I’m so happy to be featuring such a diverse group of women in the Women of Moncton/Femmes de Moncton series. Today, I want to introduce someone whom I’ve only recently met but that I find myself deeply connected to. Her name is Ruth Ann Swansburg, and she is previously known as the Moncton Coupon Lady. Despite the fact that she does still coupon today, her focus is now on her family. She blogs over on Everything Unscripted and shares her experiences, her recipes and her money saving tips with all her readers. As a fellow blogger, I really look up to Ruth Ann and all the work she does; both within our blogging community but also within the City of Moncton. Without further ado, let’s get to know her a little bit better.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Ruth Ann. I’ve lived in Moncton for almost 17 years. My husband is from here originally. I left my career to move here for my husband’s career, which is when I started making homemade dog treats at the Moncton Market. Then, we started our family and I took a break from entrepreneurship.
When my oldest son started school, I decided to start a blog just for myself, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. A few years later, I really got into couponing. I shared deals online and I would get a lot of questions about how to save money. So I started a Facebook page called Moncton Coupon Lady. It snowballed without having planned it.
Over the past couple of years, I realized that a lot of the saving strategies can be applied to people who aren’t interested in coupons themselves. Our family diet changed, and the products we purchased for our home changed. I rebranded in 2016 to Everything Unscripted.
Everything Unscripted is a lifestyle blog about family, food, travel and fun. To the core, I’m a frugal person, so our trips are very local and low-cost. We do day-trips, and explore the Maritimes.
How did you get started being a blogger?
Initially, I started blogging because I needed a creative outlet. I was using my blog as an online diary. I’ve always been pretty creative, but through blogging I got away from the hands-on creative practices and started writing about my experiences.
What does you day to day life look like for you?
Being a blogger, I work from home. Everything is based around my family and my kids. Between the hours 8AM-1PM, I can focus on work. During this time, I’ll do some writing, photo editing, all computer based tasks. Sometimes, it’s solitary work. But I’m fortunate to be surrounded with other bloggers that I stay in touch with or that I meet up with a couple of times a week.
How has your blog grown since you first started?
When you look at social media, I have huge numbers. But if you look at the blog itself, it has its ups and downs. It depends on the trends. And the fact that I’ve changed my blog entirely has been a challenge because some people don’t really follow along anymore. The couponing is still a part of me and a part of my blog, but that’s all it is – a part of it. It doesn’t define me, and my blog encompasses so much more now.
It went from a hobby blog to a business blog. I had to transition from being the Moncton Coupon Lady to Ruth Ann. At the beginning, a lot of businesses were hesitant to work with me if the word “coupon” was associated with what I was doing. That contributed to the whole rebranding and name change.
Through the years, my needs have changed and my lifestyle has changed. My family and I started supporting local and I wanted to start working with local brands more so than national brands. I think a lot of people became more invested in my blog when I started writing about local products, local businesses and experience in the area where we’re living.
What do you love most about Moncton?
I’ll be honest, I hated it when I first moved to Moncton. Because I moved from my hometown, I didn’t really know anyone and that was really hard for me. I didn’t feel connected because the people in my neighbourhood didn’t seem as friendly compared to my previous home. But then when I started going to events and meeting people, I felt that is was a very welcoming community. I started doing networking a long time ago, and those networking events helped me really connect with people, especially people who were doing home based businesses like me.
I feel like there’s a lot more culture here in Moncton, than there is in other places. Moncton’s culture identity really speaks to me. Even as an anglophone, I don’t feel like I can’t go to french or Acadian activities. There’s that crossover, which I think is very unique to Moncton.
I also really love the creative community here as well. From an outside perspective, there seems to be a very strong support for artists and artisans.
And raising a family in Moncton has been amazing as well. I can’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else. There are so many activities, including free things to do. Moncton has a lot to offer and to keep kids busy.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your life?
Probably Anxiety. I’ve always described myself as being introverted. But now I see that I’m an introverted extrovert. I will talk to people if they talk to me first. I usually don’t initiate conversations, but once you get me talking, I’m fine. I think that I would be further ahead in my business if I was more extroverted, but being true to myself is more important to me than getting ahead.
Who inspires you?
The first person who pops into my mind is my father. He passed away when I was 16. He always taught me that it’s OK to change your mind. Follow your heart, do what you think you want to do. When I face challenges, I ask myself, “What would my father say?”
Another person that has inspired me recently is Jennifer Naugler from Simple Local Life. She got into blogging just 2 or 3 years ago. She decided what she wanted to do and hasn’t looked back. She reached out to me and looked at me as a mentor, but I really look at her as a mentor now.
What advice would you give to other women?
Follow your heart. We all need a job to survive financially, but I think you need to find something that makes you happy. Do what you love, not what you have to do. Don’t worry if you change what you want to do. There’s always going to be transitions. It’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK to change your path. And to change the community of people that you’ve built.
How can we get in touch with you?