Reader Q&A: Where is KOAB heading?

Reader Q&A

Reader Sherri left a question yesterday on my Leapster2 post about the direction of KOAB — and in particular the posts about deals and sales. I wanted to quickly respond to Sherri’s comment, but I do promise that I’ll post that Q&A about stockpiling vs. everyday spending soon!

Sherri writes:

When I first found your blog, I really enjoyed it- it was great to read tips for saving money and how to live a thrifty but fulfilling life.

Lately, though, it seems that most posts are about fun items that are on sale. Yes, I realize they’re cheaper than usual, but it’s still just showing people how to spend more and more money- $20 on a game here, $20 on a toy there. Is this just because of the holiday season? If so, that’s understandable and I will look forward to your “old-time” posts once the season is over.

Thanks for your comment, Sherri. When I first started blogging back in July, and there were just a few dozen of my friends reading, I was posting 5-7 times per week. Half of my posts were the more meaty “how to” type — aka the “old time” posts — and the other half were about sales at CVS, Target or the like.

Today, I am posting about 5-7 times per DAY and I aim to have at least 5 or 6 “meaty” posts a week, plus any number of sales, deals, and coupon match-up posts. So, the meaty stuff is still there — and actually even more so than before. But it’s definitely mixed up with more of the “deal” posts that you refer to.

So, what’s my rationale? Well, first of all, as you correctly pointed out, this is the season for great deals on everything from toys to jewelry to electronics and more. And if you have been shopping for/planning to buy these items, now is a great time to do so.

But moreover, I think that pointing out when these amazing prices are available helps my readers to realize that paying retail just isn’t smart. There are always bargains to be had. You have to balance that with rational spending habits, of course, but if you want to give a gift — or treat yourself — I want my readers to know where and how to get the best prices.

I have always tried to be careful about reminding readers that consuming for the sake of consuming isn’t gonna make them happy (at least not in the long term!). And, of course, that it doesn’t matter how cheap the gadget or watch or new shirt may be, if you can’t afford it, it’s not a bargain!

This answer is probably longer than you wanted already, but I will just add, since you posted this comment on my second Leapster post in two days, that I had two friends email me asking about the best price on handheld game systems. When I found that deal on Amazon, I posted about it, figuring if two of my friends wanted to know, maybe a few more of my readers would want to know also.

Then yesterday, I found a much better deal at Leap Frog and since I’m committed to getting myself the very best price, I figured I should extend the same courtesy to my readers 😉

All that said, if you don’t like the deal posts, please feel free to skip over them!

Do you have a question about finding great deals, cash-based budgeting, financial goal setting or anything else I cover here at KOAB? Feel free to leave me a comment or contact me — I’ll be happy to answer you and I may even use your question for my next Q&A.


  1. KOAB is actually my ‘entry point’ to couponing, so I’m actually learning how to coupon/deal effectively for the first time right here. AND I’m a buyer of those non-essential-deal posts. (I have a bit of a guilt complex about it. I picked up a cute necklace for myself at JCP when you posted about the $10 off $10 code. I haven’t picked up ANY jewelry in over a year, literally. So I laid out the $2.19 after taxes.) I haven’t started much into the grocery items, yet, though I’ve initiated my CVS card (black friday, $48 in ECB!), and I ran my first Target coupon match-up yesterday. I’m amassing the coupon sources (never had a SS, P&G or RP in this house before), but that’s actually something I think that should have been included in the ‘getting started’ guide- it takes a month or so to start collecting the sources for match-ups. The earliest SS i have is from 11/21, earliest P&G is December- so many match ups go to earlier insert dates, which I just don’t have and it gets crazy to try to manipulate the match-up scenarios when you’re missing a key component. I’ve also gone back and read the CVS tutorial, the organization posts, and your first CVS trip (“OCD-type list and calculator in hand” was me at Target yesterday!). So, while the “meaty” posts may be fewer in %-of-overall-posts lately, the blog format ensures they’re still there, and available for noobs like me to read.

    I’ve been nervous about my own ‘deal spending’- I found that I was swiping my credit card (which we pay in full EVERY month) and clicking that green BUY button much more often (albeit on measly totals- most under $10).

    I think the conventional wisdom is that an unplanned expense is an unnecessary one (K-A-H it should be an emergency); that impulse buying is costly. I’m still struggling with whether my recent unplanned/impulse shopping will serve me in the long run- but I’ve set up some controls to monitor/evaluate it objectively.

    We manage our money on, and they have an option to set a custom tag, which is above and beyond the categories. I set up a tag called “Unplanned Deals”, so at any time I can see how much I’ve spent on unexpected items, and evaluate it objectively. I’m also keeping a list of things I’d like/need for the house, so I can put the “check out this great deal” posts to use where they will get the highest ROI for my family.

    Finally, I find lately that “necessity” is a subjective term. Some of my friends consider a new suit for Pesach a necessity- I say matzah is a necessity. How many coats does one need to get through a Midwestern winter? You only wear one at a time- but is it necessary to have a Shabbat/formal coat? Are scented candles or air fresheners EVER a necessity? A lot of the things one family decides to buy as a necessity will be seen by another family as an extravagance. I’m STILL trying to decide if, when my $2 necklace comes in, I will keep it or immediately return it. Do I NEED a necklace?

    • I love this comment, Becky! It sounds like you are really on the right path. You are super organized and very aware of what you’re doing. Similar to your “deal spending” category — we have blow money in our budget. We each get $20 a month, which isn’t much, but funnily enough, many months we don’t even spend it all. But just knowing that I can spend that money “guilt free” helps a lot with my tendency to obsess over wasting.

  2. I am one of those readers that is more tempted by the “deal” posts than I would like. But you’re right that every deal means something to someone. As you can imagine (because you know me) I JUMPED when all the deal bloggers posted about the Picaboo Groupons, and I was very grateful.

    I hope you’ll forgive me for ignoring your deal posts most of the time, and only really reading the “meaty” ones, since the deal posts are quite a temptation for me. I appreciate it when you post a deal I can use, truly. *Shrug* I still subscribe, right? 🙂

  3. Would you be willing to separate out the deal posts from your more original writing in separate RSS feeds? I’m particularly interested in your writing about meal planning, and all the deals really clutter up my blog reader.


    • @E, Thanks for your question. The only frugal blogger I know of with separate RSS feeds is Money Saving Mom. There may be others, be she’s the only one I know doing it for sure. Crystal has more than 2.5 million page views a month (last month, I had 21,500) and presumably earns six FIGURES from her blog. I won’t even earn $6,000 from KOAB! In other words, at her “scale”, she can afford to pay people to do those kinds of things for her. I can not.

      While I would like to be everything to everybody, the reality is that I am one woman, trying to parent my three kids, be a wife to my husband, work 20+ hours a week at my “real” job and squeeze in another 30+ hours a week on this blog. Since KOAB is basically a “free” service to those of you who read — and I am GRATEFUL for your readership! — I think I’m just going to have ask you to bear with me and skip any posts that don’t interest you.

  4. I am an American, married to an Israeli, living in Paris (temporarily). Can I take advantage of everything you post about? No, of course not. But I still love reading your blog. Honestly, I find it pretty ridiculous that people complain about what you post. If they don’t like it, don’t read it. But I for one really appreciate all your hard work and think you should go right ahead and post whatever you want! Thank you, Mara!

  5. I have found your deal posts to be useful for the items our family is going to buy anyway. The rest I skip and that is fine. You work hard on your blog and it shows.

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