As a blogger I get a lot a questions about how I manage my money. Not just how I make an income but do I even have to worry about things non-bloggers do like a budget for clothes. I’m constantly asked what I spend on a monthly basis in order to “keep up” with the demand of the industry. And it’s totally valid. With a lot of bloggers working with amazing brands, getting paid trips traveling, having the latest clothes sent to their house there’s this common misconception about bloggers not spending their own money. And therefore they don’t really have to worry about the constant battle between treat yourself and spending responsibility in the way most people do. Especially when you consider how our generation has to approach saving for the future compared to other generations, hello 401k, roth, savings & saving for your kids future, but to be saving for all that and trying to look good can be stressful. So in the spirit of trying to have these conversations I thought I would start by sharing how I try to keep my spending in check as a fashion blogger. If you’re here for the tips scroll straight to the bottom, otherwise keep reading for some insight on my financial situation!
Now I’d like to remind you all I don’t blog full time. And to be honest I’m not really interested in pursuing blogging full time. That’s a post for another time. So that means I’m not getting any freebies from companies for photoshoots or YouTube videos. By day I work as an engineer and which makes up the majority of my income. But it would be silly for me not to take advantage of the ways I can make some extra cash as a blogger. To give you guys some idea of how I generate income as a blogger, there are 3 ways I currently make money. The first is affiliate links, which by the way thanks to all of you who click and buy products which helps to fund what goes on here at Lil Miss JB Style. At this time I use ShopStyle and get paid per click. Another way is through sponsored posts. Majority of these collaborations are actually done on Instagram because it’s my most affordable package that I offer. The last way is selling old clothes I no longer want on Poshmark. I share all this to give you guys a general idea of what my income looks like. While I won’t provide an exact amount I will say that I make more than the average household does in the United States.
When I first started blogging, back in the Tumblr days, before I was debt free I was on a very strict budget. My main goal was to pay off my student loans and car so I restricted myself to spending $150 a month on clothes. That was less than 1% of my income at the time. Now did I stay under that number every single month, hell no. But for the most part I was fairly good about staying within my budget. There were a lot of factors that made it possible. One major factor is blogging wasn’t the beast that it is now. There wasn’t as much pressure to have the latest fashion and be on trend. Blogging was more about sharing inspiration on what to wear to your job or for an event or new ways to wear what you already owned. What also really helped was focusing on my larger goal which was financial freedom. It also didn’t hurt that I was still shopping at budget friendly places as well like F21, Charlotte Russe and H&M. Since being debt free my budget as completely evaporated. I had been living well below my means to get debt free that I decided it was finally time to actually be young and enjoy the money I was making. While there were some months where I might spend only $30 and there were others where I spent over $500. But late last year I realized this has really kept me from reaching my current financial goals as quickly as I could be. So I at the beginning of the year I decided to crack back down and manage my money better.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty, here’s what I’ve been doing to keep my spending in check:
- Stop window shopping as a way to kill time. So often we say let’s get out of the house and usually end up somewhere to “look around”. And depending on the kind of shopper you are this could lead to unnecessary spending. Instead, find another way to kill time like read or go for a walk that will keep you from constantly putting yourself in a position where you feel the need to spend.
- Set up an alert system through your bank. A lot of banks are now offering money management services through their apps that allow you to set limits for how much you want to spend on certain things. For those who don’t use Dave Ramsey’s cash method, this is a great way to more mindful and be held accountable for your spending!
- Only buy clothes on sale. This is something that has already cut my spending by so much! By waiting until items I want go on sale by at least 20% I’m not dropping as much cash and I’m buying pieces less impulsively which means I will actually wear them.
- Ask yourself: would I rather spend my money on this piece now or have that money for something later? Asking this simple question can help put things in perspective especially if you’re saving up for a major purchase or life change.
- Put the money from any returned items into your savings account. Since that money is already “spent” I treat it as though I’m not getting it back so I transfer it to my savings. That way I’m not just using it to buy something else I don’t need and am putting money away.
- Avoid social media. Often times I say I’m looking through my social media to find inspiration. But what’s actually happening is I start comparing and lusting after things I don’t need and may not really even want. By substituting other hobbies for social media I find that I’m equally inspired without feeling like I need to buy something.
- Be confident in your style. Once I took a step back from what I thought I had to do to be successful as a blogger and listened to my own voice I found that I wasn’t feeling the need to buy more clothes. I was honest with myself about the likelihood of me wearing a piece or if it was more for a photoshoot. Now I spend more time appreciating the items I have and re-wearing them until they can’t be worn anymore.
Look, at the end of the day it’s your money to do with what you want. We all have our thing that we spend more money on than we probably should. Mine is definitely clothes. And I want to remind you that there’s nothing wrong with buying things that bring you joy because I know you worked hard for your money. So never feel guilty about purchasing a piece that makes you feel incredible. I just wanted to share how I approach shopping so that I can buy what feels great while working towards my financial goals. Be sure to share any tips that you have in the comments below!