You will notice the Amazon search box on the side bar of my blog. I never thought I would add anything to my blog that would possibly entice someone to spend money. It goes against my nature and the intent of this blog. This blog is my way of telling others about ways I've learned to save money rather than spend it. My regular readers know how often I rant about the spend, spend, spend and buy, buy, buy thing. I once said that this blog is commercial free and would remain that way. So what changed? Well, let me explain.
I do believe there are some items a person should own to live a frugal life. What those items are depends on the individual person or family and their choices for frugal living. For example, I do use the library regularly because it's free but I also own books I feel are worth having in my own library for easy reference whenever I need them. I do shop thrift stores and discount bins first for items I want or need. My readers have seen some of the bargains I find. I rarely buy anything that is not a bargain in some form.
When I find a good book at the library and decide I really want to own a copy, I buy through Amazon. I prefer some books in paper but I also love books on disk I can listen to while working. Not long ago I wanted a good solar battery charger to have in my weather related preparedness items. The local stores I shop don't carry those so I shopped Amazon. I've been drooling for a really good quality pressure canner. I've not seen any pressure canners at all in the stores I shop. The stores around here don't seem to carry these anymore. I've been watching the thrift stores for a little over two years and none have shown up. I'll probably start searching Amazon for one before long.
I've tried ebay, craig's list, and other online related buying sites but I prefer Amazon. I've bought things through Amazon for a long time and never had a problem. I admit I'm a little slow about rating my purchases sometimes. What's really neat about Amazon is that there are ordinary people (just like me) selling things. Yes, there are a lot of businesses that sell there but a lot of regular people are selling their unused and unwanted items too. I mentally see Amazon as one big giant yard sale or thrift store open 27/7. When I buy an item through Amazon I feel as if a regular person is benefiting from my purchase. Not always but often enough. A couple of months ago I bought a replacement copy of my favorite cookbook. Mine was a copy, of a copy, of a copy given to me several years ago. I paid more than the lowest price for a used book simply because the seller said it was their personal copy. I felt more connected to that seller than the others with lower prices.
So you see, I feel like Amazon is yet another tool to help me live my frugal life. When I've exhausted all other means of finding an item, I can use the Amazon search to find it. I gave this a lot of thought and decided if someone is planning to buy something anyway, why not have a link on my blog to make it easier and possibly earn a little money if someone buys through the links. I'm still waiting to see if my application has been approved.
Hmm... about the money I'll earn. I truly don't expect it to be much. Heck, I may earn as much as a $10 Amazon gift card every few months. (grin) I can always use the gift card to help pay for one of my own purchases. I don't have enough readers planning frugal purchases for big earnings. At the same time I feel it's a good thing to help put buyers in touch with sellers. Ordinary sellers trying to sell what they no longer want or need and quite possibly selling stuff to help get themselves out of debt. There goes my active imagination again.
One other reason I have the Amazon search box is to see if it actually earns money for anyone who displays it. Remember, I said when I tell my readers how I do something that I believe is good frugal.... I want to say it because I've done it, am still doing it, and know it works. I believe the best way for me to comment (critique) about the associates program is to try it for myself. I like experiments sometimes. It was reading Joan's blog (How to be a housewife) that got me thinking about becoming an Amazon associate.
This experiment may not work for me. It appears the whole intent of the Amazon associates program is to get bloggers to entice readers to make purchases. I can't blame Amazon for wanting to earn money. That's why they opened the Amazon business in the first place isn't it? Hmm... I'm having difficulty describing how I hope the link helps rather than me trying to earn money.
Ok, let me try this. There is an old black and white movie where the real Santa Clause goes to work in a department store. (can't remember the name of the movie) What Santa is supposed to do is get people to buy toys from the store he works at. Santa instead tells parents about other stores that have the right toy instead of enticing the customers to buy a totally different toy from the store where he works. The store owner is obviously upset with Santa sending people to other stores to shop. But what really happens is the people actually become better customers for the store because Santa was looking out for their best interest. The customers vow to shop that store more often because the customers liked the "I think of you first" attitude.
I'm not Santa but I do want the Amazon link on my blog to be sort of like what the Santa in the movie did. I often tell my readers what I have and why I think it important (or not) to my frugal life. If you (the reader) actually buy one for yourself, the buying is your own decision for your own frugal life. For example, I may drool over a particular pressure canner but not everyone wants to can foods. Some may prefer freezing or drying instead of canning. There should be no reason for my blog to urge you to buy something you're not really interested in owning. Aww, fooey, I still don't think I'm explaining this right. I've gotten too wordy already. Maybe you get the intent of what I'm trying to say anyway?
After I've experimented with the Amazon associate program for awhile maybe you (the reader) may want to try it on our own blog too. Or maybe not. Hmm.... how long should this experiment last? Any suggestions?
Now if only..... I could get the amazon associates box to display below where I write my posts instead of beside it, it would be so much better. The constant flickering of the Amazon linky box messes with my eyesight and is very distracting. It also interferes with the buttons below the post writing box. I have to guess where the button are because they are invisible unless I scroll up and down to the perfect spot. Then I can see just a smidgen of the buttons.