If you’re wondering how to make money blogging, check out this story about Michelle Shroeder-Gardner, who runs the blog personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents, and now makes over $100,000 per month.
“I started my blog as a way to talk about my personal finance situation and my life and as just a hobby, as a diary,” she said. “I didn’t even know how to make money blogging.”
Michelle was working as a financial analyst when she got the idea to start a blog for fun in the summer of 2011. She wanted to teach people how to save money and also write about her own journey to pay off her student loans, which she paid in just seven months by working a bunch of odd jobs along with her full-time job.
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For her, blogging was a hobby and an outlet. She wrote about how to save money on groceries, for retirement, about living tiny and living with less. She posted articles about traveling on the cheap and taught people how to create and stick to a budget. Through all this writing, Michelle discovered blogging was her passion.
“I didn’t create a blog with the intention of making money,” she said. But in 2013, she really learned to make money blogging and was able to quit her full-time job, and hasn’t looked back since.
“Blogging has completely changed my life for the better and it’s something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.”
The importance of paying off debt
One of her most popular posts, with over 100,000 shares, is 75+ ways to make extra money, or “side hustles” as they’re called, many of which Michelle did herself to pay off debt. Through teaching people how to save and make money, she hopes to create a “new normal”, which is being debt-free.
“A lot of people normalize debt which means if so-and-so has a car payment, a lot of other people assume it’s okay for them to have a car payment, a large home payment, or furniture debt,” she said. “I think that normalizing debt is what’s getting people into a lot of financial trouble. People think they can afford $100 per month, but over the long run it creates more financial problems, delayed retirement or no retirement.”“A lot of people normalize debt which means if so-and-so has a car payment, a lot of other people assume it’s okay for them to have a car payment.'Click To Tweet
She thinks the only way a person should be in debt is if they can pay it off every month, like using credit cards with rewards points. <
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“It’s something you know you can afford, such as getting credit card rewards points you can use toward a free vacation,” she said. “But its only worth it if you can afford the debt. The average car loan payment is almost $400 per month….the average person doesn’t need that.”
Michelle travels full-time in an RV while making money blogging
One thing making money blogging has allowed Michelle to do is travel full-time. She and her husband sold their house and bought an RV, which they’ve been using to roam the United States while Michelle works. She estimates she now only works on her blog about 10 hours per week, and hires the rest out to virtual assistants.
Amazingly, Making Sense of Cents brings in over $100,000 per month through a combination of affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, ad revenue and courses Michelle sells to help other bloggers.
One of her popular courses is called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and teaches bloggers how to capitalize on this type of income.
She publishes income reports every month, which started out as chronicling how much she made from side hustles to inspire others to do the same. Now, her income reports are much larger and more detailed. In October of 2017, Michelle’s blog brought in over $136,000.
Michelle has hit millionaire-status by her late 20s, and some people question why she’d want to live and travel in an RV rather than buy a big, fancy house.
“Actually, our RV is much nicer than the house we owned ever was,” she said. “We don’t RV to save money, in case anyone is thinking that. We RV because we love the outdoors, we haven’t found the perfect place to live yet, and we like exploring all over the U.S.” She loves meeting new people and said more and more young people are embracing the RV lifestyle to find freedom and adventure.
Why she’s glad she learned how to make money blogging
Michelle is happy to have downsized and has gotten rid of most of her stuff. “I feel like there’s a lot of waste in the world. There is excess, and people do not need anywhere near the number of things they own.” Her blog encourages people to shop second-hand and to get rid of stuff they don’t need.
While blogging may sound like an easy way to make money and travel the world, Michelle said a lot of work goes into it. Running a blog is like running a business, and like any business, it takes a time, effort, education and hard work.
For now, Michelle has no plans to return to a “traditional” life of living in a house anytime soon. She loves being her own boss and a full-time blogger.
“I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling,” she said. “I truly love waking up every morning.”