Michelle Schroeder-Gardner didn’t start out knowing how to make money blogging. She worked as a financial analyst a wanted to document her struggle to pay off student loans.
So, in 2011, she started Making Sense of Cents, where she wrote about side hustles and odd jobs that helped her pay off thousands in debt. Also, she wrote about saving money on groceries, living minimally and with less.
“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.”
But shortly after she started her blog, a finance company offered her $100 to write a sponsored post. From then on, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner was hooked and vowed to learn all she could about making money blogging.
In 2013, she was making enough from her blog to quit her full-time job and hasn’t looked back.
“Blogging has completely changed my life for the better and it’s something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.”
Michelle and her husband first started traveling in an RV
Once Michelle was making good money blogging, she and her husband decided to sell their home and get rid of most of their stuff. They bought a Class A motorhome and started traveling the United States while Michelle worked on Making Sense of Cents.
She estimates she now only works on her blog about 10 hours per week, and hires the rest out to virtual assistants.
Michelle hit millionaire-status by her late 20s, and some people question why she’d want to live in a motorhome.
“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 is one of many young people who’ve ditched the “normal” life for one of freedom and adventure.
The importance of paying off debt to live a life of freedom
One of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s most popular posts is 75+ ways to make extra money, or “side hustles.”
Through teaching people how to save and make money, Michelle hopes to create a “new normal” of 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.”
She said it’s okay to have credit cards for the rewards points if you can pay them off every month.
“But its only worth it if you can afford the debt,” said Michelle. “The average car loan payment is almost $400 per month….the average person doesn’t need that.”
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Michelle’s move to a catamaran sailboat
They learned to sail in Florida, and are now cruising the Caribbean.
Now that Making Sense of Cents is making big money, Michelle’s goal is to be more present in life and enjoy traveling with her husband and dogs.
Online businesses can take a lot of time and effort, and it’s easy to work 10 hour days and forget to be present and enjoy life.
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 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.”
To follow Michelle’s adventures, check her out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michelleschro/
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.