Category Archives: Make money

December 2017 Income Report

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Welcome to this month’s blog income report! I’ll be sharing an update each month, both for accountability to keep working on my blog and also an encouragement for those just starting out.

I’ve been blogging for over 12 years now. When I first started this blog over 4 years ago, my goal was to make money from it. Somehow, even after reading countless income reports and “how to make money blogging” articles, how to make consistent and significant income didn’t click until early November 2017. But as you can see from last month’s report and this month’s report, once it all clicked for me, I earned over $1,200 in 2 months! When I shared my new income with my friends, so many asked how I was making money with my blog that I wrote an ebook with my top 5 tips. Download it for free and learn from my mistakes!

Blogging Basics

Since this blog isn’t about blogging, blogging tips posts are limited to these monthly income reports. If you would like further tips and info about blogging, please join my blogging email list and receive my free ebook as a thank you for joining!

To get started making money from a blog, you need to have a blog on a self-hosted site. This opens you up for opportunities like joining ad networks, the ability to customize your site with your choice of plugins, and protects your blog from being deleted by outside sources (yes, it happens). You can start a blog for as little as $3.95 per month, so the investment for starting your blog is minimal. I use Siteground for my hosting and recommend it to anyone wanting to start a blog (set up through the free The customer service is the best in the industry. I’ve used the other popular hosting site and found them confusing and difficult to work with, but I have had nothing but great experiences with Siteground.

After you purchase your blog hosting space, then it’s all about the set-up. Setting up your email list is absolutely critical for success, as you can build relationships with your readers and learn what kinds of things they would like to read about as well. All of social media is based on algorithms, so not all your readers will be shown what you post on Facebook or Pinterest, but you can reach them all by email. I’ve tried several email list programs and found the easiest to use is Mailerlite. They have a free program for lists under 1,000 subscribers, and all features are available. You will find that other companies might have free programs, but some features are unavailable with the free option. Mailerlite also has a drag-and-drop newsletter feature, which is great for non-techy people such as myself.

Okay, so now that you know my two favorite tricks of the trade (and how inexpensive blogging really is!), be sure to download my 5 top tips for blogging for profit. It’s free!

I did a lot of extra writing this month. One of my favorite projects was another mini ebook with 25 tough-love ways to save money in 2018. This isn’t just another list like “use coupons at the grocery store.” It’s called the Tough Love List because these are big-change kinds of ways to save money. If you’re looking for ways to save big money in 2018, download your free copy today.

For even more resources on how to make money from your blog, check out my Resources page. 

This month was a little lower than last month income-wise, but since December is so crazy for my family (Tristan’s birthday and our anniversary are both a week before Christmas!), I honestly expected that. However, I was still able to make a significant income from my blog this month!

December 2017 Income

Here’s the breakdown:

Ebates: $30

Ebates is changing their referral program, going away from the tiered bonus system. Starting January 1, you get $15 for every referral, no limits! The person you referred still gets $10 instant rebate with their first purchase of $25 or more. I’m a big fan of this change, since the ROI per referral will be higher, and takes away the chance of missing a big bonus by one referral. Be sure to check out my review of how to make money from Ebates.

Amazon: $8.89

Obviously a smaller amount than last month’s impressive start, but again, I wasn’t very consistent with my linking.

Google Adsense: $5.41

This is passive revenue just from having a few ads on my site. Once my page views are higher, I can switch to a different ad network with a higher payment opportunity.

Sponsored posts: $500

I wrote two sponsored posts this month.

Total: $544.30

I was able to re-invest some of my income this month into the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing class. The instructor, Michelle, makes over $130,000 per month from her blog, with a large percentage of it coming from affiliate marketing. Her course is absolute brilliance, and I am going through all my old posts, applying the material. There are several bonus courses included, as well as a mastermind Facebook group. I’ve learned so much in the past two weeks and am so excited to see how much our income increases as a result of applying everything I’m learning with this course.

I am also learning and applying analytics-focused tricks I learned from the ebook Pinteresting Strategies, and I’m loving the growth of my Pinterest performance as a result!

I have big goals for January, including a Pinterest challenge with my blogging tips email list  and finishing the revamp of my old posts. I would like to create a new logo and give the blog a little face-lift for the new year, but that will wait until the income-generating projects are complete. I have to set priorities for myself or else I would probably spend several hours a day blogging – and with a full-time job and a family, that’s just not a wise way to spend all my time.

As I said in my post about why I’m not setting New Years Resolutions this year, I mentioned that I am returning the blog to its original purpose, and I have created a mission statement. I have been working with several brands to bring you incredible content this year, all relating to living a natural lifestyle on a budget. I am so thankful and humbled for all of you readers, and I want to bring you the very best content for your very best lives!

Cheers to 2018!

Are you getting ready to start a blog or know someone who is? Share this post as an encouragement that you can make money blogging!

How Much can you Earn with Swagbucks?

Can you earn free gift cards with Swagbucks?

Each month I will recap my progress with earning Swagbucks and using them to supplement our food budget.

I will admit that in January I really wasn’t very proactive in earning bucks. I know, bad me! It’s only the first of the year and I’m already slacking. Anyway…

I ended January with 2,061 Swagbucks and another 518 pending. This was earned almost entirely by using the “shop and earn” feature. Any time I needed to order something online (and I need to order lots of supplies for work frequently) I log into swagbucks first and use that link to go to the Amazon account. It costs absolutely nothing and I can earn points! The pending 518 is because I purchased a Groupon to get an eye exam and some contacts (after two years in glasses, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again!). Those will be deposited in 30 days or so.

Plans for my gift cards:

I’ve decided I’m going to save up to $50 in either a paypal or a Visa gift card this time and make my first purchase from Thrive Market. Your first order doesn’t require a membership, you get free shipping if your order is over $49, and I’ve just really been anxious to try them out because I’ve heard wonderful things. I want olive oil, cacao nibs, coconut, collagen….all the things to improve pieces of our diet that are usually pretty expensive are so cheap on Thrive Market I had a hard time finding what ELSE we would want to get that would get us to free shipping! Yes, I have my cart filled, I’m just waiting for 2,500 more points first so it can truly be a budget supplement instead of an excuse to buy extra health food because it’s “discounted.”

Things to keep in mind:
  1.  When doing the shop and earn rewards and it says Amazon is up to 7 Swagbucks per $1 spent, the “up to” is important. I was a little disappointed after all the things I ordered when what I purchased didn’t actually qualify for the full 7 Swagbucks/$1 special. Just keep that in mind. I didn’t have any trouble with my groupon converting easily though.
  2. Sometimes it takes forever for the points to show up as pending. And when that happens, the customer support team is ready and happy to help you, you just have to email them.

In Februrary I’m going to be better about answering the daily polls and the “No Obligation Special Offers” and setting up my phone to play the videos to earn more points at a faster rate. I don’t really have time to play the games for possible points that I used to, and they got rid of mahjong so I don’t really care for the games anymore anyway. However, if I am consistent with the videos, NOSOs, and the polls each day I will be adding a daily 39 points, plus a few bonuses here and there. That’s more than enough points for a $10 gift card every month! Add your online orders to that and it adds up!

Do you use Swagbucks? What gift card would you want if you were to consistently earn $10 a month just by searching and answering questions?

How to eat organic for FREE

Happy Monday friends!

The biggest argument I hear to healthy eating (that honestly, I’ve given myself) is “it’s too expensive!” So today I wanted to show you how you can actually eat organic food for free.

Yes, free.

When we first got married, I brought my amazon prime account into our marriage. Which was super awesome because not only did we get free shipping on basically anything, but we had access to the Prime movies – yay free entertainment! Right after we got married, Amazon introduced the most awesome thing EVER – Amazon Pantry.

The general idea is you order however much of whatever pantry-ish item you want for a flat shipping fee of $5.99. Oh, and they give you a running total of how big your box is (and they can get pretty big). One time Peter did a one hour phone survey about going to college and earned a $50 amazon gift card, and so we headed right on over to Amazon Pantry and ordered a HUGE order of food and toilet paper. I think we paid $0.28 in total out of pocket.

{Click here to get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, and get access to the Amazon Pantry!}

This was so awesome we wanted to take advantage of this goodness again, so I started earning Swagbucks and trading them in for amazon gift cards.

I’ve been diligently earning Swagbucks again recently, so I took a look at the Amazon pantry. They now have TONS of organic options! I saw everything from granola to broth to pasta. Obviously you can’t get your perishables there, but if you can earn Swagbucks, turn them into gift cards, and get all of your nonperishables organic, how much of your grocery budget would that free up to get the rest organic?

So, how do you earn Swagbucks? 

  1. Join for free! {Earn a $3 gift card when you sign up through this link!}
  2. Install the Swagbucks search bar as your main search site. Anytime you search, you have the chance to earn Swagbucks!
  3. Earn 40+ points every day just by adding the swagbucks tv app on your phone and letting it run for an hour or so while you do other things, answer the daily poll, complete the NOSO (just click “skip” the whole time till the end), and enter a swag code, which is usually sent daily.
  4. Refer friends (you earn 10% of all of their earnings for life!)
  5. Use the “shop and earn” feature. This is my favorite! Anytime you order anything online, check Swagbucks first to see if they have a partnership. Chances are they do, so you first log in to your swagbucks account, click “shop and earn,” then click the store you want to go to. This creates a unique code that tracks how much you actually spend, and you earn so many Swagbucks per $1 spent! Right now Amazon is giving 5 SB/$1. Christmas shopping = FREE GIFT CARDS! They also have partnerships with Walmart, Target, Vitacost, and even Groupon and Living Social!

One of my goals for 2016 was originally to pay for all of Christmas just with Swagbucks gift cards. However, now that I see this I’m thinking of all the organic things I can purchase for free that I can use to benefit my family’s health.

Swagbucks are a great way to earn a little extra spending money, especially when on a tight budget. I hope this will encourage you that with a little ingenuity, organic healthy living IS possible!

Ready for more tips to stretch your dollars and still eat healthy? Download your free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition! 

How to Earn Money with Swagbucks

With the baby coming, I’m looking for ways to creatively stretch our budget to include money for fun splurges, like a trip to Starbucks, cute things from the Target dollar bin, or the occasional Paleo “treat” online (spiralizer, anyone?). It’s hard to justify those splurges when we have a budget that we stick to, so I’ve been enjoying practicing contentment and making the most of what we have.  It’s really been a great lesson, but it’s nice to be able to provide some extra fun into our week too!

Have you ever heard of Swagbucks?  

I used it a lot several years ago, and then for whatever reason I stopped.  However, a few weeks ago when I was looking for ways to give us a bit more “fun” money, I resigned up for Swagbucks and am over halfway to earning my first gift card!

How do you earn points? 

– The most popular way to earn points is through using their search engine. When you search, you can earn several points (usually I earn 11 points).  This doesn’t happen every time you type something, but usually every 3-5 times.  I do a lot of searching during the day anyway, so I can collect points that way.  Plus, if you install their toolbar, you get points daily just for having it exist on your computer.

– Answering the daily poll earns you 1 point a day.

– Watching videos earns you 3 points for every 10 videos you earn.  I usually open them in a separate tab, mute my computer, and have them going in the background while I work.  You can do this until you run out of videos.  Usually I earn 6 points a day.

– Daily deals are my favorite!  If you normally shop at Amazon, Walmart, Kohls, even Groupon and Living Social, you can purchase through Swagbucks and earn a certain amount of points back per dollar.

– By printing their coupons and using them, you earn points back.

– Referrals.  They changed their referral policy from what it was the last time I was a member and now when you refer someone you get 10% of their points for life! (used to be matched for the first 60 days and then nothing).

– Bonus points.  You have a “daily goal” to earn a certain number of points a day.  If you do, you get awarded with 3 extra Swagbucks.

Maybe you want a little bonus money. Maybe you want to pay for Christmas gifts for free.  Maybe you need some wiggle room with your grocery budget.  Swagbucks is a great way to get you any of those!  So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start earning those gift cards!

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}