The Frugal Girl brought up an interesting question on her Facebook page this week:

Whenever I poke around the web looking for frugality blogs, it seems like all I can find are couponing/deal blogs or personal finance blogs. I know there must be other kindred spirits out there just writing about frugal living, though! Enlighten me.

I have read The Frugal Girl and I understand what topics she’s trying to aim for. They were pretty much the topics I had in mind as I launched Monroe on a Budget. Here was my response:

I hear you. I don’t care for the fact that the genre of “frugal” has morphed into “coupon / bargain.” Couponing is a specialty topic all to its own. I include all three themes by the way: frugal, couponing, personal finance. My criteria for a topic is: would it be of interest to a southeast Michigan audience?

Now some history:

Monroe on a Budget‘s original concept nearly five years ago was to share the public service announcements that were running in The Monroe Evening News that local families needed to know, mixed in with my experiences from different times of my life in making do with less.

It didn’t take long for my co-workers and I to realize that other topics could fit in with what we had in mind. One of those “aha” moments happened a few months into the blog when a reader pitched the newspaper for a “shopping blog.” Monroe on a Budget’s concept became “anything to do with saving money,” and we started figuring out the logistics of including the local sales and deals reports.

Couponing was a topic I touched on briefly from the start. But that category started taking on a life of its own in March 2009 when my first public appearances shared ideas on how to save money on the grocery bill. I will do speaking engagements on other topics – the one I gave last week was to a high school audience about “Writing for a Digital Audience.” But the majority of my bookings still ask for the grocery class, which has morphed during the past year into “the coupon class.”

The fact that I include personal finance and budgeting discussions makes me part of an incredibly active and friendly personal finance online community. You’ll see more of those topics during the next few weeks, now that the couponing craze has settled down enough for me to pick up on material that’s been sitting at my desk for awhile.

I also discuss, or link to, topics that fit under traditional homemaking, ecofriendly ideas, and fashion and beauty.

Someone once described my approach as “holistic,” and I think that’s a good description. I do share lots of ideas and details on how you can cut expenses. But the point I teach in family budget discussions and in the grocery / coupon class involves long-range results and the bottom line.

We’re still emphatic, however, about spinning the content to what is relevant to those who live in Monroe County, Mich. There’s no need for me to deliberately write for a national audience when plenty of other people do that.

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