The Crunch: Cleverly Simple, a savings and lifestyle blog, offers tidbits and advice that help readers learn how to save money in everyday life. When founder Lynette Rice and her family decided to live without an income for one year while her husband finished graduate school, she learned how to cut her budget and live off savings without accruing any debt. That experience inspired Lynette to launch Cleverly Simple to teach friends and family how to coupon. Today readers can learn about alternative ways to save, by cooking cheap meals, taking on DIY projects, and spending money more wisely.
Lynette Rice had a decision to make: she could either work as a social sciences teacher after her son was born or live off savings for an entire year without accruing debt. Since her husband was finishing graduate school, she would be the only source of income for her family — but Lynette wanted to stay home and be with her family. So she chose the latter option.
Six years and a second son later, Lynette is still a stay-at-home mom who lives on a budget. After learning how to coupon and other ways to cut costs, she became inspired to share her own story and tips with friends and family. Cleverly Simple, Lynette’s brainchild, provides articles on how to cook cheap meals, make DIY projects, and learn about savings tips. It has quickly become a lifestyle blog that helps thousands of readers save money every day. In each carefully crafted post, she teaches readers how to spend less with fun, simple tips. Despite how successful the site has become, Lynette humbly stays focused on one mission: helping people become better savers.
In a phone interview, I chatted with Lynette to discuss Cleverly Simple’s success and why thousands of consumers flock to her recipes, tips, and tricks on how to save.
How Lynette & Her Family Lived Without an Income for a Year
To most people, living without any income for a year would seem impossible, but Lynette saw it as an opportunity to make her dream a reality. Her husband had one more year left of graduate school, and the first Rice baby boy was on the way. Lynette, who was working full-time as a social sciences teacher, wanted to stay at home with her newborn, so they decided to live on savings for an entire year — without accumulating any debt.
“I’ve always tried to keep things as simple as possible while being intentional about the tools and resources,” Rice said.
After staying on budget (with the help from coupons), Lynette was inspired to share her story and tips. In 2010, she launched Cleverly Simple, which started as a blog that helped friends and family learn how to coupon. Soon her hobby turned into a unique business opportunity. She transformed the blog into a lifestyle site that now offers helpful ways to save without using coupons. Today, Lynette posts insightful articles on topics from how to cook a cheap meal for a family of four to how to minimize costs on everyday purchases.
“I never dreamed it would become what it is today,” Lynette said.
Cleverly Simple Helps Readers Save Money with Cheap Recipes
As Lynette soon found, spending less on groceries helps families save money. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, feeding a family of four costs between $255 to $298 a week, and that figure increases every year. Making cheap, simple recipes not only cuts down on grocery bills but also helps people avoid ordering take-out during busy weeknights. Cleverly Simple is an ideal destination for picking out the week’s meal ideas while saving money at the store.
“Saving money should never be complicated. Cleverly Simple equips others to save money by using simple recipes, creative DIY ideas, and savings tips.”
– Lynette Rice, the founder of Cleverly Simple
With her sister’s help, Lynette shares tasty recipes that range from bourbon pecan chicken to orzo summer salad. Readers can also use the easy search bar to select a category (i.e., freezer cooker recipes, appetizer recipes, or healthy recipes) or look up a recipe for preparing chicken. There are hundreds of recipe ideas on Cleverly Simple that suit nearly every occasion.
Buying a few simple ingredients for home-cooked meals has a huge impact on the overall cost of groceries. Lynette creates ways to help thousands of readers manage their grocery bills with fun, delicious recipes that save time and money.
DIY Hacks & Money-Saving Tips Help Stretch Budgets
In addition to suggesting low-cost meals, Lynette writes DIY and money-saving posts that can cut down on other everyday costs. Instead of blindly paying “whatever” prices at the store, being mindful of where money goes and how much is spent helps people save. Cleverly Simple offers creative ideas and tips in the blog’s Frugal DIY and Saving Money sections.
For example, readers can save money decorating by making their own DIY wall art project. Artwork can get quite pricey, so making wall canvases can help reduce the cost while creating something unique and special. Lynette provides a step-by-step guide on how to make Star Wars Glow-in-the-Dark Wall Art with just a few materials.
In the Saving Money section, Lynette provides more tips on how to save on other buys, including how to shop at a garage sale. Knowing what items to buy and when to negotiate go hand in hand with becoming a smarter shopper. Cleverly Simple strives to offer helpful advice to make life more manageable and less expensive.
“It’s taken a lot of time and effort, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Lynette said. “I am looking forward to the future and whatever opportunities come our way.”
‘Cook, Create & Save:’ Helping Readers Spend Less Every Day
Behind every mouth-watering recipe, savings tip, and DIY project, Lynette thinks of how she’s managed to spend less and tries to convey that to her readers. Although she’s shifted away from spending hours on coupon matchups, she has found new ways to still save as much money without sacrificing time from her family. If there’s one lesson that Lynette teaches readers, it’s that they don’t have to break the bank to raise a happy family. Her readers, by the feedback she’s received, tend to agree.
“I have always felt that I have the best and most supportive readers,” Lynette said. “I am very thankful for that.”