Financial Times:

After all the anger directed at bonus-seeking bankers and hapless car executives, the average US consumer has a new heroine: the “frugal cyber mom”, who blogs from home about coupons, free samples and hunting down bargains at her local stores.

Jenny Martin, a mother of three pre-school girls who launched her Southern Savers blog in South Carolina last summer, says she is now averaging about 8,000 visitors a day, up 30 per cent from last month.

“With the economy where it is, people are just realising more and more that you can save much more than $5 or so by doing coupons. And once they see their friends doing it they want to start doing it too,” she says.

Hitwise, a company that tracks web activity, said traffic to four typical blogs — the Southern Savers, Money Saving Mom, The Frugal Mom and Coupon Cravings — increased by 250 per cent during the past four weeks against a year ago. In a sign of the demand, Sarah Barrand, a mother of three who launched A Thrifty Mom in Idaho last month, says she is already averaging 1,000 readers a day.

“To be honest, I had no idea what a blog was a year ago,” she says. “But it’s taken off like I would never have imagined.”

For many of the new generation of bloggers, the “ur-Frugal Cyber Mom” title belongs to Stephanie Nelson, a mother of three who launched her Coupon Mom blog in 2001. Her blog’s free online subscriptions have expanded from 200,000 to 1.4m members in the past year, driven in part by an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show last October.

The ease with which blogs can be set up, she said, has led to an “explosion”, with bloggers “hyper-focusing on maybe one store or one neighbourhood”.

Screenshot from Southern Savers