Writing Prompt: Profile Bloggers Emily McClements, Gina Lincicum, Charlene Haugsven

Today’s Sub-Theme – Frugal Living

Today is the last day of August and the end of August’s “All About You” theme. Just 62 days left until NaNonFiWriMo 2013 is here. Please start preparing now!

Our eleventh and final sub-theme is “frugal living.” The concept of frugality involves spending less. It is a basic principle of life that applies to people of all ages. Any person, including children, can learn to be more frugal in order to obtain more things with less money or save more money by spending less (both ideals are distinct components of frugality). Add the term “living” and the concept of frugality becomes a lifestyle, which is stronger than a hobby. Those who practice frugal lifestyles enjoy pleasures in life a bit differently than those who don’t care much about spending money (like celebrities).

Today, your job is to write a profile on bloggers Emily McClements, Gina Lincicum, and Charlene Haugsven.

Recap: List of Featured Bloggers

In this space, we will keep a running list of all the bloggers we are featuring in August.

August 2 – Women, God, and Faith: Kirra Antrobus, Maia Duerr, Rachel, Rachel Barenblatt, and Katie Orr.
August 5 – Food Bloggers: Michael Lee West, Tara Kuczykowski, and Robyn Stone.
August 7 – Braniacs: Melanie Martilla, Marc Nash, Val Hudgins, Claudette Young, and Meena Rose.
August 9 – Photojournalists: Darlisa Black, Veronica Roth, Alik Sumin, and Arnoldo Romero.
August 12 – Inspirational folks: Maribel Steel, Beryl Ayn Young, Rachel Macy Stafford, and JoAnn J.A. Jordan.
August 14 – Dad bloggers – Michael Stelzner, Aaron Brinker, Brian Klems, and Oren Miller.
August 16 – Mom bloggers – Sam Kemp-Jackson, Jamie Meteer, Anne Kimball, and J.D. Bailey.
August 19 – Standout blogger – Kiril Kundurazieff
August 21 – Standout blogger – Nina Amir
August 23 – Standout blogger – Your favorite blogger!
August 26 – Passionate Redheads – MamaRed Knight (Jerilynne Knight), Cathie Filian, Sherry Riter, Joy Weese Moll, and Denise Wakeman.
August 28 – Positive – Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, Joy, Joanne Cipressi, Shelley Lundquist, and Gretchen Rubin.
August 30 – Emily McClements, Gina Lincicum, and Charlene Haugsven.


Creative Idea Gal’s Thoughts

Everyone tends to approach the concept of frugality a bit differently. For example, I have close friends who earn generous incomes and don’t blink an eye when it comes to spending on name-brand clothes, designer toys, and over-the-top birthday parties. They could not care less about frugality. Though it’s easy for me to judge people based on excessive spending, I’d be the pot calling the kettle black.

My new approach to a happier lifestyle indeed is spending less and reprioritizing frivolous purchases versus purchase of life experiences (such as activities with my family). The wisdom I’ve gained in my particular descent from excessive spending to a more frugal lifestyle is better than anything I could have learned in school. It is life’s hard knocks that teach us best. Today, I’m far more confident and secure in my purchasing and spending decisions, knowing I have different options and most importantly, the prime opportunity to instill wholesome values of money into my two girls so that they will not repeat the mistakes I made.

Regardless of where you are in your life today in terms of financial security, it never hurts to keep an open mind about how to save money, cut costs, and think twice about plunking down hard-earned dollars for things that don’t give us as much satisfaction as we think.

Creative Idea Gal’s Softball Questions for Today’s Bloggers

My questions for today’s featured bloggers are like a writing prompt within a prompt. The featured bloggers are strongly encouraged (but not required to) answer my questions. It is best for the featured bloggers to answer my questions on their own blogs and post those permalinks here on WNFIN.com.

Thank you so much to Melanie Marttila, Marc Nash, Kirra Antrobus, Maribel Steel, Anne Kimball, and Joy Weese Moll for already answering my questions!


Emily McClements


Blogge Emily McClements

(1) The concept of combining green living with saving money is fascinating and unusual. How did you come up with this premise? Did someone inspire you to blog about the combination of the two topics?

(2) You make reference to a “complete consumer lifestyle.” Can you explain what you mean by this? How is that different to your current lifestyle? Which style do you recommend for others?

(3) You encourage your blog readers to go on a frugally green journey. Are there specific steps to take to begin this journey? What advice would you offer to those who have families?

(4) The concept of green cleaning applies to everyone, irrespective of social status or location. However, it involves a lot of work. What advice do you give to those who say that it’s far easier to buy readymade cleaners and don’t want to spend the time mixing homemade cleaners?

(5) Your encouragement for others to create paper-free households is admirable, but confusing. A true paper-free environment involves cutting back on junk mail, relying on e-news, etc. Do you think your readers would benefit from you expanding your section of paper towel clutter to include clutter from all kinds of paper?

(6) I am intrigued by your category of “conscious consuming.” However, that link leads the reader full-circle back to your main menu but does not point to specific blog posts. Do you have plans to define this term? Do you have plans to add more blog posts to this category? Are you inspired by others who “consume consciously”? If so, in what way?

(7) What exactly is the Green in 365 series? It appears that this series ended in April 2013. What happened? Any plans to bring it back in 2014? Do you have plans to compile the entire series into a book?

(8) Your shop / resources section is currently unpopulated. What are your plans for this section? Are you inspired by bricks-and-mortar stores or mostly by online retailers?

(9) You bravely share your story and offer information about using the Diva Cup. Have your readers reacted favorably to that blog post? Do you have male readers? Do you target your blog posts to women or men?

(10) Congratulations on your current e-book project. Have you studied the fundamentals of book promotion? Have you set up your virtual book tour yet? How will you market your book before it is published?


Gina Lincicum


Blogger Gina Lincicum

(1) You have been blogging a long time. Can you share tips and tricks to help newbie bloggers who are having trouble sticking to a schedule or finding a proper niche topic to write about? What is some advice you wish you had received when you first started out?

(2) You unselfishly provide recipes, money-saving tips, and practical advice. What drives you to help others by sharing wisdom? Why did you start blogging in the first place? Why do you continue blogging?

(3) Is it realistic to make an income from a website? Do you manage to make money through your blog or are your income-producing activities mostly off-line, as in mystery shopping, rebates, etc.?

(4) Do your children inspire you to blog about certain topics? Do you research things you are going to write about or blog mostly about your day-to-day experiences in shopping and saving?

(5) Critics of school fundraising programs (such as the Tyson Project A+) claim that the program nets a minimal amount of money for schools and the efforts associated with cutting, clipping, and saving make this program a waste of time. What is your opinion of these types of school fundraising programs? Do you actively participate in these school fundraising programs for your children’s schools or do you just write about them? Please describe your experiences with this type of school fundraising efforts.

(6) Your menu plans and recipes and related video series on grocery tips are exhaustive! Seems that you have an extraordinary amount of experience with cooking and feeding your family for less. Would you ever consider stripping those food-type blog posts out of your blog and repurposing them into a practical how-to book? Have you considered book publication at all? Why or why not?

(7) Your advice on how readers can earn a small income is the most under-inflated, truthful, practical advice I’ve ever seen. Compared to the advice I read from others who claim riches can be made from the Internet, your advice is more humble and more realistic. Why do you think this humble, truthful approach works for you? Have you received success stories from others who have taken you up on your income-producing strategies? Have they personally worked well for you? Which is your favorite income-producing strategy and why?

(8) Your blog posts related to your financial goals and your constant modifications to your plans are fascinating. How do you manage being such a thrifty saver when your husband is a spender? What advice can you offer to families like ours who are in your exact same position, where one spouse prefers to save whereas the other is happier spending? How have you managed these differences in your own household?

(9) You heavily promote the EasyLunchboxes bento-style lunch containers on your blog. Have you succeeded in influencing the parents at your children’s schools to adopt this style lunchbox? Has the change to this lunchbox helped your children become healthier eaters? Do you and your husband use these, too?

(10) Since you refer your blog readers to do certain things and purchase certain things in order to benefit them financially, would you consider listing your affiliate links in one comprehensive list or blog post or tab somewhere? Have you made a decent income from your affiliate links?


Charlene Haugsven


Blogger Charlene Haugsven

(1) The coupon classes you offer are very reasonably priced. Why do you offer them only in Sacramento, California? Have you ever considered providing virtual training, such as through video chats, Google+ hangouts, or through other similar means?

(2) Your teachings about Drugstore 101 couponing are original. Is it realistic to expect better discounts from drugstores than through mass retailers, such as WalMart or Target?

(3) You have written about your participation in some advisory panels. How many panels do you belong to? Is this participation ongoing or a one-time activity only?

(4) Your section on organic coupons and deals is a bit outdated. Is it difficult to find coupons for organic items? Why do you suppose organic items are so expensive and out-of-reach to most consumers?

(5) A lot of your coupons and deals listed by specific store types are outdated. Is it time consuming for you to compile savings information for each retailer? Do you receive benefits from listing deals? Would it not be easier for you to refer your blog readers directly to the websites of the actual retailers?

(6) Many of the deals you list are family-friendly. Have you purchased things from the deals you post to benefit your children? Do you purchase things from those deals to benefit other in your local community? Family? Friends?

(7) Your Shop for Free section is very exciting. If you personally purchase a large quantity of these “free” deals, do you ever donate to people or organizations in your own area? Do you encourage your readers to donate extras from their “extreme couponing” trips to help others?

(8) What are your top three pieces of advice you’d give to those who are new to the extreme couponing world and overwhelmed by everything they see and hear? Is extreme couponing a realistic activity for all to pursue? Why or why not?

(9) You have very good followings through all of your social media channels. What is your secret to success in balancing family life with social media and maintaining your blog? Do you ever outsource any of your activities?

(10) You refer your readers to the websites of several digital coupon suppliers. Do you like digital coupons more than paper coupons? What is your opinion of mobile coupons? Are there any coupons that are not worthwhile?


Writing Prompt 102

Prompt: Write a basic profile on bloggers Emily McClements, Gina Lincicum, and Charlene Haugsven.

Writing Tips:

• Conduct basic Internet research.

• Answer these questions in your writing: who, what, when, where, why (bonus: how?).

• Write your profile as descriptively as you wish. More details make your writing juicier!

• Bonus: interview the bloggers by asking them questions by e-mail and posting their replies on your own blog. Makes for good reading!

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