How to be a Book Blogger on a Budget

Hi, friends! πŸ˜„

Recently, CW @ The Quiet Pond has shared on her blog several stories by different bloggers on their views about money spent on the bookish community and how much they actually spend. Every time I used to see a post about how to blog that involved money spent, it would make me want to quit, since it seemed impossible for me to thrive in a world that required so much investment.

related post: why i quit bookstagram

Now, yes, usually professional bloggers do invest in their business, and people who can afford it usually prefer to as well, but that was a big no for me. I’m a jobless college student. I can’t afford to spend it on my small corner – especially because 1/ it is small and not exactly worth it, from a business perspective, to invest into; and 2/ it’s merely a hobby for me. So, on CW’s post, – that you can read here, – I shared how much money I’m spending yearly on my blog (and that number has been decreasing!).

And on this post, I’m sharing with you how I’ve survived on a budget! This will be specially targeted to people who are just about to start a blog or have just started or are currently in the middle of a blogging existential crisis, just like I was. Enjoy!

Replace Money with Time

Sometimes I’m unmotivated to continue blogging because when I’m that deep down, I truly believe that I’ll never be successful without financially investing on my blog. Successful, though, means different things to different people, so the first step would be to define what success means to you and stick by that and the second step would be to accept you won’t be able to invest money on it. Therefore, you’ll be able to come around and see that it’s about what you can do. What if you invest more time instead? I know, it’s exhausting, but since you don’t own a domain and you’re not paying for ads, every follower and view will have to get to your blog organically. This means more content, consistency, promoting, time spent on commenting, … Yes, it is hard, yes, not everyone can stick to this schedule – I know I can’t – so remember: it’s about what you can do! Please sleep eight hours per night and stay hydrated πŸ’›

Learn how to do it yourself

You might feel lost because you really have no knowledge of blogging or editing or photography and that’s why you wanna spend money and hire someone else to do it. On a budget, that’s money you can’t afford to spend, at least not right now. So learn how to do it yourself! Blogger friends are super nice and no one has denied a piece of advice – and Google is a life saviour.

Use what you have

Define a strict line on what you’re willing – and can afford – to spend money on for your blog and what you can’t. And then use what you have at home!

If you can’t afford a camera, use your phone. If you can’t afford professional editing programs, search for free editing apps and websites (I’ve used Photoscape for ages and I’m now trying out Canva). If you’d like to learn ANYTHING and can’t afford courses, subscribe to e-mail lists of people who are experts on what you’d like to learn (they usually always share nice tips) and search on Youtube (if you’re on a budget but would be willing to spend money on learning, lots of people recommend Skillshare, that I would love to try out myself).

And don’t hoard things at home, please, especially if you know you’re likely to never pick them up again! Like I’ve stated on CW’s post, back when I was on bookstagram, all of my props would be things I already had at home. I’d get a nice candle, someone would give me flowers, I’d be drinking tea … those are things I need for other purposes in my life. Search around your house and see what you can do with the random objects you find!

whatcatsdobooktag_bolinha

Here’s a great example of me using what I have: a book from the library and my cat with a witch hat from a Halloween costume on its tail. It’s a terrible picture, but it did the job!

Get creative

Still about props and seeing what you can do with what you have, get a bit creative! You need a place to put your camera/phone on and don’t have a tripod? Use a stack of books! Or a chair! Or both! You’re tired of the same props you’re using for every picture? DIY some! Great idea I just had: if you’re throwing a party you can do one of those things you hang in the wall as a piece of decor AND take pictures before your guests arrive! Do your own bookmarks!

giveaway5

My friend did this bookmark for a Giveaway and obviously, I used it for tons of pictures!

Be patient

I’m terrible at this. I need things done by yesterday!

When it comes to things you can’t avoid spending money on – let’s say books, as we’re book bloggers – sometimes it’s (extremely) hard to get your hands on every new release because there are so many and it gets stupidly expensive! So try and go around the problem. This is how I’ve done it:

1/ I started reading in English, since it’s cheaper than reading in Portuguese (let’s say a difference of around 4€);

2/ I started ordering online, since it’s cheaper than buying English books in Portugal (a difference of 3-4€ from the same book in the same language but in Portugal);

3/ I read mostly e-books right now;

4/ I’ve made a habit of comparing prices in several websites and wait for it to get cheaper;

5/ I use and abuse of NetGalley and always try my luck in giveaways and arcs and digital copies (most times, it’s not rewarding, but it’s worth trying).

I could also mention libraries, but mine isn’t well-equipped (I’ve mentioned somewhere before it relies heavily on donations so it has few books, they’re rarely recent – and their English options are very limiting) and there are even countries where libraries don’t even exist. But if that’s not your case, go for it!

ig2

If everything else fails, keep in mind you don’t have to write only reviews to write about book-related topics. There’s more inspiration out there! πŸ’›


And these are my tips! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

🐠  How much do you spend on your blog monthly?

🐠  What are your tips to stay on a budget?

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18 thoughts on “How to be a Book Blogger on a Budget

  1. abooknerd13 says:

    Honestly, this is the first time it’s even occurred to me that some people struggle with how much money they’re able to invest in their blogs. I don’t invest anything in my blog besides time. I mean of course, I buy books, but I would do that anyway because I like reading. And at least for me personally, I don’t think my content would change much even if I had unlimited money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      money for my blog has only started being a “concern” for me when i enrolled in a business strategy class – around four months ago-, because obviously they’re preparing us to a different setting with different resources. however, i wanted to adapt that to my blog and that led me to experiment with what i could find. before that, i’d only occasionally get sad i couldn’t afford my domain or a nice design. and i’m sure lots of smaller bloggers out there feel the same! time is really what we can dedicate to the project. and books, but even for a lot of people, books are hard to get because of financial issues. i don’t think my content would change either, but i believe my blogging routine would get easier and i could also improve my skills in profissional programs. thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holly says:

    This is such a great post! I completely agree with your points–we shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on our blogs, especially if they’re hobbies! Currently I pay for a web address domain, which is just a small yearly payment, but other than that there are no expenses attached to it. All of my props and stuff for bookstagram are all ones that I have on hand, so they don’t cost anything. Definitely the way to go! Thanks for sharing all this!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      thanks for reading, holly! i’m really happy you enjoyed it ^^
      i feel there is a lot of pressure to spend money on our blogs, or else we won’t be successful. that’s really not the case! and i hope that i’ve helped someone realize that they are special and enough with what they have and doing their best ❀ also, i couldn't handle buying things /just/ for blogging. my room would become a huge mess! haha and i'd feel bad for not using the objects often. having less makes us get creative too! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashleigh says:

    Loved this! It took me a loooong time before I actually spent any money on my blog – and even now, it’s a very small price. It’s definitely not necessary and there are so many brilliant free services!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      i’m so happy to see everyone agreeing with this! i feel there’s some pressure to spend money on our blogs, and most people definitely feel bad for not being able to. it’s really not necessary! it all comes down to research and creativity!
      thank you so much for reading, ashleigh! ❀

      Like

  4. Alex @ WhimsyPages says:

    Actually I can totally see the reason behind this pressure to “invest” into blogging, and I admit that I do experience it from time to time.

    Who wouldn’t want to go self-hosted to have access to wider range of wordpress themes, more customization option. This is something I always consider, and then let go for a few months. The yearly fee might not be very big, but it’s still an investment and I’d need to be 100% sure that during the next year I’ll have enough time to take advantage of this investment, before commiting to it.

    I’m definitely guilty of buying items for instagram photos without actually needing them, this resulted in a huge pile of knick knacks πŸ˜€ I try to control myself now, and learned to use the stuff I already have at home. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cornreviewsbooks says:

    Great post! You can definitely have a good blog, and even a good instagram, without spending a ton of money or even any money at all. The only thing I spend money on for my blog is books, and I would do that anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Thank you so much for reading! ❀
      It's the same for me – books are the only expense I really have (and even that has been decreasing lately), but I love reading, so I'd do it anyway haha I just wanted to bring to people's attention that money spent doesn't mean success!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lais @ The Bookish Skies says:

    Marta, this is such a great and important post!
    I’ve never done bookstagram, exactly because I felt like I couldn’t be a part of it unless I’d have cute and good props to use + an aesthetically pleasing (and, most importantly, huge shelf) + a lot of books to showcase. These things cost money, though, and as an 18-year-old college student still living with her parents, I would never be able to afford it.
    When it comes to blogging, though, I don’t feel like I should have tons of money to keep up with the hobby. Granted, being able to pay for a WordPress premium and customize my own design would be AMAZING, but the free pack does the job. I think it’s important to share tips and show people that they can start blogging with any budget!
    Once again, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Thank you so much for reading! It means the world to me seeing people enjoying it! πŸ’›
      I miss bookstagram a lot, but I don’t think I’m ready to go back to all that pressure. I miss taking pictures, so after exams I might give it another try and post them somewhere else …
      For blogging, I agree the free version does the job, but many people – myself included, once – believe they need more, more, more. (Not only blogging related, but that would be another whole topic haha)
      Thank you so much again πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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