How Financial Blogger Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Makes over $100k Monthly & Her Financial Advice to Millennial Women
By Crystal Tate
In 2011, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner launched her personal finance blog, Making Sense of Cents, to help herself improve her finances while helping others. Now Michelle has paid off almost $40,000 in student loans, makes over six figures (yes, six figures!) a month and travels the country full time in a RV with her husband and two dogs. And she’s not even 30 yet! We interviewed Michelle to find out exactly how she did it. Read her story below, and get ready to take notes to get on a financial track to success!
Just last month, you made more than what most people make in one year ($130K!) How exactly do you do it? And how did you get started?
Yes, I've regularly been having business income months of over $100,000 for the past few months, and it's been great! In 2016, I earned $979,000 from my blog, and I will crush that in 2017. I earn a living through my blog through a mixture of affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements.
It all started in the summer of 2011. I started Making Sense of Cents with the hopes of helping readers learn how to save money as well as journaling my personal finance journey after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I became extremely interested in that financial website and my interest in blogging grew very quickly from there. This is interesting and very funny because before that same summer in 2011, I actually did not know anything about blogs. I didn't even know what they were!
As you can probably guess now, I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of making money blogging. It was all just a hobby and an outlet I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger! I became a full-time blogger in October of 2013 and I haven't looked back once. Blogging has completely changed my life for the better and it's something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.
If you are interested in blogging, I have a free How To Start and Launch a Successful Blog course that I recommend checking out.
What are the top three financial lessons you've learned that you'd want to share with every millennial female in America?
1) You don't have to live like everyone else. The average person has a ton of debt, lots of financial stress and is living above their means. So many people think that they can go into debt for things like cars, homes out of their budget, and more, because many other people do. However, what other people do doesn't mean that it's right for you!
2) Making extra money can change your life. Finding ways to make extra money helped me pay off my $40,000 student loan debt in just seven months, plus it led me to starting my own business!
3) Early retirement is possible. If you're wise with your money, you may be able to retire early, even as young as in your 30s! It's all about managing your money well.
You've mentioned how you've never had credit card debt and pay your cards off in full every month. How does one stay disciplined to do that? If one already has credit card debt, how do they begin the process of paying them off entirely?
Staying disciplined with credit cards is all about knowing your limits. If someone thinks that they'll have credit card debt or that they can't control themselves around credit cards, then it's probably best just to get rid of credit cards in your life or at least hiding them from yourself (such as freezing them in your freezer even!)
If you already have credit card debt, then you'll want to analyze your income and expenses. You either have too low of an income, too high of spending, or a mixture of both. You'll want to figure that out so that you can start getting rid of your credit card debt.
When you graduated college, you had almost $40K in student loans. Since a lot of our readers are still in college or about to graduate, what advice would you give them on paying off their student loans? Should they develop a plan before they graduate? And how do they set aside money if they aren't making a lot at their first job?
My top tip for paying off student loans is to find ways to make extra money. I was able to pay off my $40,000 in student loan debt in just seven months by learning how to make extra money. I was working around 100 hours a week between my day job and all of the side hustles I had. While I was tired (very tired), it was well worth it to pay off my debt as quickly as I could!
And, before you say that you don't have time to find ways to make extra money, you should really stop and think about that first. The average person watches over 30 hours of TV a week and spends over 10 hours on social media. By just simply cutting those two things in half, you would have plenty of time to make extra money. Also, you should develop a plan as soon as you can, whether you are in college or if you’ve recently graduated.
Michelle’s Keys To Achieving Financial Freedom
- Start a budget
- Pay off debt
- Have an emergency fund
- Find ways to save money
- Don't keep up with the Joneses
- Aim to make more money
- Start investing
Crystal Tate is the editorial manager of The Life Currency, and a freelance editor, writer and stylist based in New York City. When she isn't sitting behind her laptop, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and inspiring young women to shatter glass ceilings. Follow her on Twitter at @CrystalDenise and see more of her work at Crystal-Tate.com.