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Three Big Blogging Changes I’m Making for 2018

Okay, y’all… I was kind of embarrassed to be writing this post. Because it flies in the face of pretty much my entire post about blogging changes that I wrote at the beginning of 2017.

But sometimes, you think something is a great idea, you try it for a year, and you decide that it just doesn’t.work.at.all. And then you decide to take back everything you had committed to and try something else.

That’s exactly what I’m doing. And I’m not going to apologize for it.

Honestly, I’m really glad that I tried the one-year experiment of only blogging about money-related topics (except for my weekly Sunday posts). It was clarifying for me.

When I started 2017, I had envisioned that I was going to start multiple blogs and have those other platforms to share what was on my heart and share the many eclectic topics I am passionate about.

But then, we launched YourBloggingMentor.com and I realized how much work it was to run two blogs. I thought maybe it would get easier after a few months, so I just pushed back the launch of CrystalPaine.com. After a few months, I still knew deep down in my heart that I just didn’t have the desire or capacity to run more than two blogs.

(For those of you who aren’t bloggers, let me just say that it takes a LOT of work to run each site — especially when there are email newsletters and social media and strategy and technical things involved. It’s a lot more than just posting a post each week. There are many, many behind-the-scenes things involved in running a site and having multiple sites makes things much more complex — especially when it comes to technology and plug-ins and strategy!)

I loved building YourBloggingMentor.com from scratch and I wanted to keep focusing on that, overseeing December212012.com. It felt right to just have the two sites and I fell into a good rhythm with writing posts and overseeing projects. And my team found a great rhythm, too, and things were really humming along.

Deep down, however, I really missed sharing inspirational posts/real-life posts/peek into our life type of posts, talking more about books I was reading, posting about organizational projects, and other topics that I’m really passionate about. I felt like I had all of these posts I wanted to write and things I wanted to share and I had no place to put them.

As 2017 started to wind down, I began toying with the idea of bringing those types of posts back here on December212012.com. And around that same time, multiple people mentioned to me how much they missed those types of posts.

And I began to realize that it’d be okay to end my year-long blogging experiment and bring back so many of those types of posts here that many of you love so much and the ones I love to write! It would mean a little bit more time and effort for me — but MUCH less time and effort than it would be to start a third blog to share those types of posts.

In addition, I realized that I have good breathing room in my life right now and a really flexible schedule work-wise… which means I’m in the space to be able to devote to writing more posts. Plus, writing inspirational and practical blog posts is incredibly life-giving for me!

So, with that back story, here’s how the blog is changing in 2018:

1. I’ll Be Blogging More & Talking About Non-Money-Saving Topics

While I’m still passionate as ever about saving money and being wise financially, I felt so restricted to only be talking about money-related topics. And I know that many of you used to come here for my intentional life type posts and real-life posts more than anything.

So beginning this week (you may have noticed?), I’m bringing back the types of posts I used to share — things I’m learning, what I’m trying, what I’m cooking, what I’m organizing, what I’m reading, things I’m thinking about, goals I’m working on, and so on.

I’m giving myself permission to see this as my blog again and not a niche blog that is only focused on money topics. Which gives me free reign to blog on whatever topics I feel would inspire or encourage or motivate you. Or that I just want to write about! 🙂

Don’t worry, my team will still be sharing the great deals and freebies and printables you’re used to! We’ll just be adding in a lot more of my voice here! In fact, I’ll be writing a content piece almost every day. You can also expect to get a lot more of a look into my life — not just money-saving or money-related topics!

2. I’m Experimenting with Themed Days

I’m going to try something to see how it works… I can’t promise that I’ll stick with this long term, but I’m going to stick with it for at least 3 months and see how it goes. I think it will work, but I just don’t want to box myself in if I end up deciding this just doesn’t work. 🙂

I’m planning to try having themed days, where I post on a specific topic each day of the week. This will allow there to be a good mix of topics and variety here, but it will help me stay more organized in my post planning (at least that’s my hope!).

Here’s my plan for what I’ll be posting on:

  • Sundays — A Peek Into Our Week Posts: These will be the Sunday posts that you are used to, only these will be more focused on showing pictures of what we did the past week and giving you a peek into our life and activities from the past week + what I’ve been pondering/thinking about.
  • Mondays — Book-Related Posts: So many of you have requested that I bring back my book lists and book reviews, so here you go! I’ll be sharing all things book-ish on Mondays. From what I’m reading, our read alouds, and honest book reviews, to talking about my progress on my goal of reading 100 non-self-help books. 
  • Tuesday — Organizing-Related Posts: I’ll be sharing organizational projects in our house or ways that I’m organizing my life/business/home, things that are saving my sanity, possibly time management tips or ideas I’m experimenting with.
  • Thursday — Cooking-Related Posts: In this posts, I’ll talk about what I’m cooking/baking, share recipes we’ve loved, share kitchen tips,share kitchen flops, or give you a peek into freezing cooking I’m doing.
  • Friday — Money-Related Posts: On Fridays, we’ll be exploring money-saving ideas, money-related ideas, ways our family is saving money, and ways to make money or get into a better financial situations.

3. I’m Taking Wednesdays Off

Did you notice that I skipped Wednesday in my list of Themed Days above? That was intentional!

In my Word of the Year post, I talked about how one of the things I’m going to do in the spirit of SLOW is to take Wednesdays off from business/bogging work. I had attempted to do this for a few months in 2017 and it (mostly) worked. But I hadn’t made it a public goal, so I struggled to stick with it.

Since I typically work a half-day on Saturdays and Sundays are for church, volunteering, and Community Group, I thought it would be fantastic to have a day in the middle of the week where I’m offline and have a SLOW day.

The idea of a SLOW Day first originated from Monica who blogs at The Homespun Heart. She often posts about their Slow Days and I’ve always wanted to do something similar in my own life.

So we moved some things around in my schedule and in my work schedule and my goal is to be completely offline all day every Wednesday. I probably won’t do it perfectly every single week, but that’s what I’m aiming for. 🙂

This will give me time to slow down, breathe, read, spend more time with Jesse, invest in our local community (Wednesday mornings are when I co-lead a small Discipleship Group at our church), and just enjoy a more relaxed pace with the kids in the mornings and evenings since my day is almost entirely clear.

I think it’s going to be a good change. And something that will be great for my heart and soul!

So I won’t be blogging on here on Wednesdays, but you’ll be in good hands with my team and they’ll still be posting deals and sometimes sharing a post that I’ve pre-scheduled. My hope is that by taking Wednesdays off, I’ll be even more inspired and fresh on the other days to share great posts with you, share on Instagram, and share on Facebook Live!

What Would You Love for Me to Write About?

There you have it! My three big blogging changes for 2018.I’d love to hear from you if you have any special requests of types of posts you’d especially like to see me share or write or any topics you’d love for me to tackle. I always welcome your suggestions!

I have been working on a surprise project the past 2 months and finally get to tell you about it! I’m launching a live group coaching in January called 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life where I’ll be walking you through some life-changing principles to help you live a much more productive and fulfilled life.

It’s designed for you if you…

  • Wish you could change your life, but don’t where to start
  • Hope to find a way to become more productive and get more done, but feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking yet another productivity course or reading yet another book on time management.
  • Want to make 2018 the year that you actually stop wishing and hoping and planning and start DOING.

Doors will open for a few days only beginning January 1, 2018. If you are interested, you’ll want to sign up to be on the waitlist because you’ll be the first to know when it’s available and you’ll also get access to my brand-new printable called 6 Ways to Start your New Year Well.

Go here to sign up — I can’t wait to have you join me for the live coaching!

Subscribe for free email updates from December212012® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

161 Comments

  • MommaL says:

    I really like the idea of themed days, and I’m HAPPY for you that you will take Wednesdays off!

  • Kris says:

    Hey Crystal
    Which planner are you showing there in the picture? I like the break down of work & personal and the section for Memories & Gratitude, please share.

  • Pamela Grewing says:

    Good decision. Your blog has been missing so much without more personal things directly from you. I look forward to the changes.
    I would love posts about routines that work for your family with kids in school. As a school mom, I’m always liking for ways to improve family time during the school year.

    • Jo says:

      Thank you so much — and thanks for the great suggestion! Now that my kids are going to be in three different schools, I’m going to be fine-tuning our routines even more!

    • Scotti says:

      I second this! I have five kiddos in three schools and our home routines are struggling!

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really missed the personal posts and this blog was feeling more just like a deal blog.

    I’d love to hear more about your schooling adventures whether homeschooling or attending school. Honestly, I’m just happy to read more personal stuff again!

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! Our kids are going to be in three different schools come January (both girls are switching) — all small private Christian schools that we feel like each have strengths that match the strengths/weaknesses/needs of each of our kids. It should be an adventure! 🙂

  • Jaime says:

    Thank you so much for including more lifestyle type posts. I walked away from my other favorite frugal lifestyle blog becuase it has turned into only linking to online deals. I understand that’s how blogger’s pay the bills, but the inspirational/personal aspect really helps me stay on track. It’s hard to keep a frugal mindset in this day and age, and the more recipes, book titles and family ideas I have access to, the better for our family’s budget and my sanity. So glad you are taking Wednesdays off–enjoy them!

  • Heather N says:

    I am so glad that you are going to be blogging more about your life, your thoughts, and what you are doing/reading. I missed it. One topic I would love for you to write about (unless it is too personal), is the decision process about starting homeschooling, deciding not to homeschool, and then enrolling in private school. I am a homeschooling mom, so I love stories about it (even if it is about not homeschooling for this season in your life). I never intended to homeschool, but it is what works best for my family…for now 🙂 We are blessed to have so many educational options in this country! Thanks.

    • Jo says:

      For a lot of reasons, I’ve chosen not to blog much on schooling choices — mostly because it involves some details of my kids’ lives that are very much their story and I want to wait to share those parts of their story until if and when they are old enough to decide whether they want to share that or not.

      But the basic gist is that we are seeking to evaluate each child and their needs and strengths and weaknesses and then talk with them honestly and pray carefully and then decide accordingly.

      For this year, that meant homeschooling Kaitlynn for one semester and now having her go to a little tiny Christian school starting in January. It’s meant having Silas stay at the Classical school he was at last year. And it’s meant moving Kathrynne from the Classical school she was at last semester to another private Christian school this coming semester that has a different teaching approach that we feel will be better suited for her.

      I don’t know what next year will hold. We’ll cross that bridge this summer. For now, we’re hopeful that this coming semester is going to be great for all three kids!

  • Anna says:

    Thank goodness – I am so glad that you are going back to more personal posts and fun posts. I miss seeing money saving DIYs and fun recipes that use to be a staple on your blog years ago when I first started following MSM. I am looking forward to seeing more of those posts in 2018 (as I am sure many others are looking forward to those posts as well). 🙂

  • Pam R says:

    Yay! For the return of freezer cooking/cooking posts! That’s how I found your blog in the first place, a few years ago. My husband was deploying & I was looking for a way to make life more manageable while he was gone, & your blog popped up in my search.
    I’m excited to read about your family adventures again too. Thank you!

  • Sue says:

    Love it…ironically my DD who has 4 little girls just mentioned that she only reads your Sunday posts anymore….they’re the best…the shopping posts aren’t relevant here since we don’t have any of those stores in the PNW…but I love hearing about the books your read and your life….

  • Jennie says:

    I’ve been following MSM for a long time…I think I found you right before your son was born! I was totally missing your more personal posts, your favorite books, we paid cash series, sharing from your heart. That’s what makes this blog YOU.

    QUESTION: What is the brand/name of that nifty stand you have your laptop sitting on in the pic of you in front of the computer?

    So looking forward to what 2018 brings your way (and mine, as a reader!).

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! And I’m actually sitting at my employee’s desk in this photo where I’m doing a webinar because I don’t have a desk right now. 🙂

      Here’s a link to one that is similar (or maybe the same one?): http://amzn.to/2DzEIkO

  • Sarah says:

    Eeek! I LOVE the new line up! Those are some of my favorite posts right alongside the money saving deals. So excited for the new year!

  • Sam Ross says:

    Blessed by your post! I started following you when I became a SAHM close to 14 years ago. Life has changed but I still love your blog. Love the idea for SLOW day, themed days, etc. Thank you for sharing your life and being vulnerable with us.

    Now for my true question – is that an Erin Condren planner in your pictures? What’s your take on bullet planners? I’m trying to balance my office supply/paper planner addiction with the easy of online/sync-able Google calendar. Sigh.

    Keep the faith, sister!

  • Sara says:

    I’m so glad you will be going back to what you do best – inspire people. 🙂 It’s not just about the money. It’s about being an intentional mom.

    Thank you!

    • Candice says:

      Yes! “Intentional mom”. I would love more posts regarding intentional parenting. As a mom of 4 under 5, I love your encouragement from a more mature maternal perspective with older kiddos.

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Sara!

    • Sara says:

      ^^^This!! I missed these kinds of posts and I’m so excited that you will be bringing them back! I love your tips and inspirations on all aspects of life, motherhood and homemaking.

  • Kristen says:

    I’m SO happy to hear about these changes! I’ve really missed the diverse subjects so you used to blog about. I loved that previously, your blog was a one-stop shop for me with posts on kids, marriage, books, time management, cooking, spiritual life, etc. I’m super excited these will be coming back!!!

  • karen b says:

    I’m so excited to have these other posts back!!!!!! I have missed them so much & to be honest was not clicking on here as often because I got tired of only money related posts, that is not why I started following you. I’m also excited about the theme days.

  • Chrissie says:

    I’m so happy at this news. I’ve missed what felt like “you” this passed year. I know that’s selfish of me! I love hearing about new products or books you try and read. So many things I’ve tried at your suggestion. I really missed that this last year. I’m sure there are those who are bummed at this (can’t please everyone, so I’m glad you’re pleasing you and your family!) but for me I’m thrilled!! May your year be blessed!

  • April says:

    I am excited! I definitely miss those posts!

  • Stephanie says:

    I too like THEME DAYS. I also loved a look into your life posts on Sundays.

    Happy slow 2018!❤️

  • Denise H says:

    I LOVE this! I’ve missed your voice. Once a week wasn’t enough and I’ll admit didn’t visit your site as much! I love your themes. Looking forward to the book and cooking ones especially! One if my goals this year is to cook more – and my husband got me an Instant Pot for Christmas!

  • Julie Swihart says:

    Well all of your themes are of interest to me, so I will gladly follow along as usual!

    I’d also love to hear about your specific meals and eating habits in light of the diet changes you’ve made, as well as other health-related choices you’re making. You’re awesome!

  • Jamie | Medium Sized Family says:

    Last year I was excited about getting more money saving tips, but I for sure have missed the more personal posts. I can’t wait to see what you’re reading. It’s something I want to do more of in the coming year as I finally seem to be hitting a groove in my own blogging life. 🙂

  • Mylynda Smith says:

    Ohhh!!! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have missed YOU so much. I admire you very much and felt the desire to support you no matter what direction that you and Jesse felt was the best for your family and business. So, I rolled with the changes. However, on a selfish note, I missed hearing all about you, your family(the ups and the downs), your day, your books, your organization. My spiritual gifting is a gift of encouragement. You probably know how draining that can be on a person. Your blog has always been a HUGE source of encouragement for me, Crystal. Welcome back. Happy writing!

  • Ali says:

    As a Mom of four kids, ages 7 and under, I would love some posts on parenting…you have been awesome at talking about those, although vaguely, on Sunday posts. I know you have to protect your children and you should, but any things you have learned in parenting (and in marriage) are a huge help to us “younger by only a few years” Moms! (Titus 2!) Love your blog!! Read it every day!

  • GrammaH says:

    As a long-time follower, I do enjoy the “money-saving” posts, but I have missed having the “everyday life” type posts. Would love to see more cooking, (hopefully you are using that Instant Pot!), organizing and craft type posts! Here’s to the year of SLOW!

  • Katelyn Ng says:

    I am excited about the book posts! I’m an enneagram 1 and probably a INTJ too! I would love to read good fiction, but don’t know good titles to pursue! Thanks for sharing your life here! I enjoy reading your personal posts too!

  • Kelli says:

    Looking forward to seeing the changes! I really liked it when you would do challenges for a few weeks at a time for readers to follow and participate in – either cleaning schedules, declutterig challenges – you could do one on healthier eating along with recipes from readers…..eating at home, freezer cooking……those kind of series helped me work on those habits and were a big reason I kept following you after I stopped couponing so much. I’ve fallen off the wagon on many of those by this point, and would love to see those kinds of series return! ? Your tone was so encouraging and the ideas in both your posts and in the comments were often quite helpful!

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much for the suggestions! We’re doing an Eat at Home Challenge the second week of January! And I’m hoping to bring back some other challenges in the not-too-distant future!

  • Jen says:

    This sounds awesome! I can’t wait to read the themed-day posts.

    One thing I’d love for you to write about is how you stay offline (mostly) between 4-8 pm to focus on your family. I have been trying to do something similar but also have an online business and find myself having a hard time staying away! My oldest son is halfway through his 11th grade year and I want to spend as much time with my boys while I can! (They’re already so busy and not home a lot). I’d love to hear tips on this & maybe even a challenge?

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Diane says:

    Great news! I remember cleaning off my kitchen counters 6 or 7 years ago because of a post of yours. I really liked your DIY experiments, too.

  • Sheila says:

    Can we get an update on the African group you did the mission trip for?

    • Jo says:

      We’ll be heading back there this summer as a family and I’ll be sure to share pictures, etc. when we go. Some really cool things have happened in the last year — that you all have helped make happen through your support of my launches and through reading here!

  • Susana says:

    YAYYYYY so glad to have you doing this. I have missed you other topics and life topics. You inspire me!!!
    Would love your periscope backs!!!!

    • Jo says:

      Periscope got so yucky with all of the trolls and now most people aren’t on there any more since Facebook and Instagram live video are so much better. I am on Facebook Live quite often and should be on there Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday around 9 a.m. CT every morning!

  • Shelley says:

    I have missed ALL of your personal post and found myself not checking in as much. I am sooooo excited for you to bring that all back. I love anything to do with traveling, food and organizing.

  • Clare C. says:

    I haven’t posted in a long time but I just wanted to let you know that I am excited about the day of the week themes and I look forward to hearing more from you about cooking, organizing, and reading again!!

  • Susan says:

    I have appreciated your posts re minimalism and decluttering in the past. Hope that you fit some of those in to your year’s plans.

    • Jo says:

      Yes! I’ll definitely be sharing those as part of the organizing posts — especially since I’m cleaning out and decluttering in preparation for our move!

  • Dona says:

    I have missed your voice as well! My favorite posts were always your minimalist inspiring views of your life… be it your kitchen cabinets or your chikdren’s rooms. They always inspired me to know that not everyone has a need to have a materialistic home filled with lots of things. I also have enjoyed your cooking days. Happy to have your more personal touch back! Bless you! Aka mom24boyz?

  • Melissa says:

    I’m so glad you are bringing back more daily life posts. I started following you for tips on deals while paying off debt but I stayed because I have been encouraged by what you share. I kept waiting for a link to be posted to your personal blog 🙂 Thanks!

  • Casey G. says:

    I’m so excited you’re going back to write multiple topics blogging again!! Not that I’m tired of monetary saving type of posts, I still enjoy those a lot, but I really enjoy your spirational posts/real-life type of posts. To me, Moneysavingmom is not just a site to save a dollar here and there, it’s a lifestyle to grow myself as a whole. Thank you!

  • Molly Copas says:

    I really enjoy your posts and so glad you have felt led to share more again. I feel that they give such an honest look into your life and many of your readers (including myself) need to hear that honest truth. You give heartfelt truths, hope, and all along trust in God and his plan as your anchor. I so enjoy hearing ways to improve myself as a mother, wife, cook, parent, and all the other “hats” we wear in life. Keep being true to yourself and the blog will never go wrong!

  • Tranum says:

    I love your blog and am excited to see what’s coming!

  • Sarah says:

    I’m also self employed and implemented what I call flex days on Wednesday a few years ago. It has been such a great way to break up the week and increases overall productivity. I’m really looking forward to your organization topics. Happy 2018!

  • Megan B says:

    I’m glad more personal things are going back into your blog – I think that those things stick with me the most, so don’t discount your ability to write with wisdom and a sense of vulnerability.

    If you ever decide to write a bit more about your charitable contributions and philosophy about giving back, I would be interested, as that is something I’m thinking about a lot right now.

  • Kari says:

    Besides your blog, what other blogs do you follow? Thank you for being so inspiring!

  • Kristy C says:

    I’m really happy to hear this, Crystal. Saving money and living responsibly within my means is important, of course, but it hasn’t really been the most important thing at this season in my life — so to be honest, I haven’t followed you this year as much as I used to. I have missed your voice in my life.

    The posts you have written (or shared) that have spoken to me most deeply are the ones where you encourage me to accept myself and all my flaws, where you get raw and honest and real and show me that even YOU have an off day sometimes. Even my favorite blogger has to apologize to her kids, or reverse a decision, or admit to a mistake sometimes! Even Jo occasionally feels lonely or hurt or exhausted or grumpy! But you always learn and grow through the trials, and It really does comfort and encourage me when you share the messier parts of life — and how you got through it.

    The second topic area I connect with the most is about being productive, focused, and intentional in the daily routine. I am re-doing “Makeover Your Mornings” to start my year off right, and am excited to take the new course as well! Every time I have taken one of your courses or read one of your books, I have grown in measurable and lasting ways.

    I’m excited to see what 2018 brings into my life through your work and ministry. I feel like my friend has come home from a long trip away. Yay!!!!

  • Suzy says:

    I read this post in my email and had to come over to your blog to comment! Yay yay yay I’m so happy you’re going to do this! I love your more day to day real life content! I started following your blog when I was 17 and now I’m 27 and enjoy those posts more than ever!

  • Claire says:

    Never apologize for re-evaluating a decision! In my opinion, lifestyle posts fit in great with a money-saving niche blog, because it’s all about intentional living!

  • Jamie says:

    It’s brave of you to decide to take on new ventures, and honest and inspiring to admit when something doesn’t work as planned. As a blogger and writer myself, I can completely understand the work load as well as the need to find balance between hard work, what feeds your own soul, and creativity. If we don’t strive for that balance, it becomes nothing but work. Readers come here for a reason, and one of them is because of your authenticity. Keep it real, keep it honest, and do what nourishes you. Best of luck with your 2018 goals! <3

  • Jamie says:

    I know you have made some changes in your health and way of living, and I would love to hear more about that! I read your post about drinking lemon water, but I would love to hear more!

  • RO says:

    Is that a Planner I see there, Crystal?Very cool! I use one of those too to have fun and keep things organized with life and my blog. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, so kudos to you for acting on what you want to do to have peace in your life. Everyone loves you, so we’ll come over to check you out whatever you choose to do. Hugs…and Happy New Year to you and your family. We so appreciate all you’ve done for us this year! RO
    http://www.intheknowwithro.blogspot.com

  • Iva says:

    Good morning, Crystal! I love the idea that you’re going back to your previous style – sharing your heart, what’s going on in your life, etc. I came to MSM several years ago for deals, but I stay for you, your words, and what’s going on with your family.

    I also really love the idea of themed days. I hope it ends up working well for you.

    May I offer a suggestion? If you stay with themed posting, you might want to consider using your tabs on the top of your blog to further branch out with your topics. (Similar to what Ree Drummond does on Pioneer Woman). I think this would benefit your readers. They could go back and re-read their favorite topics or find wisdom and insight into something they want they want to do. (Of course, I’m not sure exactly how revenue is generated on your blog – I’m obviously not a student from YBM – but providing it wouldn’t hurt your click revenue, it might be something to consider.

    Here’s to a wonderful new year!

  • Victoria says:

    I’m really excited for your 2018, Crystal! Thank you, as always, for leading the way when it comes to a proper balance between hustle and rest 🙂

  • tiffany says:

    So glad you are bringing back the other inspirational, thought provoking, thoroughly enjoyable posts!! I terribly missed those!!

  • Jen says:

    Hi there! I’d love to see something about/for mommas in life transition. I’ve been following you since you had toddlers (I did, too!) and life is different for us both now. I’m beginning to work a bit outside the home, but it is a huge change from being 100% SAHM, and I have to confess i have grasped at straws some. Your blog was inspirational to me, as we scrimped and saved so I could be home with our kids full time. Returning to a profession after years of staying home with my babies (who are big kids now!) has exposed some insecurities in me and demanded some lifestyle changes. I’m guessing I’m not the only reader feeling this way. Love your blog!

  • Christine says:

    I’m thrilled you are going to put personal back into the blog along with money-related things. I love the book reviews and the different projects you talk about. You are very relatable and I am glad you will take Wednesdays off. 🙂

  • Marisa says:

    I’m so excited for you to bring back more personal content! These kinds of posts were what made me want to follow you years ago! I hope to see some homemaking or freezer cooking challenges!

  • Rachel says:

    So glad to see the book posts coming back!!

  • Angie says:

    I personally really enjoy the variety of topics so looking forward to this change. I am interested in learning more about your exercise routine & your walk with God (you personally as well as how you help your kids). Happy New Year!

  • Lindsey Swinborne says:

    I’m so excited to hear that you’ll be sharing your life here more in 2018. Those are my favorite kinds of posts from you, and I look forward to the Peek posts on Sundays. I have saved lots of money here and been inspired financially, but I love the personal posts most of all. The slow days on Wed. sound wonderful! Topic ideas I’d love to see covered are: Navigating friendships online and social media, parenting teens (advice from parents who’ve gone through it), recipes for family dinners, and how to raise kids with an excellent work ethic.

  • Mireille says:

    Yay! So glad, those are my favorite posts!

  • Debbie says:

    Crystal–I have read your blog for years, since my kids were small. They’re pretty much the exact same ages as your kids. I’m THRILLED you’re going to be bringing your voice back to the blog. I used to check your blog every day, if not several times a day, and realized just recently how I didn’t do that anymore. Thank you for all you do! I can’t wait!

    • Heather says:

      Same here! I used to check in on the blog daily….. and this year it got down to *maybe* weekly at most…… I look forward to you getting back to the other kinds of posts!! They were what made this blog special!

  • Mae says:

    I’m a long time reader of your site and I can say I missed the topics of what you are reading. I have read your recommendations and have enjoyed them. I am looking forward to the book topic next year!

  • Amy M. says:

    I am excited about these changes! Woohoo! 🙂 Glad you are brave enough to experiment and brave enough to make whatever changes make the most sense to you.

    Reading these other comments makes me realize how long I’ve been following your blog now. It was summer 2009 when my twin boys were babies and we were living on one small pastor’s salary that my sister encouraged me to check out your blog so I could learn how to coupon. It’s been so much fun to follow you along the way and get introduced to so many other inspiring, encouraging and thought-provoking ideas, books, recipes, and so on!

  • Amy says:

    Crystal ~ I’ve only discovered you and your blog this past year and have enjoyed it very much. You are authentic and real which makes me more excited to see and read your new format. All the Best and Happy New Year!

  • Angel says:

    Happy and excited for your return to personal posts! Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there. I am currently addicted to Poldark (and happy for it!) thanks to your recommendation ?

  • Jen says:

    Crystal I’m looking forward to trying your coaching in 2018! I’m so ready for it. I’ve been following along and really enjoy all your content. If you ever come across any Canadian deals would be awsome if you could share them as well. Keep up the great work, your reaching moms everywhere.

  • Leanne says:

    I have been reading both yours and Monica’s blogs for nearly 13 years… that’s crazy! You have both inspired me so much as a mama…and as a follower of Jesus… more importantly, I think you’ve both inspired me to be the person God wants ME to be and your blogs encourage me to do that!!
    Please add in somewhere about beauty and style… both you and Monica are beautiful ladies and I get inspired just to get myself dressed and pulled together when I see you have done it!

  • Angela says:

    Which Journal are you using for these pictures? It looks fantastic!

  • Keelie Reason says:

    I’m so excited to hear this! I have always loved how your blog was a one stop shop for me. I don’t have time to read tons of blogs. I love showing up here and reading all the things on your mind. I’m so blessed by you friend.

  • Lisa Adams says:

    I first started following your blog when my oldest child was 1 and my husband was underemployed. Then I did all the couponing things and everything else to save money, and your blog was such a service. I still like the money-saving aspects of it, but now I follow your blog primarily for the personal angle. In many ways I feel like your journey in your 30s mirrors my own and I love reading your thoughts on life, mental health, parenting, books, marriage, etc. I’m glad you don’t feel limited to stick with financial topics!

  • Gina Hoffman says:

    SO happy to have you back to posting about your life/goals/books/organizing. These have always been my favorite things to see on your blog! <3

  • Jenni says:

    I really really miss the “We Paid Cash” posts. I would love to see more of those again as well as stories about your readers. 🙂 Also, ways that people are making living situations work in small homes. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    • Jo says:

      We are ALWAYS happy to post those — we haven’t had many submitted recently. Maybe I need to do a call out to request more of them!

    • Iva says:

      I, too, would love seeing this. I enjoy reading inspirational stories about overcoming struggles – personally, professionally, spiritually, and financially.

  • LeaDawn Grant says:

    I am excited to see what the new year brings for you and your blog. I would love to hear more about your thoughts and resources for investing in realastate. We are currently renting and saving to buy a home, but our area is fairly expensive, and we are considering buying another home or land in a different area as an investment.

  • Karen says:

    Will you be doing the “We paid cash” testimonials? They always inspired me! Happy New Year!

    • Jo says:

      We always welcome them and publish them when they are submitted. So if you have a story to submit, please do so! We’d love to publish it!

  • Iva says:

    I, too, skip the deals. Like you, I need spend less – even when there are good deals to be had.

  • Robyn says:

    I love at times when you show other bloggers articles. You have given me other opportunities to see other blogs out there that you like. There are so many to choose from. But I am looking for quality, not quantity. I love the finance & the personal articles you do. Would love to see some new recipes like you used to do as well. I have followed you for years and planning on following you many more! Here’s to 2018!

  • Debi Z says:

    Oh my goodness, Crystal! I don’t know what to say except I am SO excited about this! Every. Single. Bit. I love this!!!! I love your heart and it’s just SO encouraging to hear and see God at work in your life!!!! Way to go Sister, God is SO good!

  • Maurika says:

    I’m so excited to hear this!! I’m also glad that you’re taking Wednesdays off. I really look forward to hearing the books you’re reading because I love all your recommendations!!

  • Holly says:

    To be very honest, I missed you. I unfollowed the blog because it seemed only about money, and affiliate links. The personal touch I loved was gone. It seemed very formulaic and all about affiliate links. It felt so impersonal and well not exactly click bait.. but not in the true spirit of you or the blog I used to love.
    I happened to catch your email, and Im glad I did. I will refollow and will definitely enjoy a more personal blog.

  • Jessica says:

    YAY!! I love hearing this. I love that you Blog about your life…not just one Niche topic. I’ve missed your other posts a lot. Luckily, I follow you on Instagram and still got the more personal and intentional living posts! Your account is awesome by the way!

  • Elizna says:

    I love it that you are so brave to be honest about what works and what not. It gives me courage to also try systems or whatever out for a while and not to get discouraged if it does not work out, but to simply keep trying.

  • Whitney D says:

    Hi! I just wanted to say thanks for being so honest about your blogging journey. I’m a new blogger, and your real life tips and truths have helped me so much along this journey. It’s nice to know that even the pros change their minds and direction from time to time! Wishing you the best in 2018. Keep up the good work!

  • M says:

    Best wishes to you in this year, Crystal! Your blog posts of all kinds have enriched and helped my life. Thank you!

    I am interested in all of the daily topics you posted about possibly writing about.

    Honestly, I look at you as a whole person, and I look at your blogs the same way. You are like a friend and mentor to me from afar. I don’t expect your posts on any blog to be boxed into a corner. I come here because I like you as well as the God-given gifts you naturally bring to the table. I think your real life, down-to-earth posts can naturally create doorways to share your expertise. I think they can work together.

    God bless you in the new year in whatever direction you take, even if that changes throughout the year.

  • Annie Kate says:

    Good decisions, Crystal! It’s inspiring to watch you try things and change and openly share the different things you are learning. May God bless you and your family.

  • Erin Albright says:

    I loved reading this! There is so much to running a blog and you nailed it in your description of the fact that it isn’t just one post a week. I totally agree. You go girl!

  • Jennifer Hayes says:

    Yeah! I love that you are doing what your heart tells you is best! May you continue to learn, grow, love, and bless the lives of many! Wishing you the best!

  • Melanie Kathryn @ Gather for Bread says:

    I’m so excited about this Crystal. I truly missed all those other posts. And I always loved your book posts. Thanks for being transparent. And yay to 2018!

  • Josette Hall says:

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for several years now. Initially, your story of your family making it through your husband’s law school years without debt and then later buying a home for cash that caught my attention. Your money saving ideas and living debt free was very inspirational. While we aren’t debt free, reading inspirational stories like yours and the tips and deals are helpful. I liked your blog, but was an inconsistent reader. HOWEVER, it was when you started posting more personal things that I became an all the time faithful reader. You became a real and whole person to me and I never miss a new post. I find that I personally enjoy blogs less that deal with just one aspect of life. I enjoy that you’re a Christian, a parent, you make me wanna be a semi-minimalist, and love your book recommendations. I have been following your more personal type posts on Instagram. I had blogged once before and it was when you offered your course last year that I started blogging again. Although I still don’t yet know what I’m doing, I find that I can’t be interested in blogging about just one thing for the same reason. I’m glad you’re going to blog about all your interests and I look forward to reading them 🙂

  • Lizzy says:

    So glad you are bringing back these types of posts, please keep posting links to them in your newsletters, I don’t typically get to check your blog all the time, but I do read your newsletters. In my crazy inbox, they are one of the first I read.

  • Jessica says:

    Excited for the changes to the blog! I realized recently that this past year I’ve primarily followed you on rather than your blog. I thought it was because I was just on more, but now I’m thinking it was because that was where you posted more often with a personal touch.

  • Gabriela says:

    That’s awesome. It did feel like something was missing here! I actually didn’t visit as much last year, since I don’t really follow all the coupon stuff. I’m learning to stick to a budget and Praise the Lord I hadn’t been spending too much. Still working on it though… 🙂
    I can’t even imagine what you have on your plate with the blogs. I just started mine and I already feel I am running everywhere and not getting anything done. I need to regroup…and organize my day better! I already have some ideas.

    I love the idea with themed days. I think it all work for more than the 3 months you gave it. 😉

    And I missed you books reviews… 🙂

    Welcome back!!! 🙂

  • Edwena says:

    I am very happy to hear about the changes. I’ve missed your voice here.

  • Kate Casey says:

    Love the changes! Look forward to reading!

  • Kacy Mcmullin says:

    Hi Crystal, I know you used to have an ereadergirl blog and occasional posts with eBook freebies, any way you could bring those back? I get daily emails from Bookbub and ebookfreebies but it always seemed like the books you had listed I had never seen offered elsewhere! Happy you are going to post more personal posts, I have missed them. Happy New Year!

  • Sarah says:

    So happy to hear about the coming changes! I had mostly stopped checking in with the blog because the personal, cooking, cleaning, organization, book, etc…posts were what I came for. You are an inspiration and your voice on the blog was definitely missed by many. Welcome back! 🙂

  • Josie says:

    What type of planner are you using? The one on this post looks like something I’d love to have.

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