At the end of last year, Jamie created a fancy little Excel file where I could easily keep track of my incoming and outgoing blogging money. I’ve been tracking every penny since that’s spent on and earned from this little corner of the internet, and it’s become quite apparent that the old saying is true: It costs money to make money.
While my intention was never to make money from this blog back when I started it in 2008 (I’m not even sure that making money from blogging was a thing back then!), I think it’s so neat that so many people are able to take their passions, blog about them, and earn a bit of an income.
Turning anything into a business venture requires a bit of capital, which is always risky (in my case as a SAHM – terrifying!) when you’re not guaranteed a clear way of making that money back. When I’ve struggled with spending a bit of money on my blog, Jamie always reminds me that we all spend money on hobbies, entertainment, leisure, whatever – and that blogging is mine. Just like he spends money on weightlifting equipment, my brother spends money on running shoes and races, my sister spends money on travel, etc. it’s okay to budget money on something I enjoy, even without a clear-cut way and timeline of seeing that money back.
I’m not going to argue with him. 😉
So! While I’m not too keen on sharing my personal income, I’m happy to share my expenses if that’ll help other bloggers and/or website creators zero in on where they should consider investing their hard-earned moolah.
Taken straight from the financial spreadsheet, these are my expenses from January 1st up until today.
How much does it cost to run a profitable blog?
I hardly spend any time on Pinterest, so BoardBooster helps keep my pins in my followers’ feeds. BoardBooster has not only helped bring traffic from Pinterest to my blog, but it’s also helped grow my overall follower count.
Adobe Photography Set: $10.33/mo for 12 months
I purchased this Adobe photography set from Amazon, and I’m trying to slowly teach myself more and more about Photoshop and Lightroom. In the blogging industry, there’s always going to be more and more to learn and keep up with, so I just set realistic goals and do the best I can. 🙂 It’s not offered on Amazon via payment plan anymore, but it is available to purchase upfront and use for 12 months.
GoDaddy domain renewal: $25.16/year
I purchased the WhimsicalSeptember.com domain name from GoDaddy in February 2014 when I recommitted to my blog, so this renews each February.
Photography course: $99 (one time fee)
I rolled the dice and purchased an online photography course that a bigger blogger was advertising, but unfortunately I felt the course was a flop for someone like me who is such a beginner when it comes to photography.
Fiverr new logo: $6
Around March I started getting REALLY itchy for a new blog redesign, so while I saved money for one I took a gamble on a logo from Fiverr. The turn-around time for getting it back was 48ish hours, and I used the logo for about four months. $6 well spent, but I was more than ready for my big blog overhaul when the time came. 🙂 If you’ve never heard of Fiverr before, you’re really missing out! The concept of it is incredible. From what I understand, anyone can go on there and offer various online services. Customers can then go on and hire you for a project. It’s such an incredible way to make extra money or get some help on something for your site that you don’t have the skills or time to do. Take a look around the site! It offers so much.
PicMonkey has two options: a free option and a premium. I used their free option for three years to do things like create pinnable images and in-post collages, but eventually I found myself held back by not being able to use their premium collage options. This alone is well worth the annual investment. I can do so much more with PicMonkey than I could before!
Blog Redesign: $550
Did you just gasp? I know my family members certainly did when they heard how much my recent redesign was costing me. I finally feel like my site is identifiable with the use of only certain colors, fonts, my logo, and a generally more eye-pleasing design. I mentioned before that I was mentally planning the redesign for a long, long time, and it was worth the wait!
You may have noticed that all of the graphics that I’ve created since my redesign all use the same fonts that are in my logo. I had to purchase those separately since they didn’t come with the redesign. I purchased them, downloaded them, and now use them in PicMonkey. I prefer to buy all of my fonts from MyFonts.com. So so so so SO many great ones to choose from!
My Canon T3i is six years old and has seen better days. My flash doesn’t work, the original lens broke years ago, and I recently had an experience with it where I thought it was gone for good. The rest of the summer and into the fall are full of blogging events, so I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I need a reliable camera. I bought a Canon T6i that is certified refurbished, and let me tell ya – I’m in love! I’ve been using the lens it came with as well as my 50mm. VERY necessary investment! (PS: If you have a canon DSLR and do not have the 50mm, I highly encourage you to grab one. You won’t get more bang from your buck than this lens!)
Enlighten Blog Retreat: $1400ish (flight + retreat)
I am about to burst with excitement that this retreat is just around the corner!
Self-hosted site annual renewal: $35/year
If you are on self-hosted WordPress and are dissatisfied for any reason with your blog host, you need to RUN to David at New Blog Hosting! I was previously hosting my site with A Small Orange, and I can’t tell you how many times my site crashed for no apparent reason. It was devastating. I finally switched over to David’s services per the recommendation of a friend, and my site has NEVER been in better hands. He emails me back within an hour seven days a week, and he has a solution for every problem I have. I give him a heads up when I’m seeing a big spike in traffic, and he watches to make sure that my site doesn’t crash because of it. And do you see the price that I’m paying per year?! I can’t understand why he’s the cheapest out there but then again has the best customer service. Incredible. SO grateful.
What else do you spend money on regarding your blog/website/online business?
What financial questions can I answer in future posts regarding blogging?
-SHOP THE POST-
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother is today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 4 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo