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Blogging on the cheap

I started a blog on a $20 budget. I had no fancy camera, just my iPhone. I didn’t own Photoshop, and didn’t even have my own computer. I just quit my job and was at home with my newborn.
You don’t need any money to start a blog. Yes, many bloggers spend lots of money advertising their blogs, participating in group or solo giveaways, and buying stuff to do awesome DIY tutorials or recipes.
Don’t let a small budget discourage you. I had one, and I know other gals who had one too. I didn’t have a fancy Mac computer or a beautiful DSLR.
After two years of blogging, I just bought my very own laptop and DSLR. I haven’t attended a blog conference yet, I only spend the money I have made off my blog for giveaways and advertising, and I never spend my personal money on my blog. I work hard for this space, as you all do too!
Here are some of the ways I have kept my blogging budget for a minimum. I hope this helps. Many other amazing bloggers have shared some of these tips with me in personal emails as I have often felt discouraged about my toolkit and budget.
Blog about what you do already
The easiest way to keep blogging inexpensive is by writing content around things you are already doing. If you love to cook, take pics of your recipes and share! If you do crafts, provide a tutorial. I have spent unnecessary money trying to do something out of my comfort zone. See my hideous cake-pop tutorial that cost me an extra $50.
Swap Ads
Swapping ads with other bloggers is the best thing since sliced bread. It saves serious money and is also a fantastic way to get to know other amazing bloggers. Consider offering a free swap spot on your page to create connections. There are a couple different ad hosting companies. I pay a fee for Passionfruit, but Adproval is free (I believe!). 
DIY Design
I originally did all my own design work. It was not pretty, but I learned a few important things: design work is hard and to be appreciated, learning HTML is very important in blogging, and it also really helped me to decide how I wanted my blog to look. Consider buying a cheap template on Etsy if poring over the internet for hours about HTML and design drives you insane.
Photo Apps
Don’t own a DSLR? I just bought my first this year after blogging for two years. Yes, they take oh-so-pretty pictures. But so does a smart phone or point and shoot digital camera. Try these apps to make the lighting on your pictures beautiful for much less than a new camera. 
Afterlight– to make your photos stunning.
Rhonna Designs– make printables, fonts, overlays, edit photos.
Instagram– the old standby for photo filters.
Learn Basic HTML
Learning basic HTML will help you save money when it comes to issues your blog might be having. Which leads me to my next point…
There are so many amazing people who provide free tutorials on almost anything for blogging. Why hire someone to add cute pinterest buttons for your blog when you can do it yourself?!
Read Other Blogs Often
Bloglovin’s “most popular” pages are often filled with the best blogging updates and tutorials, ideas, tricks, and tips. All free information! 
Build a blog community. Reach out to other bloggers you love and start working with them on things like giveaways, link-ups, and sharing information. I have had so many amazing bloggers help me, for free, on issues with my blog. Often they told me of an issue I was unaware of! Having a network is fantastic for pooling money for giveaways or launching new projects. 
Monetizing Blog
You don’t need to be a huge blog to start monetizing your blog, if that is a goal you have. Monetizing a blog is not always a bad thing and can often cover the costs of maintaining a blog. Other ways to cover basic costs are including a “donate” widget or offering advertising spots on your blog. 
Photo Editing
PicMonkey Vs. Photoshop? Well, PicMonkey is a heck of a lot cheaper and can do the trick! I use it to this day and love it. There is a free option or small fee to upgrade, which I find worth the money. 
The following are some of my favorite apps that are either free or cost a minimal amount of money compared to pricey software. Check them out! 
Blogging apps
Blogsy– the only app I use on my ipad or iphone that actually works. Small fee but VERY worth it. 
Other programs I love:
Rafflecopter– run your own giveaway, free.
Inlinkz– host your own link-up for only $1.99 per month. 
Evernote– organizing software great for blogging and free!
Google Drive– I use it EVERY day. Such an amazing alternative to Office, and FREE! 
What tips do you have for keeping blogging spending at bay? Share your ideas with us! 
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