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Ever wondered what ads/reviews/giveaways I refuse?

A number of you have asked me about this over the years, so I know at least a few of you are wondering!

Though I definitely am not opposed to earning some money for the time that I put into writing and maintaining my blog, I have standards for what I will and will not allow here.

In fact, I say no to a great proportion of what comes down the pike, and while this means I probably earn less money than other bloggers with similar audiences, I’m ok with that.

photo by David Drexler

Incidentally, what I say here applies to the standards I have for my content space and for my privately sold ads…I have a little less control over the ads served by my networks, though I do try to opt out of ad campaigns that are not in line with my values. Occasionally one sneaks through, though, so if you happen to see an ad with a half-dressed lady in it or something like that, email me so I can take care of it!

In no particular order, here are some things that get a big fat, “No!” from me.

  • Credit Card ads

Though I use credit cards myself, I do not recommend them for everyone. You have to be disciplined and organized in order to stay on top of your spending and bill-paying, and not everyone can do that.

  • Payday Loan ads

Payday Loan businesses are extremely predatory, and I wouldn’t recommend their services to anyone on the planet. I hate how they target people in bad financial straits and then put them into an even more awful place. I particularly hate that they want to target an audience like mine, because they know I’m bound to have a fair amount of readers who don’t have much money.

Honestly, it disgusts me. I know I’m often all, “Live and let live!”, but I loathe payday lending companies. Please, please don’t ever use the “service” they offer…pretty much any other option will serve you better.

  • Guest posts from companies

I’ve run one or two of these in the past, but a while back I decided that I was just not comfortable with it. You guys come here to read material from the perspective of someone who is in the frugal trenches with you, not someone who writes articles on every topic under the sun for the purpose of marketing their company.

So, I now say no to anyone except fellow frugality bloggers (and I’d consider publishing a guest post from one of my readers as well). It just can’t be someone who is basically using my blog to market a site/company.

  • Offers to insert links into my posts

I often get emails from people wanting to buy links in my posts (usually they choose fairly popular archived posts). Regardless of the sort of company this offer is from, I do not feel comfortable selling links in my posts. I especially don’t want to do this sort of thing in the “inconspicous” way they want me to.

  • Most non-eco friendly products

A review program was available for those Kleenex disposable hand towels that I ranted about, and of course, I passed that one up. I also generally pass up the programs for highly processed foods, since they’re usually heavily packaged.

On the other hand, though most dedicated green people wouldn’t use Pam, I do use nonstick baking spray regularly, so I was happy to review it.

  • Products from companies that I can’t support

Almost no corporation is completely blameless, but some are definitely worse than others. For instance, I could never feel comfortable working with Walmart because their business practices are not in line with my values (also, I hate shopping at Walmart!). However, I did feel very comfortable working with Aldi since their business model differs from Walmart’s in a number of really important areas.

  • Products I don’t buy/use

Remember the Bounce dryer bar ad campaign that ridiculed men? I passed up the opportunity to review/give away that product not only because the ad campaign disgusted me, but because I don’t buy fabric softener products. I also generally shy away from products that are expensive, unless I feel they’re worth the price (for instance, I’m very happy to recommend the Kitchen-Aid mixer or a Canon SLR.)

  • Promotions that want nothing but positivity

I prefer to have the freedom to share my honest opinion…the good and the bad. For example, I told you I didn’t like the Ragu alfredo sauce, and that the Wishbone Asian bean recipe was weird (and of course, I also told you that one of the Ragu recipes and Wishbone recipes were really tasty. Balance, I say!).

Anyway, when an opportunity comes along that wants me to promote a specific point of view instead of my own organic opinion, I pass it by.


On the positive side of things, I like to promote things that are frugal, eco-friendly, and long-lasting. I also love to promote products/services that I’ve used and loved for years. I’ve been a happy ING customer from almost the day the doors opened, I’ve used Ebates since that company started, I’ve owned Canon cameras for a long time, and I’ve been using my Kitchen-Aid mixer for a decade and a half now, so I’m pleased to recommend those things to you.

Now, when a new-to-me product or service makes it through my picky screening process, the odds are good that my family and I will love it, and if we love it, odds are good that some of you will too.

For instance, My Job Chart hired me to try out their free online chore chart service, and we’ve been faithful users ever since. It’s such a great, easy way to keep on top of my children’s chore duties, and it’s all paperless, which I love.

And remember when I reviewed the Libman mop? Well, we’re still using that on at least a weekly basis around here (I’m sort of ashamed to say that it’s mostly my kids who use it!!)

Last summer REI had me do a review, and that review inspired us to go camping as a family for the first time.

Camping out made us inspired to do more outdoorsy things as a family, which means we’ve spent a lot more time at our local parks ever since.

And of course, you know that the Dandelion Dream shirts I reviewed and gave away last summer are big hits with my girls…they all asked for VW bus shirts for Christmas/birthdays, and they wear them every single time they come through the laundry.

So, my desire is always that these sorts of things turn out to be a win-win situation…good for me and my family, and good for you.

I hope that answers any questions that you have about my process of elimination. If not, feel free to ask away in the comments.


Today’s 365 post: Ablaze

Joshua’s 365 post:Elegant

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Tuesday 1st of May 2012

That is what is so great about democracy and free enterprise. Everyone can do what they want( within reason) and buy what they want. I refuse to buy Mylar ballons and I'm morally opposed to Veal( I dont eat beef, but I wouldnt cook veal for anyone. I also refused a job that wanted me to serve veal). I do happen to love the bounce bar( it works great) and those Kleenex hand towels. I put out the towels when we have a party. I dont think numerous guests what to use the same towel over and over. Its ok for my partner and myself though. I also would NEVER pay full price for either of those items. I always use Manufacturers coupons and Target coupons stacked so I can get them for the cheapesst price.


Monday 30th of April 2012

Oh and! I had seen those t-shirts on one of your posts and loved them! But totally forgot to buy them. So I just went and bought 2 :)


Monday 30th of April 2012

I got turned on to your blog by my mom a few months ago, but with a 9 month old, I don't have time to read EVERY post or go though the archives. I did, however, read this post, and I just have to laugh because you sound so much like me!!!! I CANT STAND shopping at Walmart and cant wait to read that post. I follow some couponers blogs and whenever they post a deal at Walmart, I just click past it because I refuse to go there.

My husband went to Aldi yesterday for the first time, he never does the grocery shopping but we were at a friends and the men went to go buy burgers and dogs for a quick cookout. He loved it and was shocked at the prices, and said "You have to go to Aldi!" (Um...dear...I already do lol).

I also bought the Libman Freedom Mop when I was pregnant (I think) to replace my Swiffer. I couldn't stand having to buy the refill pads, solution, the batteries, and I've been trying to use more eco cleaning products. Plus it didn't work as well as I had hoped! So when the Libman came out, I bought one when it was on sale, and I couldn't be happier. I, too, use hot water, but sometimes I put in some Method cleaner or vinegar and that helps with a good clean. Then just toss it in the wash and it's ready to reuse!!! No waste and minimal cost! I absolutely love it and recommended it to my friends and family!

Thomas (Joshua's Best Friend)

Friday 27th of April 2012

I didn't know the girls had VW Bus shirts! Does Joshua have one?


Friday 27th of April 2012

Nope, he's the only one who doesn't!


Friday 27th of April 2012

Thanks to your post last Christmas about ING both my son and I are now happy ING them and I love their funny FAQ answers. Even though the don't have any actual locations they are easy to use.

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