How Blogging Put Me In The Poor House

me.jpgHi there Carrots ”˜N Cake readers! My name is Melissa and I write the blog MelissaNibbles. I’m very honored to be guest-posting for Tina today. My blog, MelissaNibbles, is a lazy girl’s guide to health and fitness. I give my readers realistic workout tips and recipes that they can fit into their busy schedules or lazy lifestyles.

Today I’m going to tell you about how blogging put me in the poor house. A cautionary tale to new bloggers and something other bloggers might relate to.

When I began blogging, I was overwhelmed with all the food, gadgets, running clothes, fitness dvds, etc…that I never even knew existed. It was awesome! Who knew there was such a thing as a tofu press?! I never knew you could wear a Garmin on your wrist that tells you how far you’ve run! And running skirts?! Adorable! The whole time I’d just been doing my thing, running, eating, and dressing like normal. I felt like I had been doing it wrong the whole time! Was I supposed to be wearing a Garmin? I eat all natural peanut butter, but what is almond butter? Is that better for me? Gah!!!

The peanut butter, oh the peanut butter. That’s where it all began. My go to PB had been Smart Balance. It’s natural, has omega 3’s, and is $2 a jar. Well, after seeing peanut butters like White Chocolate Wonderful, Dark Chocolate Dreams, etc… I felt like I was missing out. I hauled ass to the grocery store and stocked up. At $5 a jar! I spent $20 on peanut butter. That’s a tank of gas! I told myself it was okay because it was probably healthier for me (uh…no). I received free samples from other companies after that to try their products, but free samples don’t last forever and I was hooked. It wasn’t long before I was ordering peanut butter, almond butter, pasta, and fancy oatmeal online. You can’t put a price on your health people! Plus, free shipping!

Then came my fancy, new fitness wardrobe. I saw bloggers sporting running skirts and fabulous sports bras and t-shirts from Lululemon. What the f*ck is a Lululemon?! I’d never heard of the place. I was running in Hanes t-shirts and Target sports bras. I clearly needed to get myself together and look fabulous. I had no idea where the heck Lululemon was, but they had a website…oh boy do they have a website. I ordered sports bras, t-shirts, running skirts, and a $30 headband off their website. More than once!!

Gadgets. Oh, the gadgets. Bloggers have the most insane gadgets for their food prep and fitness. $200 blenders, Magic Bullets, peanut butter makers, drying racks for drying their food (WTF?!), the list goes on and on. The fitness stuff is even more out of control. Compression socks, foam rollers, Garmins, Nike footpads, $50 yoga mats with $100 carrying bags… I wanted a handheld blender so bad to mix my shakes like pudding. The one I kept seeing everywhere was $250. No way in hell I was paying $250, but I found one for $100 (WTF?! is wrong with me!!). I wanted a Garmin so I could see how far I was running. Those things run anywhere from $200-$600! I researched buying one, I thought of ways I could afford it. I rationalized the expense…I need to know how far I’m running!! Why? I never needed to know with a digital read out before? Mapmyrun.com was working just fine, but I NEEDED THE GARMIN EVERYONE ELSE HAS ONE!!!!! GIMME!!! My boyfriend thought about buying me one for my 30th birthday and that kind of woke me up a little. Did I really want his gift on my 30th birthday to be a freakin’ piece of exercise equipment? How thoughtful and loving. I told him, “Hell no! Trinkets and baubles please!!”

So that was a wake-up call of sorts. The big wake-up call came when my credit card statement came in the mail. Now, I have to tell you I am VERY responsible (normally) when it comes to money. I only have two credit cards. One has a high limit and a zero balance. It’s only for emergencies and is locked in a small safe that I keep things like my birth certificate and the one piece of expensive jewelry I own in. I don’t use this card and never used it to purchase anything I’m talking about here. It might be expired actually…The other card is an American Express with a $500 limit. I requested that limit so I won’t be tempted to go spending crazy (yeah, that worked) and it’s an American Express so I have to pay the balance every month. So the AMEX statement came and it was OVER the limit. So not only had I spent $500 on a bunch of sh*t I saw on blogs, but I had an over the limit fee. GREAT. I was so pissed at myself. I think I punched myself in the face actually. I couldn’t believe how irresponsible I had been and how I let something like blogging affect me like that. I couldn’t afford the bill so I did what I had to. I returned everything I could. I couldn’t return the food I ate, but I had some I hadn’t even taken out of the box yet that I was able to return. I waved goodbye to the handheld blender (a few months later I ended up getting a free one from a vendor so that worked out. I still haven’t used it though), packed up all the Lululemon clothes that I bought (most of them still had the tags), boxed those up and sent them back too. In the end, I had to pay about $200 on my credit card statement that month. It was better than $500 and the reality slap was well needed.

So if you’re a blogger or a new blogger. Take it from me that you don’t need fancy foods, gadgets or clothes to lead a healthy lifestyle. None of these things made my nutrition any better, made me run faster, or made me feel better about myself. It was just a big waste of money and made me feel insecure about myself. I got caught up in wanting to be like everyone else and thinking what I was doing wasn’t good enough. I learned to have confidence in my abilities and not to try to “keep up with the bloggers.” I think it’s great that people are able to afford these things and if you can afford it, hey go for it! If you can’t, don’t feel like you’re any less healthy or any less of a blogger.

186 Comments

  1. Wow, I really need to check myself! I’m a non-blogger and get very envious of what I see on blogs. I even tried to start one but couldn’t follow through. Its easier just to read them for recipes or workouts. I’ve definitely bought items just because I’ve seen them on the blog. Lately, I’ve been wanting to move just because all the bloggers seem to be moving! It is annoying reading a post and almost the entire text is just filled with links to buy things. UGH! I don’t want to buy a bowl, I just need a recipe!

  2. Wow what a great post!! It’s easy to get caught up and want to get all of the cool things you see. Glad it only took one over the limit credit card bill for the reality to set in.
    Tip for great p.b. and almond butter: Costco sells giant jars of peanut butter that are $6 for a 2 pack of organic peanut butter that tastes great. They also sell huge jars of Maranatha almond butter for $6 a jar.So good and you can’t beat the price.
    Best of luck to you and we cannot thank you enough for such a great post!! I think you got this important message out to tons of people 🙂

  3. Really great post! It’s so easy to get caught up in all the great products out there. In reality, every blogger needs to be true to his or her personal situation!

  4. Awesome guest post! I love the sentiments and had to laugh about the peanut butter/almond butter comments. I too have experimented with my share of better butters. They are good, but I prefer my basics. 🙂

  5. I am nodding and agreeing as I look at the Garmin I now own. I love this baby, but I would have NEVER bought it-if I did not stumble into this blogland 🙂

  6. What a funny, well-written post! And also a much-needed topic of discussion!!

    Personally, I think that well-established bloggers need to pay special attention to this issue. Hello Open Sky, anyone? I often feel like I am reading promotion after promotion (I think the tone sticks, even when it’s not for sale and just a product the blogger likes a lot), and, as another commenter mentioned, these advertisements (because, seriously, that’s what’s happening…) are even more insidious than mainstream marketing–they are first-hand accounts from people that we feel like we know. (Don’t we always spend more when shopping with friends??)

    So, Melissa, I wouldn’t beat yourself up *too* much about your spending “mishap.” The pressure is intense but also subtle, and it’s bombarding us from all directions… Popular blog writers need to take a look at the large role they play in this issue, as well. Just my two cents.

    Tina, thanks for putting up this guest post–truly. Hopefully it will make *everyone* (readers, newbies, old-hands) think.

  7. I think this is a really interesting post – thanks for touching on this “issue”. I’m not much of an active blogger myself, but I certainly read blogs. Sometimes it surprises me how much “food bloggers” eat out. I know that one or two have mentioned that they “only” go out once during the week and once during the weekend. For a person who isn’t able to write off a dinner, going out 8 times a month is actually fairly extravagant (to me). I think that we all need to know ourselves and our limits, but I do sometimes wonder about all the stuff, the things, the gadgets that pop up in the blogland.

  8. I must be in the absolute minority, because I’ve been reading these blogs for almost 2 years and haven’t had the urge to buy anything yet. Maybe not having a ton of discretionary income is a blessing- you definitely examine where each and every one of your dollars go, and learn to prioritize. The only times I’ve felt pangs of envy have been when bloggers get new DSLR cameras, but I don’t have that kind of money free to spend at the moment. I’m kind of shocked, actually, at how many comments have been posted in agreement with the original post. Are there really that many people who feel like they have to do what other bloggers do, whether out of admiration, envy, or feeling like they have to keep up with them?

  9. I will admit that from time to time I do want “cool” stuff on blogs, and I do own a Garmin (although I’m training for a half marathon and the Garmin was recommended by my running store, not by a blog). But all of the bashing of expensive foods gets me a little bit…I know people don’t need $20 PB, but not all “expensive” food is bad, especially if it’s meat and produce. Spending a bit more in those areas actually can lead to a better product!

  10. WOW !!!!! Well said -this has got to be the best blog article I have read in the last 6 months (for real).I love how you just simply put everything out there and kept it real .I love to read blogs and after reading them I too felt like I had to have the latest and most expensive gadgets to lead a healthy lifestyle.Thanks for the reality check. I am going back to those hanes tee-shirts and well for me it was Wal-Mart sports bras.LOL

  11. @J: Hi J, I completely understand where you’re coming from and am not really a fan of the OpenSky thing either. However, Tina isn’t responsible for anyone’s spending habits. Tina isn’t forcing anyone to order from her shop and she makes her living this way. I can understand that. Yes, the “get this coffee in my shop!” does annoy some people, but on the flipside, there might be someone out there that wants to try it, lives in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t have access to it otherwise. Buying one thing from an Opensky store is one thing while buying Garmins and everything Lulumon has to offer is another.

  12. Love this post. Some things are definitely more “nice to have” than “absolutely needed” and it’s important to realize that!

  13. @J: To add to Melissa’s response, I work with OpenSky to offer my readers products that I think they will like too. I don’t do it for the money. I made a whopping $15 last month. Don’t be jealous! 😉 But, really, I only “promote” the stuff that I think is cool and that you guys might like too.

  14. This post was excellent and SO true. It is soo easy to get sucked into the “frenzy” of it all…wanting everything that “Jane” has to be able to keep up. I have learned so much from all bloggers that I follow but it’s still up to me to discern what I NEED vs. what I WANT. Informations is vital but unfortunately, a lot of people are in the “instant gratification” state and just can’t seem to resist.

  15. You are so right! I am new to the blog world and have had my blog for almost a month. I have been a reader for a few months and have felt the same pressures. I then reminded myself that I have two kids so this stuff is not always feasible! And I have two running skirts from TARGET! 🙂

  16. Such a wonderful post!! When I started reading healthy living blogs about 2-3 years ago (has it really been that long?) I saw so much stuff I wanted and you better believe I clicked on the links provided too! 😉 Some of the stuff is just too expensive for me though and having two kids, a house, husband, pets, sports…yada yada I couldn’t see myself splurging on most of this stuff. I did get a Polar HRM as a result and a knockoff magic bullet type thing. I want an enamel cast iron dutch oven thingy (like Le Creuset) SO bad but cannot justify spending nearly $300 on something I cook in. I saw one very similar at Sam’s the other day for like $40 I think I might go get. I’ve ALWAYS been a kitchen gadget lover though.

    About the OpenSky comment – as a reader I just want you to know I don’t think this blog is as bad at advertising it as other bloggers that put every single dag gum thing in their store. It is helpful sometimes. I like that bloggers offer promos or else I would have never tried my one purchase I’ve made from OpenSky and LOVE. I even contemplated getting in on the stainless/glass straw promo, but I had to set my priorities and I really want that cast iron dutch oven. 🙂

  17. I love this post! It’s so true that there are so many products marketed to healthy living, and it’s often more expensive. I like to follow bloggers who put less focus on products (although the occasional product review is fine) and more on substance — how they live healthy, what they struggle with, how do they keep it affordable, etc. There’s a lot more to healthy living than gadgets. Thanks for the post.

  18. Great post! So many blogs have just become boring product advertisements. Running is the most minimalist sport out there. People set world records prior to existence of garmins and running skirts. Who needs all of that stuff?!

  19. Great post! I am not a blogger but tend to want to buy the things I read about on blogs. You are hysterical! I loved the WTF’s. 🙂

  20. oh my god. i have never commented on any blog post before, but you are freaking hilarious. i have got to start reading your blog ASAP.

  21. OMG am I laughing out here. Thanks for that, and also for the great advice. I’m new to this whole blogging world and understand how this could’ve happened. I feel safe now. I won’t go broke.

  22. What a great post. I’m sure this was helpful for a lot of people. It can be hard to keep up! A lot of the bloggers get amazing freebies too, which is completely awesome for them but it’s hard to not want them after seeing these things in action. I know for me personally, most of my kitchen equipment was supplied by generous friends + family for my wedding. I would not have a stand mixer, food processor, crockpot, a complete set of dishware or silverware, etc. if it wasn’t for the wedding. Also, I would NOT own a vita-mix for years to come, if it wasn’t for my grandma passing it on to me after my grandpa passed away almost a year ago. He was a health nut and had a vita mix 🙂 Anyways…great post!! 🙂

  23. LOVE this guest post! I know I went pretty crazy with my grocery bills when I first started reading food blogs. Tina’s blog really makes you realize that you can live healthfully without spending a lot of $ 🙂

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