Thursday, March 15, 2012

Interview with Crystal Paine

What drove you to write the book? What's the story behind the book?

Nine years ago, my husband and I got married and committed to stay out of debt while he went through law school. It was an audacious goal, but we learned so much through living in a little basement apartment barely eeking by and wondering how we were going to pay the next bill.

Not only did we learn how to creatively pinch our pennies and maximize the mileage of our money, we also learned to trust God’s provision and see Him faithfully take care of us--even when we weren’t sure how the ends were going to meet!

During those years, I landed upon this thing called blogging. It was a new phenomenon at the time, but I discovered I loved it--and, to my surprise, people started showing up to read it! And I realized that people were hungry for information on how to lower their grocery bill and get their finances in order.

I ended up starting blog exclusively on finances--in the Fall of 2007. This was close to the time when the economy began to tank and there was a much-heightened interest in coupons and money-saving strategies.

Within two years, was garnering hundreds of thousands of visits each month and had grown beyond what I could have ever dreamed. AOL asked me to write a weekly money-saving column for them that they featured on their homepage. Near the end of 2010, a vice president from Simon & Schuster stumbled across this column, clicked on my bio and explored my blog, and wrote later that day to offer me a book deal.

While I’d always thought it would be amazing to be a published author, I figured that was something I’d pursue in five or ten years. But after much prayer, seeking wise counsel, and streamlining our lives, we accepted the book deal.

Writing and publishing it has been a stretching and growing learning experience for me, but I’ve loved (almost!) every minute of it. And I’ve learned so much through it that will impact me for the rest of my life, regardless of where God takes me in the years to come.

What are the advantages of an audio book over a hard cover book?

We live in a fast-paced culture with many demands on our time. While many don’t have time to sit down and read a book, almost everyone can find some time in their busy lives to listen to an audiobook--whether it’s while you’re driving, or folding laundry, or making dinner. Plus, listening to an audio book read by the author brings more life, passion, and clarity to the chapters since you get to hear the author’s words in their own voice.

Who is the book written to? How would someone know they should read your book?
My heart’s desire in writing The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget is to give women hope and inspiration. I want to communicate the message that you’re not stuck–no matter how much of a financial mess you may feel like you’re in right now!

In this book, I give women the motivation and practical step-by-step help to turn their finances–and their lives around. You’ll be inspired to set big goals and follow through with them, to get a handle on your time and home management, to create a realistic budget, to start telling their money where to go instead of it just slipping through their fingers like sand, and to live a rich and fulfilling life--no matter you income level.

If you're discouraged with your financial traction, if you're feeling "stuck" financially, if you're struggling to have hope in the midst of financial setbacks, if you feel like you're in a financial mess, or if you could just use some practical ideas for how to live well on a shoestring budget, this book is for you!

What will a reader gain from reading your book?

I hope that a reader gains not only inspiration for wisely stewarding their money so they can save and give more, but I also hope that readers are inspired to live purposefully and intentionally by setting goals and getting their home and lives in better order. This book is not about putting a bandage on the problem or providing a quick fix; it’s about making gradual changes over an extended period that will propel you to greater financial success than you ever dreamed possible!

What are your top tips for women seeking financial freedom?

First off, one the most important things is to set goals. Goals give you purpose and momentum for financial stewardship. They give you the motivation to continue to live simply, clip coupons, cook from scratch, or drive an old car because each of those things are propelling you one step closer to your financial goals.

Consider where you want to be next year, five years from now, and ten years from now. Write your goals on paper and then break them down into monthly and weekly bite-sized pieces and start chipping away at them.

You might not be where you hope to be in six months or a year from now, but if you start taking small steps in the right direction, I can guarantee that you’ll be much farther along than if you did nothing at all.

Secondly, cultivate a positive, grateful attitude. You can choose to go through life seeing the worst in everything or the best in everything. You can complain about the thorns, or you can be grateful for the beautiful roses.

No matter what you’re going through in life, there is always something to be grateful for. Choose joy--even in the midst of difficult circumstances--and it will change your whole outlook on life!

You have some fun things planned for readers in the next month. What's happening?

I’m so excited to be hosting my first ever live chat on April 4, 2012! I’ll be sharing some practical financial encouragement and inspiration and then interacting in a live format with everyone who attends. Not only will you have the opportunity to get your questions answered, you’ll also get to engage in discussions with thousands of other women around the nation who will be a wealth of practical information on saving money, getting the best bang for your buck, and living within your means.

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