The Associated Press

The recession is clearly fueling the popularity of mother-oriented blogs that focus on penny pinching. But it's difficult to estimate how many there are because many female bloggers who used to limit themselves to such areas as gardening and weddings now include money-saving tips.

Jessica Hogue, research director of Nielsen Online, which has studied more than 10,000 parenting and mother-oriented blogs, believes about two dozen mother-oriented blogs that focus on frugality are influential. She ranks them based on how much chatter they garner, their volume of followers on and the number of times consumers link to them from other blogs, among other criteria.

Here are the top five mom-oriented blogs with a frugal focus Nielsen found most influential.


Founder: Mercedes Levy, 34, mother of two boys, ages 4, 18 months.

Based: Sheboygan, Wis.

Background: Certified Public Accountant, holds an MBA. Stay-at-home mother. Started blog October 2007.

Focus: Rock-bottom deals.

Philosophy:"I wanted people to see that you can not only make it on one income but you can thrive on one."


Founder: Erin Chase, 31, mother of two boys, ages 4 and 2.

Based: Dayton, Ohio

Background: Former high school math and science teacher. Started blog summer 2008.

Focus: Cooking and planning nutritious family dinners for less than $5.

Philosophy: "I buy EVERYTHING on sale and most non-produce/meat items with a coupon."


Founder: Stephanie Nelson, 45, mother of two boys ages, 13 and 16.

Based: Atlanta

Background: Bachelor's degree in finance, 10 years' experience in sales and marketing with Procter & Gamble Co. and Marriott International Inc. Left corporate world 1995. Started blog 2001.

Focus: Slashing your grocery bill in half.

Philosophy: "Strategic shopping is not about changing the way you eat; it is about changing the way you buy the food you like."


Founder: Crystal Paine, 27, mother of two girls, ages 4, 23 months and a boy, 3 weeks old.

Based: Kansas

Background: Stay-at-home mom, learned to live on "beans and rice budget" when husband was in law school. Started blog in late 2007.

Focus: Living on less than you make by using coupons and finding other deals.

Philosophy: "After years of scrimping and sacrifice, we're reaping the benefits now of being able to live significantly below our means because we don't have any payments."


Founder: Heather Hernandez, 33, mother of two boys, ages 4,2.

Based: Houston

Background: Civil engineer. Stay-at-home mom. Started blog October 2007.

Focus: Free samples, freebies on products that families use daily.

Philosophy: "Moms deserve to be spoiled, and I help them by sharing the hottest freebies as a fun way to save money."
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