Hello and welcome to my personal finance and lifestyle blog! I created this blog in order to help me improve my finances (one example – due to this, I was able to pay off $38,000 in student loans in 7 months), keep track of my progress, and to help readers improve their finances along the way.
My name is Michelle and I am currently touring North America and living in an RV.
I am a young adult who graduated from an expensive private university in May of 2010 with a lot of student loan debt. I graduated from college after 2.5 years with two undergraduate business degrees, honors, and around $20,000 worth of student loan debt.
I then graduated again in August of 2012 with my Finance MBA with even more student loan debt.
With my master's degree included, I had around $38,000 altogether when I graduated (these are now all paid off).
My student loan debt was a big reason why I started this blog.
Anyway, I used to work in the financial services industry as a financial analyst, but now I am fully self-employed as an online freelancer and solopreneur. I publish monthly income updates where I discuss how I earn over $70,000 a month online, which you can find here.
Since August of 2011, Making Sense of Cents has received several awards and mentions, such as:
- Won Blog of the Year by the Plutus Awards at FinCon in 2016
- Won Best Personal Finance Blog for Millennials by the Plutus Awards in 2015
- Blogger of the Month for the site Ready for Zero.
- Zillow's Blog of the Week.
- Top 10 Personal Finance Blogs to Watch in 2015 by BadCredit.org
- Top Personal Finance Blog of 2012 Nominee (by One Smart Dollar and Ready for Zero)
- I have been nominated by the Plutus Awards in both 2013 and 2014 for: Best Personal Finance Blog for Young Adults, Best Blog Contributor/Freelance Writer and Blog of the Year. For 2015, I have been nominated for Best Personal Finance Blog for Millennials as well as Blog of the Year.
- Top College Blog
- Bloglovin's Top Blogs, and Up and Coming Blogs
- Top 50 Money Saving Resources by Scratch Wireless
- Favorite Personal Finance Blogs for Millennials by XY Planning Network
- Top 27 Stories of ‘Life After Debt’ by ClearPoint
- Voted Top Finance Blog by Broadview Networks
- 25 Must-Follow Personal Finance Blogs From Around The World on Blogtrepreneur
- One of WiseBread's Top Personal Finance Blogs
- eCollegeFinder's Top Finance Blogs
- 14 GREAT bloggers that will boost your income in 2015 on Money Tuts
- 10 Best Inspirational Blogs for Debtors by BadCredit.org
- 5 Blogs That Inspired Me to Pay Off My Debt by Dream Beyond Debt
- 10 Personal Finance Blogs You Should Be Reading by The Frugal Cottage
I have been featured on the websites below:
- Forbes' Feature How This 27-Year-Old Made $1 Million Last Year;
- Forbes' 10 Legitimate Ways To Make Money Online;
- Huffington Post Live (on-air interview);
- Elite Daily's How To Finally Stick To A Budget When You Suck At Saving Money;
- Huffington Post's Can You Profit from Buying and Selling Websites? and Why I'll Never Buy A Timeshare;
- Credit Sesame's 5 Real Grads Share Their Extreme Student Loan Debt Payoff Stories: How They Did It;
- Forbes (see here for one example);
- Entrepreneur's Why a Blog Gets You Further than an MBA;
- Investopedia's How to Get a Personal Finance Education for Free;
- Amanda Abella's 24 Best Money Bloggers Every Millennial Should Follow;
- Time's 6 Ways You’re Cheating on Your Budget;
- TripAdvisor's Travel Tips from a Digital Nomad RV-ing Across North America;
- Kiplinger's Proven Tactics to Overcome Big Debts;
- Farnoosh So Money Podcast's Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, $1MM Blogger;
- Inc.'s Want to Start a Freelance Business? 12 Successful Freelancers Share Their Best Advice;
- The Consumerist (twice – one time was here);
- Wisebread's How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?!;
- Apartment Therapy's Lessons You Can Learn From People Who Paid Off Debt Quickly;
- Lifehacker (here's one mention and here's another);
- Mic's How to make money on Instagram and get paid for sponsored posts;
- Yahoo! Finance (I am a regular contributor);
- Time's How to Make the Most Money Being a Mystery Shopper
- Business Insider (How To Pay Off $40,000 in Student Loans);
- Get Rich Slowly (see my guest post here);
- Cosmopolitan's 6 Useless Excuses That Keep You From Saving;
- Lifehack (regular contributor);
- The Street's 5 Money-Saving Questions to Ask Your College Financial Aid Officer and Road Wage: Take These Key Financial Steps To Buying A New Car This Fall;
- H&R Block's 5 Budgeting Tips For New Homeowners (regular contributor);
- US News (I was mentioned here);
- Career Contessa's 11 Personal Finance Resources to Successfully Manage Your Money;
- Time.com's 50 Ways to Save for Holiday Shopping;
- Lauren Greutman's 6 Ways You’re Wasting Money By Trying To Save Money;
- Think Save Retire's What they don’t tell you about living on the road;
- Retire by 40's Why I Gave Away Nearly All Of My Belongings To Live In An RV;
- ProBlogger's How To Make Time To Grow A Successful Blog When You Have A Full-Time Job;
- WiseBread (one mention is here – How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24);
- Rockstar Finance;
- Principles Of Increase's 10 Women Bloggers who Retired Their Husbands;
- The Everygirl's Starting Your Own Business? How to Prepare Financially;
- Mint.com (here is my interview);
- Learnvest (one of the times can be found here and in Real People Dish: The #1 Thing That Inspired Me to Get Out of Debt—and Stay Out);
- Small Business Trends' 10 Online Business Tips Suggested By Our Community;
- Daily Finance;
- Nasdaq's 23 Reasons Why You Will Always Be Poor;
- Invibed's Extraordinary Under 30: Michelle of Making Sense of Cents;
- FEInternational's How To Grow A Niche Website: Experts Reveal Secrets;
- Stacking Benjamin's The 23 Worst Pieces of Financial Advice We’ve Ever Heard;
- The Simple Dollar's When Enough Is Enough and Eight Worst Halloween Treats (and Three Favorites);
- Daily Finance's What To Do When Your budget Exceeds Your Income;
- Yahoo (12 Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Food);
- Ready for Zero (Article here, Blogger of the month here, and 17 All-Star Bloggers Share Their Best Fall Budgeting Tips);
- CreditCards.com's You did WHAT to pay off your debt?;
- XY Planning Network (see here);
- Be a Freelance Blogger's 15 Real-Life Freelance Bloggers Who Prove You Can Create a Successful Business from Nothing;
- GO Banking Rates (see here and here);
- ClearPoint (see here);
- Scratch Wireless (see here);
- Wallet Hacks' Millennial Money: How Five Premier Millennial Bloggers Think About Money;
- Shoptathome.com (see here);
- Grasshopper's article 5 Biggest Fears For Small Business Owners (And How To Fight Them);
- Smarterbucks (see here);
- Well Kept Wallet (here);
- Studenomic's The Article About Money I Wish I Read Before College (Open Letter to All Students);
- The Debt Myth (here);
- HuffingtonPost (see here);
- NerdWallet's How I Ditched Debt: Making Sense of Cents;
- BankRate.com's article 5 true tales of crazy credit card rewards buys;
- The Centsible Life (here);
- Student Loan Hero's article This Woman Started a Business to Help Pay Off $40K in Student Loan Debt in Only 7 Months;
- The Work At Home Woman (here and here);
- “Goodbye Sallie Mae” – Round 1 on BrightCents;
- The Daily Interview (here);
- Careful Cents' 8 Entrepreneurs Prove You Can Earn an Honest (and Lucrative) Living Online;
- Debt Roundup's article The 54 Best Personal Finance Tips of 2014;
- Money Under 30's article The Best Personal Finance Writing Of 2014;
- Credit.com (here);
- CouponPal's article Best Of The Web: Tips On Saving Money From The Pros and Interview With A Savings Expert;
- The Penny Hoarder's How to Buy and Sell Websites: Expert Advice on Maximizing Your Profit;
- The Dollar Stretcher's Creating a Side Income in Retirement;
- Investment Zen's How One Blogger Accidentally Built A $320,000/Year Income;
- MSN Money's 23 Reasons Why You Will Always Be Poor.
I have no credit card debt, and I never have.
I do have credit cards, but I pay my balances completely off every month. The thought of credit card debt scares me honestly. I do love the rewards I get from them, and that is the main reason why I have them.
I have published a few articles about earning free or super cheap vacations because of credit card rewards. If you know how to correctly use credit cards, I recommend you check out my articles below:
My father passed away in 2008, after around a 6 month battle with brain and lung cancer. I was definitely a daddy's girl and it still hurts to this day. If anyone has anything they'd like to share with me regarding a family member/loss, my ears are open. Just contact me please, and don't be afraid, many others have already shared their stories with me.
We bought our first house in 2009 (while still in college, read more about how I bought a house at the age of 20). I live with my husband (together for over 9 years, and living together for over 8 years) and our two fur-children. But, we sold that house in 2015 so that we could travel full-time. Life is great!
My sister also used to live with us, and I've been “raising” her since my dad passed away. She's a great sister and in a way kind of like a daughter to us since we've been the ones raising her. She even has her own blog, FITnancials!
I really enjoy reading finance and life articles/blogs and I also enjoying reading the comments and discussions that other people have. I hope to use this blog to educate and inform others and myself about finance, frugality, saving and the like.
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