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From doing this blog, I've learned a lot about how to manage my time and unexpectedly learned more about digital marketing topics. It’s safe to say this little blog has been the best unpaid internship I’ve ever had. No coffee runs required. :)
Old Bagan, Myanmar (when I visited in December 2016)

I first learned about the unruly thing that is known as unpaid internships back when I was in university. My major was in the media department and I quickly learned that many internships in the media industry were, and still are, unpaid.

Usually, companies try to dress it up as something more than it is. The position involves gaining valuable experience! You can build your portfolio and get exposure!

Well, you know what happens when people get a lot of exposure? They die. Just ask the sun.

As part of a university graduation requirement, I had to complete an internship. The one-hour credit cost $300. Factoring in the cost of gas to get to and from an internship and a student would literally be paying several hundreds of dollars just to do an unpaid internship.

It was dumb. I praised the internship gods when I finally got a good-paying internship during my final semester of university. I let out a sigh of relief, thinking unpaid internships were a blip in my past.

Well, how life surprises you! I’ve been working an unpaid internship in addition to my full-time job for the past year and I’ve actually liked it! The unpaid internship? Blogging.

I spent a little time gathering up all the costs I’ve put into this blog over the past year it’s been up.


There appears to be two main options when it comes to starting a blog: self-hosted WordPress or Squarespace. I’m on self-hosted WordPress. Lots of people rave about the benefits of it. It is great but the main reason I use it is because I’m familiar with it, haha. I used it a lot during a course I had at university and it just stuck to me. 

For nearly the first year of this blog, I used Bluehost as my web host. There are people who rave about Bluehost and many more people who talk about how crappy it is. Well, I had a 3-year hosting plan back from when I signed up years ago when I started building websites. Maybe I was lucky, but I didn’t have too much trouble with Bluehost during my time with them. 

I switched away since Bluehost didn’t seem like the type of service I could grow with. Siteground was hosting a Black Friday deal and I hopped on it. $66 for one year of hosting!

Plugins and icons and themes

I LOVE Creative Market. Gah, I’m obsessed with browsing the site. They offer six free goods starting on Monday every week. I’ve purchased some icons from the site and also got the Social Warfare plugin, which I love. Total cost for plugins, icons, and WordPress themes came to $92.30.


I rocked the free Mailchimp account for the longest. A couple months ago, I opted for the $10 plan to get the automation feature. Boardbooster is the scheduler tool I use for Pinterest.

Professional Development

Ah, this is always a big expense, isn’t it? Maybe not always. For me, it has been. Mainly because I decided to go to FinCon in September of last year, after unexpectedly winning one of the scholarships for a free pass. Even with the free pass, I still spent quite a bit. It was all worth it though for the bomb-digity people I got to meet. (and I’m sorry, but geez, I do not like the Ally bank cookies. Waaaay too sugary. The people who have gone to FinCon will know what I’m talking about. Almost everyone who goes loves the Ally Bank cookies. 

As for courses and such, on Black Friday 2016, I purchased a bump sale course special and got a bunch of courses from Made Vibrant and Jason Does Stuff for a low as heck price. And I’ve actually gone through two of the courses and put them into practice! Yay for actually using stuff! The cost for professional development came to $966.18 (most of the cost being FinCon).

Altogether, the total cost for running my blog for the first year came to $1,264.48 USD. A lot, yeah. It’s all been worth it, though. While I haven’t made any actual money from the blog itself, I have had opportunities pop up for things. And I love the personal finance blogger community!

I love reading stories about how people learn about money, how their blogs changed their lives, and such. People talk about how the personal finance space can be an echo chamber sometimes (have you read the 1,000,001 articles on emergency funds?). I can see how people say that but for the most part, I love reading people’s unique way they approach their money and how they use it for the life they want. 

From doing this blog, I’ve learned a lot about how to manage my time and unexpectedly learned more about digital marketing topics.

It’s safe to say this little blog has been the best unpaid internship I’ve ever had. No coffee runs required. 🙂 

What do you think of blogs? How can they help people? 

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Colin // RebelwithaPlan

Colin Ashby is the writer behind Rebel with a Plan, a website dedicated to people who choose to rebel against the norm of living in debt and feeling financially unenlightened. He believes everyone has an eccentric quality to embrace and that lattes are sometimes a necessity (despite what the personal finance community tells you).

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1 Comment on The Best Unpaid Internship There Ever Was

  1. Jason Butler
    April 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ve never looked at blogging as an unpaid internship, but you have a great point. It is something that you don’t get paid for especially in the beginning. I will say that it’s worth it though.


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