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HOLY MOLY – My 5 Year Blogoversary!!!

I started BFS 5 years ago today!!!  Holy cow.  I’m not sure when you tuned in, but it has been quite a ride.  Thank you to all of my readers and commenters for keeping me motivated to write for you on nearly every week day of my life.  Y’all are why I still love this site and this community.

That said, let’s see what has happened in the last 5 years!!!

February 2010

  • I was 27 years old.
  • I had been married for 5 years to Mr. BFS.
  • We had two dogs – Miss Doxie and Mr. Pug.
  • We had ZERO plans for kids, ever.
  • I had been working for a car dealership software company for 5 years already, making $35,000 a year before taxes, which was actually up from my starting salary of $26,500.  My husband was just starting as an elementary school librarian at $47,000 a year before taxes.
  • I was driving my husband a little nutty with my constant money talk.  I loved looking at our budget and thinking of all of the ways we should change it every day, lol.
  • We had been living in our first house for 3 years and owed about $80,000 at 5.375% for our $114,000 home.
  • All of our grandparents were still alive and doing well along with the rest of our families.
  • I had very few in-real-life friends.  Isabelle and Ivy and only a handful of others watched me start this blog and change…
  • I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur in any way.
  • I didn’t consider myself a writer.
  • I was just starting a fun hobby and hoping you would want to talk.
  • Our net worth was $125,900
  • I had a handful of readers other than my mom.
Crystal in 2012

I didn’t take many pictures in 2010 apparently, lol. Here I was in 2012.

February 2015

  • My 10 year wedding anniversary is this May.  I’m very much in love.  My relationship with my husband is better than ever since we have learned how to communicate way more than 5 years ago and astronomically more than 10 years ago, LOL.
  • Our two dogs passed away in 2014.  I’m still not ready to adopt another one yet.
  • Our plans for kids have upgraded from “Oh, hells no!” to “Maybe?  2016?  2017?  We’ll see…”
  • I quit my day job in mid-2011 to pursue blogging full time.  My husband quit to join me in early 2012.  Our annual online income fluctuates – started at $95,000, jumped to $135,000, and was around $75,000 in 2014.  We’ve brought in more than $430,000 in the last 5 years.  We’ve made more than $1,000,000 for other bloggers.
  • I still talk about money, budgeting, and personal finance all the time in real life.
  • We paid off our first home in 2013.  We now have $199,000 at 4% remaining on a $261,000 home.
  • We’ve had to say goodbye to my husband’s maternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother.
  • My younger sister is about to have my first nephew!
  • Ivy and Isabelle are still my close friends.  So are more than a dozen other, fantabulous people.  I actually have real, can-depend-on-them friends!  I feel amazingly grateful.
  • I am the definition of an entrepreneur.  I still run my online business and am growing my professional pet sitting business, Crystal’s Cozy Care.
  • I am a writer.  I have written and self-published two eBooks – How I Make Money Blogging (HIMMB) and Managing Your Monthly Nut.  HIMMB has sold more than 750 copies and Managing Your Monthly Nut was downloaded for free more than 1200 times.
  • This is still my fun hobby!  I still sit around waiting to read your comments too, lol!
  • Our net worth is around $435,000.
  • BFS gets more than 9000 visitors a month, including my mom.
Crystal in 2014

Here’s the most recent photo I have of me in late 2014. Although my hair is natural-colored again right now (like in the right sidebar).

It’s been a wild ride!  And I am hoping it continues for at least another 5 years!!!


I’m Officially Back to Two Full Time Jobs


Remember how pet sitting was going to be my side hustle to accompany being a self-employed full-time blogger? Yeah, well, I think a job loses “side hustle” status when it starts requiring 30+ hours a week consistently. I have two full time jobs again.

Side Hustle To Full Time Job

From February 2014 to now, there have been super busy pet sitting weeks (30+ hours), but it still felt like a hobby job. Starting in early March 2015, I’m going to be at pet sitting jobs as much as I’ll be online for at least a month straight. I’m excited and exhausted just thinking about it, LOL.

What happened is that I finally have enough “regulars” that I have a solid schedule. Mondays-Thursdays for a mid-morning puppy pee break. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for an all-Australian Shepherd walk. Sunday poop scooping. Fairly regular twice-a-day visits for several days a . . . → Read More: I’m Officially Back to Two Full Time Jobs

Have You Heard About Groupon Coupons Yet?


I just heard about Groupon Coupons a couple of weeks ago. It’s a new part of Groupon (that’s my referral affiliate code, just fyi) that is just free coupons to use with their 7500+ partner sites like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy and Target. I would never suggest buying something just because there is a coupon, but why not use a coupon if you were going to buy something anyway?

Stacking Up the Savings

Another thing that hit me was that some Groupon Coupon places are also places that I can get discounted gift cards for when I use my Discover card cash back.

For example, I like Shutterfly. I’ve used them once so far to make a photo book of our cruise in mid-2013. But they are generally a more expensive splurge for me for something fun like photo books. Our cruise one cost around $10 thanks to a . . . → Read More: Have You Heard About Groupon Coupons Yet?

BFS May Look Different Soon…


Just a quick heads up, BFS may be undergoing a renovation within the next week or so. I’ve been blogging here for 5 years this month and I think I have gone as far as I can with Atahualpa, the theme you have seen for the majority of these years. It’s become cumbersome and is slowing down the load time for BFS overall.

That said, don’t worry if you see a completely new looking site soon. It’s still me writing and messing around with you. Just going to freshen the experience up a bit. My baby needs a makeover.

If you pop on over and see something like this (see below), you are in the right place.

You can see it in more detail at I won a giveaway for a free theme, and this was my favorite on Theme Fuse.

What do you think? . . . → Read More: BFS May Look Different Soon…

Cheap DIY Key Holder / Key Hanger!


Between my husband, myself, our friends that live with us, and visitors, we have a lot of cars in our household. Getting someone to move their car temporarily while I run out for pet sitting or an errand usually wastes an extra 5+ minutes of chatting, waiting, and then leaving.

I decided to solve this problem last year by asking for everyone who lives here to provide their keys or spare keys so we can all just grab, reposition, and go on our way. Well, that works great except that a pike of keys on the counter was ugly and I couldn’t find a good central location for a basket to be placed. I solved this yesterday.

My Do-It-Yourself Key Holder / DIY Key Hanger

Here’s how I made a cute key hanger for our house:

1. Found a cute metal sign on a book shelf that I received . . . → Read More: Cheap DIY Key Holder / Key Hanger!

Food for Thought Friday – Less Unhealthy Best Sweet Potatoes Ever!!!


In July 2010, I posted my recipe for “The Best Sweet Potatoes Ever“. I’ve made them around every Thanksgiving and Christmas since then, but now everybody’s trying to be healthier than when I was in my late 20’s. Here is the revised recipe for those who are trying to avoid heart attacks and whatnot in the near future…

Revised Best Sweet Potatoes Ever!

3-4 medium sweet potatoes ($0.69 at Aldi’s) 1/3 stick of butter ($0.25 at Aldi’s) – Down from a full stick of butter in 2010 1/4 cup of brown sugar (about $0.30) – down from a cup of brown sugar in 2010 1/3 cup of orange juice (I’m rounding up to $0.20) – down from 1/2 cup of orange juice in 2010 Total cost was about $2 or about $0.50 per serving depending on your personal serving size.

1. Place sweet potatoes . . . → Read More: Food for Thought Friday – Less Unhealthy Best Sweet Potatoes Ever!!!

Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna is Magnificent


I had a happy surprise last week! Found out from Amanda at Frugal Confessions that I won free tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna! Mr. BFS and I have been to another Cirque du Soleil performance in Las Vegas, Mystere, and it was GREAT! Unfortunately, my husband already had plans for last night. So I took my Little Bro’ from Big Brothers Big Sisters since I knew he had never been to anything like it before. It was awesome yet again!

Amaluna Summary

The show itself tells a love story of a shipwrecked guy meeting a great native on an island in the middle of nowhere. It’s all about the base in this show – 70% female cast and a 100% female band performing all of the music. I was proud to see the women kicking butt and taking names.

We were allowed to take pictures as long . . . → Read More: Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna is Magnificent