Spring cleaning and a new direction at Jen Spends

As you may have noticed, I’ve been tidying things up around here in an effort to make this website a little bit easier on the eyes. I’ve made some subtle changes, and I’m really happy with the cleaner, simpler look.

In addition to the cosmetic changes, I’ve been wanting to simplify my approach to blogging in general. As I have gained more exposure and have met more people who are interested in my blog, I have often been asked “What is your blog about?” Up until now I have, rather embarassingly, struggled to come up with a quick answer.

Departure from “deal blogging”

When I started this website over two years ago I really didn’t know for certain what direction I wanted to take. Although I have continuously maintained personal websites of one form or another since 1999, blogging was rather new to me. I knew that I wanted to share my experiences in frugal living, prompted by the many questions and comments I received from friends and family who wondered how I managed to snag great deals and get by on less income. But how to go about it? As I explored other websites, I was particularly fascinated by the many deal blogs I found, and I thought “hey, I can do that!”

Well, I couldn’t. Or rather, it just wasn’t for me. I realized that the deals that matter to me might not matter to my readers (especially if the deals only mattered to me because I could profit from them). I didn’t have the time to post a vast array of sales and coupons that would interest everybody. Although I enjoyed doing the grocery coupon matchups, and I know they were helpful, I struggled to get them posted in a timely manner, and I stressed about letting my readers down. Of course I still do get excited about finding great deals, and I love to share the ones that I love the most.  I’ve found that my Facebook page is a better, more convenient platform for those quick thoughts. I hope you will join me there if you haven’t already!

Going forward

I have realized that the content I am proudest of, and what I think I do the best, are my lengthier posts: in-depth product and vendor reviews (either sponsored or not), occasional recipes, home decorating ideas, and instructional articles. I am wordy by nature and often joke that I could write a treatise about a single coupon. That’s part of the reason deal blogging isn’t a great fit for me. My approach going forward will be inspired by the old proverb:

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

What is Jen Spends about? My lifestyle. I can’t do the work of frugal living for you, I can’t walk you through every step, but I hope that by sharing in a more general way the methods I use to save money and some of the quality products I enjoy, you can take some ideas away and implement them in your own lives. If I have learned just one thing about blogging, and indeed life in general, it’s that you just can’t be something you’re not. You will eventually burn out. The key to “living well on less” is finding what works for you and your family. I will continue to share what works for me in hopes that you will enjoy my thoughts and opinions and perhaps feel a little bit inspired.

Blogging has provided me with an invaluable creative outlet, interesting opportunities, wonderful new friends, and new ways to connect with old friends. Thank you so much for sticking with me over the past two years as I have developed my website and experimented with different ideas! I hope that with time I will continue to improve in my efforts to provide a fun gathering place and helpful resource for my readers.

Love, Jen

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Freedom through frugal living.