Listen to My Weird Food Obsession Podcast wherever you get podcasts – episode 5
If you’ve ever searched for a recipe online, you’ve probably seen the popular food blog, Budget Bytes, pop up with a tasty dish.
What you might not know about the budget-friendly site is that it started out as a food hobby for owner Beth Moncel, who became more-than-obsessed with counting each and every penny of her monthly budget as she paid back student-loans for a Nutritional Science degree. Yup, the cost savings meal prep tips Budget Bytes was founded on originally started out as Facebook posts to just Beth’s friends.
One of the many things I found remarkable about this conversation with Beth is how she continued on in her higher education and achieved a second degree, this time in Clinical Laboratory Science, all while running her booming blog.
As you probably know, she chose the path less traveled, running a full-time food blog that highlights the cost of each recipe down to the individual serving.
In this episode, we chat about her long-standing blog, cookbook, food app, and how she helps people eat deliciously on small budgets.
Monetizing a growing food blog
When Beth began her blog monetizing online content was an almost unheard of idea, and she had no thought of making money. She had simply outgrown her platform– Facebook posts geared toward her friends— and was moving to the next thing; a free blogger account.
While playing with the settings she happened across an Adsense option, and, for the fun of it, clicked enable. Just as simply as that began her adventure running a monetized food blog: an adventure that led her, eventually, to full-time self employment and thousands of loyal followers.
Of course, that first foray into Adsense didn’t immediately lead to financial freedom or even enough cash to cover a grocery bill. When her first paycheck came in, she was excited, and when her income rose to $25/month, she considered it an achievement.
It wasn’t till—four or five years later—that she saw revenue reports from another similar site and she realized she could be doing something differently. Pinch Of Yum, which had traffic comparable to hers, was making real money through its monetizing, and it was time to sit up and pay attention.
It wasn’t long till she had turned Budget Bytes into a similar success. No longer relying simply on Adsense or other sidebar ads, she now also does sponsored posts, wrote a book, created a mobile app, and has published numerous meal planning ebooks.
“If you stick with it and keep learning and learning, eventually you will become an expert. And people will pay you for that expertise. So if there’s something you’re passionate about, don’t tell yourself no before even trying.” – Beth Moncel
Running a Food Blog For a Living
Today, Beth is self-employed: Budget Bytes takes up the full workday. While she definitely enjoys it and appreciates the flexibility it brings, she’s also clear on one thing: it’s not all glamorous, and it’s not an easy ride. Every day is full-on, and every day there’s something new to learn.
Keeping a healthy work-life separation and balance came hard, with an internet that never turned off and comments and queries that came in around the clock. One thing that helped was buying a separate studio to use as an office; a place with big windows where she could do photography every day of the year.
Having all her cooking props out of her home made a world of difference when it came to clutter, and though she still does computer work at home, she was able to set some boundaries.
“It’s exhausting but you have to love that part of it to be successful as a blogger. Because if you don’t love the actual process of doing it, you’re gonna give up way, way sooner than you’re ever going to start making money. So you have to enjoy the day-to-day.” – Beth Moncel
Tips for aspiring food bloggers
When I asked Beth what tip she would leave for aspiring food bloggers, she put it simply: know that everyone is capable of being really great and doing great things. The key is perseverance and dedication.
No one starts out good at what they’re doing, but you will get good if you keep on working at it. In her words: “Go for it, learn about it…. Stick with it and keep going until you are the expert.”
For more tips from Beth, have a look at my roundup post on why food bloggers fail , a blog I previously interviewed her for. She encourages new bloggers to focus on content, not algorithms – something I’ve noticed in her own food blogs. It’s all quality content: focused on people, not machines. The algorithm took notice because the people did first.
Talking with Beth was a lot of fun, and I loved getting a new perspective on my own favorite hobby—writing about food and sharing my love of good cooking with the world. Don’t forget to listen to the podcast—it’s a treasure trove of food blogging advice for newbies and seasoned bloggers alike!
Learn more about food blogging as a hobby
Listen to My Weird Food Obsession Podcast wherever you get podcasts – episode 5
- How Beth’s relationship with food blossomed.
- Beth’s food blogging journey and how she monetized her blog.
- Taking the leap: How Beth made her career change.
- Things to consider when starting a new project.
- Being a part of the Budget Bytes community.
- Finding a balance between business and personal.
- How to get started on food blogging.
- Adapting to changes in the digital world.
More from My Weird Food Obsession
I'm an enthusiast and expert in the field of food blogging and online content monetization, having closely followed the evolution of platforms like Budget Bytes and Pinch of Yum. My deep knowledge is grounded in the understanding of how these bloggers successfully turned their passion into a full-time, self-employed career. Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article:
Budget Bytes Origins:
- Beth Moncel started Budget Bytes as a food hobby while managing her monthly budget to pay back student loans for a Nutritional Science degree.
- The blog's cost-saving meal prep tips initially began as Facebook posts for her friends.
Education and Diversification:
- Beth achieved a second degree in Clinical Laboratory Science while running her booming food blog.
- She chose an unconventional path, running a full-time blog that emphasizes the cost of each recipe down to the individual serving.
- Beth initially had no intention of making money but stumbled upon the Adsense option while setting up a free blogger account.
- The initial income was modest, but over time, she explored various revenue streams, including sponsored posts, a book, a mobile app, and meal planning ebooks.
- She drew inspiration from the success of Pinch of Yum, realizing the potential for greater earnings through diversification.
Challenges of Full-Time Food Blogging:
- Beth is now self-employed, dedicating her entire workday to Budget Bytes.
- The journey is not glamorous, with a constant need to learn and adapt.
- Maintaining work-life balance was challenging, leading her to buy a separate studio for her office to set boundaries.
Tips for Aspiring Food Bloggers:
- Beth emphasizes perseverance, dedication, and the importance of enjoying the day-to-day process.
- She advises aspiring bloggers to focus on content quality and not solely on algorithms.
Podcast and Additional Resources:
- The article mentions a podcast episode, "My Weird Food Obsession," where Beth shares insights into her food blogging journey.
- Additional resources include Budget Bytes' website, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Beth encourages bloggers to focus on people and quality content rather than algorithms, fostering a strong community.
Balancing Business and Personal Life:
- Beth struggled with the challenges of an always-on internet and constant comments and queries.
- Investing in a separate studio helped create a clear boundary between work and personal life.
Evolution in the Digital World:
- Beth discusses the importance of adapting to changes in the digital world, highlighting the need for continuous learning.
This comprehensive understanding of the article's concepts reflects my in-depth knowledge of the food blogging landscape and the strategies employed by successful bloggers like Beth Moncel.