Self-Employment and $5,382 in Extra Income

Hey everyone! Happy Monday. This past weekend was a very relaxing one, but I did get a good amount of work done. The weather was also fantastic. It was almost a little too cold for windows to be open at night! The picture to the left is from yesterday when we went for a long…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 31, 2023

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Self-Employment and $5,382 in Extra IncomeHey everyone! Happy Monday. This past weekend was a very relaxing one, but I did get a good amount of work done. The weather was also fantastic. It was almost a little too cold for windows to be open at night!

The picture to the left is from yesterday when we went for a long drive. We live in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, and drove around in Illinois along the river. There were tons of boats out yesterday! Perfect weather for it. Definitely makes us want a sailboat.

I have been thinking about travel a lot lately. I am thinking about a road trip to the Pacific Northwest.

There are a lot of outdoorsy activities that I want to do there. I also want to go to Colorado in the winter time, go to Chicago to visit family, and hopefully go somewhere warm with a nice beach and good drinks.

An Alaskan cruise has been on my mind also. Can you tell that my mind is just all over the place? 🙂

This is what will be great about self-employment, the freedom to do things that I want. However, until I know how self-employment will be for at least a little while, travel will wait until I am certain that some long-term travel won’t kill our budget and savings.



Spending has been fairly low the past couple of weeks. I can’t really think of too many things that we have bought lately. I did go to a thrift store the other day and found some aviator Ray Bans for only $35 (yes, they are real), and I had to get those immediately as I was thinking about buying a pair, but at $150 I am not interested.

We did find out that we need to buy new tires for the Camaro already. AH! The car only has 8,000 miles on it which hurts even more, but oh well.

Food spending has been lower than ever, and we are doing great with eating in more often. It does help that we have been too lazy to go to restaurants and prefer the comfort of eating in our own home. We are wanting to start our own garden as well. Does anyone know of any good intro to gardening blogs?


Self-Employment and $5,382 in Extra Income


Extra Income (does not include income from our main jobs)

Extra income was good in the past two weeks. September seems like it will turn out to be a strong month. I’m hoping that it will be better than August.

If anyone needs any help, check out my Hire Me page and let me know what services you are interested in. Lately, a few other website owners have asked me to help run their website while they are gone for just a month or two, so this is a new service that I am also offering. If you are starting a new job, about to have a baby, want to do some long-term travel or something else, please let me know.

I do need to start ramping up my side hustles, as lately I haven’t been trying to get myself out there as much and contact potential new clients. I’m really just focusing on providing high quality work to my current clients. However, soon I will have plenty more time and I want to fill up these time slots with other work of course.

I have started making some major steps towards my self-employment switch date. I will be making an announcement once everything is said and done so that I can protect myself. Stay tuned…  🙂


Being healthy

This section has been a complete fail lately. I must be doing something right because my wedding dress was a little too big when I picked it up, and I need to get it taken in (I ordered it to perfectly match me). I have been doing well with eating a little more healthy, and I have been going on a couple of long walks every week.

I have been thinking about joining that Diet Bet thing that everyone is talking about. You put something like $30 into a group pot and if you lose a certain amount of weight then you get to split the pot. Sounds interesting to me. I know that the dollar amount isn’t something that would kill me to lose, but I definitely do think that it would be a good motivator to be more healthy.

Have any of you done this Diet Bet program? Tell me about it!


Wedding Planning

My wedding dress arrived last week! I picked it up on Saturday, and all of my dress regret is gone. I am so in love with it. Some of you are probably thinking that I’m overreacting, but I tried the dress on in pink (they didn’t have it in white), so I was afraid that when it arrived in white that I wouldn’t like it anymore.

I still have not decided on wedding colors. I’m stuck between cream, blush and peach. All very similar but still hard for me to decide. We also need to send out our save the dates soon.  And find a caterer.  And a DJ. And find a tent, chair, and table rental company. The other things can wait a little bit longer.

I do have a post about how I’m churning credit cards to help pay for my bachelorette party in Vegas. Should be live either Tuesday or Wednesday. I know, I know, some people think that it’s tacky that I am helping plan my own bachelorette party, but I really do not care. I always plan our girls’ vacations, so why would this be any different? I also don’t want my girls to spend a lot of money on the trip, so I’m working on racking up points to help pay for the trip.

Have you been doing well with your extra income, spending and being healthy?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. The Pacific NW is so beautiful! But you have to go fast or winter will come in. I am in France right now, feasting on all the foods I miss in Guatemala, not good for the waist but so good for the soul.

    1. I can’t wait! And yes, we definitely want to go there when the weather is nice.

    2. Just a heads up, you probably have like 1 or 2 sunny weekends left. It’s blustery up here today, and getting colder every night. But fall in the Northwest is FRIGGIN BEAUTIFUL, so don’t fret if you miss out on summer 🙂

      1. Good to know! Thanks 🙂

  2. That’s some nice extra income, just like always! The weather is really cold here already and we were just talking the other day that this must’ve been the coldest year we’ve ever seen with the shortest summer. I don’t like cold weather so I am a bit depressed now that the fall is really here.

    1. Thank you C!

      The weather here has been hopping back and forth. I believe it was 90 degrees at the beginning of last week and then by Friday it was in the 50s/60s.

  3. Wow, your incomes figures are usually quite encouraging. September has been an awesome month for me in terms of my goals for more side income, health and happiness 🙂 definitely looking forward to ratchet up my hustle efforts.
    Secondly, seems like you have your plate full in terms of planning for your wedding and all. Wish you the very best.

    1. Thank you Simon 🙂

      That is great that September has been good for you. It’s been a good September overall for me as well.

  4. Awesome job on the income as usual!!!

    We went to the Pacific Northwest in our honey moon and loved it. But, I don’t know if I would want to live there. A bit to mellow and a bit to rainy for me. But going for a week was fun!

    1. Good to know! I can’t wait 🙂

  5. Brilliant work offering website management while people are away on vacation or taking some time off. You just keep on coming up with different ways to keep that side income figure growing!

  6. Hooray for your wedding dress being too big without even trying. And I don’t think its tacky to help plan your bachelorette party – especially since it’s a destination party. It would be kind of hard not to be involved.

    1. I’m glad that you don’t think it’s tacky. I was reading something online and people were practically yelling at the bride on a forum and calling her tacky. It was ruthless!

  7. I’d love to travel out west myself, but having two small kids won’t make that easy. Hope you get to go out there!

  8. Great to hear all the updates, Michelle. It sounds like you are definitely going to have a strong September income-wise. I will have to check out that Frugal Beautiful post. I really want to partner with brands more in the future and hopefully diversify my blog income more through that.

    1. Thanks! And yes, you should definitely check out that post on FB 🙂

  9. kelly @stayinongbudget

    Way to go again! Glad September is going well for you! Yeah, I need to work on the being healthy too!

  10. Great job on your awesome extra income! I’m glad you love your wedding dress!

  11. Aww!! So glad you still love your wedding dress! 🙂 When I got married I even got mine in the same color I tried it on in and I was still SO nervous for it to arrive!

    1. Haha yes, it is very nerve-wracking!

  12. Great work on the income as usual Michelle. It’s looking like it’s going to be another good month for me as well. I hear you on the travel, we really want to do some more, but having little ones makes it a little more prohibitive for us. We’re going to Vegas in January and I am so looking forward to it as it’ll be our first kid free trip in a year or two and it’s all on rewards points. 🙂

    1. That’s great that September will be good for you as well. Vegas will be fun! What hotel are you staying at?

  13. You are doing amazing and I am so glad you’re making the switch. If I get bored during the day maybe we can chat on Twitter lol. But seriously, so excited for you!!

    1. Thank you Alexa! I can’t wait until we both make the switch!

  14. I’ve been suffering from travel fantasizing as well. I’m thinking Cali road trip or a cruise sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas (when it’s still off-season) , but I really need to be thinking about saving. It’s so hard 😉

    1. Glad I’m not alone 🙂

  15. Buttercup

    I love the Pacific NW! I lived there for a little while when I was interning for school. It is the most beautiful place I have been. I definitely agree that you should go there in the summer when the weather will be nicer. The most gorgeous views in Seattle when Mt. Rainier is “out”. And the weather has to be perfectly clear for that.
    I am definitely feeling the urge to plan a trip as well….just haven’t decided where yet. Maybe Bermuda or St. Thomas?

  16. I think the goal of being healthy is a good one, but I’m not sure that weight is really the best measure of success. Who’s really to say that a specific weight is “healthy” for you specifically? I would focus more on developing healthy habits and letting your weight fall wherever it does naturally. If anything, focusing too much on weight leads to more unhealthy habits than healthy ones.

    On another note, I would love to go to the Pacific Northwest as well. One of my best friends moved up to Seattle a few years ago and absolutely loves it. Hopefully I can go visit him in the near future.

    1. Yup, that’s why I’m not focusing on numbers. I’m focusing on how things fit and feeling better about myself 🙂 And don’t worry, I’m definitely not obsessively being healthy.

  17. Connie @ Savvy With Saving

    You are killing it with the extra income! I can’t wait to hear more about your self employment plans!

    Being healthy has been a big struggle for me too! I find it so difficult to motivate myself to workout!

  18. That is something that I will have to think about. I really want to start being more active once I work at home.

  19. Jaclyn

    Great job so far this month, Michelle! Can’t wait to hear the final word about the switch!

  20. Tammy R

    Michelle, so happy you love the dress in white and that all your plans are coming together nicely. I know you definitely should not look to our blog for gardening tips as I tried to grow two tomato plants last year and ended up with two golf ball-sized tomatoes. CJ said I could eat both…

    It was almost 16 years ago, but we saved on a photographer for our wedding by contacting a local college. One of their students, who had only previously done yearbook gigs, charged a very low rate and captured some very beautiful shots I don’t think a “fancy photographer” would have. He captured guests in relaxing poses, my two (now deceased) grandmothers talking in the pew, and a candle burning in one of the windows. Really beautiful and he was very inexpensive.

    I like how you also wrote about what you are doing for side hustles, so we can keep you posted if we hear anything.

    1. Haha I am afraid that we will kill our garden as well.

      We already paid for our photographer, and she was a great deal. She has been super popular in the area lately so I’m glad we were able to book her beforehand because her rates have increased!

  21. As always, I’m really inspired by your extra income Michelle! Your wedding planning sounds so exciting, all of those colours are lovely whichever you decide. Thanks for sharing some great reads, I’ve read a couple and will check out the other ones!

    1. Thank you so much!

  22. Mark Ross

    That post from Frugal Beautiful really interests me. Thanks for sharing that one! 🙂

  23. Michelle, wow! Congrats on all the extra side income. I always love to see how well you’re doing with the side income and I’m happy that you LOVE your wedding dress. I completely understand how you felt about still liking it when you get it. It’s so important to love the dress, good luck on the rest of the wedding plans!

    1. Thank you Monica! 🙂

  24. jackie

    ahhh so happy that you love your dress – so important! (and i just bought mine yesterday, so hopefully i’ll still love it when it comes in in a few months.) i’d love to transition jobs as well so i’m looking into saving money too and am going to start looking into some side hustles too!

    1. Thank you! And I’m sure you will 🙂

  25. I will say go for the Alaska cruise. It is amazing. I highly recommend it. I would do one every year if it was cost-effective enough!

    1. I really want to do it. Sounds amazing!

  26. Great job in the extra income department! I’m sure that when you leave your full time job and have more time, you will start earning even more! How exciting about the dress and your bachelorette party in Vegas.

  27. Thank you Anna 🙂

  28. Thank you! When do you think you’ll stay looking for yours? 🙂

  29. Congrats again on the pending wedding. Exciting and busy times are ahead! And nice work on the income. My blog had a KILLER August, then a slump this month. But I haven’t spent much time on it, so it makes sense (of cents….HAHA, I CRACK ME UP! GET IT?!).

    And definitely make s trip up to the Northwest. Absolutely stunning out here in the fall 🙂

    1. Thanks Jacob! That’s funny that August was good for you because I thought it was bad for everyone! And haaha like your joke 🙂

  30. I’m glad you’re killing it with the extra income! You’re doing amazing 🙂

  31. Thanks so much for spreading the word about my post, I hope it was helpful to you! You already implement a lot of what is required to get your blog noticed by major brands, so great job!

    1. Welcome! Your post was great.

  32. I don’t think it’s tacky that you’re planning your bachelorette party, and I think it’s awesome you’re helping with the cost. I’ve not been doing that well with my eating better and excertising. But I’m trying to stay on track with running at least 3 times a week. I was going really well for a while then feel off the wagon a little when my fall course started. I’d be totally interested in learning more about the diet bet thing.

    1. I will definitely post more about the diet thing if I join in 🙂

  33. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I always thought it would be so cool to have my own garden. I know that Trent from the Simple Dollar has one.

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about DietBet, too! Let me know if you want to join one, I think I’ll join with you!

    1. I’ll let you know! 🙂

  34. I’m always thinking of places I want to go on trips. I think it’s cool that you aren’t making your bridesmaids pay tons of money. Somehow my husband got to go to Vegas before our wedding, but I did not. How fair is that?

    1. Haha this will be my third time to Vegas as a girls’ trip! We’ve been trying to go every year 🙂

  35. I am trying to ramp up online income as well. Gotta hustle!

  36. Great job on the additional income as usual. Really interesting post over at I heart Budgets – thanks for the link.

  37. Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses

    Thanks for the mention! So far my extra income (or I guess main income at the moment has been good). I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to afford to be unemployed these past few months because of my freelance writing. I don’t think I’ll ever stop!

    1. You are doing great!

  38. Auto expenses are the worst. Just when you think you are doing well on your budget, they strike.

  39. Looks like the spending and income sides of things were really working out for you! Good job. I always struggle with staying healthy. I eat predominately VERY healthy, but then I love salty snacks. It’s an uphill battle, but I think lately I’ve been winning it. Just take it one day at a time!

  40. Ooh – I am staying tuned for that self-employment update! And congrats on building up so many revenue streams before taking the leap! Good luck!

    1. Thank you Crystal!