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A little bit about blogging, selling, and Amazon links in emails

This is going to be off topic, but I promise it’s an anomaly.   I’m not about to become a blogger who blogs about blogging.

And fair warning: this is probably going to be a little rambly.   Proceed accordingly (or not!)

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about and talking about with another blogger friend of mine, and it’s also something that comes up sometimes in reader comments or emails.

So, I just have a bunch of thoughts on the topic that I’m going to throw together in a list format.

(and I’m throwing in random photos because we all know posts with only text are rather boring.)

Blogging isn’t a free hobby.

If you have a small blog on or Blogger and you don’t spend much time on it, then yeah, it can be a free hobby.

But once you are a larger blogger, there are bigger costs associated, both in time and in real dollars.

For instance, those $4/month hosting plans don’t work except for small blogs. I pay several hundred dollars a month for hosting-related expenses (and hosting isn’t the only expense a blog incurs, either.)

And of course, there’s the time cost. I love blogging! I totally do. Putting words and pictures together brings me great joy.

But the fact is, it does take time and energy away from other things.

Blog-reading IS a free hobby.

The content I provide here never costs my readers anything, which is great.   I want to help people who want to save money, and it’s marvelous that I can give that help freely.

But it also means that something needs to pay for the costs associated with blogging (unless the blogger is independently wealthy both in time and money!)

I want to serve my readers even while making money.

There are a LOT of things I could do to make more money than I do, but I choose not to do most of them because I want to serve you guys well.

(I was chatting with a blogging friend of mine who has similar traffic and when I told her what I earn, she was like, “Girl! What you are doing is a labor of love.”   Which is a nice way of saying that I’m not really earning what I “should” be.)

I don’t want to recommend products that won’t really serve you, promote companies I don’t believe in, plaster my blog with pop-ups, sell something every day, recommend stuff only because it’ll earn me money, and so on.

I recommend companies/products/services that I believe in.

For example, when TurboTax emailed me to ask if I’d do a sponsored post for them, I said an enthusiastic yes! I’ve bought TurboTax for decades, it saves me lots of money and headache, and I believe it’s a product that will serve you guys well too.

The same goes for the way I recommend the Vitamix or my tea kettle or my marvy-fab ladle or my subscription to Cook’s Country or Mighty Nest or Ting, my lovely cell phone provider.

These are all things I use and love, and I share them because I think they could be awesome for you too.

Do I earn a small commission if you purchase those things through my affiliate links? Yup!

But the commission costs you nothing extra (a win for you!), I hope that the products I promote serve you well (a win for you!), and the income helps to keep my blog going (hopefully another win for you.)

And whenever possible, I try to include ways to make these things even more of a win for you…I usually ask companies if they’re willing to do a giveaway or make a discount promo code for my readers.

I do not feel guilty about using affiliate links.

When I write a post about a recipe and I recommend a helpful kitchen item, I see no reason to avoid using an affiliate link.

I’d be sharing the recommendation anyway, and neither the reader nor I benefit from me using a non-affiliate link.

risen oatmeal bread

Or if I share about how Ting keeps our cell phone bill so low and I use an affiliate link in that post, that doesn’t change how helpful the post is to readers.

(So many of you are saving so many dollars with Ting!)

If I use my affiliate link, though, you guys get a discount and Ting pays me a commission.   Win/win.

And if someone comes across my post about getting rid of lice and they buy a lice comb thru my affiliate link, that doesn’t change the fact that my post has helped countless frazzled parents get rid of lice, you know?   I’d be helping frazzled parents regardless.

The low-down on Amazon links and RSS/email

So. Amazon has kind of a weird rule about not allowing affiliate links in email feeds or RSS readers.

A lot of bloggers get around this by truncating their feeds, and forcing readers to click thru to the site.   I’ve never been a fan of truncated feeds, though, so I’ve opted to use a plug-in that just removes Amazon links from email/RSS.

The problem is, this removes the links entirely, which means that those of you who read me via RSS or email will get text that seems like it should be a link, but it’s not.

So, this isn’t a super perfect solution, but I dunno what else to do.

A fair number of bloggers are just not worrying about complying with Amazon’s rule (odds are good Amazon won’t enforce it), but that doesn’t really sit right with my conscience.

Anyway! If I’m making a recommendation and you’re wanting to get the link to whatever I’m recommending, you’ll have to click on over to the actual blog for the link to work.

And if you are feeling grateful for a non-truncated feed, I would feel super grateful if you clicked over to the blog if you’re interested in buying something I recommend. 🙂


I think that pretty much covers it.   Thank you for being a lovely group of readers!

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Jem Horwood (formerly Jan Elizabeth)

Friday 24th of November 2017

I’m behind on commenting on this as I’ve been catching up on lots of posts lately, but I agree so much with the comments here and am glad you got so many positive ones. I read the one from a couple of posts ago that implied you were being sneaky and then scurrying off to the bank, and I was horrified. Honestly, people can be so rude and hurtful! One of the most outstanding things about your lovely blog is the online community you’ve nurtured and built up over the years. It’s why it’s taking me so long to catch up, because I read all the comments on every post. It’s truly remarkable in this day and age to find such a caring and supportive online “comment section”. So many of them are horror shows, and that includes in the area of frugality as well as in the area of Christian living. It’s a testament to your integrity and grace. As for the affiliate links, I would gladly use them if I could. Do you know if I can get to through your links? It’s a really good tip to click through even if your intended purchase is something different. Not that I wouldn’t love to buy some of your recommendations but my budget is so bare-bones that will have to wait! But I do buy some things from Thank you for all that you do! You are a beautiful human, inside and out, and that is why I love your blog.


Friday 24th of November 2017

Aww, that is so sweet of you. Thank you for your kind words!

I'm not sure about the part of things...I'll have to do some googling.


Sunday 24th of September 2017

Have been reading you for YEARS and enjoying and appreciating your words, pictures, thoughts, and all around joie de vivre (the ups and down and inbetweens). My goodness, if you can make a little bit from affiliate links for things you love and are suggesting anyway, then I am happy for you! Had no idea it cost so much to do this -- wow! Anything you can do to defray costs and maybe even make some profit is all to the good. I trust your suggestions and never feel like I am being sold something. Have quit reading plenty of blogs that tipped too far in that direction.

I always have to laugh (I hope you can, too) when someone makes one of those silly comments implying that you are "on the take" or it is in some way sneaky to write enthusiastically about things that really work for you -- that is a key feature of your blog -- sharing great ideas to enhance our frugal journeys. It's how I function with my friends and coworkers -- we are always sharing great deals and ideas and everybody wins. I don't buy a lot of things on line but if I did, I would gladly do so thru your links.

Keep up the great work and thank you!


Sunday 24th of September 2017

Are there other things I can do to support you besides buying from your sponsored posts? I do not mind the posts in the slightest, but often I don't need those products. I would be happy to support you in other ways. It sounds like buying anything through your Amazon link helps, so I will try that. Anything else I can do?

For context, I happily support 3 podcasts through Patreon because I appreciate the work they do. And this is my favorite blog so I want to show you some love as well!


Friday 22nd of September 2017

Thanks for explaining how blogging works. I have signed up for Grove Collaborative and switched my cell phone to Ting based upon your experiences with both, so, thanks very much! Always a pleasure to read your blog.


Wednesday 20th of September 2017

Thank you Kristen, your honesty is one of the reasons why I have been following this blog for so long.

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