When I first started blogging I wasn't really sure what I was doing or what blogging even was. I had always enjoyed putting my writing online and getting feedback from other's, but I at that time I didn't understand the potential that blogging provided. From creating an online store to simply writing content and making money (as briefly discussed here), the possibilities within the blogging world are endless.
However, with all these possibilities comes a lot of financial stress. As I got a bit more attuned to blogging and stumbled upon some blogs that were doing things in a way that I didn't know could even be done I felt the need to start dishing out more money just to keep up with them. This was a dangerous spiral that always led to guilt. The longer I stuck with blogging the more I learned about how I would be able to continue my blog without spending a bunch of money on unnecessary things for it.
In this post I wanted to outline a few things I do to save money while still making my blog and it's content look exactly how I want it to. I'd love to hear any other suggestions as I'm always looking for ways to save money.
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BUYING A CAMERA
Embarking on my blogging journey was an excuse for me to invest in a DSLR camera. I've always enjoyed photography, but couldn't really justify the expensive purchase until I realized that a better camera would produce better pictures for my blog, and also give me a lot of enjoyment as an additional hobby. However, I understand that not all people want to buy an expensive camera, especially if they are planning to focus primarily on content rather than pictures for their site.
The first thing you will need to figure out is what you are comfortable with. If you want to use your phone (Iphones take great pictures too!) then consider buying a cheap lens that'll help improve those pictures without having to buy a camera. Photo apps are also great in helping adjust your picture to fit the specific aesthetic you are going for.
If you already have a camera then maybe investing in the right lens for the kind of pictures you take will be a better option for you. I've had to do this with my 50mm lens as it takes beautiful depth of field pictures, but I made sure to find one on a good deal. Lenses are expensive, but with a bit of research and patience you can get them at a lesser price. I bought mine at a sale price online, but you can always look on Kijiji or Craigslist for anyone selling theirs.
Or maybe you do desperately want a high functioning DSLR camera just like I did. As mentioned above, you can always wait for them to go on sale, looking online for anyone selling an older model at a significantly reduced price or, do what I did, and try to find a camera that was received by the retailer in an open box. Due to this, they could not sell me the merchandise at full price and so were forced to drop it by a few hundred dollars. It's all about being patient and doing a bit of research.
BUYING PROPS FOR YOUR PICTURES
I love using props for my blog pictures, primarily because I'm not in love with the colour of my apartment at the moment. So, I devised a way to create exactly the kind of backgrounds I wanted for my images. The dollar store is my go-to place for buying cheap props that really elevate the aesthetic of a picture. For most of my pictures that involve a white background I will typically use white bristol board and lay it on a flat counter or stick it on the wall to give my picture a never-ending white background look.
I have also bought a bouquet of fake flowers that you've probably seen in a bunch on my blog. It was only a dollar and yet makes a big difference in the flatlays or depth of field shots I take. You can probably buy everything you need at the dollar store, but a few other place I like to shop for cute knick knacks is Etsy and a local vintage shop just down the street from me. Shopping at Etsy might be a bit more effective if there's something specific you are looking, but I love supporting small creators.
USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
What really changed my blog photos for the better was the realization that I could use literally anything I already had in my apartment as props. This is probably why you'll usually see the same makeup, Starbucks coffee mug and notebook in most of my pictures. Some of my favourite ways to really amplify a picture or its background is with prints I've bought from the aforementioned vintage shop, makeup bags or even brushes. These have been my favourite to play around with because of how dynamic your picture becomes once you introduce more colour and texture.
I believe that you should just buy what you need and genuinely want and the inspiration for intricate layouts will come. At the end of the day, your blog is your vision and if you are able to use what you already own, your aesthetic will be easily incorporated into it. I fell for the beauty blogger trap where I felt I needed to buy every single thing other bloggers had because of how pretty it made their life look. Yes, I took some of their recommendations and fell in love with certain items, but now I know not to do it because I feel like I need to keep up a look or lifestyle. I think it's important to be genuine about what you promote or suggest to your readers and even yourself!
WHAT YOU MIGHT NEED TO BUY (AT SOME POINT)
1. A domain
A domain is important in making your site look professional and memorable. I bought my domain from GoDaddy and haven't had any issues with it since. Currently GoDaddy is offering 30% off domain registrations if you are interested in purchasing one for your own website.
2. A blog theme layout
When I had my blog on Blogger I loved experimenting with customized themes. Sure, you can make your own, but I found it to be a bit too difficult to get exactly what I wanted and make my blog reflect my aesthetic. My favourite place to go for these themes is Etsy because of how many there are and how easy (and inexpensive) it is to buy them. A few of my favourites are NUEVA, CALYPSO, and VIOLIN. Since these were fairly cheap I found it easy to switch between a few if I ever got bored. You can also email the Etsy shops and request any specific additions to the theme.
3. A good Internet connection
This one goes unsaid, but I can't explain how infuriating it is to try working on your blog with bad internet connection. It makes the entire process arduous and can leave you feeling dissatisfied with your efforts.
Other than these three purchases, I can't really think of anything else that you'll probably have to spend money on that directly influences your blog. These are just a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the way and they are always changing, but I'd love to learn about any other ones I can implement.
How do you blog on a budget?