Monique's Experiments

Lunch Money

❓ Lunch Money is a personal finance management web app.

🗓 Launch date : August 2019

💰 Price : $10/ month or $100/ year

💸 Current revenue : $80k ARR with 1,000 users (Source)

📈 Acquisition channels used : SEO, Hacker News, Twitter

🌎 Website 


Acquisition channels

Best channels

A successful Show HN post got Lunch Money their first 100 paying users (from 1000 signups) [Source], but we should all remember that Hacker News is not a reliable source of traffic ! 

Jen, the founder, explains that her post was flagged due to suspicious upvoting activity in the beginning, and that it was given a second chance by a HN moderator (Source). 

According to Jen,”in the beginning, they (the users) came mostly from Hacker News and Twitter” (Source)

What’s interesting to note here is that Jen was actively looking for users dissatisfied with Mint, a strategy that ended up paying off, as 40% of her users are ex-Mint users (Source) ! 

As for Lunch Money’s Twitter presence, there’s an “official” Lunch Money’s twitter account : @lunchmoney_app (1,241 followers at the time of writing), but Jen also posts updates about the app on her personal account, @lunchbag (4,259 followers at the time of writing, 1,281 in August 2019)


This is another illustration of the whole “people trust people, not brands” concept.

In her Indie Hackers AMA, Jen said that SEO was one of Lunch Money’s main traffic sources, so I was interested in looking into Lunch Money’s best performing pages & backlinks.

⭐ The website’s SEO conversion rate is 7% (Source)

SEO clicks estimates are most likely inaccurate, especially taking into account the fact that the site gets around 93.4k visits each month (according to Similar Web), but in my opinion the takeaway here is the use of competitor competition pages. This is a very efficient SEO tactic for SaaS companies, and if you want to learn more about it, Marketing Examples has a great article that details how the online platform Podia uses it.

  • Lunch Money’s best performing backlinks :

The website has a very diverse backlink profile : 

  • Interviews : Jen has been interviewed on Failory (Domain authority : 61), Indie Hackers (DA : 77), etc.
  • Awards/Contests : Lunch Money has won Jamstack web app of the year, and was featured on Netlify’s blog (DA : 86)
  • Testimonials : She’s featured on Zabo’s homepage (DA : 40)
  • Personal finance blogs : Several “top budgeting apps” article mention Lunch Money, like this one from Wallet Hacks (63), this other one from Supermaker (DA : 56)…

Finally, let’s zoom in on one specific backlink : one from TechCrunch. Here’s how Lunch Money probably ended up here : 

1)Journalist asks for best Mint alternatives on Twitter

2) Happy users mention Lunch Money

3) Jen chimes in 

4) Journalist includes Lunch Money in the article ! 🎉


This shows that you don’t need to go around spamming blog owners for backlinks. Instead, building relationships in your field, and making users fans of your product will get you better backlinks, with less effort. 

Other channels

Lunch Money has a referral program with a reward for the user that signs up (one free month), and for the user that shared the referral link (10% off one invoice).

2 Product Hunt launches : 

Jen regularly posts updates about Lunch Money on Indie Hackers.

Jen regularly posts updates about Lunch Money on her personal blog,

If you’re interested in solopreneurship, I’d definitely go check it out !

Here are my favorite ones : 

Channels that didn't work

Paid acquisition can be tricky for solo founders who don’t have VC money to burn. 

My recommendations would be :

  • Install the FB pixel & Google Analytics Conversion Tracking on your site, and once you have enough conversions, run retargeting ads 
  •  Use ads for lead generation (only worth it if your customers have a high lifetime value)

In a blog post, Jen reveals that she has tried Facebook ads, but it didn’t work : “I ended up sinking close to a thousand dollars for an abysmal number of conversions” 

I’m not surprised, as the CPA for finance apps and products tends to be very high.

Jen hasn’t talked about this, but I assume that Google Ads didn’t work either, because I can see on SpyFu that she ran Google Ads from December 2019 to March 2020.


❤ What I like

  • How she differentiates Lunch Money from big players like Mint or YNAB as a solo founder :
    • Lunch Money is a simpler product with less features (eg : no mobile app), but with key differentiating features like multi-support currency.
    • Instead of shying away from the fact that she’s running Lunch Money alone, she’s totally leaning into it and making it a part of the product’s value proposition ! 

It clearly works : “[in a user survey], 20% of responses cited me as an indie developer as a reason why they love Lunch Money” (Source)


  • I love the design of the website, especially the free trial CTA !