Ask Me Anything

Hey! It’s been a long time since my last Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents. Ask Me Anything is literally that – you can ask me anything. If you’re struggling to figure out what to ask, here are a few of the topics you may want to know more about: Personal finance…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 5, 2023

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.


It’s been a long time since my last Ask Me Anything here on Making Sense of Cents.

Ask Me Anything is literally that – you can ask me anything. If you’re struggling to figure out what to ask, here are a few of the topics you may want to know more about:

  • Personal finance
  • Blogging
  • My life
  • Travel
  • RVing
  • Sailing
  • Being location independent
  • Business
  • Making extra money
  • Questions about my dogs

And so on, and so on.

Seriously, ask me anything in the comments below, and I will take the time to answer every single one. Of course, please nothing inappropriate or creepy. I’ll let you be the judge of what is creepy, I guess, haha!

All right, go for it, ask away!

P.S. If you’re looking to see all of the comments and questions, make sure to hit “Older Comments” or “Newer Comments” below. The comments break apart in pages once there are over 50 comments.

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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. How many countries have you visited and which was your favorite?

    1. I haven’t really kept track but it’s been less than 20 countries. I definitely want to visit them all one day, though 🙂

      So far, the Bahamas is my favorite. With over 700 islands and amazing sea life, it’s a great place to be.

    2. K.P

      As a single parent, able to pay bills, how would I go about making extra money when you have really no support.

  2. Akt

    What is your biggest source of income? Affiliate? Selling your own course? Etc…thanks

    1. Affiliate income is definitely my largest, but it’s a good mix between affiliate, selling my own course, and sponsorships lately.

  3. Hi Michelle, I have a B2B program with an affiliate program. What is the best way to promote it to affiliate marketers?

    1. One of the best ways is probably to ask those who have already taken your course to become an affiliate.

  4. Katie

    What’s your advice to someone trying to run their new blog as a business instead of a hobby?

    1. Start on self-hosted WordPress, instead of a free blogging platform. It is a game changer!

  5. Meg

    Do you rely soley on traffic from Pinterest when you first started gaining traction? Or did you learn SEO as well and get good traffic from both?

    1. Pinterest was one of my largest sources of traffic when I first started gaining traction.

  6. kara

    how do you contact cruise lines to do entertainment on them? I can’t find any contact info.

    1. I’d love to hear the answer to this question, TOO!

    2. I’m not sure what it’s like these days due to the events of 2019-2021, but usually there’s a Hiring/Jobs page. Or, you may be able to reach out to them and ask them how to find more about jobs (there’s usually a contact page on the website).

      1. kara

        I”ve looked and there is only entertainment of music and dancers. There is only an email and they don’t answer it. Can you talk to whoever mentioned this to you? I’ve tried calling and they don’t have an option to get through to anyone.

  7. Rachal

    I’m struggling to figure out the very best way to make money from home and not have to go to the office to meet a schedule. I have wanted to do this for quite some time–but now that my husband has suffered a catastrophic illness, I need to be able to be home with him and make up for not only my office salary, but his salary as well. We were looking forward to retirement within the next 7-10 years, and now all of those dreams are swept away by the reality of the situation.

    1. Hello Rachal,

      Here is a blog post to read that can help you get started –

      Those are all free courses, so you can try each one to see which you would be most interested in.

      1. Nickson

        Based on your experience, what makes most newbies give up too soon or even never succeed in blogging forever?

        1. Most bloggers give up too early because they think that they should be making an income immediately. However, that is not the case. It is not a get rich quick scheme, and things take time.

  8. Gregg

    What does it take to stay in the game all the years you have done this? If you were to start all over again, how much money would you save and what would you buy to restart your blog and business? What sites and who would you hire and where now?

    1. I don’t think I’d be able to save any money, as I already run a very affordable business. If I could do things differently, though, I would have started to take Making Sense of Cents seriously from the very beginning. Such as by having a professional web design, starting on self-hosted WordPress (instead of Blogspot), having an editor from the very beginning, and more.

      1. Gregg

        How much would that all cost now? As an estimate?

        1. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you’d like. You can find a premade design for less than $50, or you can hire a web designer for anywhere from around $250 to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.

          A new self-hosted blog usually costs less than $100 a year.

          1. Gregg

            What site would you go to look for an editor?

            1. Hesham

              Hi, would like to know the answer to that too. Is this a paid hire, freelancer, someone through, etc., or someone other arrangement?

  9. What does your day to day look like? There’s so much to blogging that it’s overwhelming at times, especially as a side hustle.

    1. This article is a little older, but here’s something I’ve written in the past that described my day to day –

      Pretty much all new bloggers get overwhelmed in the beginning – that is just normal. Things do get easier with time, especially if you start outsourcing tasks.

  10. Where there any courses or training that you bought that TRULY helped you in the beginning to learn more about blogging and how to monetize and grow traffic??

    I feel like there is sooo much out there but can never get my hands on the right trainings/courses.

    Thanks for all you do to help others! xoxo

    1. I don’t think I purchased any courses or trainings in the beginning. My blog was completely a hobby for the first year, so I didn’t want to spend anything as I didn’t really know that blogs could even make money. I learned a lot through trial and error.

      However, if I could do things over again, some of the courses that I recommend include (there are affiliate links below): (my affiliate marketing course)

  11. Debra Oakes

    If I dont have a niche and dont want to do a a blog. What is a simple but not complicated way to make some extra money on a regular basis staying at home on my own time. I m retiring in about a year and still would like to supplement my income.

    Thank you
    Debi Oakes
    Kasnas City MO

    1. Here’s a great blog post to check out and see what work form home jobs you are interested in –

  12. What are some personal finance affiliate programs you would recommend?

    1. Rakuten, Ibotta, $5 Meal Plan, Policy Genius, Credible, Personal Capital, and more.

      1. Patti

        Thank you Michelle. I love your affiliate marketing course and need to get more serious about it!

  13. Kimberly McBride

    Hi, I used to teach high school until I became disabled. I tried painting to bring in money and sold three to people I knew. Now I’m making jewelry, which I am actually much better at doing, but can’t find the right platform to sell them. Most require money even if you don’t sell anything, and I am not tech savvy enough to set up a website. I would love any advice! Thank you <3

    1. Unfortunately, this is not an area that I am familiar with as I have never sold jewelry. Perhaps Etsy?

  14. bg stine

    OK, personal finance albeit Social Security.

    My brother has Parkinson’s. He signed up for SS. SS took out about $112 a month for Medicare.

    This was going on for five years. During a visit, I saw a notice alert my brother to his new SS monthly payment and the Medicare rate would go up to $114 or $115.

    Well my brother’s wife works full time MAINLY to keep their health insurance, As you probably know, if a person is covered by an on going insurance policy they DON’T have the monthly deduction from their SS account.

    Neither my brother or his wife knew this. We immediately sent SS a letter with the proof of insurance. The deductions stopped … BUT … I wanted my brother to recoup over $6,000
    ($100 approx X 60 months/5 yrs).

    I called numerous times, wrote numerous letters, even tried to get his Congressman involved.
    Just got ignored. It’s been four years since my last efforts. I STILL think a wrong should be righted.

    Let’s see what you got.

    1. Unfortunately, I am not a SS expert so I am not the best person to ask when it comes to this question. Perhaps you could find a SS writer and ask them for more information?

  15. Hi Michelle!
    You really inspired me to start a blog…I have just started writing my blog (to go alongside my youtube channel) and I wondered if you can give me any more advice or words of wisdom. I am a student in your Making Sense of Cents class. One of the reasons I chose your class is because I, too, am a sailor/cruiser and would love to earn enough to cruise full time
    Thank You so much!
    Capt Kris
    Sailing Southern Star – Key West

    1. Hey Capt Kris!

      Thanks for your comment. What kind of advice are you looking for?

      1. Kris

        Getting traffic to my blog??? Can I really make a sustainable income blogging?
        thanks Michelle!

        1. My top piece of advice would be to start an email list, if you haven’t yet. If you already have, find ways to grow it like crazy. Create freebie optins, create funnels for those who sign up for your email list – basically just engage with your audience as much as you can.

  16. I loved following your RV life, and I dream of doing the same…what kind of RV did you have? How did you schedule your work around travel days? Did you boondock or stay in campgrounds? Anything you’re willing to share about your RV Life would be so appreciated.

    I would love to WATCH an AMA with you, but I can never find video of you! I occasionally find podcast interviews with you, but they’re rare. Please let us see you and your life…we love to follow you, but the written word is only part of the story. Make a video for us, please?

    Thanks for all you do,

    1. We’ve had many different RVs, and it all really just depends on what you’re wanting to do. We’ve had a gas Class C, a gas Class A, a diesel pusher, and we now have a camper van.

      You can read a Day in the Life here – Luckily, I do run my own business and create my own schedule, so I basically just work when I want to, and schedule work around doing something fun during the day (such as a long hike).

      We have boondocked and stayed in campgrounds. We usually chose where we wanted to stay depending on what was nearby (such as if there was a trail nearby that we wanted to do).

      I have done a TON of podcasts, and several videos as well. You can find them all here by scrolling to the bottom –

      I haven’t really ever published many videos of myself personally as I try to be more in the moment, and I usually don’t have a camera on me. Maybe one day, but I also like my privacy, haha.

  17. Alyssa

    I have everything setup and ready to start posting my blogs but do you have any advice on how to formulate your blog? As of now, I have a rough draft sitting in my folder I’m just having trouble making it perfect, I guess.

    1. Hmmm I’m not sure if I understand your question. I recommend just publishing and learning as you go. Perhaps see how your favorite blogs format their blog posts (if that’s what you mean?), to see the type of style that you like.

  18. Esmera Kanalstein

    Would like to know how you went about paying off your student loans.

  19. Would you be open to a partnership project that support social good with our non profit?

    1. At this time, I am not looking to join any new partnerships. Sorry.

  20. Hi Michelle, I have a question about affiliate marketing. I am starting a blog, but my content is pretty short articles and more entertainment oriented (about small dogs). They are more like longer IG posts.
    Do you think I could still do affiliate marketing successfully? Would your course work for me? Or is it more for “real” bloggers? Or should I try to write longer more “helpful posts?
    I am sorry I have more than just one question..
    Thank you so much for all your content and articles. I read your blog regularly and love it .

    1. Hey Eva,

      I definitely think that affiliate marketing could still work, as plenty of people make affiliate marketing income from their Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more and that’s all short content.

      My course would be helpful, as you would still have a blog.

      1. Thank you so much!!

  21. Morgan

    Mine’s regarding a new blog. I got the Blog name domain title but how you I make a responsive blog? How do I set up Google analytics and Jetpack and all of that I’m so confused there’s so much going on

    1. What do you mean when you say responsive blog?

  22. Hey Michelle,

    I hope your sailing smoothly 🙂

    The niche of my brand new blog is much different from yours, but I was wondering if you could provide feedback on my resources page. Is there anything you see at a glance that should be changed in order to score more affiliate sales?

    Feedback on the “about” page would be great too – whatever advice you could provide would be much appreciated. I think one of the first things I could change here is to add a photo of myself, but I want to get this done professionally instead of using a random photo.

    All the best,

    1. Your resources page looks great. One thing I’d change is getting rid of the pop up. That way, it doesn’t distract your readers since you have affiliate links on the page and you want their attention to go towards that.

      I may have missed it, but on your about page, I always like to read more about the actual author. Such as who they are, where they’re from, etc.

  23. Hi Michelle!

    I’m currently working on Pinterest as a source of traffic for my blog for about 3 months now but I only got very very few outbound clicks. May I ask how long did it take for your Pinterest to bring a significant amount of traffic to your website?

    1. I honestly cannot remember, as it wasn’t something that I really tracked. You may want to try taking a course on the subject of Pinterest, creating different style pins, creating story pins if you haven’t yet, and more. Here’s a good recent blog post on this subject –

  24. I’m gathering from one of your responses that you started on blogspot. Did changing to WordPress effect your traffic? I have a long term plan to setup another blog with WordPress, which is intended to be my big venture. At the time all I could afford was blogspot and a domain I had previously purchased. I know WordPress and hosting isn’t that expensive, but when I came across your programme on blogging, I just wanted to jump on the wagon as fast as I could and start putting out content. Which is what I did. I’m on my third month and am nearing a 100 articles. I had been a hobby blogger on blogspot for a decade or so, hence found it comfortable setting up my first blog for business purposes with them. I’ve been posting on Pinterest but haven’t had any luck with traffic yet. How long did it take for Pinterest traffic to pick up? When do you feel a new blog usually starts seeing an increasing traffic trend through Google?

    1. Yes, I started on Blogpost. Being on self-hosted WordPress helped my blog in many ways, such as making more money, having more freedom and control, and so on.

      I didn’t keep track of my Pinterest success back then, but I don’t think it took very long.

      For your last question – there is no set amount of time. It depends on so many factors, such as if the blogger is spending any time on SEO.

      1. Thanks for your words Michelle!

        Honestly, it was your programme that woke up the curiosity within me to try blogging as a business. There was never any initiative from my end prior to having come across you. Hence, if I do attain a level of success as a blogger, I will have you to thank for that!

        I’m working on my SEO and am pinning on Pinterest. However I feel it is a matter of trail and error and there is a learning curve as with everything.

        Once again thank you for your time!

        Keep up the inspiring work! Your blog is really helpful for newbie blogger as myself!

  25. Angela Pride

    Hello there I have followed you for awhile. I have so many things going on … my husbands smoking meat, my kitchen creations, healthy recipes, living a healthy lifestyle, gardening, remodeling my house, budgeting, I mean I keep myself busy. I want to start earning money for all the things I do, I have a small following. Do I post more? Add more affiliates?

    1. Are you wondering how to make money through a blog? Or something else?

  26. Jaclyn

    Hi Michelle!
    I am starting a new blog as a business. In order to apply for affiliates I need my website up and running. So when writing my first blogs which are meant to contain these affiliate links (of which I have not yet applied for) how exactly do I go about this?
    The affiliate wants to see my website, to approve me. But my website blogs are written based on these affiliates! Help!
    Also do you have any advice on trying to create privacy policies etc for living in Alberta, Canada? Where would I find that info?

    1. Could you not write a few blog posts that aren’t entirely about the affiliate products? Or, will 100% of your blog posts be reviews?

      For your privacy policies question, you may want to reach out to the writer here by emailing her – She may have options for Canada.

  27. Scott

    Hi Michelle!

    Love the blog content, design, style and your business ventures!

    I’m also launching a blog soon (WordPress Dev team is finalizing branding ideas and design), and bought an Airstream I’ll be full timing in around November. Considered sailing but my girlfriend and I are too afraid of sharks lol.

    Couple questions 🙂

    1. What daily tools, apps, websites or resources do you use? For example: Evernote, Grammerly, Waze etc. Anything cool you’d recommend?

    2. Any tips how to finalize my blog domain name? It’ll be similar topics as to yours except not finance. I’ve searched a million names but 99% of them are already taken. How long did it take to decide on your blog name? Were you happy with it at first or did you just decide it then it grew on you? I’ve tried rhyming it, bunches of words and nothing seems to stick yet. It’s my biggest hold up. I already have articles done, and topics ready.

    3. What are your long term personal (not blog) plans? Goals?

    Love the blog, keep up the good work 🙂


    (IG: iamscottkeenan)

    1. Hey Scott!

      1) I really don’t use anything daily that I can think of. Mainly just WordPress. On the boat, I use Windy and PredictWind nearly every day to track the weather.

      2) I randomly just thought of my name, so it couldn’t have been easier, haha. It’s a hard task to accomplish, and I completely get that. Perhaps looking up synonyms of words to try and get some ideas flowing?

      3) My long-term goal is to simply be happy and do the things that make me happy. I’d eventually like to probably visit every country, drive from Alaska to the southern tip of South America, van around other continents, do some backpacking, and more.

  28. Lia

    Hi Michelle! What are your best tips for someone looking to grow both their engagement and following on Pinterest?

    1. Take a Pinterest course. That would be my very best tip. You can find the course that I recommend here –

      Growing your following doesn’t really mean much these days on Pinterest – I’m all about those outbound clicks. Having high quality images with engaging phrases on them is key.

  29. Eric

    Hi Michelle,

    Is there workable way without spending too much money to increase the traffic on Youtube Channel and Blogging?



    1. SEO, Pinterest, growing an email list, and more 🙂

  30. Lorena

    What is your opinion about local lead generation? Regarding its business model.
    Have you tried it? Would you recommend it? Do you have a good source one can learn from?

    1. I have not done this, sorry.

  31. Michelle Vitale

    Hi Michelle, I’ve been wanting to completely pay off my mortgage with a $41,000 balance currently. I love to do a variety of side hustles and was wondering what would be the number one thought you have with regard to how to quickly do that, as well as expand my savings.
    Thanks, Michelle

    1. Hey Michelle!

      My favorite way of paying down debt quickly is to find ways to make extra money. Are you currently making income from your side hustles?

  32. Phil

    What are the best survey sites are you affiliate of? Thank you!

  33. Lisa

    Hi Michelle!
    How do you feel about a newbie with no followers immediately starting affiliate marketing with at least 12+ post? If you suggest a wait time, how long of a wait or how many followers would you suggest before applying?

    1. You can start affiliate marketing in the beginning. It is something I teach in my course –

  34. Greg

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for the helpful blog posts. Did you consult with a lawyer about your Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Disclaimer pages? I know there are free options like the WP Legal Pages plugin, but I don’t want to run into any legal issues down the road.

  35. Hi Michelle, Thank you for making time to answer questions. What jobs do you outsource and where did you begin in your journey with outsourcing?

    1. I have a virtual assistant who helps answer emails, make graphics, and more. I also have an editor as well as someone who manages the technical side of my blog.

  36. Nichole Yanez

    Hello Michelle,
    First off, you have inspired me to start a blog about personal finance! I am saving to buy my home outright and I successfully paid off all my student debt in one year! I am wondering if you can look at my blog site and give me two things you like and two things you’d change? Just knowing you have seen my blog is a major blessing!
    -Nichole and Julia of Elizabeth&Inez

    1. Two things I’d change: 1) For your newsletter popup, I’d make that some sort of freebie so that your readers are more persuaded to join. 2) I don’t see a freebie optin – I’d create on of those if you haven’t yet.

      Two things I like: The design of your blog and the topic 🙂

      1. nichole

        Thank you so much for the advice and taking the time to look at our blog at E&I!
        We will definitely be incorporating the freebie and freebie optin on our blog site.

        Take Care,
        Nichole & Julia of Elizabeth & Inez

  37. Hi Michelle,

    When just starting out, what would you recommend focusing on, one by one? Building heaps of content, learning Pinterest, SEO or learning affiliate marketing? It’s very overwhelming at the start.

    Also, is there someone you could recommend for a little basic web design that won’t cost heaps? I feel like I’ve spent way too long trying to change a few things and I need to not be spending a crazy amount of more time on this.
    Thanks heaps.

    1. Mastering each is pretty much neverending, as things are constantly changing. So, I wouldn’t focus one by one, I’d try to dedicate a little time each week to each subject.

      Here’s my affiliate link for premade designs that I recommend –

  38. Joseph

    Good evening Michelle,

    Do you think it will be harder to find jobs that allow a person to be location independent now? Since the pandemic it seems many places have a need for in person work so I wonder if that means the remote jobs are in higher demand. As a introvert who struggles with MH issues, remote jobs are a blessing from God. Thank you for your time and sharing your advice.


    1. I think it will be easier due to recent events to find remote jobs.

  39. Hi Michelle,

    What is the number one thing that made your blog start making money? Was it blogging consistently? When did you start making money?

    1. You can actually find all of my income reports right here –

      It took me around 1-2 years to make a full-time income form my blog.

      I don’t know if there was one thing that allowed me to make money blogging, it was a mixture of a lot of things such as publishing consistently, high quality content, networking, social media, and more.

  40. I already started a blog but I really do not like writing lol. Should I pause my blog and try dropshipping again (was not successful last year but I have an itch to try again)? My goal is financial freedom from my current job and I know blogging is more sustainable longterm but I realize I just don’t like writing. Thank you.

    1. Do you like blogging as a whole? I’ve met plenty of people who have successful blogs and like running blogs, but don’t like writing. Those people tend to hire the writing portion out and do other things themselves.

  41. When you quit your job to work on makingsenseofcents, were you ever scared that you would ever run out of money and were you scared that it might be difficult to find a similar paying job if it didn’t work out? How did you get comfortable with it and get over it?

    Also, some blogs don’t mind sharing their net worth info but if you do, feel free to ignore. How much money did you have when you decided to quit your job and work on the blog full time? Did you ever feel like it was more than enough to cover you for a long time or were you just comfortable jumping into entrepreneurship because you saw the potential?

    I am asking these questions because I am considering quitting my job as well.

    1. Yes, I was definitely scared! I wrote a bunch of blog posts on this topic back in 2012 and 2013.

      I got over this feeling by building an emergency fund, paying off my student loans, and realizing that I hated my day job, haha.

      I don’t share my net worth because I already share so many other numbers. I have yet to see a blog that shares their income as well as their net worth, and everything else in life.

      1. Thanks for answering, Michelle. Can you point to a couple of those blog posts?

        1. Here are some. Granted, these are quite old so that quality isn’t what I prefer, haha.

          Also, if you head to my extra income posts from 2012-2013, I talk about this tpoic there too –

  42. Lebo

    Hi, how can I see if the online make money website is real, coz I tried few they fly by nights and I need extra cash

  43. Sagar jha

    i have an excellent idea for ou business but i don’t have money so can you advise how I am starting my business

    1. Can you clarify your question?

  44. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for taking questions! I am new to affiliate marketing, and I know you are amazing at it. I am having very little success with my side hustle that is an amazing affiliate marketing opportunity. I’ve burned through my extensive personal network with not much success, and I am not a social media influencer 😔

    What should I do? I truly believe in what I am marketing.

    Thank you,


    1. Do you have a blog? If so, I teach all about affiliate marketing here –

  45. Sarah Corcoran

    Hi Michelle,
    When you were getting started with your blog and using pinterest to drive traffic to it, did you find a helpful team to outsource this to, if so would you mind sharing the name or affiliate link? I’m looking to grow my team and outsource to level up! Thanks for being so inspiring!

  46. Sourish Dutta

    Hello Michelle,

    I just emailed to know which email service provider do you use to email thousands of your subscribers and how many emails does it allow you to send per day? I will be really grateful if you help me with this information ’cause I am eagerly searching a good ESP for my blog. Thanks.

    I hope you are doing great. Stay safe, have a nice day 🙂 I love your blog posts.

    1. Hello!

      I use Convertkit. Here’s my referral link –

      I’m not sure if there’s a limit to how many emails you can send per day. I usually try to do just 1-2 a week.

  47. mike

    Hi Michelle!

    I’m wondering about pinterest. First, I’ve noticed it has an arts and craft feel to it, is this what you should go with or is it just a coincidence?

    Also, do you have to join groups on pinterest to get enough traffic to your site or can you just post pins and that’s enough?

    1. There are many different topics on Pinterest, not just arts and crafts.

      Group boards don’t work as well as they used to.

  48. Mohammad Mubarak

    Why haven’t monetize your blog with adsense

    1. I use Adthrive, which is similar.