How Blogging Put Me In The Poor House

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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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.

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186 Comments

  1. These are great reminders, Melissa! And often the ones using the gadgets or wearing the lululemon either got some of it for free or work at the lululemon store and therefore get a discount.

  2. The only thing I have spent a lot of money on has been a vita-mix, but I use it like crazy. It was worth every penny, in my opinion. There are a lot of pricey foods that are not necessarily worth it, and there are some gadgets that are definitely not needed in my kitchen. But blogs have been a great way to learn about different opionts and different ways of doing things. You just need to know what your priorities as a food blogger are. Do you want to try all the fancy things? Do you want a way to make your own versions of the peanut butters and lara bars (this is me), or do you just want to fit in? Make sure you are being true to yourself and your budget!

  3. I LOVE this post! When I started blogging, I: couldn’t figure out why my grocery spending was through the roof, ordered $45 worth of peanut butter online, NEEDED a Polar hrm, and the list goes on and on. It’s nice that we’re all able to relate and bring this to light!

  4. I can definitely see how this could happen to someone! Great job sending those purchases back, I know that couldn’t have been easy. I’ve been lusting after those Vitamix mixers ever since I started reading healthy food blogs. The hubby and I investigated, but they’re way out of our price range and I’ve got a $15 blender already! I make do just fine 🙂

  5. Thank you for this post!! I know I cannot afford 99% of the blogger stuff that people have, and sometimes I feel sort of ashamed/embarrassed/inferior because of it. But you are so right, it doesn’t make me less of a blogger or healthy person. I really appreciated hearing this!

  6. Great post! I make sure to only buy one jar of peanut butter at a time (and only when the old jar is almost empty!) for exactly the same reason. Healthy doesn’t neccessarily mean more $$.

    I like buying my workout clothes at Target and TJ Maxx/Marshall’s. I do want some Lululemon workout clothes, but the two items I want would cost me over $100! I might try them on to see what size I wear and then see if I can find them cheaper on eBay…

  7. Great post to non-bloggers as well…as a reader only and I speak for myself only, it’s easy to get caught up in all the gadgets and food stuffs that the bloggers are chatting up as well!

  8. Great post! Love your honesty! I have been known to splurge on things from time to time, especially food products when I hear about “new” things across the blogging world, however I will always be a Target girl when it comes to buying workout clothes. They have the best sportsbras!!!

  9. Fantastic Post! When I used to blog I felt the same way. I always had to have the coolest new bars, PBs, trendy gadgets..oh and I also gained about 10 lbs while trying to keep my food interesting enough to post about. LOL.

  10. I LOVE this post! I’ve been blogging on and off for 2 years but I wasn’t actually reading other blogs until the last 2 months or so and I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been able to resist buying a bunch of crap (although I have still been debating the Garmin…) but it was tough in the beginning.

    I didn’t know what a Lululemon was either but they just opened a showroom (not a store, a showroom apparently) in Richmond…

  11. What an awesome post. I too have wanted all the things that bloggers have — but you know what? I have lived for years without them and I’m sure I’ll manage somehow 🙂

    The blogs I like the best are different — they don’t have all the same gadgets and products that every other blogger has.

  12. Fitness blogging can get really costly if you try to keep up with the Jones (not to sound queer). Even though I want to buy a lot of the things you named I cannot bring myself to pay so much money for certain things. I limit my splurges and try to make sure they are something I either will get a lot of use out of or just really really love. For instance I will splurge on the best sneakers because I can feel a difference when I run but save on workout clothes. I splurge on Core Fusion but save on my gym by going to cheapest gym in the area. Food is a little harder for me because I’m a foodie but I make it work. Ultimately I do what I want regardless of what is the trend or big thing now. I can’t live my life worrying what others think.

  13. The perfect post! I laughed, I cried (thinking about my own $8 Barney Butter purchase not so long ago), I rethought buying a newer, smaller, leaner, meaner Garmin. My doubles-as-a-giant-calculator Garmin is just fine. Bravo!

  14. Oh, man, I am with you, I so wanted a GARMIN as well, however unlike you I “do not” have the means or a CC to charge it on or a husband that can afford to buy me one (was unemployeed for 2 years) so I have gone without and been fine……….however one day I will have one and love it!

    I am happy to say since I started my blog a year ago I haven’t spent more than $20 on it, not by choice, by the fact that I am POOR, but you shouldn’t have to spend anything you know………it can be done, I am proof.

  15. So true!!! I want a Garmin, do I really need it no, I have an app on my iphone that will work fine for now. Luckily I’m already invested in photography, but now I want a point and shoot on top of my expensive DSLR. I’m so happy I’m cheap to begin with, lol.

  16. Great article! I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want a garmin. So far I haven’t because I don’t want to spend the money. It would be nice but it isn’t totally necessary. I also want to be careful not to spend money on something like a Garmin unless I know that I am going to stick with running and really get my moneys worth out of it.

  17. love this blog! i’m a home blogger and i keep thinking i need all of these fancy things for the house in order to make it interesting. nope! i’m going to stay small, i hope, and tim gunn it all — make it work!

  18. Whoa. Great wake up call. I got a Garmin for my birthday and I’ve used it 3 times. It makes my wrist sweaty and it hardly works in the pacific northwest because it can’t ever find the satellite because I’m running under huge trees and you can’t escape them.

    I went crazy buying all sorts of nut butters, but for now I just try to stick with my favs: $3 Sunflower seed butter from Trader Joes and $4 Justin’s Maple almond butter. I’m not going to spend any more on that.

    I bought a lululemon jacket and I love it, but I’m still getting my workout clothes from target and the outlet malls.

    I guess it’s all about balance.

  19. Fantastic! I see so many products on blogs that I would *love* to have but it’s important to keep priorities straight and not get too obsessed with ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.’ Plus, I love my cheap TJ’s PB. 😀

  20. Love this post!!! I am new to blogging and I can def see where you can get in a trap and feel like you have to have everything that you see on other blogs! My grocery bill has definitely gone up and like you I came sooo close to getting a garmin, you have officially talked me out of it! My hubby would thank you!! 🙂 Going to check out your blog and look forward to following you, we have a lot in common already! 🙂

  21. i adore your voice! just added your blog to my google reader… you write just like me and i think you will be an inspiration! thank you!

  22. Bravo! I nearly got caught up in all the food hype myself. I wanted to try all those yummy foods too. I wanted to be in nut butter heaven with the rest of them. That is until I went to my local health food store and saw that the no salt, organic, crunchy almond butter (brand name to be withheld) was $23.00 a jar!! Whoa! I found it at a regular grocery store and it was a dollar MORE! For a nut butter. My all natural crunchy peanut butter for $2.88 made me happy too. When those feelings of want start to creep back after reading about an OOIAJ, I remember it’s just food and other stuff. Then I count my blessings and think about all the other things that make me happier.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in this lovely guest post! This is such a necessary post. It’s something we don’t really talk about in blogworld but many of us need to hear it and/or agree! I am a very poor college student and know I cannot afford things many bloggers have! I have my camera, a good non-stick pan, and a $30 blender. That’s it. I pick and choose my splurges — I love nice nut butters, but have had the same yoga mat and yoga pants for three years!

    Money is just something to keep in mind. We don’t need material things to blog, just a little love and enthusiasm. 🙂

  24. This is a fab post. Sometimes I feel bad becasue I just can’t afford to buy all the equipment other bloggers have but you’re right to say we don’t need it. I am trying not to covert the stuff other bloggers have but it’s hard sometimes!

  25. I like this post, especially since so many bloggers have taken to promoting each and every product that comes to their mailbox, feeding the feelings of the readers who think they need fancy, expensive equipment/stuff. I love running in old t-shirts and cheap yoga pants, without some $$$ piece of equipment on my wrist weighing me down. I definately feel more free keeping things simple, in my workouts, meals and life. Thanks!

  26. Great, great post. Two words: Dave Ramsey. I think EVERYONE should go through his program called Financial Peace University. We need to learn how to say “no” to ourselves about purchases we think we need or really want! I’m still working on that one…

  27. My grocery bill was out of control for a while there, but I’ve since come to my senses and reigned it in! I bought 2 giant jars of almond butter from Costco, and realized I don’t even like it and neither do my kids. I do own a BlendTec and I love it. But if I’m being honest, I don’t use it nearly as often as I thought I would or frankly, should. I never knew they existed until I started reading blogs. I do think its a great tool if you use it regularly. I use it more then my KitchenAid stand mixer-which I also had to have!

  28. I think this is a great post not just for newbie bloggers, but also readers! I remember when I was reading my first healthy living blogs, I wanted EVERYTHING they had. My family thought I was crazy for wanting a dehydrator, a food processor, a juicer, and a fancy Vitamix blender. Though, I think it helps for me that I am a student, and I know I need to watch my spending, so I didn’t splurge on these kitchen gadgets. BUT I did buy myself a garmin after reading all these healthy living blogs, and now I can’t imagine running with out it. So there are good and bad things about all these product features on blogs. This post is just a good reminder to differentiate between needs and wants!

  29. I love this post! You are so honest and witty! I am just thinking about starting my own blog and already all of the things you mentioned are running through my head! Thank you 🙂

  30. Ahhhh I love it! I work out in clothes from Wal-Mart’s exercise section and scored my Magic Bullet with a 20% off coupon. But really, I use it at least twice a day and am actually on my third one over these past four years.

    So saving up and spending the dough on the things you will actually use is great advice!

  31. Thank you for this post! I started thinking this way; mostly about the food I was eating. I thought the only way I could eat well was to shop at Whole Foods. Well, now I know better. Especially seeing the S&S products in some of Tina’s pictures. 🙂

    I still kind of want a Garmin though. 😉

  32. Great post and it brings light to a very real subject in this community. For me, I definitely had to step back and ask myself, “What do I really NEED?” Not want. For example, while I could really see myself buying tons of LuLu stuff, I didn’t see it as being necessary because I don’t work out for LONG periods of time. The most I’ll run these days is an hour and Target clothes can hold up for that amount of time. Also, I need a blender because I use it so frequently. As far as a Garmin is concerned, I still prefer running without knowing my pace. Running is more relaxed for me without one 🙂

  33. What a great post! I couldn’t agree more. I live in London and recently visited Vegas. Boy did I have a field day at Whole Foods. I got so excited when I saw Nutzo on the shelf. I never thought I’d spend eleven bucks on peanut butter. But how could I resist after hearing so much about it on other blogs. Sadly enough, airport security confiscated it because apparently PB is a liquid. So i am yet to try Nutzo

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