Making Sense Of Cents // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 25

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Please welcome Michelle from Making Sense of Cents as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 25 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

Hello! Thanks for having me. My name is Michelle and I run the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. I have three finance-related college degrees and I used to be a financial analyst before I started blogging full-time.

In August of 2011 (whoa, that seems like so long ago!), I started my blog with the goals of teaching people how to save money as well as journaling my personal finance journey. This was all after reading a women’s lifestyle magazine that featured a financial website in one of their articles. I became extremely interested in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there. This is interesting and hilarious because before that same summer, I had no idea about what blogs were, that they could even make money, or anything along those lines.

Going along with that, I did not start my blog with the goal of earning money online or blogging. It was all just a hobby and an outlet until I realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger!

Find ways to make more money

I went full-time 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.

On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, the best ways to save money, achieving your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more.

I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

I learned many great financial lessons from my father when he was alive.

One of the most impactful money lessons my father taught me was that I can afford to travel and live the life that I want to live.

My dad traveled all over the world. Besides his family, the other things he loved in life were traveling and airplanes, as he was a pilot. He created hundreds of photo albums from his travels which I still look at on a regular basis. I also recently found a travel journal he kept which listed out all of the amazing places he traveled to.

My dad was not rich if that’s what you are thinking.

Instead, he worked with his budget and always made sure to fit amazingly wonderful travels in his life because that is what he believed in.

For example, he bought a new Camaro in 1984, and he drove it up until a few months before he passed away in 2008. He didn’t care about furniture, electronics, or anything else. He would often work long hours, he hardly ever called off work, he always had a budget, he always saved money, and more.

I remember one day my dad was complaining about a credit card commercial that seemed very horrible and like a scam. I was very young and I said, “I’m never going to have a credit card!” My dad then told me that credit cards could be used to my advantage if I used them correctly.

He then taught me all about how to use credit cards at a young age, and I now use credit cards very often to earn awesome rewards and bonuses.

We all receive financial advice from people in our lives.  What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?

The blogging and personal finance community is wonderful. I’ve learned not to live a life like others because the average person is in debt up to their eyeballs and is suffering from a lot of financial stress.

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?

I don’t remember being taught anything about personal finance in school.

I really wish that personal finance was a requirement when I was in school because I do believe that it would help the average person. Thankfully, more schools are starting to realize this. I can’t wait until it’s a required class at all schools. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later!

There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?

My three favorite blogs are Budgets Are Sexy, Mr. Money Mustache, and Afford Anything. I have many, many other favorites though so that list goes on and on and on!

My sister also has a blog – FITnancials – which is really good too! *smile*

What’s your best tip on improving someone’s financial situation?

My best tip on improving someone’s financial situation is to find ways to make more money. This is exactly how I was able to pay off my $40,000 debt in just 7 months, and I was able to make extra money all on the side of my full-time day job.

Plus, there are tons of ways to make extra money. You could work online, offline, start your own business, pick up hours at a part-time job somewhere, and more. Making extra money can help you to pay off your debt more quickly, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and more.

You can read more about how making extra money changed my life in my Forbes interview How This 27-Year-Old Made $1 Million Last Year.

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Michelle!

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner runs Making Sense of Cents. Michelle paid off $40,000 in student loan debt in just 7 months by making extra money. She sold her house in 2015 and currently travels full-time with her husband and two dogs in an RV. Please click here to sign up for her free money management course, Master Your Money.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Michelle’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below.  And please do share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!


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