For January 2010: My blog made $495.12 in cash payments and $75 in gift cards.
In 2009, made a total of $1013 (not including gift cards) and was alive for 6 1/2 months.
I'm not sure where it will go from here. Blogging for money has it's benefits, but I mostly like blogging for a place to share my random thoughts and happenings. :)
Since many of you are wanting to make money with your blogs, I thought I'd share with you what I've learned over the last year.
1. The affiliate partners I selected originally have turned out to be great partners. My top earnings come from Google, Juicebox Jungle, Amazon, shareasale.com and Swagbucks. To read more details about each affiliate, head back to this post. The only one I've dumped (or will be soon) is the coupon bar from CJ, and that's because I've stopped being coupon focused and it's not as relevant (or lucrative.)
2. Blog earnings can be sporadic. Each affiliate takes it's turn being a high and low producer.
3. Paying taxes as the second earner really stinks! Since my husband's income already bumps us up a few tax brackets, the tax chunk taken from my blogging income is hard to look at, but to me it was "free money," so I've come to accept it.
4. I can't do it all. I feel so bad about how many sponsored (read: paid!) posts and giveaways I've had to turn down! I am so, so sorry if you've contacted me and I never responded (or responded late.) I mainly blog at night once my kids are sleeping and that doesn't leave a lot of time. I make mistakes, forget things, and sometimes don't blog at all, but that's just how I roll.
5. If you build it, they will come. Sometimes it happens quickly and sometimes it takes a while. I was really lucky that my blog grew so quickly and I have received so many great offers! Stay tuned because Swagbucks is offering my readers a new swagcode within the next few weeks, on Valentine's day I'll be giving away a $500 American Express Gift card (Thank you Invisalign!) and Tanga will be giving away almost $300 worth of merchandise on this site in the next few days.
I realize that $200-$500 a month blogging is not a huge income, but every little bit helps. It's helped our family in a lot of fun ways. I've recently stopped going "coupon crazy" and have focused on buying healthier, more natural foods. I'm still me, so I try to get the best deals and still incorporate many of the shopping habits listed here, but better food realistically costs more. How much? Maybe $100/month for our family of 4, and that is easily covered by my blogging hobby. It's also going to help us feed our cat (coming soon, wahoo!) a healthier, high quality diet. And I feel so much better about paying for my children's swimming, dance classes, and karate lessons when I'm helping contribute to the family.
I'm always trying out new things (and new affiliates.) Shareasale.com recently removed my favorite ad, so you won't see their ads on my blog until I find a new favorite from their site. But everything else is clearly listed on my sidebar. SavvySource is new and I'm not sure about them yet. I will post about it any new ones that turn out great and am open to answering any questions.