Sunday Conversation #5 with Frugal Dad

cupofcoffee06082008.jpgWelcome to Sunday Conversation #5! If you would like to participate in next week’s Sunday Conversation, simply ask your question in the comments section of today’s post and I will respond next Sunday. Remember, any subject is on the table (but keep it family-friendly).

David asks, “Wow your site is doing really well for only having this blog for 6 months. I got a question for you, How much do you make/month from this blog? How much have you made cumulatively? When did it start to take off (if it has yet)? “

I’d rather not get into specific numbers, for a variety of reasons. Advertisers tend to frown on such disclosure, so I’ll just answer in general terms. The first two months Frugal Dad was live it made enough to cover hosting fees, the domain registration fee and maybe a dinner or two at McDonalds (value menu only!). It wasn’t until the third full month that I began to make enough money to really feel an impact. This probably makes sense considering the average blog folds within 90 days. In some ways, success is a matter of attrition – you have to outlast those who give up too early. It’s a shame though; many excellent blogs probably quit only a few weeks before they were set to really take off.

Sherry asks, “Hi, may I ask where do you get the images for your site? They are very clear and beautiful.”

Thanks for the compliments on the photos here at Frugal Dad, but unfortunately I have very little to do with it! I use photos from A word about using photos from Flickr – I recommend sticking to those under the Creative Commons license and including an attribute with link back to the flickr page where you found the photo. Other photos may have rights reserved and prevent you from using them anywhere.

Katy asks, “Have you had advertisers contact you, or are your ads affiliates?”

Yes, I usually receive several advertising requests per week. Most deals work out, but a few fall through. When advertising is thin I supplement with affiliate ads via my membership through LinkShare. <–Here’s a link if you are interested in signing up.

Kelly asks, “How do you deal with anonymity issues? You are anon. on this blog, am I correct, yet you mentioned putting your blog address on business cards etc for traffic reasons. Do you feel a conflict, or has the amount of exposure through this route been small enough so that you don’t worry about it?”

Early on every personal finance blogger has to make a tough decision – to remain anonymous or not. I started out blogging anonymously, but had a few media interviews that wanted to use my real name. Fortunately, I had decided not to include any “real” numbers such as my salary earnings, networth, etc. so I really had nothing to hide. Interestingly, the business cards don’t have my name listed, but my next set probably will. My first order just had my site name, URL and a few taglines to describe the blog. I typically drop these off in fish-bowl drawings at restaurants, leave a few around the grocery store aisles, or include them in the envelope with a paper bill, etc.  On the rare occasion anyone asks me about the blog I give them a card so they can look it up later.

Luke asks, “In the years leading up to having kids, what is your advice for a family to prepare?”

Despite what people will tell you, kids are not that expensive. One of the biggest mistakes I hear people make is to put off having kids for financial reasons, as if they are waiting for the perfect time to have kids. My advice to couples is if you are with your soulmate, you both want to have kids, and you are reasonably established (have a secure job, insurance, etc.) then by all means start trying to have children. If you wait for everything to be perfect you may wait forever. Having said that, there are a few things you should consider before having kids:

  • Try to pile up at least a three-month emergency fund in case there are complications with delivery and both parents are required to take an extended leave from work. This is more important than debt repayment, so for eight or nine months make this your priority and continue to make minimum payments on debt.
  • If you have debt, and your emergency fund is already in place, try to eliminate as much debt as possible before your baby arrives. During those first couple years you and your spouse will be preoccupied with taking care of baby, and don’t need the added burden of a pile of debt.
  • Try to settle into your job and your home before kids arrive. Psychologists say that the most stressful events in a lifetime are typically around child birth, moving, changing jobs, death and divorce. We relocated a couple months before our second child was born, and changing jobs, buying a new home, and having a baby made for a very stressful few months.
  • Consider adding to your current life insurance. Many times two-income couples carry only a minimal amount of life insurance, usually provided by their employer. With a baby entering the picture it is a good time to add term-life policies outside of your employer’s plan.

Gretchen asks, “Who does the cooking in your house? Or are you more of a go-out-to-eat type of household?”

My wife does the majority of the cooking in our house, but I am the “Grill Master,” so I handle any required grilling. I am an able cook, but my wife is better, so unless she is not home or out of town she handles most of the cooking duties (and my kids are thankful!). We do eat out occasionally – at least once a week. However, even then we try to look for restaurants where the kids eat free on certain nights, or there are two-for-one deals or similar. The $5 foot long sandwich promotion at Subway has been a popular one in our household!

Marci asks, “Does this blogging feel more like fun or like work? Enjoying your blog!”

Thanks Marci! For the most part I enjoy it, too. I do have to confess that it is more work than I imagined it would be before I started. Many people have the incorrect perception that bloggers just write up a post and publish it in a matter of a few minutes. Not so. I usually spend half an hour or so planning, researching, brainstorming for new posts, and another half hour or so writing them. Then I have to locate graphics, include any relevant links, etc. and then schedule it for posting. Since I write at more than one location I have to repeat this process to produce articles for multiple sites, and work on any freelance writing projects I’ve taken on. I’m also in the very early planning stages of putting together a book manuscript to shop around, so any free time (you know, between 1:00am – 2:00am) is spent on organizing my thoughts around a book idea. All this, in addition to my full time job and family time keeps me pretty busy, but I wouldn’t quit now if someone paid me to. Well, unless they paid me A LOT!

Do you have a question you would like to see answered here next week? Simply post a comment to this article below and I’ll include your question in next week’s Sunday Conversation.

photo by OiMax


  1. I agree with you that most people do not realize that blogging involves a lot of time an preparation. Still, its a fun hobby.

  2. Thanks for answering my question! I can understand the time issue you cited in your answer to Marci’s question. I am a consultant, I take care of my kids part-time, I write a blog, and I am writing a book. My book is nonfiction and it is due to my editor in 3 months. Good luck with your manuscript. If you want any tips on preparing them let me know.

  3. Good luck with the juggling act – you’re doing a most interesting job of it! And thanks for the personal answer – have to admit – I was surprised by it 🙂 Thanks!

  4. “Try to settle into your job and your home before kids arrive.” Good advice. We moved a week before I gave birth. My hubby was 3 months into a new job, and I started my teaching career 7 weeks after our son was born. Looking back, I’m not sure how we stayed reasonably sane.

    Really enjoying your blog.

  5. Thanks for answering my question. It is tough to keep up blogging, I have recently slowed down on the post frequency, it gets hard to write good material. I don’t like to copy and I like my posts to be useful. Also there is the time issue.

  6. My wife and I are considering a move away from our current area. What would you say are the most important things to look for in our future area (We hope to have kids before or around the time so you can factor that in)?

  7. Hello-
    I was wondering if you had an entry about the actual costs of buying your first home. I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences, if you got any surprises a few months after you signed (unknown expenses) not like appliances breaking etc?

    I loved your article about Roth spousal IRAS. Very helpful. thank you for helping answer my earlier questions.