A lot of non-bloggers, and bloggers for that matter, question the motivation of those who write blogs. And these days with the invention of Google ads and affiliate marketing it’s easy to see why. If a PF (personal finance) or FI (financial independence) blogger encourages readers to save 50% of their income than why are they simultaneously inundating those same readers with affiliate marketing offers that cost hundreds of dollars?
The same can be said of bargain blogs with names like “Money Saving” or “Save Your Dough” that “help” readers spend less of their hard earned money by providing affiliate links for incredible deals. It’s great to spend less on Christmas gifts and children’s toys, but these same posts may lead readers to buy more than they ever intended. Oh a deal just popped up on Legos maybe I should buy those for my son’s birthday. Oh, I see cookware is on sale it’s time to buy new pans. Remember that you aren’t saving money if you are spending it.
I unsubscribed from bargain blogs because I was tired of spending money on things that I really didn’t need. As a result of unsubscribing my spending on toys and clothing dropped dramatically. How can it be a deal if I didn’t really need the object I found myself buying?
Every time a reader clicks on one of those links or buys one of those “bargains” the blogger is compensated. Are bloggers profiting too much from these “deals”? Is it hard to swallow the ideas being spouted when you know that the creators of these blogs are being compensated for their posts and words? Would it make you feel better if these types of posts including links without kick-backs? It was certainly hard for me to read posts encouraging readers to save in between posts that linked to hundreds of stores.
I think it’s natural for a PF or FI blogger to monetize their blog. For the most part those who are interested in saving and/or financial independence will search for ways to earn more money. Heck, these days I read more posts about earning from side hustles than actually working hard in a primary career. Why? For one reason, it can be a whole lot easier to spout a bunch of stuff on the Internet then it is to figure out ways to make your work environment better or to ladder up in your career. Blogging can feel like an easy way to put money in your pocket without a whole lot of effort. But the truth is quality content is hard to come by and those who have a knack for telling their story will succeed where tons of posts with affiliate links will fail.
So why do you tell your story? Does the intention of the blogger matter?
This blog was originally called One Lucky Girl. I started it in 2006 after a major medical crisis left me stuck at home on short term disability. I faced a near death crisis and I was “lucky” to find medical help and survive. I was in my mid-twenties, home alone, frightened and insecure. I wanted a way to tell my story, which at the time, had absolutely nothing to do with money.
As the months progressed I wrote more about my personal finances, because I’ve always focused a lot on earning and saving. Back then I didn’t actually intend for anyone to read my words and I certainly didn’t plan to make any money off my blog. I just loved to write and was trying my best to get my mind off my worries.
Over time I found like-minded readers and bloggers whose mindsets were similar to my own. I wanted to connect with others who were searching for ways to build their bank accounts and manage their careers. I also found insight from those bloggers who wanted to downsize their lives and leave smaller footprints on the world.
When I first started blogging I thought of money in a completely different way than I do now. I thought about all of the properties I could own and all of the stability money would afford me. As the months progressed into years I began to view money as a key to financial independence, as a way to break away from the pieces of our lives that we don’t love.
If you can write quality content that inspires me to think in different ways or to consider options I’ve never considered before then it shouldn’t matter if you make money off your blog. After all, if you wrote a book you would certainly be compensated for your words.
But I do think it’s important for bloggers to ask why they write and for readers to question a blogger’s intentions. Why are bloggers telling their stories?
Is it strange for bloggers to believe in the importance of saving and reaching long term goals while simultaneously providing links to products they don’t believe in? Do the blogs you read add links to irrelevant posts and keep sponsored posts off of their blogs or at least out of their RSS feed like I do?
Like everything else on the Internet it’s tough to know what to trust. In my experience there is so much free information out there that it is rarely worth paying money to learn more. Keep that in mind when you click on links and pay for online programs. Remember a key step to financial independence is weighing your purchases and deciding when NOT to spend your money.