Blog Archives

What counts as “debts” and “income” when calculating my debt-to-income (DTI) ratio?

It’s important to know your debt-to-income ratio because it’s the figure lenders use to measure your ability to repay the money you have borrowed.
March 15, 2017 at 01:55PM
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Less is More: Guide To Becoming a Minimalist

Are you looking to become a minimalist and start minimal living? This blog post will help you manage a minimalist wardrobe, a minimalist house, and more!Are you interested in becoming a minimalist? Or, maybe you just want to get rid of some clutter and extra nonsense in your life?

Whatever your reason may be, cutting back on the number of things you own can help you in many ways.

Here are some interesting facts about how clutter impacts our lives:

  • The average house has 300,000 items.
  • Nearly 10% of households also rent a self-storage unit.
  • The average person spends 12 days per year looking for things they can’t find.
  • Every day the average office worker spends 1.5 hours looking for things.
  • In a recent survey, 55% of consumers stated they would save anywhere from 16 to 60 minutes a day if they were organized.
  • 23% of people pay bills late and have to pay late fees because they are unable to find their bills.
  • In the last few decades, the average home has nearly tripled in size.

If you’re looking for blog posts on how to become a minimalist, then you’ve come to the right place.

The blog posts in this guide will help you to start living a minimalist life, teach you how to declutter, have a minimalist home, maintain a minimalist wardrobe, and have minimalist finances. Enjoy!

Here is how to live a minimalist life:

 

How to start minimal living.

The average person has a lot of extra stuff in their life. Too many clothes, electronics that have been tossed to the side, useless furniture, books and papers you’re never going to read again, and more.

Why not get rid of some of this extra stuff?

Whether you’re looking to make extra cash, save more money, or if your primary objective is to declutter your home, there are many items around your house that you can probably get rid of.

Here are a few posts to get you started with your minimalist life.

 

How to have a minimalist house.

The average home size in 1950 was less than 1,000 square feet. Fast forward to 2013, the average home size has increased to nearly 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are many benefits to downsizing your home. You can possibly save more money, have less clutter, spend less time on maintenance, and more.

If you’re interested in downsizing your home and/or becoming a minimalist, I recommend reading the blog posts below.

 

How to have a minimalist wardrobe.

Clutter sucks, that’s for sure. Clutter can cause you to lose things, it can cost you money, and more. Plus, clutter always seems to get in the way.

A lot of the time, clutter comes from having too many clothing items. The average person has way too many clothes, and this can hold you back. You may spend too much money on clothing or maybe you just spend too much of your time thinking about clothes. Here’s something to think about, the average successful person has a minimal amount of clothing.

 

How to have minimalist finances.

Between managing retirement, paying bills, handling credit cards, saving for things in life you want, and more, managing your financial life can be difficult.

Due to this, I am often looking for ways to make managing my financial life easier, because there are times when handling everything can seem so hectic and stressful.

Making everything simpler and easier means that I can have more time to spend on other areas of my life, while worrying less about what I may be forgetting.

Related tip: I recommend that you check out Personal Capital (a free service) if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is very similar to Mint.com, but 100 times better, as it allows you to gain control of your investment and retirement accounts, whereas Mint.com does not. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation, your cash flow, detailed graphs, and more. You can also connect accounts, such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more.  Plus, it’s FREE.

 

How to be a minimalist and live in an RV or tiny home.

Have you ever thought about living in an RV? If not, you should!

I didn’t really start my minimalist lifestyle until I started traveling full-time. If you want to travel full-time, becoming a minimalist is pretty much a given!

Check out these blog posts to learn how to become an RVer and a minimalist.

Are you interested in being a minimalist and minimal living? Please share the URLs to your favorite minimalist articles in the comments below!

 

The post Less is More: Guide To Becoming a Minimalist appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.


March 15, 2017 at 04:30AM
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Debt Ceiling

The maximum amount of monies the United States can borrow. The debt ceiling was created under the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, putting a “ceiling” on the amount of bonds the United States can issue. As of the end of July, 2011 the debt ceiling was set at $14.3 trillion.
March 15, 2017
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Federal Funds Rate

The interest rate at which a depository institution lends funds maintained at the Federal Reserve to another depository institution overnight. The federal funds rate is generally only applicable to the most creditworthy institutions when they borrow and lend overnight funds to each other.
March 14, 2017
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Why Do Most of My Mortgage Payments Start Out as Interest?

When you make a mortgage payment, the amount paid is a combination of an interest charge and principal repayment. Over the life of the mortgage, the portions of interest to principal will change.At first, your payment will be primarily interest, with a small amount of principal included.
March 13, 2017 at 09:47AM
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How To Stay Focused, Get Stuff Done, And Be Successful

Learning how to stay focused can be a difficult task, especially in today’s world where there are distractions from all around us – social media, TV, work, family, relationships, and more. This is why understanding and learning how to stay focused is so important.

Learning how to stay focused and knowing the tips to stay focused can help you succeed with your goal. Here are my tips so that you can reach success! This can help you stay focused studying, in school, on homework, in life, fitness, college, at home, and more!There are many situations in which knowing how to stay focused would help you greatly:

  • When you’re trying to pay off debt.
  • When you want to save more money, such as for retirement or for a vacation.
  • If you want to start a business on the side but feel like you aren’t focused enough to do so.
  • To focus better at work.
  • When you need to balance multiple things while staying focused on all of them, such as working and managing a family.

I’ve always been a very busy person, and learning how to stay focused on my goals and life has helped me to reach my goals and be happier. By knowing how to stay focused, I was able to successfully build a business on the side of my full-time job, I was able to work full-time and go to school full-time to earn my MBA, and more.

By staying focused, I’ve been able to concentrate on the task at hand and my goals so that I can be successful.

And, this is why it is important that you know how to stay focused as well.

  • By staying focused, you may finally be able to work towards paying pay off your debt.
  • By staying focused, you may finally be able stop living paycheck to paycheck.
  • By staying focused, you may finally be able to start that business you’ve been wanting to start.

And so on, and so on.

As you can see, learning how to stay focused can help you stay motivated and succeed with your goal.

Related content that will help you learn how to stay focused:

Here are my tips on how to stay focused:

 

Realize why you want to stay focused.

Whenever you have a tough time staying focused, you should think about why you need to focus. That reason is the goal you are working towards, and you’ll most likely be able to stay better focused because of that goal.

Through creating a list of your priorities, goals, and the things in life that are important to you, you’ll be able to focus better by eliminating the extra noise that is holding you back.

This is because you’ll know and see exactly what is important to you, and you’ll be able to better differentiate between things that are important and those that are not.

So, if your goal is to start a side business that will one day become your full-time business, you should think about this whenever working on your side business feels too difficult.

Another example would be if you are trying to pay off debt and you want to better focus on your debt payoff plan. If you want to stay better focused on your goal, you should think about why you want to pay off your debt, how you will feel once you reach your goal, and so on.

By thinking about your goal and what will happen once you reach your goal, you’ll be much more motivated to stay focused, even if times become hectic or if you don’t think that you have the energy to continue on.

 

Exercise often.

Exercising is great for many reasons, and one of them is that it can help you to stay focused.

Whenever I feel like I can’t focus on something, I like to go for a hike or walk my dog in order to clear my thoughts and to think better.

According to Harvard Medical School:

Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells… Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety.

To improve your focus, the recommendation is to regularly exercise, 30 minutes a session for five days a week.

 

Breaks are your friend if you want to learn how to stay focused.

Trying to focus TOO hard on a task can actually backfire.

Instead, you should take the occasional break.

Many people believe that you shouldn’t take breaks if you are trying to focus on something, but breaks are important if you are figuring out how to stay focused on a task.

A break could mean:

  • Going for a walk
  • Meditating
  • Exercising
  • Talking to someone

The key to taking a successful break is to be realistic with your time.

Obviously, taking 10 breaks in one hour may not be too helpful. Instead, you need to be realistic with your breaks because if you break focus too often from your work, then you could be hurting yourself as well.

 

Think about your goals.

A big factor in staying focused is to remember why you are wanting to reach your goal. If there is no reason, then it would be very hard to stay motivated.

You should envision what your life will be like once you reach your goal, why you are trying so hard to reach it, and so on. A little daydreaming can go a long way every now and then.

If your goal is debt payoff, then your reason is probably so that you can stop living a stressful paycheck to paycheck life. Just think what a debt free life would be like! This will help you better understand the ways to stay focused so that you can keep working hard.

 

Organize your life.

Being unorganized can waste a significant amount of your time and can lead a person to lose focus, pay late fees, stress, lose items, and more.

Whatever you are trying to focus on, organization is key.

Just think about it: If you need something but cannot find it, you will most likely lose focus on whatever it is that you were doing. This makes it more difficult to become focused or to stay concentrated on a task because your mind will be all over the place.

Being organized is a big part of knowing how to stay focused because it helps you stay on task and finish whatever it is that you were trying to do.

Here are some surprising statistics about being unorganized:

  • The average person spends 12 days per year looking for things they can’t find.
  • Every day the average office worker spends 1.5 hours looking for things.
  • In a recent survey, 55% of consumers stated they would save anywhere from 16 to 60 minutes a day if they were organized.
  • 23% of people pay bills late and have to pay late fees because they are unable to find their bills.

 

Downsize and declutter.

As you learned above, staying organized can help you keep your concentration and focus. To go along with that, you should also think about downsizing and decluttering.

Downsizing and getting rid of some of your stuff can keep you focused because you’ll have less stuff and items cluttering your mind.

By having less stuff, you won’t have to spend as much time cleaning, repairing and maintaining items, and so on. This will allow you to better focus on the things that you truly want to achieve, such as paying off your debt, starting a business, and so on.

 

Have a to-do list.

If there is something coming up that I know I will not remember, I will create a reminder and add it to my to-do list. This makes managing my life easier because I don’t have to worry about forgetting things, missing payments, etc.

This also connects to the importance of staying organized when learning how to stay focused.

I create reminders for things such as:

  • Business tasks and to-do lists.
  • Appointments.
  • When it’s time to pay estimated quarterly tax payments.
  • Renewing license plate tags for our cars.
  • Paying semiannual bills, such as car insurance.

This all makes sure I know exactly what I need to do. Nothing is ever forgotten, and I don’t even spend time wondering if I forgot something. This gives me more time to stay focused on what truly matters.

 

Outsource certain tasks.

When understanding how to stayed focused on reaching your goals, you may find that outsourcing certain tasks will give you more time and energy to reach those goals.

This may mean doing something such as hiring someone to mow your lawn, clean your house, or do car repairs. This will give you more time to start your business on the side or whatever your goal might be.

In order to outsource effectively and to make sure that it is worth it to outsource, you will want to think about a few things, such as:

  • Could you earn more in that time by outsourcing or would you be better off doing the work yourself?
  • Do you feel comfortable doing the task or would you be better off leaving it to an expert?
  • Would outsourcing the task help you to better focus on your goal?

 

Spend less time on social media.

The average person spends many, many hours on social media each week.

Between Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many others it can be quite easy to waste your entire day.

If you find that you are spending too much time on social media and that it is negatively impacting you, you may want to shut down the social media accounts that you are spending too much time on. You can even create a time block so you cannot access your accounts during certain periods of the day, and so on.

By spending less time on social media, you won’t have as many time wasting distractions that make figuring out how to stay focused so difficult.

Just think about what you could do with a few extra hours a day if you stopped spending as much time on social media!

 

Watch less TV and stay concentrated.

I love a good TV show, but I can honestly say that I watch too much TV. The average person watches TV for over 35 hours a week!

Can you imagine what you could do by reclaiming just half of those hours each week?

By watching less TV, you’ll have more time to focus on your goals.

Just like social media, think about what you could do with a few extra hours a day if you stopped watching TV!

 

Have less clothing options.

The average successful person has a very limited set of clothing options, as this way they have more time to focus on things that truly matter.

By finding items that already match one another and having a smaller wardrobe, you’ll have more time to focus on other more important things.

 

Make your goal visual.

When learning how to stay focused, one of the best ways is to make your goal visual.

Having your goal displayed in front of you can make it that much more real, plus it’s nice to have a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.

Various ways to make your goal visual include:

  • Create a graphic that demonstrates your goal. An example of this would be if your goal is to pay off your house. You could have a picture of a house sectioned into 100 pieces. Then, each time you reach a small payoff goal, you can color a piece in. I did some research and found a blog post about many other creative ways to do this on A Cultivated Nest.
  • Keep a picture of your goal on hand. Whether your goal is a vacation, starting a business, an item you want, or something else, having a picture can keep you reminded of it.
  • Start a blog. Blogging greatly helped me with my goals. I could easily look back to see how I was doing. Plus, I felt like I had to keep myself accountable and keep improving due to the fact that everything was public. If interested, you can start a blog for cheap with my easy tutorial.

 

Start saying no more often.

If you say yes to everything, but you are ready to pull your hair out, then you may want to start saying no.

Limiting the things you are accountable for can teach you how to stay focused on one thing. It can also allow you to have more time to focus on what you truly want by simplifying your life.

 

Stay motivated.

Even with how much I love saving money, every now and then it becomes easy to get unmotivated and want to SPEND ALL THE MONEY!

I’m sure I’m not alone either.

While many choose to live a frugal life, it’s not always easy. Some have large amounts of debt to pay off, others find it hard to stick to a budget, and more.

Finding financial motivators will help you continue to work hard towards your goal, even when it seems impossible. Without motivation, one might give up on a financial goal quite easily. This is why it’s so important to learn how to stay motivated.

Read more at Paying Off Debt And Budgeting: Tricks For Staying Motivated.

 

Think before you multi-task.

Some people can multitask successfully, but with the large amount of time it takes to refocus on a new task, many people cannot.

So, if you are constantly switching back and forth, you will have to spend extra time refocusing each time you switch from one task to another.

Think about your strengths and weaknesses to understand whether or not multitasking actually helps you save time. For the most part, single-tasking will allow you to simplify your life and focus better.

Do you know how to stay focused? What tips do you have to share with all of us on how to stay focused?

The post How To Stay Focused, Get Stuff Done, And Be Successful appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.


March 13, 2017 at 04:25AM
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Volatility

1. A statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.
March 13, 2017
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Glass-Steagall Act

An act the U.S. Congress passed in 1933 as the Banking Act, which prohibited commercial banks from participating in the investment banking business.
March 12, 2017
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Nonfarm Payroll

Nonfarm payroll refers to any job outside of farms, private households and the nonprofit sector. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases closely-followed monthly data on nonfarm payrolls as part of its Employment Situation Report. The headline figure, the change in the total number of nonfarm payrolls compared to the previous month, is used as a gauge of economic health.
March 11, 2017
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INR

The currency abbreviation or currency symbol for the Indian rupee (INR), the currency of India. The rupee is made up of 100 paise and is often presented with the symbol (Rs). The Indian government has decided to find a new symbol for its currency and as of March 5, 2009 has announced a contest to design this symbol.

March 10, 2017
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How I Made $160,211.27 Last Month Blogging

Welcome to February’s business income report where I show you how I made money online last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

Here's how Michelle made $160,211.27 last month blogging. Yes, you can actually make money blogging! Here are her tips, exactly what she's working on, and more, so that she can earn a living from home.If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my income report each month. You can simply skip to the next section if you’re not new here.

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 income reports consist of the many ways I earn a living.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly post my income 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 online income 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 income 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 income reports as a way to track how I’ve done and I treat it sort of like a journal.
  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. If you are looking for information on the many ways to make money online, I published the article Monthly Income Report Roundup that showcases many successful bloggers who are kind enough to share their income with the public each month.

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.).
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How was business income in February of 2017?

I earned $160,211.27 blogging and online in February, before expenses.

This makes February of 2017 my highest income month so far for my blogging business and it was a great month all around. I never thought that I would ever earn over $100,000 a month, especially through a blog, and it’s crazy to think about how I earned over $160,000 last month alone.

While my income levels now 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.

Before you think that $100 or even $1,000 is out of your league, you should remember that it is not!

I, myself, 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 $10,000 a month, and I thought that was impossible.

Now, I’m here to show everyone that it is possible! Through hard work and dedication, you never know where life may lead you.

This great business income month was because of a few different things that happened and that I’ve been working on lately:

  • I helped promote a friend’s course launch on an affiliate income basis, and this helped me earn five figures just from the five days that the course was open for sale. I don’t usually promote products heavily through a launch because I favor a more passive income source of affiliate income, but this is a great course so I wanted to help promote it. You can sign up for the waitlist for the next time it goes on sale by clicking here.
  • I had a feature in Forbes which generated over 50,000 new visitors to Making Sense of Cents (amazing!). This feature led to many new email subscribers, many great emails from new readers, and more.
  • I’m focusing on diversifying my income. In 2016, I finally created my first for-sale product, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. This helped me to diversify my business and try a new form of income. Now, my business income primarily consists of affiliate marketing, a product, sponsorships, and advertising, which is a mix that I’m very happy with. Also, I’m making a better effort at diversifying my affiliate income as well, so that I earn a larger share of income from different companies.
  • I’m focusing on my email list. I didn’t start taking my email list seriously until around April of 2016 when I switched to Convertkit. Convertkit makes sending an effective and efficient newsletter so much easier and better. I never really understood email marketing before, but ConvertKit makes it so easy and now I feel like I’m an expert! I now have over 40,000 email subscribers. One of my biggest blogging mistakes was waiting years to start my email list. If you don’t have one yet, you should start ASAP!
  • I’m spending more time on Facebook. I started 2016 with just around 6,500 Facebook followers and ended the year with 38,000. At the end of February of 2017, I was already at 53,000. I owe a lot of that to the ebook Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.

As you can see, February was another great month. It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else.

I’m very excited for 2017. I know it will be another great year! The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. I’ve been catching myself saying “Life is really good” a LOT. And, I truly mean it. Life is really good!

My business is growing, income is increasing, I have tons of amazing ideas for 2017, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

My Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course is still doing very well and I had many new students join the course last month. I think a lot of this has to do with all of the amazing reviews that I’m hearing about my course such as:

  • One blogger went from $0 in Amazon affiliate income to over $1,500 after taking the course.
  • One blogger went from $87 a month in affiliate income before taking the course, to over $1,700 a month after!
  • One blogger received their first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course (and they were a brand new blogger too!).
  • Another blogger doubled their monthly affiliate income from $2,500 to $5,000.

Plus, I’ve heard and read many other great reviews about my course.

If you’re a blogger, I recommend checking out my blogging course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I share my exact strategy and tips in this very informative online course. If you’re a blogger, then you need to check out this course.

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.

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Here is my blogging income chart that displays my income for the past 2 years.

This chart only goes back to July of 2015. You can find all of my income reports here.

Breakout of February 2017 income – $160,211.27:

In February of 2017, I earned $160,211.27 from my blog. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:

Total: $160,211.27

The income amount above is for the month of February and before any fees or expenses (some fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $4,000 (rounded up), which include virtual assistants, Teachable course platform fee, technical assistance, newsletter expenses, PayPal fees, Stripe fees, etc., however, this does not include taxes) being taken out. I also had expenses for the affiliates promoting my course, which totaled $9,712.50. After expenses and fees, I made approximately $146,498.77.

Please keep in mind that I work for myself when you read my monthly income report. This means I have to cover taxes (which are over 30%), health insurance, and all other benefits/expenses that an employer may provide.

Check out The Ultimate Guide To Making Money Blogging for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

Below are some of my other 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.

 

Comparisons and 2017 online income total:

  • Total income in February of 2017: $160,211
  • Total income in January of 2017: $139,233
  • Difference from the previous month: +20,978
  • Total in 2017: $299,444

 

Blog news 

Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I’m happy with how everything is going.

There are three things I’m thinking about (in no particular order):

  1. I’ve been debating continuing to publish income reports. If you find them helpful, please let me know in the comments below. If there’s something you’d like me to start adding to my income reports as well, let me know that too. I really just want to make sure that my income reports are helpful. I still find reading other people’s income reports and business updates helpful, but I want to make sure that others do too.
  2. I’m thinking about lowering the number of blog posts I publish this summer. I am thinking about going down to 1-2 posts a week, instead of my current 2-3 a week. This will only be for the months of June, July, and August. The summer months are usually slower for blogs due to everyone enjoying the nicer weather and their summer vacations. By lowering the amount I am posting this may help me to have a better work-life balance during the summer so that I can enjoy the months more as well.
  3. I’m thinking about increasing the amount that I spend on advertising on Facebook and Pinterest, and overall investing in the blogging business more. As you can tell each month, my blog business expenses are quite low. I want to start investing more in the business, such as through advertising so that I can reach new readers, and improve website traffic, subscribers, and income.

My feature in Forbes from January is still bringing in some traffic and I’m still loving it. You can read my feature here – How This 27 Year Old Made Nearly $1,000,000 in 2016.

I’m starting to guest post on other websites in order to promote my blog better and reach new readers. I think I’ve only guest posted once or twice ever since I started blogging in 2011, so this is something that I’m looking to change. I am going to try to guest post on someone else’s website at least once a month for the next year and see how that works out.

Overall, traffic for the month was around 520,000 page views. Referral traffic decreased last month, but that was expected since January is usually the best month for financial websites. That being said, my goal is to reach 1,000,000 monthly page views in 2017, so I will be spending a lot of my time trying to reach new readers.

Below are several blog-related updates:

  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course a few months ago. 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 15,000 people have already signed up just in the past few months. Thank you to everyone who has sent me kind emails about how great the course is. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, in August I 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.
  • I have plans for my third free email course and I will most likely put that together sometime this spring.
  • This month or next, I will hopefully be creating a free personal finance support group on Facebook. I’m extremely excited for this to be live! This would be a place where everyone can talk about money freely, seek support and help, and so on.

Also, I have received many questions recently about how I’m staying connected to the internet so that I can work and travel in my RV at the same time. I use a Verizon Mifi and I am able to stay connected pretty much anywhere with it. It really comes in handy because you can’t always trust free wifi. Sometimes free wifi is slow, hard to find, or not safe. I don’t know what I would do without this device! I am also currently testing out a new unlimited internet option through AT&T, which should help me save money. For right now, I have both Verizon and AT&T, but I plan on changing that in the next few months after I figure out which one is better.

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

 

Featured Question: What are some affiliate program ideas for different niches?

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. 

After last month’s Featured Question (What are easy affiliate programs for new bloggers?), some of you asked me for the top affiliate programs in other niches.

I’ve heard from numerous bloggers that they cannot find affiliate programs for the specific niche that they are in.

Well, let me tell you, you’re not looking hard enough if you can’t find any affiliate programs.

Every niche has affiliate programs, and there is an affiliate program for the majority of products that are out there. Most products will have affiliate programs, so the list is endless.

To find the specific affiliate programs mentioned below, they may be linked directly, you may have to find them within an affiliate network (such as Shareasale), click on “Affiliates” or something similar within the footer, and so on. If you’re not in my affiliate marketing course, you may want to purchase it because I teach you exactly how to find affiliate programs and how to get approved to them as well.

Here are some affiliate programs that you may want to look into according to your niche:

As you can see, there are many, many affiliate programs for each and every niche to choose from. If you enjoy a product, there is probably an affiliate program for it.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, then I recommend taking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. In this course, I list out over 80 possible affiliate programs for different niches, I teach you exactly how to apply for affiliate programs (and get approved for them!), the affiliate income strategies you need to implement so that you can earn passive income on your blog, and more.

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:

  • Earn $1,000,000 from my business in 2017. This is a new goal for 2017. Many of you have asked why I didn’t increase my goal to $2,000,000 for 2017 since I was so close to $1,000,000 in 2016 already. Well, the main reason for that is because my overall goal for the year is to have a better work-life balance, and instead earn more passive income from my blogging business.
  • Have a better work-life balance. This is my main goal for the year. While I have an okay work-life balance, I would like to be able to take a break from my blog without constantly checking my phone or laptop. I love my business, so that makes it hard for me to step away from it, even for just a few hours.
  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. I am currently 2 months ahead in content. Before the end of the month (March 2017), I would like to be at least 3 months ahead in content. Being ahead in content makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. We plan on visiting many new places this spring and summer, and we just booked a 2-week sailing trip, so I am trying to get as far ahead as I can in preparation for no internet (or really bad internet service).
  • Grow Making Sense of Cents to 1,000,000 monthly page views. I would love to help more readers, see even more engagement, have higher traffic, and so on. I love my blog and I would love to see it grow! I’m hoping to see at least 1,000,000 monthly page views by the end of 2017.
  • Start doing more live interviews, such as podcasts and webinars. I’m not as shy as I used to be, but living in an RV and not always having internet or a reliable schedule makes podcasts and webinars are a little more difficult. I hope to find a way around that (perhaps planning out a better schedule?) and dedicate more time to this area.
  • Create one more product to sell. In 2016, I created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and that has completely changed my life and my business. I want to think about and create another product to sell in 2017 so that I can continue to diversify my income.
  • Promote the blog and business better. I am doing much better at promoting my blog and content, and I’m noticing an improvement. I started focusing more on improving my traffic from Facebook, and I’ve been very pleased with the results. I used to only see around 100 visits a day from Facebook, but for the past few months, I have been seeing around 2,000+ visits a day from Facebook.
  • Continue learning and improving. I currently have a few blog courses that I’m working through.

 

Affiliate income results.

In February of 2017, I earned $100,151.27 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report. This is my best month ever for affiliate income and I’m extremely happy about it.

I don’t expect it to be this high in April of 2017, as I had one main launch for an affiliate product that was only for sale for a few days between February and March as discussed above.

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.

As I always say, blogging income is not dependent on page views. Even brand new bloggers can make money through affiliate marketing. If you know the correct way to promote a product, you can succeed at affiliate marketing. This is one of the main things I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.

My affiliate marketing course went live in July of 2016. I’ve already had over 1,600 people purchase the course, and I’d love to have you as a student too!

In 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 benefits of affiliate marketing
  • 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 major tool you need for affiliate marketing
  • 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.

I wrote this course so that it would benefit everyone, and there is so much to learn from it.

How was February for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?

The post How I Made $160,211.27 Last Month Blogging appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.


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