Why I Do, What I Do

When both my husband and myself were laid off within the same month a few years back, it was clear a change had to be made.  We could not continue to live like we had.  We also lost the house we were living in, and had to move in with some friends who were very gracious to us.  My husband was only able to find part time work, and we ended up on food stamps. I’ve never been through a tougher time in my life.  From an emotional perspective, you could say I was as low as I could possibly get.

We were living in North Georgia at the time, a ways away from family because it was the only place we could find to stay.  After nearly half a year, it was clear my husband wasn’t going to be able to find a job there.  He was only able to find part time work the entire time, and that wasn’t covering any bills.  When my husband was called for a job interview several hours away from our location, we decided to go for it.  He was interviewed, and got the job.  So we packed up my toddler and my pregnant self to move back near family.

I decided I wanted to cloth diaper my second child so that it would not only save us money (which we needed to do), but so that it would be better for my baby-to-be and the environment.  While on DiaperSwappers.com, I found a link to a blogger that I will always have the utmost respect for: Erin from $800 Annual Budget.   I also found Hot Coupon World.  I had discovered couponing!! After reading through all of the FAQ’s and How To’s, I knew my life would never be the same.  I knew I was going to cut our grocery bill,  and get us off of food stamps.  I did.

In the midst of this, I started finding many other frugal blogs besides Erin’s.  One very special blogger wrote a blog series on “Blogging For Profit.”  We were still struggling to make ends meet with my husband’s low income, and had recently had our baby several months prior.  I knew several things at the time:

  1. I needed to help support my family.
  2. I could find a deal like you wouldn’t believe.
  3. More people were struggling like we were/had been.
  4. I could help these people like Erin and Crystal had helped me.
  5. I could blog.

Thus, natucare.blogspot.com was born. But that name didn’t really work, did it?  After about a month or two with that name, I brainstormed names.  I had always been very thrifty.  Growing up, we always shopped at thrift stores, yard sales and now I was using coupons to save even more money.  TheThriftyMama.com came into existence, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.  My site grew quickly, I was helping people, and I started generating some income for my family. I’m happy to report that we no longer need food stamps (haven’t for a while), are slowly working our way out of debts we incurred and are moving towards financial freedom.

We still have our pains and struggles, but are better because I made a choice to change how we earn, save and spend money. And I owe it all to a Heavenly Father that watches out for me, and guides me on a day to day basis.

I blog for my family.  I blog because I love it.  I blog for you, my readers.

crystal collins signature
  1. What a great story! I’m sorry that you suffered through all of the stress, but I love that you give credit to Heavenly Father for helping you to come through it all.
    I love following your blog, and love hearing that you love doing it. :)

  2. Thank you for that touching story. I am very proud of you for not losing your faith in Heavenly Father through a tough and stressful time. He never said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it. Way to take an awful situation and turn it into something to help others learn and grow from. Bless you and thanks for all your hard work!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, CC! It is amazing how we don’t always understand why things happen, but looking back we see that there was a Plan. :) I’m so glad to have gotten to know you- and to read the amazing things that God has been doing in your life. :)
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Blockbuster Express: FREE Movie =-.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story, Crystal. It’s funny how we don’t know who we might impact through our words on the screen. I’m guessing that you, like Erin & Crystal, have impacted many more people than you know!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..FREE Slow Cooker eBook =-.

  5. and we love you for helping us all out!!!! Thank you for doing what you do…and for sharing your story with us!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s nice to know that there are others out there that have been through the same struggles of life. What you do for us is a ministry through God. May God bless you for everything you do. Words can’t express how thankful I am for all the help you have provided my family! 😉

    Katie Epperson

  7. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that!! I can’t even tell you how much I can relate to your story. My husband is thankfully employed but makes a very modest income as a laborer and I am currently laid off. We are living in a VERY expensive area. We had our first baby last May and have another one due in June. We both want for me to stay home with our (soon to be) two kids, but we realize doing that in this area will not be possible on my husband’s salary, so we (like you!) will be moving back near my family where the cost of living is less, hopefully sooner rather than later. I also took inspiration from a few incredible Mom-Bloggers who helped me live better on less. My grandma always said, “Shannon, you can stretch a dollar further than a giant rubber band.” So, a month ago, I decided to start my own blog in an effort to share what I knew best (frugality) with others who are also struggling in this economy, and to also use it to hopefully, one day soon, be able to take some of the financial burden off of my husband’s already tired shoulders. I am still definitely learning, but I am hoping to find tips and tricks along the way to make this happen! I really appreciate stories like yours that give me hope. Thanks again!!!
    .-= Shannon @ Mommie Cheapest´s last blog ..Wanted: Finger Food Advice =-.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. I understand hard times and I have always felt better after finding people that understand me and don’t judge. I’m so glad that I found you and your site!

  9. WOW! Thanks for sharing that.

    My husband is in the military. We do not really make that much $$ either, compared to what he could make in the civilian life! I live on a VERY tight budget, but enjoy knowing that I can give us all what we need and still have some! I enjoyed reading your story. We really need to get together sometime! Would love to meet you!

  10. Good post, Crystal. Those months of unemployment can seriously do something to you – emotionally, spiritually – that can be a major motivation or depression. Anybody who has been there knows the pain and doesn’t ever want to go back! Thanks for sharing your story!
    Shannon in Indiana
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Homeschool Field Trip: Shedd Aquarium =-.

  11. Thanks for your heartfelt story and mostly thanks for giving credit to GOD!! That’s a testimony in and of itself. : )

  12. THANK YOU !!!!!! Your story comes at a interesting time in my life. Like your family, our family lost jobs and lost our home. We packed our life away in a storage unit and moved in with my mother. For the last 3 years we have worked our tails off to get out of debt. When everything was stripped away from us I was scared, and mad and questioned “why me?” What I didn’t know is that this was a gift God was giving me to make me stop and look around at what I had and what I was doing. I have realized I waslike most people, trying to “keep up with the Jones”. I was running after money, a job and things and none of it was making me happy. After it was all gone, all that was left was my wonderful husband and daughter, and my talents that God had given me… art. After feeling sorry for myself for awhile I started to draw and paint, I found my voice in my art. Just yesterday we put a deposit down on a loft in an artist co-op. It is beautiful and the other artists are amazingly supportive. It has been three years since we lost the house and we are debt free, except for student loans. It is your blogs like yours that have kept me on track and helped me achieve this. Most importantly freeing up the money has freed up a lot more in my life. After years of trying to be something I’m not and getting more in debt I am out of debt and feel that I have finally found myself again, and every coupon I have clipped in the last three years was more than worth that to me.

  13. Great story, I am glad you and your family are doing so well now!! I have been reading your blog for about 1 month now and I enjoy your saving tips,now if only I could get to the store and use them. I Hate shopping LOL!! so most of my coupons expire, I have never once seen a person on food stamps use a single coupon so I was glad to hear you were trying to use your money wisely!
    Thank You for your post and I wish you and your family the best.

  14. Thanks for sharing this Crystal. My DH and I had a business that went under b4 the recession. I never thought that God would use that time to build us up to overflowing. When the financial crisis happened, we were already doing fine. But the coolest part was I was able to share lots of what I’ve learned from bloggers like you about saving money. Thanks for sharing. I miss your Tuesday Testimonies. But this was very brave and nice for you to share! God bless!

  15. Thanks for doing what you do, so that many more women in your past or present situation can also benefit from a great deal here, there, and everywhere! Huge hugs coming your way….(((HUGS))) :oD

    My best, Lynn
    .-= Lynn´s last blog ..Organic Shea Butter Soap =-.

  16. Thank you for your story. I enjoy reading other people’s journey’s. I am Jewish and deeply religious and have often wondered why me? It is human nature and sharing our nature and stories with others is so very necessary. It brings us closer to ourselves and God.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing Crystal. Its funny because, I also started being more “frugal” through Diaperswappers and YOU! I look up to you and appreciate all you do for everyone everyday!

  18. Thank you Crystal. I’ll never forget the good old days on Diaperswappers with you. You are the person I owe my savvy-ness to.
    Your blog is still my #1, and always will be.

  19. i dont comment on your site much, if at all, but i do want to thank you for all the helpful tips and store scenarios, freebie alerts etc that you put up. its amazing what a few dollars saved up here and there can lead to, and your story is testament to that. i am grateful to God that he has blessed me, but that is no reason to take advantage and waste frivolously. coupons rule! and God bless.

  20. Hey Thrifty Mama! Ahhh thanks for sharing about the difficult time that you and your husband went through…when both are laid off around the same time it is so difficult to get back up. But you did it! Sometimes it takes tough times like that to really start cutting back and saving. Glad to hear things are looking much brighter for you!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Top 5 Posing and Directing Photography Tips =-.

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