A non-grubby way to use affiliate links on Want Less

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I think I’ve come up with a win-win-win.

Bear with me, but I reckon it’s a way that:

  • I can give personal recommendations for any tools I’m using to simplify my life and improve my finances;
  • You can get the unbiased lowdown and decide whether they might work for you;
  • And, as an added bonus, we might even raise some money for a good cause.

I’ve always been strongly of the opinion that this site should not contain advertising. So that’s why you see no banner ads promising ‘one weird trick’ to remove belly fat and no paid guest posts by companies or brands bigging up their wares. I understand why some people do that, but speaking as someone who writes about cutting back, saving money and living with less, well, it didn’t seem right.

This means, effectively, that I’ve been leaving some money on the table.

But what if we can harness some of that money for good?

Now, don’t panic, I’m not going to start plastering the site with click-bait ads. But what I am talking about is starting to use the occasional affiliate link.

Affiliate links work like any other link – they take you through to another website when you click on it. But they’re set up so the referring site can sometimes get a reward of a few pennies, perhaps per click or perhaps when the reader signs up with an account.

Honestly, I’ve been really torn about whether to start using these or not. On the one hand, I love discovering things that make my life simpler or cheaper and sharing my discoveries here. But I would never want my readers to think I was taking advantage of them or didn’t have their best interests at heart. YOU ARE MY PEOPLE!

I would absolutely hate it if people thought I was pushing some product down their throat in order to make a few pence for myself. I mean, ugh.

Affiliate links also don’t make a huge amount of money, so the idea of ‘selling out’ for a couple of quid seemed stupid.

But I’ve been thinking long and hard and … I reckon I’ve devised a non-grubby way of occasionally using affiliate links on the site. Here goes.

My pledges are:

  • All my writing will remain completely unbiased, objective and free from commerical interests;
  • I will continue to give my REAL recommendations for great services I use and get value from, which I think could save you either money, time or stress. Sometimes I may use an affiliate link, sometimes not, but it’ll never influence my writing;
  • Posts with affiliate links will be few and far between and I won’t shy away from raising any potential downsides of the products or services linked to;
  • Affiliate links will always be clearly marked as such;
  • ALL money I make through affiliate links, I will donate to the debt charity StepChange.

Yup, that’s right. Any and all money the site makes in this way will go straight to charity.

I’m finally emerging from a really long and painful battle with debt, but I know so many people have it so much worse than me. I haven’t faced long periods of joblessness, been chased by bailiffs or had my home repossessed. I haven’t had to support children or had to choose between paying off debts or buying essentials like food. Problem debt wrecks homes and families, and StepChange does great work helping those in crisis.

I think this could be a good way to tell you about services I get value from – which I would do anyway – while contributing to a great cause.

For example, I might recommend a book about minimalism, a survey site I’ve been using to make some spare cash or a meditation app.

But I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Seriously, if everyone thinks it’s a dreadful idea, it won’t happen. Simple as that.

Do you think it’s a good plan? Or would it make you trust the site less? Please feel free to leave an honest message below and let’s see where we go.


If you like what you read, subscribe to Want Less via the arrow at the top of the page, follow Claire on social media using the buttons under the title or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to check out Claire’s other site, Simplicity Voices.

19 thoughts on “A non-grubby way to use affiliate links on Want Less

  1. Serene Focus says:

    This is a difficult one for me. I don’t know what to comment. I just find this blog so unique, so different from other ones. I find it to be a blog with a more authentic voice. So without thinking long about it I have a hard time to reconcile the idea of this blog with affiliate links. But I am very open to the possibility that I am wrong. Maybe I am too old school about it. Maybe it is a good way to generate money and to take advantage of the new economy instead of being at the fringe of it. Or, is it strange to make people buy things in order to simplify theirs lives? In my view simplifying is a mind set and it cannot be achieved by acquiring more. I wonder if the whole consumerism idea like “if I could just possess this one thing I would be a more happy person” is the same whether it refers to clothes:”if I buy this dress, I will be more beautiful and everyone will love and admire me” or self-improvement tools: “if I buy this wonderful meditation app or read this minimalist book I will finally get it and be able to simplify and be more happy, more zen, more loveable”? Isn’t it all about searching for external answers when the answers to our quest have to be found inside? If the links are affiliated, isn’t it an inherent incitament to put more of them, especially if it is for a good cause? Isn’t the line very fine between a recommendation and sending the message of “lack” to somebody? And isn’t it ironic that it would use the same mechanism to help people in debt as the one that made them in debt at firt first place? That’s my first reaction. But I am very interested to read other comments and I might realise I am wrong!

    1. Hi, thank you so much for such a well thought out and thorough response. A lot to chew over here. Honestly, I have many of these same concerns. A lot to consider here, but thank you so much for your honesty. It’s really valued.

  2. Linda Sand says:

    I love finding out what other people have liked or not liked. Links make it easier to go to the purchase site to help me decide if I’d like that, too. Ive made some excellent purchases through links.

  3. Karen (Scotland) says:

    Go for it.
    1. Your reviews crack me up, especially the half body experiments. Give us more reviews!
    2. Affiliate links don’t freak me out, even when the blog post is a blatant plug. If I trust the blogger, I’m happy to hear them out.
    3. Bloggers are generous with time and thoughts – I don’t mind you looking for pennies back (whether for you or charity). I’m of the old-fashioned belief that sharing intellectual property should be rewarded.
    🙂
    Karen (Scotland)

  4. Sandra says:

    I love your blog. It’s definitely my favourite and, especially because you’ll donate the money to a great cause, I would say: go for it!

  5. LM Radja says:

    Sounds straight forward to me. I agree that it’s nice to be able to easily check out something via a link. Go for it!

  6. SunnieTX says:

    Its always wonderful when someone is selfless enough to search for a way to “give back” to a cause that has helped them. You have always been a sincere gal and thus, I dont expect to be overwhelmed by cheesy ads. Like everything else you do-I know you will put thought into it. It will be for a good cause – go for it 🙂

  7. CathieB says:

    Hi Claire- I love your blog and haven’t a problem with this idea. I also love your Simplicity Voices
    website. I wonder how you have the resources to keep that website going? It is a marvellous idea and
    I look at it every day! I tried to donate money to its upkeep but ran into a snag because I needed to
    enter the name of the town where I live but I could not because I don’t live in the UK ( I live in Canada).
    I could enter my Canadian postal code however. I wonder how you plan to juggle needing donations to run SV but also giving donations to charity when mentioning affiliate links on your blog. It seems a bit
    of a contradiction. PS. Still want to donate to SV

    1. Hi Cathie, thanks for the support! I’m not sure how I keep it going either…but knowing there’s an appreciative audience out there helps!
      Concerned to hear about the snag in trying to donate to Simplicity Voices from Canada. I will email you to see if we can work round it. I’ve had donations from the UK, USA, Australia…weird that Canada is getting blocked.

  8. I understand that running a blog costs money….very little in life is free. But I have unsubscribed to so many blogs that I once enjoyed because it seems they’ve become more ads than blogs…..even some that are purportedly about minimizing and simplifying and paring down. However, I still read the blogs that simply provide affiliate links. I don’t feel that affiliate links are too pushy unless ALL THE POSTS are geared around them. I enjoy reading what other people have discovered that they find to be useful in a effort to simplify their lifestyle. Just because I’m endeavoring to simplify and become more minimal in what I have and what I purchase doesn’t mean that I’ll never want or need to purchase something ever again. Perhaps I’ll need to purchase clothespins and you’ve found some really great ones….. I’d be delighted to know where you’ve found yours. If I don’t need clothespins, noone is forcing me to open the affiliate link, right? You’re a trustworthy blogger and I trust that you’ll not turn this into a “this one weird trick” and endless “Buy me! Buy this!” type of blog. And the pennies that the affiliate links generate will be going​ to a worthwhile charity…. I say go for it.

  9. Angela G. Horn says:

    We use affiliate links in our posts, but we only link to stuff we’ve actually used, read or whatever. I also agree that those ‘spammy’ lose belly fat now! ads are an abomination. Also, kudos to you for donating all proceeds to charity! We spend ours on coffee. 😉

  10. I love the idea 🙂 And love that you chose a charity in the financial realm too! You don’t see that too often these days, even on personal finance blogs which is kinda weird? We kinda just made one up with our #DebtDrop project, but gonna have to look into StepChange more… you should link to them in the article so others can easily go over and learn!

  11. Christine says:

    If I trust the blog, I don’t mind it being monetized. I believe the work should be rewarded.

    On a humorous but also cringe-worthy note, another personal finance blog I read had advertising posts written by other people, including one of ways to save or make more money that recommended online gambling.

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