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31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: 4 Proven Ways to Make Money Blogging (Day 13)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Did you know that you can earn a decent stream of income through blogging? If you have a blog, you should definitely be capitalizing upon the opportunity. Plus, if you’re going to put time and effort into it, you might as well make something for your work, right?

Yes, it usually takes at least a few thousand followers to have a chance at earning a part-time income from blogging. But even if you only have a few hundred visitors each week, there are lots of creative ways that you can earn at least a small side income through your blog.

Here are four proven ways to earn money through blogging, taken from my How to Make Money Blogging series:

1. Become an Affiliate

For those who may have never heard the term of affiliate marketing before, it’s basically when you are paid to promote another person’s product, coupon, deal, or website. It’s typically CPA advertising — which means that you only get paid per action. In other words, a reader must take some form of action (purchase something, click through your link and sign up for something, download a coupon or ebook, etc.)

You sign up for an affiliate program (I’ll share some of my favorites in a little bit), you promote your unique affiliate link that the company gives you, and then you are paid if your readers buy the item or sign up for the item.

For instance, I sometimes promote Amy’s Tell Your Time ebook. She has an affiliate program that offers 50% of the sales to the affiliate. Since the ebook is priced at $4.99, I earn $2.50 for every person who clicks through my affiliate link and makes a purchase. So, if 10 people buy the ebook each month, I’ll make $25 in affiliate earnings.

In many cases, people have to make a purchase in order for you to earn money as an affiliate. However, there are also hundreds of other options that require no purchase.

I’m affiliate for, RedPlum, SmartSource, SavingStar, Cellfire, and Coupon Network. If I post a great coupon that is on any of these sites, I earn anywhere from $0.02 to around $0.42 per coupon printed (I have different agreements with each network and some pay per coupon printed, others pay a flat fee per print session per user per day).

As you can imagine, since one of the key focuses of happens to be using coupons, the affiliate money earned from coupons printed is one of the highest revenue earners. However, it is a win-win situation, because I’m sharing a great deal with you, it’s hopefully helping you save money and get a great deal, and then we both benefit from it.

My Current Top-Earning Affiliates:

Amy has a great list of many different affiliate programs here, if you’re interested. Read more of my thoughts on how to be successful at affiliate marketing here.

2. Sell Sidebar Ads

While selling sidebar ads yourself does require more work and effort, it can really pay off in the long run. Plus, it’s a great option for blogs in every genre.

If you don’t want to use an advertising network because you don’t have as much control over the ads they run (read more about advertising networks here), selling sidebar ads yourself allows you to have complete control over what is running on your blog at all times.

Read more of my tips and tricks for successfully selling sidebar ads here.

How Much Should You Charge?

How you price your advertising will depend upon many factors — your blog’s traffic, your blogging niche, where the ad will be placed, how many ad spots you are selling, and the demand. I always encourage people to start out with lowball prices and gradually move up from there.

Advertising is usually priced per thousand pageviews (CPM), so I suggest starting with $0.50 – $1 per thousand pageviews and working up from there. This means that if your blog currently gets 10,000 pageviews per month, you could start out charging something like $10 per month for a small 250×250 sidebar ad that is located near the middle of your sidebar or higher. As your traffic increases and the demand for sidebar advertising increases, you can slowly raise this price.

I’d suggest selling no more than six to eight sidebar ads maximum. If you have too many ads running, their value decreases. It’s easier for you and better for the advertiser if you have a few higher-paying, larger ads on the sidebar than a bunch of small ads all over the place.

3) Teach an Online Class

I taught my first online course back in 2006–way back when I was just learning about online marketing and blogging and really didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing. That first class was successful, so I taught another and another and another. Not only did I learn so much through teaching (and hopefully imparted some helpful information to my students!), but it was a great source of side income to supplement our family during a lean season.

With just a few simple tools, you can teach video or audio courses online. Or, you can put together a package with video and/or audio plus a course handbook like Carrie’s Grocery University.

Consider what are your areas of expertise and what questions you are asked most as a blogger and then see if there’s a way you can turn these ideas into a marketable online class. Offer the class very inexpensively the first time around as you learn the ropes, ask other bloggers to promote the class for you (you could write a guest post for a few blogs on a relevant topic and then link to your class in your bio), and make sure to include testimonials from those who have gone through the class on your sales page.

4) Write an Ebook

Writing and selling ebooks is one market that is untapped by many, many bloggers–and there’s tremendous potential to earn a few hundred (or even a few thousand dollars!) each year by selling ebooks.

There are a few things you must know about successfully selling ebooks, though:

::You need to write on a relevant, practical topic. The best-selling ebooks are those that tell you how to make money, save money, lose weight, cook better, get organized, or somehow practically improve your life. Unfortunately, an ebook comprised of poems is probably not going to sell well.

::Your cover and salespage are everything. You can write a killer ebook, but if your cover is cheesy and your salespage is pathetic, it probably won’t sell. Hire a designer to do your cover (it’s worth the expense, I promise!), and make sure that your salespage has a clear-cut call to action, includes specific details on why someone should buy your book, and has testimonies to back up your claims.

::You must exhaust every marketing possibility. People need to see things again and again and again in order to consider buying. Write guest posts, get every blogger possible to review your ebook, run ebook giveaways on dozens of blogs, and find every other creative free way to get your ebook out there.

If you are planning to write an ebook, I heartily recommend Sarah Mae’s ebook, How to Market and Sell Your Ebook. It’s packed with helpful information and advice and is worth every penny. Also, be sure to read her article on how to sell $20,000 worth of your next ebook.

Have you earned money through your blog? If so, tell us what has been successful for you — and add your ideas to mine here! I’d love to hear!

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  • I just started my new blog 3 weeks ago and I’m going to follow your tips. I’ve got 2.5 months before Christmas. I’m going to keep you posted on my progress! Thanks for the fantastic tips! Let’s put them to action, now. Money Saving Mom: you can turn yourself into Money-Making-Mom. Move over Suze Orman.

  • Maria says:

    Awesome tips! Although, being a new blogger, making money seems like it’s a goal far, far in the distant future. lol I’d be nice to get a few readers first. hehe I’ll try my best to work towards this goal though. 😀 Thanks, Crystal!

    • Crystal says:

      Check out my tips for 10 Ways to Build and Increase Your Readership for some ideas and encouragement:

      And remember that we all started at zero readers once upon a time. 🙂

    • Candi says:

      I just want to say that after taking the FREE Blogging Course that Crystal offered through Blogelina, I started a self hosted blog a little less than a month ago (I had been blogging on Blogger for about 2 years). Since my start up in September I have made over $200!! I was hoping to make a little bit of income off of my affiliate links, etc, but I was floored, excited and so so thankful for the opportunities that I have had.

      I have yet to get a massive amount of readership, but the fact that I have actually made money shows that it is possible to earn an income. Plus, it is motivating me to continue to grow my blog and improve upon it!

      Thank you Crystal for all of your tips, ideas and the encouragement that you offer all of your readers! I know that for me it has made a huge impact! 🙂

    • Maria,

      I post a link to my new blog posts on Facebook. After doing this for about a year, I finally made a FB page for my blog. I only waited that long because I never thought of it before. lol. But that has helped increase my readership beyond my mother and a couple close friends. I still don’t have a ton but it helped a lot.

  • Don’t forget about selling your own products. I have seen numerous blogs out their selling their hand made jewelery or hand sewn items and they seem to be doing very well. I have spent the last 10 months of my blogging journey really focusing on getting my site to look like I want it too and have learned a tonne. My goal for next year is to strengthen my income earning sources.

    • Crystal says:

      Great suggestion!

    • Victoria – I completely am on the same page with you regarding focusing the first year on designing my site, spreading the word about my blog, and really getting a handle on blogging – there is so much to learn, but it has been a great experience! I just started with affiliates and am excited for this next step in my blogging journey!

      Crystal – you really have a great site and a wonderful way of connecting with your readers. Thank you!

  • Another idea is to get the word out about your blog to PR companies. Although it is not making cash, I have gotten a lot of things for my kids and even myself!

  • Tabitha says:

    Ok, I have started a blog as well to try to earn some cash, but it isn’t going as planned. It’s very hard and to get affiliates you basically have to be up and running with plenty of traffic for them even to accept you. I am trying to learn everything on my own because I dont have alot of money to put towards anything right now. My husband and I are in a tight spot with bills. We are actually debating on downgrading into a smaller house to save money and start paying bills off. With me being a SAHM money is tight! If we could get some things paid off i know that would help I just don’t know where to begin! I wish they had more tutorials on blogs so I could get mine set up the way I like. I know for anything to be worth anything you must work hard. I just don’t know where to begin! Any pointers would be great.

    Thank you Crystal for all you do in helping us I really appreciate your website and what all you put into it 🙂

    • Tabitha, I hear you! I remember when I first started blogging I read one of Crystal’s posts like this and felt totally discouraged. I could barely get traffic to my blog let alone make money!

      One of the things that I found to help build traffic was to ask companies if they would be willing to let me review a product and/or do a giveaway. Then I hit up sites that did giveaway linkys and posted my link there. Slowly but surely I was able to get a half decent amount of readers. Obviously, you still have to have decent blog content or you won’t keep any of those people that come to enter your giveaways.

      I hope that can help you out a bit! It’s definitely not easy work!

      • Crystal says:

        Crystal, I’ve been dabbling into blogging for 3 years now. My problem is finding a niche that I enjoy writing about. I feel lost. I have jumped from blog to blog over the years and don’t know what to do anymore. I have the itch to blog again, but finding a topic is hard for me. Any tips?

        • Crystal says:

          Think about what you get excited about, what you could talk about everyday for ten years without getting tired of it, what you like to do in your free time, what you research and spend time thinking/dreaming/planning when you don’t have to. Also, just try writing different posts and different styles and see what you find you really enjoy!

      • Tabitha says:

        Thank you Lydia for the great advice 😉 At least I know I am not alone! How did you build your website did you hire someone? I still want to update it all like adding footers and things but I cannot find out how to do it. The entry thing is a great idea I see that alot! Also, Crystal put you can make money with like…like I see people clicking on my coupon links but still I haven’t made a dime…Is there a trick to it? Thanks!

      • I hope this is OK to post (if not, please delete Crystal!) but since Lydia mentioned hosting giveaways I thought I would let your readers know that SavingsAngel is always interested in working with bloggers who either want to review our service or host a giveaway. We also have an affiliate program for bloggers available. If anyone wants more info, they can reach me at

    • Crystal posted an entire series full of great tips about how to make money blogging!

      The first post is here:

      Or you can go here to see all of the posts at the same time:

      Happy reading!

    • Crystal says:

      Have you checked out

      Also, I strongly discourage people from starting a blog solely for the purpose of earning cash. You have to have a ton of passion and heart behind a blog for it to be successful for the long haul. The income can be a wonderful perk, but I’d encourage you to start with setting up your blog for success by following the points I outline here before you really work hard to monetize it:

      I’d recommend experimenting with different writing styles, topics, and content to figure out what you’re really passionate about and what you love writing about. It took me a lot of experimenting to land upon my niche. By the way, I didn’t have any money to start out with, so I did everything myself — and it was often very hard learning curve for a non-techy like me. But the hard work will pay off — if you keep pressing along even when you want to give up!

      • Dianna says:

        “Also, I strongly discourage people from starting a blog solely for the purpose of earning cash. You have to have a ton of passion and heart behind a blog for it to be successful for the long haul.”
        I was just about to say the same thing. You really need to have a passion for your topic. Blogging is not as easy as some people think and you need to be able to connect with your readers. There is also some technical stuff to learn.

      • Candi says:

        I definitely recommend! I have learned a lot there!

  • Sarabell says:

    Great tips, thank you! I didn’t know Amazon Affiliates could change the agreement rate. I don’t make much money with them any ways, but I definitely only do small items so I guess I’ll be on the lookout for that! Thanks for the heads up!

  • Last winter I took the Blogelina course that was offered for free here through Money Saving Mom and I learned a lot about growing my blog and steps to take towards making money. I still haven’t made any money, though. I’m really curious if I ever get >1,000 visitors a month will I see any money, even a dribble? My guess is that it’s easier to make a bit of money, too, if you are a deal finding/thrifty/shopping blog as opposed to a personal essay-type blog. But here’s to trying!

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, you could definitely see income even with a handful of visitors. It’s all in how you approach it. Try your hand at a few different income-generating ideas for your blog and experiment to see if anything works. Experimentation is the best way to learn and grow as a blogger!

    • Maegen says:

      None of my business, but your blog is Hilarious!
      I believe the Scary Mommy gal actually makes no money from her blog but has made money through a book deal and other opportunities.
      I wouldn’t give up on making money with it, but I’d find successful blogs in the parenting humor niche to try and model. See if you can get more guest posts out there, and use some of your sidebar real estate to put up a, “Greatest hits,” list, and use some more of your menu bar to do the same. That’s my two cents as a not-very-popular blogger. Really, I have no idea why you’d listen to me….but I seriously think you (and your hubby) are hilarious. I almost died at the part about the statue holding an ipad! Hope you’ll forgive my butting in. I just felt compelled to let you know your stuff is great.

      • Maegan,

        Thanks so much for “butting” in! You’re butt is always welcome. (See, even in the comments I can’t contain myself!) I appreciate your encouraging words and am glad you found my site humorous (that’s the whole point!). I’m not going anywhere cause we’re still doing things crazily around here. 🙂 I truly appreciate your encouragement.


  • Melissa says:

    I’m curious about your E-junkie affiliation. I know I (as a seller who uses E-junkie) can set up an affiliate program and offer my affiliates money for promoting my product, but I don’t know (and can’t find on their website) how you would be an affiliate of E-junkie. Are you earning affiliate money through a vendor that uses E-junkie or straight from the company?

    • Crystal says:

      I’m referring to using E-Junkie as an affiliate hub for various downloadable products from others. Commission Junction, as well as others on this list, are the same way.

      I hope that clarifies!

  • Lisa says:

    I had to chuckle about Amazon’s comment to you that you’re sending “low profit sales” to them! I was just thinking last night about the days of stacking the $10 coupons from the baby magazines to get cases of diapers for as low as $2! Amazon has made lots of changes lately (such as now charging for Amazon Mom) that I figure are a response to couponers. Oh, well. As always, we hard-core couponers will continue to adapt and know we can count on Crystal to keep us informed on how to make “low profit purchases”!! 🙂

  • It can take a long time blogging to see significant readership, so you have to really like the topic. I’d say that the one other way to get paid for blogging is to blog for someone else. If you’re a writer (or were in a past life) sometimes corporate blogs or organization blogs or even a busy individual needs content but doesn’t have time to produce it all. Ghost blogging can be lucrative, or if you have particular expertise, you can blog under your own name.

  • This is great! I’m working on an ebook right now; and I’m gathering all the advice I can find…thanks for the info!

  • Can you give me more information about Dedicated Media. They actually called me a few months ago and I don’t really understand their website, so I never returned their call.

  • Sarah says:

    I love that you mentioned Carrie’s Grocery University. It is a great resource. Her sites are also amazing! I highly recommend them to anyone in Denver or Colorado Springs areas. I check those sites every week for local deals. She rates local stores’ ad prices so it really helps you know what’s worth buying. She has revolutionized my grocery budget and how I shop! She and Crystal are two peas in a pod when it comes to frugality!

  • Nya says:

    Where do you go to find hot of the press deals to blog about? Like the grocery, drug store, magazine, retail, and other great finds…

  • This is a great list. I love your site. This information is very useful! Thank you:)

  • kathy says:

    I need something as basic as what is the first step I take? I don’t even know how to post a blog online. I mean I need serious baby steps help. Right now I’m interested in blogging to get my topic out tthrre, not on making money. Is there a place I can go for this basic of help? And can you simply run a blog from a Facebook page and if so what are advantages /disadvantages?

  • kathy says:

    Good morning Crystal and thank you so much for your interest in my “dilemma ” and your prompt reply. I will be checking out this site. I am on one of the greatest God given adventures of my life :writing my first book! And I believe a blog and ebook would go hand in hand with this ad my main goal is to get the book, hardcover or estyle in folks hands. I don’t want cost to prevent anyone from reading the book.

  • Debi says:

    I do not have a website and not sure how to set one up, but I could definitely use some help as I am on disability and really could use some extra money.

    I would be very grateful if someone could tell me how to go about it.

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