How I Measure Success for my Frugality Blog

family friendly, frugality, mommy saving money
I am linking up this post at Works for Me Wednesday

Do you know how many blogs there are out there right now? There are most likely millions upon millions. A small quarter of which have any form of substantial readership or subscription list. The reality is that not everyone blogs for the same purpose. Determining what is successful and what isn’t can be highly subjective. Generally though, what is it that makes a blog successful? What makes the bigger blogs more successful than the smaller blogs? When you first start out blogging, you have to have a goal in mind for when you are personally going to consider your blog a success.

When I first started Family Friendly Frugality I read a lot of advice on starting and maintaining a successful blog. These were my takeaway points, and how I gauge my own successes and failures. This list works for me, because it doesn’t measure my success by number of page views. A successful blog isn’t necessarily successful because it has a lot of traffic! Here a list of how I measure success for my frugality blog:

I have a passion for my topic: frugality

Passion for writing, passion for the subject matter, passion that comes through the blog and makes it clear the author knows what they are talking about. Without passion, a blog has no way to succeed. It will be dry and lackluster, and who wants to read that? Most bloggers begin their blog because they needed a release for their passion. Successful blogging hinges on that passion staying fresh in order to provide captivating and enriching content. I have a passion for frugality, so that’s why I chose to blog about it!

I am proficient in the language I blog in

Most successful bloggers are at least proficient in the language they blog in. It’s incredibly difficult to read a poorly written blog. They might not be the best writer in the world, but they have a good enough handle on things that they get their point across clearly. It shows they care about their readers experience, and that they know how to use spell check (best invention ever!).  If I read something through and it sounds funky, I immediately edit. The quality of the content I put up on my blog is very important to me!

I am creative

Creating content on a daily or weekly basis can be exhausting. Of course, if you have passion for what you are blogging about, some of this will just naturally happen. It’s easy to get burnt out though. Fresh and alluring content doesn’t create itself. A successful blog will be updated on a regular basis and never leave the reader bored. It can take a good amount of creativity to keep up to that standard. There are days I stare at the computer screen and nothing happens. There are days when magic happens. What matters is that it keeps coming consistently.

I am unique

For a blog to be successful, it simply can’t be a cookie cutter version of something else currently available. A successful blog will be unique and stand alone and prominent against the masses. Readers have a lot of material available to them. A successful blogger must provide them with something worth sticking around for. Be captivating, be clever and be relevant. I strive to be different than others within my genre. I hope I succeed!

I am personable

If you want to have a successful blog you need to be personable. If you don’t intend to engage with your readers, create a website…not a blog. Blogs are a form of social media. It is expected for you to interact and talk with your readers, not just at them. A successful blogger is in touch with his/her readers. They form relationships and don’t have a post it and forget it mentality. Being in touch with your community in this sense can actually help all of the other components of successful blogging. It can reinvigorate your passion; the community can point out if something isn’t clear which can make you more proficient. It can spark ideas for you to create into posts and will point out what about you is unique and appealing to your audience. I eat comments up like they are cake. Emails are even more exciting. I want to get to know all of you, in fact I crave that interaction with you!

So what does it really mean to have a successful blog? You noticed I didn’t talk about subscribers or traffic or twitter followers. A successful blog can have one reader. As long as that reader is engaged and continues to return (and it’s not just your mom!), you have a successful blog. Do you have a successful blog? Or are there some areas you need to work on? Have you started your blog yet? What are you waiting for?

This is my personal gauge to consistently reassess if I am being successful in my blogging. Do you have a gauge you use? Let me know!

Save Money Grocery Shopping: Save on Proteins

The bulk of our average grocery bill is made up of proteins. Good, quality protein can be very expensive. If you need to buy enough meat to feed a family of growing children, expect your average grocery bill to skyrocket as your kid’s age. You can save money on proteins though! In fact, these tips alone could reduce your grocery bill by 25-30% every week!

Where to start?

The very first place to look is in store ads. The front page is usually filled with the store’s loss leaders. A loss leader is a product that is on sale for such an awesome price that the store will most certainly take a loss off of it. Stores do this to get you into the store. If steak is really cheap, you might plan your entire shopping trip (filled with regularly priced items) at that store. It’s worth it to the store to get you in the door, because likely they’ll make up their loss elsewhere. Make this work for you. Grab all the ad circulars in your area and take note of the best prices on meats. Make sure you compare and contrast so you can be sure you are getting the best possible deal.

How much do I buy?

The key to saving money buying proteins is to buy in bulk when the price is low. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that buying in big packages is your best option. Sometimes it’s cheaper to just buy more of the smaller packaged meats. Be sure to read the details of the ad. If chicken is at a really great price, grab enough to last you until it goes on sale again (sales cycles generally run around 6-8 weeks, although a bit less for meats). If one package is more than a serving size for your family, pick up some freezer bags and separate out the meats into portion controlled baggies. This might mean you spend a bit more on your grocery bill and eat a lot of the same meats for a few weeks while you get a good stockpile going. Trust me, this is worth it!

What is a good price?

The hardest part of the stockpiling game is knowing what prices are good in your area. To start, you might be going in blind. Try to either keep a list or at the very least mentally note every time you see a price lower than previously. In my area, $.77 a lb is the best possible price I can get chicken thighs for. In some parts of the country, they will never see that price and $1 a lb is the least they can expect to pay. At first this can be a guessing game, you will get better at this in time as you become more experienced.

It is possible to save money buying proteins. It involves scouting the stores for the best possible prices. Stocking up when the low buying opportunity presents itself. As well as learning the lowest prices in your area. I hope this can help you learn how to save money on the proteins your family needs and loves!

My name is Heather and I am a frugal mommy saving money! Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our frugal blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to reduce the family grocery budget, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest frugality finds!

Works For Me Wednesday: Kid Friendly Decor-No Neat Freaks Here!

Take two steps into our home and you know kids live in here. Our décor might be accurately designed as “family oriented”. Our walls are pretty bare, décor and furniture are to an absolute minimum…toys and books and dolls abound.
I’ve never been much of an interior decorator. In fact, I’m kind of a mess when it comes to decorating (luckily this fits perfectly into my desire for frugal living!) Maybe that is why it’s easy for me to allow my house to look like Toys R Us? Or maybe it’s because the home I grew up in was very orderly and neat and I need to rebel against that? I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s just the frugal mommy in me.
No Neat Freaks Here!
In any case, our home is a kid friendly home and I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit it. I don’t look for fancy toy boxes to “blend in” to our décor. The brighter and safer, the better! Our playroom is immediately when you walk in our home. It’s pretty fancy because it actually has a chandelier in it! Of course, some might call it a dining room..but to us it’s a place for our kids to learn, create and be themselves.  That’s right we converted our dining room into a playroom.
Do the toys stay in the playroom? Of course not, and that is just fine with us. Our entire home is open to our children, and that’s exactly how we want it. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t have free range in the kitchen and because I sew (and have rotary cutters and sharp needles and pins) they aren’t allowed in our room without supervision. Otherwise, the entire house is kid friendly.
Maybe I’m Just Lazy
Now some of it might be laziness. I don’t have to worry about them knocking down expensive knick knacks or spilling juice on an expensive rug or couch. Really though, it’s just smart. Well at least in my opinion! Now if my passion was home décor, I might think differently. It is not though, so for now…our home is kid friendly and that works for us!
Linking this post up:

Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our family blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to save money grocery shopping, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest deals!

Works For Me Wednesday: Catch More Flies With Honey….

I’ve always been a people pleaser. I can’t stand if I think someone is upset with me. Even if I’ve done nothing wrong, I still feel responsible. I simply like people to like me! At times, I’m sure I try too hard, and that might throw people off. I have learned that I catch more flies with honey than I do with vinegar.

Now luckily, the blogging world is mainly filled with like minded people. It’s my kind of business! Integrity is incredibly important in the business of blogging. Specifically mom blogging. Why? Because moms listen to other moms!

So where am I going with this? Well, I spent half the day today researching keywords and trying to find a way to get traffic to my blog from the search engines. You see, I don’t get a LICK of traffic from search engines. 99.9% of my page views come from other sites, social media and people who have me bookmarked and come direct (or through email or rss feeds).

The deeper I got into my search, the more I realized how inept my site is at reaching search engines. I can only access it if I type my site name DIRECTLY into the search engine. Forget about keywords, I’m lucky that I can pull it up using the words Family Friendly Frugality!

So I got stressed. I got frustrated. I came down on myself because I KNOW I am not a business person. I KNOW I am not as tech savvy as I could be (although I have learned a lot lately!). I feel like there’s this whole group of people sitting on the other side of Google that I can help, and I simply can’t reach them! It’s not a great feeling. The deeper I dove, the shadier techniques I found. There’s a whole slew of “black hat” tricks to juice up your search engine optimization. Bad things, that good bloggers should NOT do.

I knew I, in good conscience, couldn’t go that route, so I went back to my key word hunt. When I finally had typed just about every single combination of money-saving-shopping-online-frugal-family-friendly-save-money etc into Google Keyword Tools and realized there was not a magic formula that was going to get me to page 1, spot 1…I felt defeated.

I sat and reflected a bit on why I was so upset, and the phrase that came to me was “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar“. Now of course I’m not saying my readers (or potential readers!) are flies. It’s a metaphor!

As a mom blogger, I need to earn the respect of my readers and my community. Random drop ins from search engines would be great, but ideally…I’ll work my way up in this community earning the respect of fellow bloggers and of my readers. So when the search engines finally do notice me, people who drop in find a community of people here to help them. Not just me.

No I’m not starting a forum, but I am encouraging you to get involved in Family Friendly Frugality wherever you want to be. Comment when something moves you (good or bad!), let me know if I screw up a deal…or I post a great one!

I started this blog to help people who are like me. I don’t know everything, I’m still learning! I’m sure I’ll make a ton of mistakes along the way, and I hope you’ll point them out. I’m sure I’ll go on another key word hunt some time soon (I can’t give up finding that perfect key word! It’s on now Google!), but meanwhile…I’ll just be me. The people pleaser, the nice girl, the mom who just wants to help. Being nice might not get me to the top, but it will get me exactly where I want to be. With my integrity intact (and a few less gray hairs).

I am linking up this post this week:

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Works For Me Wednesday: Why I Guest Post

Today I had two of my articles published on Associated Content. It was a very exciting day for me, because it kind of marks the first day I have the potential to earn money directly from my writing (Shameless plug: go check it out…I get paid for page views and comments!). Now, I’m not the most amazing writer. I’m the first to admit that I write how I talk. I am a passionate writer though. I write from my heart and sometimes I think that matters more than big words and fancy sentence structure.

I love to write. I deal with writer’s block like everyone else, but once it starts flowing…it’s a beautiful thing!

Another love of mine? My blog. I love my blog. I started my blog to help others learn fun and frugal ways to keep their families happy.

So you might wonder, if you love your blog so much, why do you submit some of your best content elsewhere? The answer to this is pretty simple, for more exposure! I want to reach MORE people. I want to help MORE people. Guest posting has played a major role in my blog’s success to date, and I have to admit…I really enjoy it!

  1. It helps a fellow blogger out. It is HARD work writing daily for a blog. Especially making multiple posts in a day. Guest posts give bloggers a bit of breathing room. (anyone want to guest post for me? Seriously! shoot me an email heather at
  2. It helps BOTH bloggers out. My readers check out their site, their readers come check out my site. Hopefully they find something unique about both of us and stick around.
  3. Search Engine Optimization. The more links there are to your site from other sites…the higher you rank in search engines.
  4. It’s good for community. Bloggers don’t have competition, they have colleagues.
  5. In some cases, it lets you write about things that don’t necessarily “fit in” on your own blog.
I have guest posted on several different blogs. In fact, if you are reading this right now…let me know in the comment section if you ended up here from a blog I guest posted on!
  • Budget Savvy Diva-I’ve actually done two guest posts for her! I can’t seem to find the first one, but I like this one better anyway.
  • $5 Dinners-I submitted my Arroz Con Pollo recipe!
  • Simply Stacie-This post was all about raising children frugally!
  • Just Married With Coupons-not so much a guest post as a guest spot. I collaborate with Just Married With Coupons on my Kroger match-ups as well.
  • Money Saving Mom– This post was very close to my heart. I cried while I wrote it. It was such a big turning point in my life when I finally conquered my failure. You might wonder why I submitted it to Money Saving Mom instead of here. I knew it was inspiring, and I knew she had the reach (read: lots of readers) that at this time I do not. I cried again the day it was posted.
I’ve submitted a few more guest posts. I’ve yet to have one declined! Guest posting has been an integral part of my blogging. I think the primary reason it has done so well for me is because I don’t submit mediocre content. I submit some of my BEST content.
I actually submitted a guest post just today to a VERY large blog waaaay outside my niche. It meant a lot to me when I wrote it, I’m hoping that shines through and it gets posted! Any good thoughts you can send my way on that would be MUCH appreciated!
Guest posting works for me!
Does it work for you? Tell me about your experiences with publishing in areas other than your blog….


I also linked this up at:


Works For Me Wednesday: Early Bedtimes

Every Wednesday I participate in Works For Me Wednesday. It’s a great way to meet new friends and get some great tips on everything from parenting, to cooking to crafting to well…everything! Even if you aren’t a blogger, I encourage you to go check out the link up. I’ve found some GREAT posts through this link up!

My kids go to bed early. Like really early. 7pm…sometimes 6:30pm. This gets some criticism from friends and family. We hear a lot of:

  1. If you put them to bed later they won’t get up so early (they are up by 7am…and no, if we put them to bed later, they simply get less sleep)
  2. You don’t get to do anything fun since you always have to be home before dark (we do make exceptions, but for the most part yes…we have kids and they are our priority. That includes them being well rested)
  3. You always have to leave family functions early because the kids are tired. We do not ask anyone to work their schedules around ours. So yes, sometimes we have to leave early because the party started at 6:30 and by 7:30 our kids are DONE
There is a reason for their early bedtimes though. Our kids NEED 12 hours of sleep. They don’t function well without it, and they’ve never been the best nappers. At night though, we can put them to bed, walk out and shut the door and we don’t hear a peep from them for the next 12 hours. 
This works for us. It gives the Mr and I time alone together, and time to unwind from the day. It refreshes ALL of us so that we’ll be ready for an early start the next morning. 
Early bedtimes work for us! I know eventually they’ll go to bed a bit later, but we’ll make those decisions as the kids get older and need less sleep.
So if you know someone who puts their kids to bed early and you think they’re crazy…think again. It works for me!

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