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Blog Costs + What are Affiliate Links + why are you using them?

Article may have affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Big thanks for supporting my small business.

The most recent comment that is flooding my inbox, “What are affiliate links and why are you using them?” I decided to address the comment here in case any others are wondering. Many bloggers are using them and some are disclosing what they are and some are not. In my opinion, full disclosure is the best policy. I mean, I have nothing to hide.  The short answer to why we are using them is, money. If you have been following along since the start of the blog 6 years ago or just started following us now, you know that we started as a hobby blog to keep friends and family updated on what life was like living with four generations under one roof, our home renovations to accommodate so many people under one roof and a few family recipes. The blog quickly became kind of popular and then over time, the darn website started to cost money to keep it going. I am not complaining, it’s now my full time job and income but with that, come expenses. 

When I first started blogging 6 years ago, our blog was free and after 6 months, I realized I needed a better hosting system (what makes the website work) so I started with a plan that was $6.99 a month. I almost died that I had to pay per month and was making no money. -ha. 

What are affiliate links and why are you using them

Today, our website costs on average, $500-650 a month to keep it going (there are many other expense too but they change every month). Yep, it a’int free! That dollar amount fluctuates a bit based on advertising, technical help, Search Engine Optimization consultation (making sure we show up in google) ect but the fixed expense portion of the site monthly is hosting (what keeps our site from having a blank page when you arrive, it’s kind of like the electricity in your home), technical help (because I have no clue about how to fix things when they break on the site), a feed/newsletter service (the stuff I write that shows up in your inbox…it costs money to send that to you) and monthly photography software fee (so our pictures look half way decent on the site-ha.). We run ads on our site which we recently decreased because they honestly, were pretty annoying. Especially on mobile. Who the heck wants a big o’l ad popping up on a tiny little cell phone or a large ad that covers half the page and once you click the X (to get rid of the ad), it screws up the site you are on? NOT ME and I certainly don’t want that on our site. Those ads though help pay for the fixed expenses that we have. Fixed expenses are a cost of doing business but you have to find ways to pay for them that don’t hurt your business. SO, I partnered with an affiliate marketing company last year and have dabbled a bit, using affiliate links here and there but never really focused on it because honestly, it’s A LOT of WORK and I haven’t seen a return on investment (my time). With that said,  I haven’t been focused on it so I can’t really expect big results if I don’t put my all into it right? With the decrease in ads on our site, I need to make up the money somewhere else so I am trying the affiliate marketing avenue. 

These links below are no in our sidebar to the right of the page

What are affiliate links and why are you using them This is where those links come in. From time to time, you will see me linking to products (home decor and/or fashion stuff) and those links (I will always disclose at the top of the blog post) may be an affiliate link. All it means is, if  you click the link and end up buying something, we may make a few pennies or a few dollars. It doesn’t cost you any more or less to buy from our site. It’s actually a pretty clever way for brands to get their products out there to consumers (like you) and reimburse the little guy (like us) for sharing their product. The links DO NOT effect you at all. 

These graphics Shop Our Christmas Home, Shop Our Fall Home, My latest Fall & Winter Favorites + My Beauty Favorites are all in the sidebar to the right of the page. (the pages are not completely done but my goal is to finish them this week!)

What are affiliate links and why are you using them

So I need a favor from you all. If you are planning to shop online (especially this holiday season) we would love you to start from here and use our affiliate links. It will help us to generate some revenue which helps keep our site running. Deal? There are a list of stores that we always shop from online and I will list them below and they are now listed on our side bar for easy access (image above). So for example, if you are planning to shop at Nordstrom or Target (Christmas is coming!), just come here to our site, click the Nordstrom link and start shopping. If you buy anything, Nordstrom pays our 3rd party affiliate marketer we have partnered with and they in return, pay us our share. It’s that easy! I hope all that makes sense and if you are planning any online shopping and you don’t see the link on our side bar or on this post, just shoot me a quick email and chances are, I can generate that link for you. Thank you in advance if you purchase anything from our links, we appreciate it :). Be sure to check out our new side bar featuring these links below as well as our new “Shop The Outfit” page where you will find my fashion favorites. Fashion is one thing I have always loved but never really shared with you. I am hoping to change that and share more as the feed back has been great and I do appreciate your sweet emails :). You are all very kind! 

Nordstrom | Wayfair | West Elm | Pottery Barn | Crate and Barrel | Loft | Ann Taylor | Hayneedle | World Market | Anthropologie | Nordstrom Rack | TJMAXX | Target 



Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. Thank you for all of the information. I understand quite a bit more now. If I do some shopping at any of the affiliates, I will definitely use your site. You warm my heart and brighten my day!!!

  2. Thank you for explaining affiliate links in lay terms! If I shop online (not my norm), I’ll check here first!

  3. Carol Kassanitz says:

    Hi Jess,
    I would like to comment on the stepdaughters’ issue. The first time I read the word in your column was several years ago. It had a negative connotation for me – not because of anything in my life – so I decided to “get over it”. I’m blaming my feelings on growing up in the Cinderella years.
    Instead, I would like to share with you the way I remember how to add the apostrophe to plural nouns that are being used to show ownership. Basically, make the noun plural first, then check the last letter. If it’s an S just add an apostrophe and call it finished. If it ends in any other letter, use the apostrophe and S. Example: stepdaughters (plural) stepdaughters’ living room (plural possessive)
    children (plural) children’s living room ( plural possessive)
    Girls (plural) girls’ grandmother (plural possessive)
    Hope this makes sense If not, chalk it up to the ramblings of a teacher who loved teaching grammar, punctuation, etc.
    Love your blog no matter where those apostrophes end up (I will get over it), and sending prayers to you and yours.
    Carolyn K

    1. You are so right and I will be the first to admit I am the worst at remembering that!!! I am so glad you Facebook me the examples!! ???? My husband’s ex wife and I are going to start a series on blended families so stay tuned !!:)

      1. Sounds like a get idea (the blended family blog). So glad you are looking ahead to the next chapters of your life.
        Carolyn K.

    2. You are so right and I will be the first to admit I am the worst at remembering that!!! I am so glad you Facebook me the examples!! ???? My husband’s ex wife and I are going to start a series on blended families so stay tuned !!:)

  4. Hi Jess, Well, that explains a lot! Never understood what that was all about, but will definitely check here first before online shopping, which is a big thing for me at Christmas. Soooooo much easier than prancing around town going into 10 stores looking for ONE thing! You are such an amazing woman, with all of your situations going on. You may be young, but I would definitely call you the Matriarch of your family. You seem to be the glue that holds everyone and everything together.
    My best to you, and all the situations with your grandparents that you are going through. You always seem to know how to handle just about every bump in the road. You do it with grace, patience and understanding.
    I don’t respond to your newsletter as often as I would like (in the process of moving), but I do read them all. Don’t ever give up!
    Fondly, Rachel

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