How Much I Spent on Blog Expenses for 1 Month

How much does a blog cost per month? Want to take a peek at the blog expenses I had during a 30-day period? I thought you might say yes! Here are some details about the cost of running a blog and exactly how much I spent running my blogging business for one month.

How much does a blog cost per month? Want to take a peek at the blog expenses I had during a 30-day period? I thought you might say yes!

This post has some great details about the cost of running a blog and exactly how much I spent running my blogging business for one month.

If you're interested in learning how to start your own blog/website, click here!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can read my Disclaimer for more info.

Blog Expenses for April 2019

Let’s get right to the numbers you’re looking for, shall we?

How much does running a blog cost? The cost of running my blogging business for one month was $680.04 USD. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Virtual Assistants - $304.14

  • Hosting - Approximately $38.00

  • Canva - $12.95

  • ConvertKit - $89.15

  • Google Suite - $10.58

  • Leadpages - $37.00

  • Quickbooks - $17.85

  • Tailwind - Approximately $19.98

  • Teachable - $99.00

  • Pinterest Ads - $51.39

The graph below shows the breakdown of my expenses. These expenses are divided into three different categories:

  1. Online Services/Software - hosting, email marketing services, etc.

  2. Contract Labor - freelance work

  3. Advertising - social media advertising

Monthly Expenses - April 2019

Disclaimer: Expenses vary month to month. I was on vacation for a portion of this month and costs (such as contract labor) were lower because of this.

Contract Labor

Contact Labor refers to hiring someone that acts as an Independent Contractor. They are not an employee or on a steady payroll.

Independent contractors typically work on a contract basis and will invoice for work completed, such as social media managers or someone who designs your site. They are more commonly known as freelancers.

Virtual Assistants - $304.14

I use the term “Virtual Assistants” below but this term really covers the individuals who help me edit/write content and handle my social media.

This is usually a lot closer to $600/month but I took some time off during this month and did not require the normal volume of assistance that I normally need.

If I had to place a gold star next to an expense it’d be this one! My freelance team helps me juggle the chaos of both running a blog and selling products as a blogger.

They are an integral part of running my blogging business, and I’m so thankful to God that I have such honest, hard-working individuals on my team.

Online Services Software

Hosting - Approximately $38.00

Having good, affordable hosting for your blog/website could make or break you. Blogs that are constantly down or not working because of their hosting look extremely unprofessional.

There a couple of things you should know about this month’s cost of hosting.

  1. I own multiple websites and use multiple different hosting companies (though this one is the most affordable choice), which makes the monthly cost seem a bit high

  2. I use the word “approximately” because my hosting fees are due on a yearly basis. Because of this, I like to create a sinking fund (Dave Ramsey method, anyone?? :) to set aside 1/12th of the yearly cost each month so I have the funds ready each year.

If you're interested in learning how to start your own blog/website, click here!

Canva - $12.95

Raise your hand if you’re not interested in figuring out fancy software like Adobe InDesign? (raises hand)

Canva is an online software system that allows me to create the graphics you see if my Allison Lindstrom YouTube videos, products, and blog content.

They have a free plan you can try but if you want to download graphics with a transparent background, which I often do, then you have to pay for the professional plan.

ConvertKit - $89.15

I’ve used ConvertKit as my email marketing service to handle my subscribers for a couple of years now and it’s safe to say I’m a loyal, happy customer.

If you want to try them out, use my affiliate link for 14 free days!

That being said, this $89.15 is a very odd number so let me explain:

I periodically delete cold subscribers from my email list to save money. For this expense, I had already deleted a ton of subscribers and the $89.15 was the prorated amount I owed.

This expense will likely jump back up to $99-$149 on a more regular basis.

Google Suite - $10.58

Google Suite is only good for one thing and that’s to create a custom business email. Instead of allison @ gmail.com, I use this service to create a custom @allisonlindstrom.com email.

I pay for two custom emails which is why this expense is so high.

Leadpages - $37.00

I primarily use Leadpages to create landing pages that have custom evergreen timers to offer my subscribers discounts or specials.

That $37.00 hurts me every.single.month because it just seems so ridiculously high. But it enables me to sell far more products and so it more than makes up for it.

Quickbooks - $17.85

In the good ole days when I started blogging (i.e. when I was barely making any money) I used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my income and expenses. It was…archaic.

Now I use Quickbooks to handle my income/expense tracking and I’m not totally sure how I ever managed without it.

The format is beautiful (see photo). I can organize my transactions by Category and it makes filing my taxes very easy and stress-free.

*THIS IS A SAMPLE.*

*THIS IS A SAMPLE.*

If you’ve ever filed taxes as a blogging business owner, then you already know that everything has to be sorted into categories that are unfamiliar, if not also very confusing.

I pay slightly more than the normal charge (which I think is $10ish) because I also pay for integrations to another software.

If you consistently make money from your blog and found tax season overwhelming, you should give Quickbooks a try.

You can get 50% OFF your first six months with Quickbooks if you use my special link here.

Tailwind - Approximately $19.98

God bless the inventor of Tailwind.

I use this software to schedule all of my Pinterest pins and their Smart Loop feature make it very easy to repeatedly schedule pins again and again.

This is often one of the first expenses I tell my students to invest in (after hosting and a domain, of course) because it can save you so much time!

Grab a free month of Tailwind right here with my affiliate link!

Teachable - $99.00

Ninety-nine dollars sounds like a lot but Teachable is what I use to host/sell both my Blogging to Win course and my Blogging Business Club membership.

That itty bitty $99.00 gives me thousands of dollars in revenue each month.

You can see more details about how much money I make selling those blogging products right here:

Advertising

I like to use Facebook Ads and/or Pinterest Ads throughout the year for my blogging business.

Pinterest Ads - $51.39

I never spend money on social media ads (Facebook Ads! Pinterest Ads!) unless I have products I want to sell or an affiliate link I want to promote. I want to make sure I make enough money to both cover the cost of the ads and make money money for pocket.

In this particular month, I was getting ready to open the doors to my Blogging to Win course and I wanted to get some extra foot traffic to the site.

Generally, if I’m going hard on the ads, I’ll spend closer to $200 but it simply depends on if I’m promoting any products or affiliate link in that particular month.

Unexpected Expenses for Bloggers Worth Mentioning

How much does a blog cost per month? Want to take a peek at the blog expenses I had during a 30-day period? I thought you might say yes! Here are some details about the cost of running a blog and exactly how much I spent running my blogging business for one month.

Sometimes bloggers get the delightful surprise of having additional expenses, like transaction fees. Yep, if you’re selling a product and collect payments through PayPal, Stripe, etc. then you’ll also have to pay processing fees or credit card fees.

This amount is typically taken out of the balance in your account so there’s really no “bill” or “invoice” you have to pay.

But it definitely takes a little bite out of your net profit so it’s something to be aware of and I wanted to mention it here.

Why Your Blogging Expenses Should Be Lower

Your expenses will likely be much lower than what I’ve listed in this post, especially if you’re a new blogger.

Here’s why:

First things first, I’ve been running a blogging business since 2015. Because of this, my business has evolved and taken on additional elements over time, which has also made much higher than they were when I started out.

Secondly, if you aren’t running a blogging business (i.e. you aren’t selling products) then your expenses will be lower because you won’t need software to handle hosting and selling products.

You’d lose a stream of revenue but you’d also be able to likely cut out these blogging business expenses:

  • Virtual Assistants - $304.14

  • Leadpages - $37.00

  • Teachable - $99.00

  • Pinterest Ads - $51.39

Right away, you could potentially eliminate over $490! That would bring your monthly expense of running your blog a lot closer to $189/month.

Why My Blogging Expenses are High

As you guys have seen in my five-figure blog income and expense report, the cost of selling my own products more than makes up for things. But it’s one of the reasons my expenses can be so high.

Additionally, the more time I spend focusing on the creation and promotion on those products, the less time I get to spend on the general maintenance of my blog (scheduling pins, content creation, editing, etc).

Because there are only 24 hours in a day, I need to hire my freelance team more often and this causes expenses to go up as well.

Do bloggers have to pay taxes?

If you are making money from your blog, you can bet that Uncle Sam is going to want a portion of that income.

If you have income from your blog it means you have yourself a business. And, it works just like any other business. If you make money, you have to follow the tax laws.

Now, how much you pay and when you pay them is going to depend on things like your tax bracket and how much you're making.

I usually pay around 30% personally based on my tax bracket. Your bracket might be the same and it might not be.

I'm not a tax expert and I don't know your personal situation, so I won't advise you on how much to set aside and pay in taxes. But, I will suggest that you talk to a tax advisor in your local area.

State income tax

Another thing that you need to consider is that your state might require you to pay a state income tax.

For example, Texas doesn’t have state income tax. But, if you don't live in Texas, you need to check what your state laws are. And, if you live within city limits you may be required to pay taxes to your city as well.

There are a lot of different tax laws so it's important that you understand what's required of you in the locations that you live and work.

Tax planning for bloggers

Proper planning is a must when it comes to taxes. If you are making money all year and using up that money, you could get hit hard when tax season rolls around! The last thing that you want is to have a big tax bill that you don't have money to pay.

Speaking of paying taxes, based on how much you owe in taxes each year, you may be required to pay estimated taxes. This means that instead of waiting for tax time to roll around, you pay estimated taxes in at the end of every quarter.

This is nice because it ensures that you are working towards paying your taxes as the year goes on. Then, when April 15th hits, you may still owe a little, you may be even, or you may qualify for a tax refund.

Talk to a tax expert

The best way to know what you should be doing when it comes to taxes is to talk to someone that knows all about it.

Find a tax expert to talk to. Many will provide free consultants to help with your planning. Then, if you work with them to file your taxes it will make your job even easier. And, remember that keeping good accounting records all year will make this process even easier.

How much of your blog paycheck goes to retirement? Health insurance?

How much does a blog cost per month? Want to take a peek at the blog expenses I had during a 30-day period? I thought you might say yes! Here are some details about the cost of running a blog and exactly how much I spent running my blogging business for one month.

You don't see this listed in my expenses because this is completely independent of my business expenses.

This is something that will vary for everyone. In fact, it could vary a lot from one person to the next. And, it's definitely not my place to tell you what to spend on your health insurance or to save for retirement.

I'm blessed that my husband has great health insurance so it's not something that we pay from my income stream. However, I understand that not everyone is in that same position.

You may be paying for health insurance premiums out of pocket, not have insurance at all, or use something like a cost-sharing health plan.

Because there are so many options available and everyone's situation is different you need to find what works the best for you.

The same is true with retirement. There are plenty of things to take into consideration such as your age, investment choices, and retirement goals.

If you don't already have a plan for retirement, talk to a financial planner to see what your numbers should look like for where you currently are.

Can I write off blog expenses? 

Absolutely. Well, let me clarify—you can write off some expenses. If you look at my income reports below, you'll be able to see what my income was as well as my expenses.

Disclaimer: I am not a tax expert and can’t advise you. But you should speak to one before you write off these expenses.

The common expenses that bloggers can write off include things like:

  • Website fees (hosting, domain name, domain privacy protection)

  • Office supplies

  • Conferences or seminars

  • Professional subscriptions

  • Marketing

  • Software

The above list is just an example. There are others that could qualify for your situation.

For example, if you have a dedicated workspace then you could potentially qualify for a home office deduction. There are strict rules about what will qualify, so make sure you talk to a tax professional. 

If you want more information, you can see my blogging resources guide that includes links for the accounting software and programs that I recommend. 

I want to make money blogging so I can pay for these expenses. How much traffic do you need to make money from a blog? 

This is a question that a lot of bloggers have. But, to be totally honest, I personally find that it's really the wrong kind of question. Instead of asking, "How much traffic do I need?” you should be asking "How do I get my traffic to convert?”

Maybe your blog is getting a ton of traffic each month but if readers aren't doing anything once they get to your site, it's not going to help you that much.

Instead, you need readers that are going to come and engage with your blog. You want them to use your affiliate links and purchase your products. 

Don't get me wrong, you still need to get people to your site. If no one is showing up at your site, then you don't have a chance of making any money.

But, it's not all about your traffic numbers. Those are vanity numbers and aren't always a good predictor of how your blog is going to perform for you.

The importance of capitalizing on your traffic

In the past, I had more traffic coming to my blog. Currently I have less but the traffic I have is better. I make almost 4 times as much as I used to and this is a case I often see amongst my peers so I know I’m not an isolated incident.

Here's the trick- you have to learn how to capitalize on your traffic. No one is simply going to give you money just because they showed up at your blog. Wouldn't it be nice if they did though?

With the work I've done on my blog, I'm now able to sell online products and membership to my Blogging Business Club.

If you’ve never seen them before, here are the different things that I sell on my blog:

  • Blogging to Win - This is an online course that I offer where I teach you everything you need to know to get started in building a blogging business. It's the information that I wished I had access to when I was first started on my blogging journey. I only open enrollment to this course a few times a year. 

  • Blogging Business Club - This is a membership site that I have created to provide women bloggers a place to connect for community, as well as a place to continue learning the best tips and strategies to grow their blogging business. I keep this membership site open all year long so new bloggers can join at any time. 

Don't get caught up in traffic numbers

Don't get too caught up in the traffic numbers. Instead, learn how to monetize and grow by providing the readers you have with the resources that they need. 

Think of it this way, you could have 100,000 readers coming to your site, not buying anything or clicking any links, and end up with a big fat zero for your income. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you could have 100 readers come to your site that each purchase a $20 product so you make$2,000. 

It's all about what you do with the traffic that you have. And, if you have a small amount of traffic and provide them with great value in what you sell them, they will be your word of mouth advertising that will help bring even more readers to your blog. 

Set the right goals

I recently shared a post that included how I set goals for my blogging business. You can read it here under Case Study: Our Financial Goals & The Formula I Use to Sell More Products Blogging.

In that post, I share exactly how we were able to pay for a car, save for a down payment on our new home, and how we’re currently working on paying off our mortgage early…all with the help of my blogging business. What a blessing!  

These things are possible for you too. And, I share the exact formula that I use to work towards my big financial goals in that post. 

Top 3 Places to Get Free Traffic to Your Blog

There are literally tons of ways that you can get traffic to your blog. Yes, you can pay for advertising through social media or other channels, but there are free options as well. And, I'm not talking about social media.

I know that everyone seems to be harping on the importance of social media to grow your blogging business. Yes, I realize that most people are on social media. This means your readers might be there too. But, it doesn't mean you have to be there running your paid advertising. 

Facebook has quickly become a "pay to play" type of marketing. If you really want to get your brand and message in front of new traffic, you're going to have to run paid ads. However, there are some perfectly good free options to get traffic to your blog. 

  1. Google

  2. YouTube

  3. Pinterest

The above three are the main ways that I get traffic to my site.

If you didn't know already, I have a blogging YouTube channel. Video marketing is an incredibly important part of my blogging business.

If you want to find out more about how to incorporate this into your own business plan, read my post:

And, remember that SEO matters.

It matters both in your blog posts as well as the descriptions that you use on YouTube and Pinterest! SEO keywords make it easier for your readers to find you, which is the main goal when growing your business.