead of every deal and one where we get to know a little bit of the blogger behind the scenes!

Oh and I love your brother's art work...it's the best!

Tanya said...

I love your blog; it is one of my favorites and a big reason for that is that it is personal. I have many good laughs when I read your stories! I see the same things happening in your family as have happened in mine although my kids are teens now.

Please don't be discouraged by the (hopefully) very few who would write mean and nasty e-mails. Let them figure out their own deals! I am sure that you have helped far more people and have far more people grateful to you for that help. It is sad but as soon as you put yourself "out there" in public - no matter how nice or helpful you try to be - these types will crawl out of their holes. It's easy to write mean stuff anonomously!

If you are happy with the way your blogging is going, then don't worry about what someone else is telling you to do with it. If a viewer wants a more "no nonsense" approach, there are other forums to view.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

.:Anna:. said...

I love your blog! I know you spend a lot of time every day working on it... I know you started posting about coupons because so many people would ask you how to do it and you just wanted to help them.

You give of yourself freely-thank you for that!

Jen said...

Keep doing what you've been doing! I check your blog everyday!

oliv2b said...

I can not believe that people have been mean to you! You have helped so many of us out--and you just out of the kindness of you heart. I know I haven't been doing this couponing long, but now I can't imagine my life without it. It has afforded us and our kids a lot more wiggle room in our budget, and it makes me feel so good, especially when I can buy good food for my family and save money. You are awesome Tiffany, and I know that most people agree.
Sincerely...oliv2b a.k.a. Heather :)

The Mom said...

Thanks guys!!! I didn't mean to have a pitty party for my self about the ugly emails... they are very few and far between! I really need to also thank everyone who emails great deals all the time! We have to all work together!

The Mom said...

Tracy,
I am so glad someone else bought the police bike! Isn't that the best little toy for only $29??? We gave it to the 3 year old from Santa but knew right away that was a problem as my 2 year old thinks it is his!

babyyahyah said...

i love your blog too! I picked it up after reading that parents mag arcticle and the other moms that were featured ( but shhhhhh I like yours the best of those 5featured. i try to folloe them but I think yours is way funnier and natural and real...lol).

I try to coupon but I am still in baby stages of that. I only go to stores i like and I just don't like walgreens and cvs but I shop at target and walmart. I am sure I could save more at cvs but I still don't get those cards and deals you talk about...yes I am dumb! I love all your advice though and I do learn a lot from you. I have 5 kids myself and one expected in the spring.

Please keep your blog going! I love reading yours.

**Nicole** said...

I can't believe you got mean emails either! Some ppl, thanks so much for all you do, you rock :D Keep up the great work!! I'm still trying to jump into the whole coupon business....hoping that this year will be the year I make that leap. LoL :D

**Nicole** said...

Oh, and blogging about your life and kids is what makes you be able to be different and unique, so don't listen to the big wigs and keep on doing what you're doing ;)

Electra said...

I just wanted to add my voice and say thanks so much for doing this blog. This has been such a hard year for my family, prolonged unemployment and a surprise pregnancy have meant we've had to make big changes in our life and there just isn't much to go around. Learning to coupon has really helped me to stay sane and feel in control when it has seemed like we would never make it. It's amazing how far coupons can stretch food stamps so that even when they are cut off you can make a month's worth last almost three months. I don't know what I would've done without you and the other bloggers who have taught me so much. Happy new year, and may the thankful and helpful voices in your life always drown out the few ingrates!

Deborah M said...

I love love love your blog!! I don't know how many times I've retold your family stories to my mom. We laughed so much about the dance class with your daughters cousin. Too cute. It also let's me realize my children aren't completely crazy ;)

I can't even tell you how many deals and how much I have saved from your blog. My husband thought I was crazy at first. He was even a little jealous of the coupons. My oldest son(15) thinks it is completely awesome. My youngest son(10) and youngest daughter(6) fight over who is going to carry the binder. Because of them I had to buy a zipper binder. My oldest daughter(16) thinks I'm crazy. We have all had fun with it.

So from my family of six we thank you with all our hearts. We will follow your blog where ever it goes. I hope to make it to one of your coupon classes too. Thanks again.

Maureen Light Photography said...

Love saving money, but my absolute favorite part about your blog is your hilarious family stories!!!!!!

snbjork said...

Seriously, I will never understand why there are so many people who feel the need to send you hateful emails. As you said, you are providing this wonderful blog free of charge for us, so why should anyone complain? If they don't like it, then they can just stop looking at your blog instead of being hateful. Grrr!

I love your blog and always look forward to reading about new deals. My favorite posts, though, are the ones about your family and home life. You're hilarious! Reading about the funny things that happen in your home help me to feel more normal about the craziness with me and my kids. Keep it coming!

Thanks again for all the hard work you put into this blog. There are many of us who truly appreciate it!

Happy New Year!

Jenny said...

Maybe I am just a fairly new blog follower but it really does amaze me that bloggers would get hate mail from their readers...you are doing them a service and it just seems respectful and kind that if you don't agree with something to choose to read a different blog. I really cannot fathom how almost entitled people sometimes are to always have things a certain way and when they disagree they somehow feel slighted...it's just so weird to me!

I was just telling my husband the other day that since I started following a handful of thrifty and home org/family blogs (including yours) that I feel like many of you bloggers are friends! that I wish I could meet in person and that I honestly feel like you are a friend :) so thanks for all you do. You are a great example, even though I'm in Utah and many of your sales don't apply I learn so much from your attitudes and how you run your home and the type of mother you are to six children. So keep doing what you are doing and let the nay-sayers find someone else's blog to while about :) I look forward to reading your blog for the next year and think it's awesome all the success you've had in the past year!

Susan said...

I appreciate your blog. I have six kids as well and need to save so I can continue to stay home. I need some hand holding and it is slowly starting to "click" for me and I am excited!