Saturday 28 April 2018

My Top Money-Saving Tips For New Bloggers!

Hello, loves! Today, I am very excited to share with you a few blog-related, money-saving tips. If you've been blogging for a while, you probably know just how expensive of a hobby it can be! There are always things like a blog layout, a custom domain, a new blog camera, and of course all those endless products that we end up buying just to review them. It can be a bit of a financial trap, and today, I'd like to share with you a few tips (learned the hard way!) on how to save on any blog-related expenses. Hope you enjoy!
I am a firm believer that you do not need a fancy camera to take lovely, professional-looking blog photos. If you have access to a phone camera, then that is honestly more than enough! I have always used my phone (Samsung Galaxy S7 in the past, and now the iPhone 7) for blog photos, and whilst I am in no way an expert, I'd like to think that they look okay! My number one tip for taking photos with your phone is to always use a third-party app like the ProCamera (not sponsored, by the way!), which will allow you to save your photos in a RAW format. RAW format captures all image data recorded by your camera sensor, meaning that you get much higher quality photos. This was honestly a game-changer for me, as I wasn't even aware that you could take RAW photos on your phone, until I saw someone mention it on Reddit. RAW files are also typically much larger in size, but you can convert them into JPEG using photo-editing software (like Photoshop) without compromising on quality.
Decorating your blog flat-lays with lots of props makes a world of difference, but you don't need to go ahead and buy expensive ones. There are countless different props and decorations that you can incorporate into your images to make them stand out more. There aren't any real rules as to what works and what doesn't, and you probably have loads already laying around at home!

Artificial flowers. I think that fresh flowers always look beautiful in photos, but it can be a little expensive to buy a new bouquet every week just for your blog. Artificial flowers are a great, budget-friendly alternative. You can find some affordable choices in your local shops like TK Maxx, and especially online at Etsy or eBay. Most of the flowers that you see in my blog photos are cheap bouquets that I bought off eBay, usually for less than £5 each.
Jewellery. You can use whatever jewellery you have laying around at home, or buy cheap pieces on eBay. I especially like using things like pearl beads or charm bracelets - I find that they are versatile and can really compliment most compositions.
Perfume bottles. Whilst not exactly an affordable option, you can use any perfumes or body mists that you already have. Fragrances are often a real work of art, and look beautiful in pictures. There is also a huge market for empty perfume bottles on eBay, which usually go for less than a couple of pounds per piece.
Makeup. If you have a beauty blog, it is likely that you already have some makeup laying around - don't be afraid to incorporate it into your photos, just as a decoration! Makeup is beautiful and often comes in pretty packaging. Things like colourful lipsticks and nail polishes make for lovely props!
Stationery. This includes any notebooks, pens, scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, cards, pencils etc. Again, you don't need to go out and buy expensive stationery - just make use of whatever you have at home!

As a beauty blogger, I would always find myself spending so much money on products just to review. It would often be things that I would never even considering purchasing or using if it wasn't for the blog, which can be a huge financial trap. I would sometimes browse around in Boots on Debenhams and think 'Would this be good to review?', rather than 'Do I actually want it?'. I think that the main thing to keep in mind is to always try and set yourself a monthly budget for any blog-related expenses, which includes buying things to review. Be honest with yourself and how much you can actually spend each month. Aside from budgeting, you can look at things like:

Loyalty cards. These are always good for saving up a bit of money here and there, which you can then use to buy new products. If you are in the UK, I would definitely recommend the Boots advantage card (not sponsored - I wish!) - any points that you collect with your purchases don't expire, and they often have double-point events on certain brands, etc. It's only a small amount every time, but it does add up in the long run!
Shopping your stash. Instead of buying new products, take a look at what you already have in your stash (even if it's something that you don't like or haven't used for a while), and use that to create new posts. For example, you could aim to review every single thing that's currently in your stash; incorporate the products you already have into posts like monthly favourites, things you regret buying, etc.
Stick to affordable picks. I will be totally upfront with you, loves - I actually find that affordable product reviews tend to be much more popular and attract more traffic than expensive, high-end ones. People seem to enjoy reading about budget-friendly makeup, and a majority of my most-read reviews are for drugstore makeup. I'd definitely recommend sticking to affordable product reviews, especially if you are a new blogger - they are much easier on your wallet, and are great for building up your traffic.

If you're anything like me, you get bored with your blog template quite easily and like to change things up. However, as much as I would love a cute, brand new layout every few months - they can be very expensive! Instead of investing in a brand new template, you can make a few small changes to freshen things up on your blog. You could just change up your blog header, add new widgets, or even update your 'About Me' page (it took me years to even create one!). Even small adjustments can make a huge difference, and I think it's important to always keep things fresh on your blog. And if you're looking for an affordable place to get a new blog layout, I would definitely recommend Etsy. There are thousands of beautiful blog templates available from various creators, and there are often sales going on as it is quite competitive - you can easily find a gorgeous blog layout for less than £10.

What are your money-saving tips for blog-related expenses? Do you think that blogging is an expensive hobby?
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