6 ways to save money as a blogger

Blogging can be an expensive hobby - even more expensive when it starts to become a bit of a business. It's not just the cameras and equipment that costs money (although they will eat up a big chunk of your bank balance) but - if you want to stay current with your readers - even things like clothes and cosmetics can get a lil pricey (but let's face it, buying dresses is way more fun than buying domain names) which is exactly why I decided to make a blog post all about the various ways you can save money whilst you blog, so that you can focus more on your content and less on your finances.


Okay, so maybe the stealing part isn't ideal, but begging and borrowing definitely plays a big part in the world of blogging. As your audience grows, brands may start to offer you free clothes and products in exchange for content, which is not only flattering, but also pretty handy if you're looking to save some money. If you're not quite at that stage yet, no sweat! Instead, try getting in contact with local brands or boutiques to see if you can work together. They gift or lend you items to wear/use/shoot and in return you link back to them on your blog and social media. That way, they get free advertising and you get free content!



Let's face it, buying a pre-owned Rolex is going to be a whole lot cheaper than buying a Rolex straight from a retailer. The same goes for everything from jewelry to jeans to DSLRs. If it's something you plan on using or wearing often I definitely recommend checking out some reputable pre-owned sites such as eBay, Depop or Xupes to save some moolah. A lot of the time second-hand retailers will only stock items that are in perfect condition, so you never have to worry about whether something is in good nick or not. And of course, you can even sign your own items up to a lot of pre-loved places too to really make that money.



Saving money is something people are always interested in, so why not make an on-going save VS spend series on your site? Perhaps a designer dupe run-down or a list of your favourite under £5 eBay finds! Everyone loves a bargain - in fact, some of my most popular shopping posts are the ones based around designer dupes - so not only is it affordable (or even free!) for you to write about, but it's also interesting for your audience to read as well! It's also a great way to get inolved with trending topics without spending shed loads of cash on the latest it bag or eyeshadow palette. Just find a dupe for it instead!


Got some kind of smartphone? Good, because that's pretty much all you need to start a blog. These days most bloggers have enough equipment in their houses to open up their own photography shop, but chances are they didn't start off that way. As my own blog has grown, so has my equipment. I started out with a crappy old compact camera that I rested on a bookshelf to take my OOTDS, but as time went on I began to invest in more and more things that helped make my blogging life easier. Good natural lighting and a steady hand are all you need to get started - a big fancy camera won't make your blog an overnight success. Instead, focus on the content, and work your way up from there.



Buying new products is expensive, especially if you plan on posting a few times a week, so when it comes to creating new content I always like to shop my own stash. More often than not I find myself reaching for the same makeup or same clothes most days, so when it comes to creating new posts my mind tends to go a little bit blank. Shopping my stash means I can get inspired by the things I already own - whether it's basing a new look on an old outfit or re-finding an old favourite makeup product. It's a great way of saving money whilst also still being able to put out quality content - and hey, you may even find that old lipstick you lost five months ago..



Not only is collaborating with other bloggers a whole lot of fun, but it can also help you save a crap ton of money. These days, a lot of bigger bloggers pay for photographers to take their photos and it is not cheap - especially when you're just starting out. So, instead of hiring a professional, become your own professional! Team up with other influencers in your area and make a day out of outfit shooting and instagramming. Not only can you create content together, but you can also credit each other on your own blogs to boost each others audience. Another plus side? It's a lot less awkward posing in front of other internet folk than it is convincing your dad to take your selfie.

What are your top money saving tips?

This post was sponsored by Xupes.

50 Potential Tax Deductions for Bloggers & Youtubers

What can bloggers and Youtubers write off as taxes

I am one of those people that put off doing my tax return until the very last minute. In fact, I'm actually writing this blog post instead of finishing off my taxes, which (if you weren't aware) is due in on the 2831st of this month. Like I said, big procrastinator over here. Can you blame me? Taxes are boring - not to mention hard. I think the hardest part about doing your own taxes when you're some kind of online influencer is knowing what you can actually write off as expenses. Self employed builders deduct building supplies, drivers deduct mileage, but what about bloggers? Our jobs pretty much consist of showing off our lives on the internet. So surely we can write off anything. Designer bags, Instagram-able meals out, luxury spa days. Right? Right!? Well, actually - you kind of can. Maybe not the designer bags and fancy meals, but there are definitely a lot of things bloggers can justify as expenses. Of course, this isn't about scamming the tax man - but when you're self employed every expense adds up. So keep your receipts and take note of some of these tax deductibles. You're welcome.


26. Work-related equipment rental

27. Printers, scanners etc

28. Trade show fees and displays

29. Days out (if for reviews)

30. Manufacturing products / merch

31. Custom chargers for PR gifts

32. Web design costs and upkeep

33. Business event hosting

34. Work-related books and research

35. Postage for products / merch

36. Further education classes

37. Subscriptions for research sites

38. Stock photo purchases

39. Software licensing fees

40. Tax and accounting software

41. Trademark and copyright fees

42. Business lunches/ meetings

43. Self-storage fees (for work)

44. Anti-virus programmes

45. Work phone bills / costs

46. Storage (online and external)

47. Long distance business calls

48. Work-related repairs

49. Advertising printing fees

50. Losses due to theft 

1. Website hosting fees

2. Domain cost(s) and renewals

3. Camera equipment

4. Editing software (Adobe Suite etc)

5. Freelance photographer fees

6. Business cards and letterheads

7. Computers, laptops, tablets etc

8. Computer upgrades

9. Hotel costs for business trips

10. Office supplies and stationary

11. Travel costs for business trips

12. PO Box addresses and fees

13. Business-related postage

14. Prizes and giveaways

15. Photo shoot props

16. Some clothing (if for a job)

17. Office furniture

18. Professional advice

19. Computer/tech insurance

20. Online self-promotion costs

21. A percentage of home insurance

22. Blog add-ons and plug-ins

23. SEO products and services

24. Entertainment (if for reviews)

25. A percentage of the internet bill


Have you completed your tax return yet?



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22 of my best ever blogging tips

If this is the first time you happen to have stumbled across my blog, hello! Nice to meet you. If not, then chances are you're already well aware of this little thing I do called Tip Tuesdays which is - as you can imagine - pretty much what it says on the tin. I've been writing up blogging tips for a little over a year now and whilst I do try my best to share some of my older articles for you guys it recently dawned on me that some newbie readers might benefit from some of my old posts. And so for today's Tip Tuesday I've decided to put together a bunch of my favourite posts to hopefully help answer some of your frequently asked questions and give you a spot of not-so-light reading this Tuesday evening. If you want a lil more, be sure to check out The Professional Blogger Guide where you can read a few snippets from yours truly as well!


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5 Things Brands Look for in a Blog

How to work with brands as a blogger

I remember my first ever brand collaboration like it was yesterday. It was for a makeup company that I'd never even heard of and it was one of the best days of my life. A brand - albeit a small one - recognising me for my blog! It's every newbie blogger's dream. These days, brand collaborations are pretty much inevitable if you take your online-self seriously enough, and one of the most commonly asked questions I get from you guys is how to align yourself with brands to increase your chances of working with them. There's no magical formula, and good things take time, but if you want to up your chances of working with your faves then keep these top tips in mind..


Anyone can copy and paste a press release, but just because you can it doesn't mean you should. Imagine how boring it would be if everyone reviewed a lipstick simply by listing all of the features listed on the box. If you want brands to want you, be creative with your work! 


Another thing to take into consideration is your target demographic - AKA who it is that reads your blog. If 98% of your readers happen to be male, chances are that very few of them will take a genuine interest in a sponsored post about tampons (ahem, not to make any assumptions..) and so the chances of a tampon brand urging to work with you is pretty slim. Slim, but not impossible. Don't give up on the tampon dream.


Whilst sponsored posts are amazing for so many different reasons, too many can turn your blog into more of a billboard than anything else. Of course brands want to see work that you've done with other people in the past, but they don't want to become just another post in a sea of advertisements. Say yes to all the posts you like, but make sure you add some #notspon in there as well.


The amount of followers you have is obviously a big factor when it comes to whether or not a brand choose to work with you, but it's not all that matters. If you're just starting out online - or if you simply want to increase your following - try focusing on just one or two platforms that you feel you're 'better' at, or that you most enjoy.


If you don't have a bajillion followers on Instagram, don't worry! And definitely don't go buying followers either. Just because someone might have a bunch of numbers after their name it doesn't mean they have a high level of engagement. More often than not brands will favour a strong engagement over a higher number of followers or subscribers, because it's the people that engage with your content that wind up as apotential customer. They want people that listen to  you - not just people that double tap on a photo every once in a while.


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Why you need to stop hiding your blog

I was a part of the Tumblr era - an era where it was practically unheard of to even talk about your blog, let alone try and promote it. People would publish their insecurities in full (alongside pictures of Jeffrey Campbell Litas) and then pray to god that no one in their class would ever find out, because - let's face it - having emotions and sharing them on the internet is a really loser-ish thing to do. No wonder I never fit in at school..

But now, fast forward a few years and here we all are spilling our hearts out online and sharing some of our most personal stories in hopes that someone might be able to relate to whatever is going on in our heads. Blogging is no longer just about sharing an un-sourced image of your favourite pair of shoes or following as many Olsen Twin fan pages as possible. The times have changed, the internet has changed, and us as bloggers have changed. We're more personal than ever before because the only way to really stand out in the Blogosphere these days is to, quite simply, be yourself. And whilst sharing yourself with the internet might seem scary, it's exactly what you should be doing.

You never know where it might lead

Think back to a time when blogging wasn't a 'thing'. There was no such thing as a blogger - only a few people that wrote down their thoughts on the internet. Some of those people wound up to be the biggest bloggers in the industry, without even planning to get anywhere other than their bedroom. Imagine if you had a blog this whole time, but you were too scared to talk about it. Think about how many potential possibilities you could have missed just because you were a little nervous about what other people had to say. Forget about little Timmy in the back of your class making fun at you for taking selfies. Take five million selfies, tag your favourite brands, show your friends, get re-grammed and show Timmy who's boss (you).


Everyone starts from the bottom

I've never really hidden the fact that I have a blog, but it's only in the past few months that I've really begun to speak about it with pride. When people asked me what I did I used to brush it off as some form of freelance job and dodge the question as much as I could. Recently however, I've found myself openly discussing what it is that I do. One of the most common things I come across is other people being too scared to promote themselves because they're embarrassed. I get it - people can be assholes when it comes to something that they're not comfortable with, and they'll try to make you feel uncomfortable about it too to make them feel better. I got called countless names when I started posting outfits online. Now? Well now they've either finally gotten comfortable with it, or I've made them eat their words. Everyone pokes fun at you when you first start something - you just need to prove them you can get better.


There's nothing to be ashamed of

So what? You have a blog..and/or a Youtube channel. Or an Instagram. These days, any of the above is generation Y's version of  TV, or a 'good old fashioned book'. We read them on our way to work, we scroll through photos before we get out of bed and we watch Youtube videos on our phones whilst we sit on the toilet. Oh yeah, I know you do that too. So if we're consuming these things, why does it matter if we want to create our own as well? I've always said that people should be able to do whatever they want to do as long as they're somewhat gracious about it. On the grand scheme of things..is having a blog really a big deal?


You'll make so many new friends

This is such a cliche thing to say as a blogger, but one of the best things about being a part of the Blogosphere is the friends you'll make along the way. Half of them live in different countries. Half of them I speak to on an almost monthly basis. Half of them I've never even met in real life! But they're my friends, without a shadow of a doubt. When you work in an office your co-workers become your friends. But when you work on the internet your friends are the other people that also spend every waking moment online. You'll form the most weird and wonderful relationships with people you never would have met if you didn't talk about your blog.



Okay so I didn't actually plan to put this in this blog post, but it just fit in so well that I couldn't not (plus, I need all the help I can get from you lovely people). As some of you will know I'm currently in the final 20 for the #IAmFreedom makeup awards competition. The prize is life changing (like £20,000 kind of life changing) and the next round of votes is cast solely by the public (AKA you guys). I wouldn't usually ask, but it would mean so much to me if you could all vote for me and help get me through to the final 10. You can each vote 3 times, and all you need to do is fill in your name, email (they won't spam you, don't worry!) and select 'STEPH' as the contestant you want to vote for. It would help me out in more ways than you can imagine, so if you do vote, please let me know so I can personally thank you! Lots of love as always.


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