How I Made Money And Traveled Full-Time In January

Welcome to January’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did. If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month. This all…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: March 19, 2022

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

How I Make Money And Travel Full-Time #travelfulltime #travelWelcome to January’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

This all started out as my extra income report because, in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.

However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on each month. Some think I’m crazy, whereas some are glad I’m open about what I’m doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly business reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:

  1. Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to help show others the positives in side hustling and how it can change a person’s life. There are many different ways to make money online, and I like to share my story each month to help motivate others to improve their financial situation by making more money.
  2. Secondly, I like to publish my business blogging reports because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and actually see what areas need improvement. I use my monthly blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  3. Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home.

I know I say this every month, but it’s the truth. Life is great now that I’m my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don’t have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I’m not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I’m just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, painting, hiking, etc.).


Quick reminder on last month’s announcement.

I want to repeat last month’s announcement one more time – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I’m sure I’ll receive many questions from readers who missed last month’s income report.

Back in 2012, I started publishing income reports. You can read one of the first income reports here. Back then, these were all about the extra income I was making, such as from selling textbooks, taking surveys, mystery shopping, and selling items on eBay. This was back from when I was a new blogger, and still working full-time at my day job,

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been publishing income reports for so many years, for the whole world to see.

Back then, I didn’t have any idea that I would become a full-time blogger. Making money from my blog was something I was barely even thinking about at that time.

I was working as an analyst, and I think Wes was still working as a package handler at UPS.

We were super young and just trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

I was still anonymous on my blog at that time, and I don’t think anyone knew about it except for Wes (he was called “W” back then, haha!) and my sister.

My income reports back then were very basic. They were mainly just for me to keep track of what I was doing. They were more of a life update on my goals and what was going on financially in my life.

Over the years, my blog has grown and my income reports have evolved over the years.

As you all know, for quite some time I have been thinking about getting rid of my monthly income reports. However, whenever I would mention this in an income report, 99.9999999% of you asked me to continue on. Due to that, I want to find a happier way to continue with them.

Now, these will be “Business Reports” where I talk about how the business is doing, my goals, etc. Basically, everything will be the same, except there will be no more numbers.

So, why am I getting rid of numbers?

There are several reasons for why I am no longer going to publish my “traditional” income reports:

  1. I want to be helpful – I understand that my income reports seem unattainable now that the income level is so high. So, I want to take the numbers out of the equation so that you can see exactly what I’m working on and how I’m improving my blog.
  2. Feel less pressure – I feel pressure to keep my income up every month and that’s just not the way I want to run my business. I want my reports to focus more on what I’m doing and the actions I’m taking, instead of people just looking at the numbers. Yes, I realize that this is a personal finance blog. But, instead of just looking at the numbers every month, I want the focus to be on what is actually being accomplished and what is being worked on.
  3. Safety – While I have never worried too much about my safety with publishing my monthly income reports, now that we are on a boat and it’s extremely easy to find us due to today’s location technology, I have decided that it’s probably not best for me to be broadcasting my earnings.
  4. Privacy – A big reason for why I want to stop publishing my income reports is because I simply just want more privacy.

Now if you’re looking for actual numbers, I did publish income reports for several years that talked about how much I earned from specific sources. You can find every single income report here.

I really don’t think too much will change. Instead, I want these monthly reports to be more helpful, instead of focused on just the numbers. I will still be answering reader questions, talking about what I’m working on, and so on, so I still think these will be extremely beneficial.

My monthly blogging reports will probably be a little different month-to-month for a little bit while I play around with this new direction.

If there’s anything new that you would like me to add to these monthly reports, please let me know in the comments below!


Income breakdown for January 2019

How was business income in January of 2019?

I’m trying something new this month. Instead of breaking my income apart down to the exact figure, I am including a pie chart. Many of you asked that I still do this so that you can see where income is coming from.

In case you are new, the main areas I earn a living from include:

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

Anyway, January of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month.

I took most of January off, as I am trying to focus on our new sailing life as much as I can.

January of 2019 was a great month, and my income was higher than in previous months, even while working less than usual.

It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. My business is growing, I have a lot of ideas for this year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

Below are some of my monthly online income reports. I publish an online income update every month but only included some of them below as it would be a very long list. If you head on over to my income page you can find all of my monthly income reports from the past few years.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.75 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.

Pictures taken in January 2019

Blog/life news

January was a fun month.

We sailed to the Bahamas from the Florida Keys in January, and it was a crazy busy month. We’ll be spending the next few months continuing to explore the Bahamas as well. There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas, which means that we still have a lot of exploring to do!

One question I’ve received often is how I’m working while in the Bahamas.

Surprisingly, I’ve found that internet is better in the Bahamas than anything we ever had in the U.S. while traveling full-time. We are using a new company called MyIslandWifi (this is not a sponsored mention). It is truly unlimited internet (you don’t even want to know how much data we’ve used in the past month, haha) for just $75 a month (and there’s no contract!). I can make phone calls, text, and hop online whenever I want, and it’s always a fast speed. For people in normal homes, this may seem expensive, but keep in mind that when traveling full-time you don’t have access to affordable wifi that is usually found in a home.

If you have any questions about our new sailing life, please ask them in the comments below. I’m hoping to turn it into a blog post.

Due to us arriving in the Bahamas, I didn’t get a lot of work done on Making Sense of Cents. I did do an affiliate product launch for a course that I promote and that went very well. You can learn more about that in the affiliate marketing section below.

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently a little over one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead.
  • Traffic for the month was around 500,000 page views.
  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 14,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then check this out. I created this email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t done so yet. The course is free, and over 50,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also created the free Master Your Money email course. It’s full of great money management lessons and financial worksheets (such as a free budget template), and I’m loving the positive response from this email course as well.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.75 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.


Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:


Featured Question: Did you ever think you would earn this amount of income?

I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer. 

A question I answer all the time is if I ever thought that I would be earning the amount of income that I am. I am asked it almost every single day through email, comments, messages, or social media.

I definitely did not.

I think I receive this question a lot because it doesn’t seem possible, and that it is unattainable.

I realize that not everyone will make $100,000 a month blogging.

BUT, you may be able to earn something with whatever your side hustle is.

I honestly never even thought I would work for myself. I thought I would always work for a corporation.

I still remember when I first started reading income reports on blogs, and I specifically remember thinking that I’d be happy just to earn $100. I definitely never thought that I would earn $500, $1,000, or $10,000 – let alone over $100,000 a month.

While my income levels are high, I do want everyone to remember that I started at $0 a month and have grown my income to where it’s at now through a lot of hard work.

I know it can be hard to think that you can make money outside of a normal day job, especially through something like blogging.

Before you think that $100 or even $1,000 is something that you can never do, you should remember that it is not.

I used to think that it would be great to one day earn $1,000 online and through my blog. I looked up to many bloggers who were earning over $1,000 a month, and I thought it was impossible.

Now, I’m here to show everyone that it is possible to make money online. Through hard work and dedication, you never know where life may lead you. No, you don’t have to be a blogger and you don’t have to do exactly what I do.

But, it’s also not a get rich quick scheme. Blogging is a lot of hard work and not everyone will see success. So, you have to be real about that as well.

In next month’s featured question I will be answering “Did your blogging income drop after getting rid of the exact numbers in your income reports?”

This is a question many of you have raised, and I’m excited to answer it next month after a full month has passed with this new form of income reports. Stay tuned!

Past featured questions:


My plans for my blog and my business.

Plans and goals can help you run a successful business. I believe that working towards a goal can help keep a person motivated too.

Below are some of the areas I am currently working on:

  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I recently wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!


Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a higher level than the previous month. This is because I promoted something new in January. You can learn more about the product I promoted here – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.

This led to 5-figure affiliate income results for me. And, it was super easy to promote because it’s a product that I believe in! I promoted it mainly through email, along with the interview above so that my readers could get to know Bobby better. This is a method that I highly recommend doing.

Affiliate income is expected to continue to increase from February to June like it usually does each year. Those are the popular months for my blog, as people seem to be more focused and refreshed on reaching their financial goals.

Some of the things I am working on include:

  • Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for the first 6 months of 2019. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven’t spent as much time towards the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

I’m a very big fan of affiliate income, of course. It’s something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

I also have a course too!

In the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, such as:

  • A quick introduction to affiliate marketing and how it works
  • The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $500,000 from a single blog post
  • How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
  • The steps to increase your conversion rate
  • 80+ affiliate program ideas for different niches
  • How to build trust with your readers (this is a MUST!)
  • The required disclosures you need to know about
  • The many different strategies to promote your affiliate links

My course is anything and everything about affiliate marketing. This course is perfect for you whether you are a new blogger or if you’ve been blogging for years, no matter what topic your blog is about, what country you live in, and so on.


Sponsored partnership results.

January was a great month for sponsored partnerships. That is because the first quarter of each year is usually a popular one for financial blogs. Page views are up and readers are interested in improving their finances due to making new annual goals.

Due to this, I started new sponsored partnerships with a few financial companies.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

It makes sense – sponsored partnerships are something that probably 99.9% of bloggers want to pursue, but the problem is that they have no idea where to start.

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts is a step-by-step guide to creating and making money from your own successful sponsored partnership strategy. This course explains all the ins and outs of sponsored posts and working with brands.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Are you interested in earning blogging income?

How To Start A Blog Free Email Course

Want to see how I built a $5,000,000 blog?

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

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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. one thing I never thought about in the past was making money online full-time as an affiliate marketer and travel blogger in hopes of being a future side hostile millionaire. There’s a guy online who went from living on welfare to being a travel blogging millionaire named Johnny Ward. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of him. He documented his travels everywhere he went and claimed to earn $1.5 million in online income just three years after starting his blog. He’s been featured on CNBC and CNN news. Look them up when you get a chance. This is why love the power of the Internet because as long as a person has a willing mind to learn how effective content marketing can build themselves up financially, the Internet to work for anyone in helping them achieve and retain a 100% online income and ditching the day job scene for good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Cheryl

    Wow, congratulations on your success! I can definitely say that you’re living the dream, being able to make money while travelling. My blog is still small but I’m really enjoying the whole process, and I hope that one day I will also be able to live out my dream of travelling full-time!

  3. I love these new Business Reports Michelle, they are very helpful. One thing I would like to do with my blog is to get ahead with blog posts, it sucks rushing to put out content lol. A big congrats on your success, it shows how hard work and persistence really pays off. Happy Sailing!

  4. Christopher Kerr

    I began writing not too long ago, with no clear vision as to where it was going or if I even desired it to do so. But reading your reasons for delivering your content and others like you have motivated me to release it to the wild if you will. I am stuck on a name/domain for it. Do you have any tips or ideas to get the creative juices flowing?

    1. I talk about this in the featured question here –

      Creating a name is probably the hardest part, haha!

  5. Emeline

    Hi Michelle,
    Great new business report! Love it!
    Seems like we can focus more on your work than just check the numbers. And you have valuable reasons to keep your privacy. You have already showed us what is possible and your story is really inspiring. I keep the work load high and hope reaching my goals.
    Enjoy your sailing and have fun ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Thank you Emeline! I think this new form definitely still needs some work, but I’m excited for the new direction.

  6. I was really curious about how you were getting Wifi on the sailboat – thanks for sharing! I am glad to hear WiFi is pretty easy to get in the Bahamas. We’ll probably go down to Mexico later this year (I hope we finally start sailing!!!), and I’m a little worried about how I’m going to work on my blog. Would LOVE to read a sailing post if you write one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Internet service has improved a LOT in the past few years in the Bahamas – and I’m very happy with that, haha.

      Have fun sailing!

  7. Who needs numbers when there’s so much information readily available:):) Thanks so much for sharing Michelle! I’ll be burning the candle at both ends this weekend reading through some of your older blog posts and digesting the information. So much insight you’ve shared for free. I’ll definitely be purchasing your Sponsored Posts course soon too. Safe sailing!

  8. Thank you so much! I get so inspired by your genuine realness that maybe one day I can be like you! I love your blog and your emails that I receive! I want to do different things that I know and am interested in to bring value to my readers and bring more readers! I appreciate your inspiration!!

  9. Great piece!

    Your income report is always encouraging.

    Thanks for sharing.


  10. Tracey

    You continue to inspire me, Michelle! I love the fact that you two are now “mariner explorers” and can’t wait to read about your new adventures.

  11. manoj

    hi michelle so nice of you to thanks for such a article for income motivation keep motivating us

  12. Glenda

    Great information, thank you!

  13. Annie Lewandowski


    I’ve been blogging as a hobby and am debating whether I’d like to take it to the next level and revamp my entire site to start generating income. In light of that, I’m reading blogs like yours to find out how to go about it. (I recently signed up for Ruth Soukup’s Blogging Made Simple course via your email – thanks for recommending her course!).

    I love that you share your income reports. It gives me hope that one day I can make it too! I do wonder how much of that income goes back into your business. How much do you really net from a month like Jan 2019?

    1. Thanks Annie! I talk about the expenses in all of my past income reports (except for this one as I don’t lay out the exact numbers starting in 2019).