Ads, Affiliate Links and Recommendations

There are several stages to becoming an established blogger.

One: Get a website up and running with a few blog posts.
Two: Start commenting on other people's blogs and Twitter accounts so they know you exist.
Three: Start getting spam comments on your articles.
Four: Start getting actual people to comment on your posts.
Five: Start getting emails from people with agendas.

Yesterday I received an email about an "Exciting new business partnership offer!" My eyebrows immediately shot up and my skeptical radar went to level 100. I've gotten a few offers from people pushing products and asking me to promote them here on my blog. I'm not about to just shove something onto you, my wonderful reader, without thoroughly testing and vetting it myself first. I figured since I did a review for JL Collins' book, I should clarify my stance on reviews, recommendations, ads, affiliate links, and the like.

I haven't put any ads on this site yet, and I'm not sure I will. I like the uncluttered, clean look of the site without ads. Not to mention, ads inconvienently placed in the middle of articles distract from the message people are trying to convey, and I don't want that for my blog. I've seen some fellow bloggers post their AdSense revenue, and it's usually not more than about $200/mo for blogs with similar size and audience as this one. $2400 to interrupt my flow? Nooooo thanks.

I'm doing this as a labor of love and to document my progress on my journey to FI. I'm not writing articles about my loud neighbors or my house hunting process to make money. 

I'm doing this because I think my adventures are fun, interesting, and more importantly, educational to at least one person out there on the Interwebs. I didn't start this as a side hustle so I could pay off $40,000 in student loan or consumer debt. (Not that there's anything wrong with that in the slightest!)

I'm doing this because I've gotten to meet and interact with a ton of really awesome people all over the world who are interested in the same thing I am. This network of people has helped me celebrate major milestones and picked me up when I feel everyone in life is against me and my goals. Not to mention, I'm getting to go to all sorts of really cool places and experience a lot of amazing adventures I never would've been able to with out this blog. (Like the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Investors' Meeting in Omaha, Camp Mustache in Seattle, and oh yeah, the Chautauqua in Ecuador! Not to mention all the other little meetups I have with FI people outside of the big meetings.)

So........ my pledge to you is this:

Fiery Millennials will remain ad and affiliate link free until further notice.

The only money I want to earn off this blog will be in the form of knowledge that I can apply to my finances.  So if you have any bits of wisdom for me, feel free to shoot me an email! Especially if you know the ins and outs of doing a backdoor Roth.

Gwen Recommends


While I'm not willing to put any affiliate links on the site right now, there are several services and products I can recommend for free! I use all of these regularly and am pleased with the quality I've gotten so far.

Mint: My one stop shop for a quick budget and accounts check. View more here at

Personal Capital: Other people get more use out of this site than I do, but I find it incredibly useful for the investing side of my finances. I love getting an in-depth view of where all my money is invested. Check it out at

Lab @ Mad Fientist: This is a fun little project from Brandon the "Mad Fientist". I use this to keep track of my progress (or lack thereof) towards my FI date. It tells me exactly (give or take a bit) what my FI date is based on the numbers I put in at the end of every month. You can find out more at


I haven't read that many finance/Financial Independence books, but the few that I've read I feel others can get use out of them as well. Therefore, none of them should come as a surprise since most of them are classics (or going to be soon):

The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins: see my review at The Simple Path to Wealth post.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel: A classic if you'd like to try to understand how Wall Street works. Now in it's 11th edition!

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley: Another classic (although severely outdated by now). Good for a look at the "typical" millionaire next door.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki: Apparently the "#1 Personal Finance book" of all time. Good to help you shift how you think about money.

I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi: Aimed at Millennials like us! Ramit has a series of really great videos on everything from cooking to negotiating a bigger salary increase on his website. Great resource!


I also recommend a stroll along the beach at sunset
I also recommend a stroll along the beach at sunset


These are in no particular order besides the one my brain spit out at me. I read all of these regularly and get a lot out of them. Hell, most of these inspired me to either start my own FI journey or start my own blog. Everyone I've met in person has been super nice and really helpful. Now........ down the rabbit hole.

Mr. Money Mustache: do I really need to say anything about him? didn't think so

Mad Fientist: Great for articles on taxes and working remotely. Almost FI.

Afford Anything: Real Estate, optimizing life, and general hilarity.

Go Curry Cracker: FI, great for tax articles and traveling

JLCollinsNH: Investing!

Money Boss: J.D. Roth has a new blogging adventure. Also check out the old stuff on Get Rich Slowly.

Frugalwoods: Frugal extraordinaires! Now they live on a rural homestead in Vermont. Great for pictures of their adorable greyhound.

Root of Good: Retired at 33 with 3 kids. Good for a look at a "normal" FI life.

EvenSteven: Great for encouragement as he just recently became debt free! Lives in Chicago except when I'm visiting (hah!).

Mr. 1500: Almost FI. Great for articles on renovating and dinosaur pictures.

Income Surfer: Just finished an epic roadtrip! With a toddler and a dog, he's got my mad respect.

Tawcan: Great for thought provoking articles and dividend advice.

Millennial Boss: another young blogger like me! Great for advice on dealing with the workplace as we slog towards FI.

Our Next Life: Another thought provoking blog as they work towards FI.

Ditching the Grind: a dual military family living simply overseas as they work towards FI

Amber Tree Leaves: A Belgian blogger who got a late start on FI.

Wealthy Accountant: Really great tax advice! (and other stuff as he's been FI for awhile now)

Fervent Finance: another youngin! A high earner transplant to the Midwest for now.

The Frugal Vagabond: Great for articles on real estate from afar.

Retire by Forty: A stay at home dad who is FI. Another great look at a "normal" FI life with some real estate sprinkled in.

Planting Our Pennies: A younger couple going for FI. I enjoy reading their updates!


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6 thoughts on “Ads, Affiliate Links and Recommendations

  1. Thanks for the shout out! It’s funny to me in the big scheme of things that I would be classified as a high income earner. It definitely didn’t feel that way when I was in Manhattan, but I guess I feel it a little more now with my recent move to the Midwest.

    I’ve taken the same stance on not earning money off the blog as you. Maybe some day, but pretty unlikely.

    • I don’t remember if you’ve put your income on your blog, but I’m pretty sure you earn more than me, which definitely puts you as a high earner in the Midwest. I’m extremely comfortable on my salary, so you’re probably living like a king now! ha that geographic arbitrage is coming in handy!

  2. Thank you for including me in the list! I agree with you on sponsored posts and advertising. Jim’s book is the first recommendation I have made. I’m open to it eventually but just want to make sure my blog is in a good place first. Also, I don’t understand Personal Capital’s appeal. I have it but don’t necessarily use it often. My net worth looks all funny because of my mortgage. I added it in after having Personal Capital for a few months and now don’t know how to clean it up historically. Not to mention that my fiancé has a share in that mortgage too and I don’t know how to divide it up between our accounts. We’re under contract though on our house so maybe Personal Capital will be more useful to me once our financial situation is simpler!

  3. I made the list! Woo-hoo! Gwen, I know you hate monetizing your blog. I used to feel that way too. The Wealthy Accountant will move to more of an affiliate/recommendation structure in the future, similar to Mr. Money Mustache. There is nothing wrong with earning a few more dollars.

    Leo Babauta at Zen Habits also avoids ads like the plague, but sells e-books and courses. I hope my blog is not too distracting in the placement of ads. I do keep them limited and use them to break up the page.

    It is also good to see your writing. Your perspective is so different from mine, which makes Fiery Millennials so much fun to read.

  4. We’ve toyed with the ideas of ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts from time to time, but ended up with a very small amount of adsense ads that throw off ~$1/day on average. (A little less, lately.) That basically pays for blog expenses, so I don’t get annoyed and cancel our BlueHost account when I see the auto-renew charge and I haven’t been feeling particularly bloggy lately. There is little I hate more than auto renew charges and I have been known to cancel them… =)

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