Or: Here’s How Much I Earn From Blogging.
From Reddit’s /r/financialindependence forum comes this comment about The New York Times’s gender bias article from a few days ago:
dbcooper4 is raising two questions.
1) Do FIRE bloggers make 5+ figure incomes from espousing frugality?
This is a popular myth arising from a wee little smidge of reality. A handful of us got in early and have been able to garner a bunch of publicity by among other things writing articles about frugality that went viral, and they’ve consequently become widespread objects of fascination and are swimming in advertising earnings. Most of us, though, haven’t and aren’t. More on that in a few.
Er…but why is it frowned upon for FIRE bloggers to espouse frugality if they monetize their blogs to ANY degree? If you think that, you’re falling into the misconception that extra earnings exist only to be spent. Continuing to practice frugality even though you’ve come into what let’s call a life-changing windfall1 only increases the security of your financial independence/early retirement. A good thing, yes?
2) Is it easier to FIRE when you make money blogging about it?
Of course. Extra earnings by definition make it easier to become and stay financially independent and early retired. But I’m not seeing any problem with somebody who’s aspiring to FIRE taking on an extra income stream. If it speeds them towards the finish line, cool. If it becomes freakishly successful, double cool.
And the idea that people who have already achieved early retirement aren’t truly retired if they monetize their blogs seems silly to me. I love writing and I’ve sold a fair bit of my stuff–mainly to a couple of local newspapers and in the form of a how-to book about a particular word processor that I self-published on Amazon a half-dozen years ago. Writing is a pleasant pastime; monetizing it is a game. I can’t speak for other bloggers, of course, but that’s all it is for me. Please factor that into your thinking.
(Upon further reflection…shit-fire: I just spent three days rebuilding my beloved Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle from the frame up. Saved a bunch of money doing it. I could’ve written more and earned extra from my blog, but instead I saved extra from a DIY project…and doesn’t that have the same bottom-line effect? Either way, the net impact on our monthly budget would’ve been zero.)
And please factor this into your thinking too. As a guy whose blog was mentioned in that New York Times gender bias article and is therefore presumably an object of dbcooper4’s annoyance, let me tell you that good publicity doesn’t necessarily equal high earnings. At the risk of looking like an arrogant ass:
Since fall of 2018 I’ve appeared in:
- The Wall Street Journal,
- The New York Times (thrice),
- The Washington Post,
- Kiplinger, and
- MarketWatch (twice).
Since I started this blog I’ve also been:
- Featured on Rockstar Finance more than once (including writing what I understand is one of RF’s most popular articles of all time,2 and being named as one of the top twenty early retirement blogs of 2019.)
- Included in Physician on Fire’s “Sunday Best” (I think twice) and featured in a PoF “Christopher Guest Post.”
- Interviewed for background information a number of times, including by NPR,
- The guest on four podcasts, and
- Get this: the Bloomberg TV people are sending down a camera crew next week to follow me around town for a “man on the street”-type interview they intend to use in a five-minute FIRE feature.
Holy shit! With all that visibility I must be making a fuck-ton of money, right? Five figures at the very least?
Tee-hee. Here are the actual numbers.
First, I’m an Amazon Affiliate. As you can see from the menu bar above I have a click-through gateway that’ll take you straight to Amazon’s home page. Please use it to make your purchases. If you do, I’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you. 3%-ish.
Here’s what I earned last month:
Five bucks and change.
And then there’s Nativo, the internet marketer that places the “content experiences”…i.e., the sponsored articles in my feed and the ads in my sidebar.
Thirty-ish bucks, although occasionally this number pops to a hundred if I’ve had more views than normal.
I also make a bit of money from Google AdSense. Operative words being “a bit.” As you can see, since last October I’ve earned roughly $75. I don’t put a great deal of effort into AdSense because there are more lucrative revenue streams out there, but hey, seventy-five bucks is seventy-five bucks.
So what am I making in total? Hell, I don’t even track it. Call it generously a thousand bucks a year, which is a long way from five figures.
Well…that’s it. I imagine some of you reading this are among the proverbial five-figure bloggers. If so, and if you see ways I could earn more revenue, please let me know. Maybe there are ad networks out there that pay more, and/or maybe I can do a better job with my layout, and/or maybe whatever else. (Note that I prefer not to advertise credit cards or Personal Capital.)
But if you’re NOT a five-figure FIRE blogger, and if you think by monetizing my blog I’m somehow transgressing the unwritten rules of FIRE, can I now ask you to be more open-minded? For me this is much more important as a hobby than an income stream, and I’m glad I don’t have to feed my family by doing it.
- A horrible over-simplification. These people work their asses off.
- This is an updated version I host, but if you go to RF and search, the original’s easy to find.