Among all your roles as a parent, one of the most important ones is being a money manager. It’s not an easy task, especially when you consider how much it can cost to run your household. Kelly Whalen, a stay-at-home mom of four, took her love of social media and personal finance and created The Centsible Life, a destination for those who are focused on creating the best financial lives for themselves and their families. Kelly told Celebrity Parents Magazine how she did it.
How did The Centsible Life come to be?
I was a stay at home mom for 13 years, since my oldest was born. I had worked in social media for the last 4-5 years. I had been on community forums; it was my way to connect with other moms. As a SAHM, you’re by yourself, and it was difficult to talk to other moms. I started being a member on community forums, then I became a moderator, and finally I was the president of a local community forum. My passion has always been talking to other moms. From that, my blog was born.
How did you choose personal finance to be the focus of your blog?
I’ve always had an interest in taking charge of finances, and in turn, our lives. As we earned more money, we didn’t necessarily know how to manage it as well. So as I learned these skills, I wanted to share this with other women. Maybe the spouse was handling the money in the household; it was a great topic for women and moms to think about.
When did you launch The Centsible Life?
I started the blog in January 2009. I started it for me, thinking that it could grow into something eventually. It blew up even before I realized what was going on! It parlayed into a part-time job and then it will become a full-time job as I share my knowledge with other people.
How would you describe your site?
It’s about family, finance and fulfilling all of your dreams on a budget. That’s my tagline. Live the life you want to live and make the choices you want with your money without feeling constrained. If you want to take that great once a year vacation, then you have to look and see where else you can cut back so you can make that happen. It’s not only about making the choices that are important to you, but your entire family as well.
So many moms are blogging today. How did you make yours a success?
It was a lot of hard work! Anyone going into it thinking that you will be an instant success is kidding themselves. You have to love what you’re talking about and want it to be something that is successful. Some people will go into it as a hobby; that’s a fantastic way to stay in touch with people. But if you’re thinking about doing something with it, then you have to work at it. It’s really a business. That might mean you have crazy start-up hours. For me, I might want to be reading or napping, but I sit down and blog.
What would be your advice for up-and-coming mommy bloggers?
Choose a topic that you love. It’s also important to be involved in community forums. I understood that there has to be certain amount of professionalism online. Keeping my blog positive makes it stand out. You have to work really hard to build community and talk to other bloggers; after all, you can’t write in a vacuum. I’m lucky because there’s a great community of mom bloggers in the Philadelphia area, so we get together and talk about products, local events, or education. And that’s great to have.
What do you have planned for the future?
I hope the blog becomes a brand. I want to use it as a platform for other things, like books and products that fit in with what I believe in and what my readers are seeking.
So here’s the balance question: How do you do it all?
I kind of don’t believe in the word balance anymore. I think it’s a myth! It’s about what’s on your plate right now. So if that means I have to close the laptop and clean the bathroom, or if I have to stay up late to finish writing, that’s what I do. And eventually, it all gets done.