Meet the Blogger is a feature here at the BlogWorld blog where we introduce you to some of newest bloggers in various niches. Today, we’re talking with Tara Wright, who blogs at Cheapskate Mama. Check out her interview below, as well as the full list of Meet the Blogger interviews (including instructions for participating).
Allison: Thanks for talking with us, Tara! Tell us a little about you and your blog.
My name is Tara Wright and I started a deal blog in November of 2010 called Cheapskate Mama. I am a stay at home mom of two young boys with an unused elementary teaching credential, a flaming passion for writing and research, and an incredibly supportive husband and family. Cheapskate Mama is a resource for people like me. By that statement I mean people with children, financial struggles, bills up to their ears, or even just a desire to scale back without complete deprivation. I have readers who are moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, college students, and others who are none of the above. I strive to make all of my deals as simple as possible by refusing to make a reader jump through ten hoops to save 50 cents. Therefore, most of my deals are retail buys with directions for replication online or in-stores as opposed to coupon match-ups and grocery deals. I love to save at the grocery store as much as the next person, but grocery couponing is not my area of expertise and it requires more “hoops” at times. My tagline is Full Price Makes Me Angry. I am not kidding–it really ticks me off. That anger acts as fuel to help me find a solution for myself and others like me.
What initially attracted you to blogging and why did you choose to blog about coupons and deals?
I have always been a shopaholic, but having children quickly made me realize that my frivolity could have an effect on the extent to which we are able to provide for them. With a strong desire for financial stability that did not depend on how many trips to Target I took that month, I knew I needed to make some changes and reprioritize. When I started to fuse my determination with a natural online research obsession, I realized that I knew so many other moms just trying to make ends meet that could truly benefit from my deal hunting tips but could never afford to dedicate the time to do it themselves. Anyone can do what I do, there is absolutely no “secret” involved, but who the heck can afford 8 hours a day to scour the web or has the ability to drop everything and jet to the store to confirm a huge deal rumor? Not many of the people I know. So I started to do it for them. I created a Facebook Fan Page right before Thanksgiving to expose my favorite Christmas shopping deals and hot tips and within a week or so, word had spread and I had a little cult following. After hearing good feedback and some success stories, I decided to jump on it and bought the domain name CheapskateMama.net to start a blog.
Most people start a blog and then move to building social media profiles, but it sounds like you started the other way around, by sharing deals on Facebook and then building a blog. One of my biggest problems with Facebook is that I find it difficult to move people from there to a blog. Can you share some tips with us – how did you get your Facebook readers to move to your blog?
I did do that, didn’t I! To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what the potential was for Cheapskate Mama when I first started. It really was to take it away from my personal profile so I wasn’t clogging the news feeds of my FB friends on one of my really good “hunting” days. Once I created the fan page, I was actually shocked to see people get as excited as I did for 75% off diapers and whatnot, so it really made me feel like I had something there. It was tough for the first few weeks to really pull people away from the familiarity of Facebook, but I had to learn not to “give the milk away for free” so to speak. Once I started posting teasers with a link to my site and kept the details solely on my blog, it got easier. In addition, I occasionally love to use bribery– I mean incentives 😉 A deal blog is the perfect spot for a giveaway or contest, and I try to have them regularly to thank my readers for their support and loyalty. Currently I am running a 1,000th post giveaway, and they have to visit my site for the entry link, but they can score additional entries for commenting on Facebook, retweeting, or reblogging VIA Tumblr.
I do seriously love the power of Facebook for my type of blog, because a hot deal can spread like fire when people can’t help but share with friends. Because that is where I started, I will always nurture the connection with Facebook fans. My blog is my home though, and Facebook and Twitter are like my vacation homes.
What made you decide to use Tumblr rather than WordPress, Blogger, Typad, or any of the other older content management systems from bloggers?
A couple of weeks ago, one of the mom bloggers I follow on Twitter stated that she was annoyed to have to write any more than 140 characters. And so it is in our new world–people want the info, they like it to the point, and as fast as possible. Everyone is looking for clean and uncomplicated, and as a “micro-blogging” platform, in my opinion, Tumblr is just that. With Tumblr, I can get a post out with a link and a pic in under 2 minutes if necessary–if a deal is hot, I don’t want to take ten steps to post it.
When I search through Tumblr, I find the most amazing, artistic, funky, and sometimes weird content. I consider myself to be a little kooky, artistic and “out there” sometimes, so I feel right at home. I am very happy with my choice, there are some fabulous Tumblr blogs and I hope to be at the top of them someday soon.
What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned so far as a blogger?
I have to remind myself daily to stay true to my philosophy and not pay attention to what others are doing. I see the biggest coupon and deal bloggers throwing up 20 posts a day and it makes me doubt myself, my content, and whether I even belong. I am a little guppy in a wide sea! But then I remember something I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. For it to really be your passion, you have to stay true to yourself–people can sense the BS a mile away.
What blogging topics do you hope to learn more about in the coming months?
I am currently playing around with some frugal grocery shopping with NO coupon tips and features plus budget recipes, and I would also like to start a regular “deal mission” post, where a reader can submit an idea for something they’d like to buy at a deep discount and I will exhaust my resources to help find the deal. One day soon, I will get up the courage to post a little vlog too. But it will have to be on a day that I actually get dressed and have good hair.
Thanks for the interview, Tara! Readers, make sure to check out Cheapskate Mama, like her Facebook page, and follow Tara on Twitter @cheapsk8mama.