The recession has led a lot of people, many of them women, straight to their keyboards.
They have started websites that are more than just blogs: they're businesses. One of them is Acworth resident Crystal Collins. "My husband and I lost our jobs and our house and I had to do something to turn our lives around. 2 years later, I'm paying the bills," she said.
Collins' website, Thethriftymama.com has advertisers, corporate sponsors and hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.
Erin Chase is a similar success story. She started a blog called 5dollardinners.com that led to a double book contract with St. Martin's Press. "About two months after starting I was contacted by a publishing house. I was surprised! I was a new blogger and I didn't know what the possibilities were," she said.
Collins and Chase along with Andrea Deckard, who writes the blog MommySnacks.net, Toni Anderson, who writes TheHappyHousewife.com and Crystal Paine, author of the blog MoneySavingmom.com, founded Savvy Blogging, an organization that helps other bloggers learn the ropes.
They recently held a conference for close to 100 less experienced bloggers in Breckenridge, Colorado called the Savvy Blogging Summit.
Deckard said the success of her blog has led to a mission trip sponsored by ConAgra Corporation and financial freedom that enabled her to pay for her infant's kidney surgery and pay off all of her family's bills. "We became debt free in February," she said.
Anderson's blog centers on living frugally with 7 children. "We are saving for a house so we use most of my blogging money for our house fund," she said.
While typical blogs make little or no money, Savvy Blogging conference attendees attended classes that taught them web design skills, how to attract advertising, and search engine optimization strategies. I taught a class on partnering with the news media.
Author J.D. Roth of GetRichSlowly.org, one of the internet's most popular personal finance sites, was the keynote speaker. Roth also authored the book Your Money: The Missing Manual.
The conference was attended mostly by personal finance and thrifty bloggers, such as Alex and Cassie Michael. They have a blog called Thethriftycouple.com. "We had 110 thousand dollars in consumer debt and we got out in three years, said Michael. He said they delivered newspapers and telephone books and took on other odd jobs to pay off their consumer debt.. "We cut our spending by half in almost every category and cut off our cable TV, said Cassie Michael.
According eMarketer, blogs will attract close to $750 million in advertising by 2012.
Here is a list of local websites and blogs that can help you save money.