While everyone else is out there pimping blogging as a great way to make money or quit your job or be a millionaire or whatever the cool fancy bloggers are doing these days, I thought I would share the other side of things: specifically, how much it cost me to run a blog for a year.
Step One: Tracking My Spending
The ironic part of all of this is that I started tracking my spending in an effort to have something to write about on this very blog. I started that monthly challenge in September, and kept up the habit after that because the data I got was so much more interesting than anything Mint had ever told me about my spending.
I thought I maybe spent a few hundred dollars on the blog this year, but as with literally every guess I’ve ever made about my spending, I was so wrong.
How Much Did It Cost To Run a Blog For a Year?
Instead of the few-hundred-dollars I assumed I had spent between hosting costs, new-theme purchases and my email marketing software, I spent a grand total of $1,207.52 on blog-related purchases this year.
Here’s where (most of) that money went.
I am the first to admit that I have a theme-shopping problem. This is a Known Issue from other sites that I have run in the past, but at the end of the day, there’s only so long I can last with a specific site design before I’m like “I hate it, burn it to the freaking ground.” When that happens, I head to Creative Market or Themeforest and start browsing themes like crazy.
To my (very limited) credit, I only purchased two themes this year: my first was Seashell, and my second and current theme is the X Theme. In other unprecedented good news, I only bought the X Theme when Seashell really wasn’t fitting what I needed for pages like the Zero to Investing Hero landing page. That kind of real, concrete reason for buying a new theme is something I’ve never experienced before.
While everyone goes on and on about the virtues of self-hosting your website, mostly in order to sell Bluehost hosting packages, I actually switched away from Bluehost this year because they screwed up my email pretty epically, and just stopped delivering emails from my email address. This was Entirely Not Ok, so after some research I made the move to Siteground, and paid for a year of introductory-priced hosting with them.
The biggest benefit, for any of my blogger friends who are thinking of switching over, is that they offer free site migration, so you can move without any technical headaches. Here’s a blatant affiliate link for Siteground, if that’s something you’re looking for!
Along the same lines as my theme problem, I have a I’m-Not-a-Designer problem. I like it when images look nice, and consistent, but I have very little knowledge on how to make that actually happen. I threw some money at the problem, and bought a blog header image template from Creative Market, and got my current site icons from IconFinder.com. Both of those are worth a look if you aren’t really the build-templates-yourself-in-Adobe-Illustrator type.
I waffled about putting this as a blog expense, but in the winter I signed up for and took the introductory-level Certified Financial Planner course at my local college. I ended up including it as a blog expense, because there’s no way I would have taken it had I not been running this blog, and I also got a ton of material out of it.
Plus, I’ll never forget that time I argu-discussed fee structures with my professor, who is a working CFP and vehemently supports the current fee structures (as opposed to the new, CRM2 mandated transparency). It went over really well when he was all “It means fewer people will get the advice they need!” and I was all “Sounds like a business model and marketing problem to me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”
I was, by far, his favourite student probably. Oh and the time he went on a rant about the financial media and I was like … it me.
Man we had fun in that class.
PO Box + Email Software
One of the things you learn really quickly when you follow everyone’s advice to “Have a mailing list!” is that to have a mailing list, you need to include your physical mailing address – or at least a real physical address where mail can reach you. Without one, you can’t send out emails without being in violation of about a zillion laws, and you could get fined a floppity-jillion dollars. (Numbers: they’re what I do. Ahahaha jokes, money is about feelings.)
So after leaving my real home address on the emails for a hot second, I got creeped out and purchased a PO box. That, plus the monthly fees I pay for Mailchimp, my email software, added up to a not-insignificant amount of money in the hundreds of dollars.
But hey, everyone on my email list? I love our Saturday hangouts, and never stop being the best humans, you are so worth it. If you want to get on the list (#shameless) just grab a copy of the One-Minute Budget here.
Last but certainly not least, I bought a ticket to attend the Canadian Personal Finance Conference in November. By “a ticket,” I mean “the literal first ticket that became available before they even tweeted that the tickets were live because I’m such a keener.” I wish I was joking, or exaggerating, but I’m not.
It’s a good thing we’ve already covered my appalling lack of chill, isn’t it?
Anyways, I could not be more excited to attend this event in Toronto in November, and get to hang with my fave Canadian money bloggers in person (special shout out to Mixed Up Money, who is entirely stuck with me for the whole weekend. Hey girl heyyyyyy.)
Was It Worth It?
At first glance, yes, it might be a bit startling to find out that it cost $1,207.52 to run this blog for a year. But when I sit back and ask myself if it was worth it, the answer is unequivocally yes.
Not only does this blog provide me with hours of entertainment every week (I have very few hobbies outside of my luxury dog, ok) it has also been a small source of income thanks to a few partnerships with brands I use and love, like Wealthsimple. Trust me when I say I’m not about to quit my day job anytime soon, but I’d be lying if I said my savings accounts weren’t feeling extra-happy about the added boost. Plus, there’s nothing – literally nothing – better than hearing someone tell me that this blog has made the whole Money Thing a bit more fun and accessible.
Plus, if we’re being entirely honest, well over half of my blog spending was entirely discretionary, totally-not-required purchases that were made because I care altogether too much about things like blog post image templates, and have a theme-shopping problem. If you’re going to start a blog, you probably don’t need to spend anywhere near that amount.
Last, but certainly not least, I can’t help but mention that by day, I work in marketing. There are far worse things than basically getting to build yourself a marketing playground (aka a blog) and learning by doing. If I look at my $1,207.52 as a master’s degree in making interesting internet content people actually want to read, and an investment in keeping my marketing skills sharp? Sold, because that is one cheap-ass degree.
And hey, isn’t continuing education a tax deduction of some sort? (Omg hi CRA I am totally joking please don’t audit me I swear I won’t try to claim this. At least not on those grounds.)
I would love to hear from other bloggers on this one: how much have you spent on your blog this year? Was it worth it? What was the best money you spent on your blog? (Have you spent any money on your blog?)