Blogging on a budget: How to save money as a new blogger

Blogging on a budget is a strategy for some and a necessity for others. You may be keeping your overheads low to make more money from your blog, or bootstrapping your new blog because it’s not bringing in any money at all, yet.

Either way, blogging on a budget is the answer, but not everyone knows how to keep expenses down. I’ve heard a few bloggers recently saying that their blog is costing them too much money and they’re going to have to give it up. That’s a shame because it’s more than possible to break even or maybe even make a lot of money with your blog.

As my regular readers know, I love free blogging tools and literally wrote the book on free tools. My blog makes a modest profit these days, but it does take time to make money from your blog, so the first year or so you might want to stick to a budget, just until you can start to monetize your blog consistently. Here’s how to do that.

Blogging on a budget: How to save money in your first year of blogging

Disclosure: Links in this post (and anywhere on The Savvy Solopreneur) may be affiliate links. Find out exactly what that means here.

Track everything so you know exactly where your money is going

Your blog may be a hobby, or you may be intending to make money from it in the future, but you’re nowhere near doing that right now.

Either way, you may not initially have any income to track, but you should always track expenses. For one thing, they’re tax deductible once you do start turning a profit. Secondly, tracking where the money is going allows you to tweak things and tighten your belt if necessary.

Use free tools whenever you can

There are some great free tools available for bloggers. I talk about a few really useful free tools here, and I highlight some good free plugins for WordPress blogs here.

I also tell you about all my favorite free tools, apps, software, online courses, ebooks and more in my Kindle book Free Tools For Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs (No Kindle? Find out how to read Kindle books on almost any device here).

Use a free trial

Use a free trial whenever possible to make sure you’re not spending money on something you don’t need. Examples of companies I’ve used only after giving them a thorough test run with a free trial include editing software Grammarly and autoresponder software Get Response.

Use freemium versions that can grow with you

Many organizations will offer a free version so you can upgrade easily to the paid version at a later date.

You can do this with subscription email software (Mailchimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers) quality WordPress plugins (such as Sumo), or organization systems such as Workflowy.

See if you can save money by switching

Often you get a great deal when you switch to a cheaper service with an introductory offer. Sometimes this isn’t worth the hassle, but some companies make it really easy for you. I switched hosting companies recently because it was both cheaper and crazy simple to do so.

One of my blogs was with a hosting company that had slowly put up its fees, but I was happy with the service and wouldn’t have bothered to change. Then I heard that Siteground were offering a similar package at a quarter of the price, AND they’ll change your blog to its new hosting for free.

If you’re with a host that has slowly put up fees over time, but didn’t want the technical headache of switching, check out Siteground and their current offers.

See if anything you’re currently paying for has features you’re paying for elsewhere

I’m a big fan of Dropbox for cloud storage and file sharing and recently I almost paid to upgrade to the pro version, before realizing my Microsoft Word came with a whole TB of cloud storage through OneDrive.

Use free opt-ins, but don’t overdo it

Time is money too. It’s easy to sign up for so many challenges and ecourses you feel totally overwhelmed.  I keep a list of my immediate priorities and only sign up for what I need. Make sure you grab the free opt-ins that will really save you time and money.

Not all opt-in gifts are created equal, though. Some are so valuable, you’ll want to grab them now, even if they violate the rule above, because opt-in gifts change and they might not be available in the future (I personally feel this is a case with a few opt-ins such as Coachglue’s awesome new client kit, or Buzz Monthly – a content marketing membership that is currently going for free as an opt-in).

Think about ROI

Sometimes it is worth spending money to make money. I like to earn back my money in the first month and 10x it in a year. That’s a big ask, but some programs deliver. I recently bought the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course because I though it would check that box. It did, on the monthly return and is on track to meet the yearly goal, too.

Outsource frugally

I’m a fan of outsourcing (I wrote a book on that too) but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Sometimes Fiverr is OK (depending on the job). Sometimes how you outsource is more important than how much you pay.

Consider buying in rather than outsourcing

Sometimes you can buy something in, rather than outsourcing it. Could a software tool like Grammarly reduce your need to outsource editing? Can buying in PLR content or purchasing a premium theme for your blog eliminate your need to outsource content creation or blog design?

Consider bartering

It doesn’t hurt to see if you can trade services with other entrepreneurs sometimes. A good place to look is collaboration threads in Facebook groups. Or you could try reaching out to your subscribers or social media followers.

These simple steps might help you keep your blog within your budget long enough for you start seeing a profit from it.

Know what else could help you out? Winning a bundle of free books about success, productivity and creativity. Enter our current giveaway here.

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Comments

  1. Nadalie says:

    Great tips Karen!

    As a blogger, for me, it’s a balancing act between finding the best-priced option, but also the one the works the best. I think making choices based on $ amount isn’t always the best way, like you mention saving time is key. I’m all for paying for tools that automate even if they’re a bit more.

    Thanks for sharing your tips,

    Nadalie
    Nadalie recently posted…How to Automate Your Success with Good HabitsMy Profile

  2. Karen says:

    I agree there are some things that are always worth spending out on, Natalie. That’s why I find the ROI test useful. If you’re spending money on something that will either make you money, or save you a ton of time (because as we all know, time is money!) then it’s definitely worth it.
    Karen recently posted…Six Things Solopreneurs Are Still Doing Wrong on Social MediaMy Profile

  3. Thank you for these tips. Blogging can be so overwhelming and expensive if you feel the need to purchase everything all of the blog gurus suggest. I’ve been trying to blog relatively cheaply since I’m not earning any income from my blog at the moment.
    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project recently posted…5 Things I Hate About BloggingMy Profile

    1. Karen says:

      Exactly, Nicole. There are plenty of things to re-invest in for your blog once you start earning money, but until you do doing things on a shoestring is often a case of necessity. Starting small and growing your blog organically allows you to slowly discover what you need, too.
      Karen recently posted…Six Things Solopreneurs Are Still Doing Wrong on Social MediaMy Profile

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