Blog Archives

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, but 100 times better, as it allows you to gain control of your investment and retirement accounts, whereas 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


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

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.).


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.


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.

March 08, 2017 at 05:45AM

11 Reasons to Choose RV Life

It’s been over a year since me, my husband, and our two dogs started living the RV life full-time.

RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!People keep asking us when we will stop traveling, grow up, and buy a house again.

Well, not anytime soon!

While I know that traveling full-time and RV life isn’t for everyone, I also know that I don’t want to live in a “normal” home anytime soon.

Now, don’t get me wrong, living in a house can be great. And, when I owned one, I loved it at the time. However, I just love RV life much, much more.

And, I don’t think I’m alone.

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, in 2016 RV sales reached their highest total since 1977. More than 9,000,000 households own an RV, which is also the highest level ever recorded. And, buyers between the ages of 35 and 54 are the largest segment of RV owners, so there are a lot of other young RVers who are pursuing this lifestyle as well.

Just a few years ago, I never thought I’d live in an RV. It was never a dream of mine or anything like that.

However, one step into an RV and I knew it was for me. Living in our RV full-time has been the best thing ever, and we truly love it.

Since me, my husband and our two dogs began RV life about a year and a half ago, we’ve traveled thousands of miles in our RV, with even more miles put on our Jeep (which we recently turned into an overland vehicle).

We’ve already traveled to many awesome places in our RV, such as:

  • The Pacific Northwest – Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, Hoh National Rainforest, La Push Beach, and many other beautiful places. 
  • Utah (many times) – Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, and many other places.
  • Colorado (many times) – Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, and many other places.
  • “Home” in Missouri.
  • Mississippi.
  • Arizona – Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Sedona, and many other places.
  • California – This was a part of the Pacific Northwest trip, but we continued on and hopped along beaches all the way to Los Angeles.
  • Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

And much, much more.

We have many plans for this year, which include exploring the west coast some more, possibly hitting up Alaska (if we have time), making it up to Canada, and more. RV life can change quickly, so our plans may change as well. But, that’s the beauty of RV life – you are flexible with where you go!

If you’re interested in RV life, check out these other blog posts on Making Sense of Cents:

Here are 11 reasons to choose RV life:


Twin Lakes

You can live by the beach, mountains, desert, and anywhere else.

Living in an RV means that you can live wherever you want to live. The United States has so many beautiful places to see and live, and because it would be hard to just pick one place, RV life allows us to live in as many as we want.

And, it’s more than just going on a vacation, which is nice too, but I love being able to bring my entire home with me. This way I’m not forgetting anything, and because my home is always with me, I still get to live comfortably.

If you want to spend your summer in the mountains and your winter near the beach, you can do that. If you want to do the opposite the following year, you can do that too.

If you want to have your front window open up to a beautiful national park, you can even do that.

By living in an RV, you can choose to live wherever you want.

Trip of a Lifetime

You can spend more time outside.

One of the best things about RV life is that you can park your home wherever you want to. We love being able to do things outdoors, and we usually pick places that make that even easier. So, we like to park next to hiking trails, bike trails, rock climbing routes, and more.

This is great because we can usually just walk or ride our bikes to wherever we want to go, which allows us to spend a ton of time enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

One of my favorite spots we stayed in 2016 was at Pine Cove Campground (pictured below). This was pretty much just a parking lot, but it had great views and it was right on the water. It also provided several hiking trails, mountain biking trails, paddle boarding, and more. Plus, Breckenridge was just a bike ride away with all of it’s yummy food and delicious beers.  It’s a great all-around spot and it was just $20 a night.


Pine Cove Campground

It’s amazingly beautiful living in an RV.

You simply cannot beat the views we’ve seen out the window of our RV.

And, there have been many of them.

We’ve seen beautiful national parks right outside our window, amazing mountain ranges, desert landscapes, lake views, wild animals, and more.


RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!


Our dogs love RV life.

Okay, so I can’t be exactly 100% sure about this since my dogs can’t talk to me, but they seem pretty happy whenever they are able to explore new places (like the picture above), sniff new things, go on long hikes, and so on.

Our dogs are much more active now than they ever were before and seem pretty happy to me.


You can follow the weather.

Since we can park our home wherever we want, we can follow the weather. We like to stay in temperatures that are just perfect – somewhere around 70 degrees year round.

Following the weather is something that we truly love.

After all, who wants to be too cold or too hot?

Thankfully, the RV life lets us just leave whenever the temperature is something that we don’t fully enjoy.

We really only have clothes for one season, so we avoid places that are cold. I pretty much wear dresses, sandals, shorts, and/or tank tops year round, which is really nice and comfortable.


RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!

Downsizing is liberating.

Living in an RV means that you’ll have to downsize. While some people dread this, getting rid of nearly all of your stuff is extremely liberating.

When we sold our house and moved into an RV, we donated and got rid of a lot of our belongings. At first it was difficult to get rid of so much, but it became easier as time went on.

These days, all we have is what we have with us. We have a small amount of everything, and we like it best this way.

We are much more mindful of what we buy, we waste hardly anything, and this is allowing us to save money as well.

Plus, when you’re RVing, you no longer have a need to buy as much stuff because the outdoors take up all of your time. Before we would waste time going to the mall, Target, and other stores- but we hardly ever do that now. Instead, we spend a lot of our time exploring new places.

Read more at Downsizing Your Home? Here’s How I Went From A 2,000 Square Foot House To An RV.


RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!

No more yard work or other house work with RV living.

One of the best things about not having a normal home is that we save a lot of time when it comes to routine things that come with a normal house.

This includes dealing with monthly bills, such as electricity, water, sewer, trash, etc. Now we just pay one fee whenever we go somewhere.

We also don’t have as much maintenance and repairs to do. While RVs aren’t perfect, there’s less that goes into an RV than a house, which means that we don’t have to do things like rake leaves, mow the grass, and so on.


RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!

Food tastes better when living in an RV.

Me and Wes always talk about this, but it’s true – meals in an RV always taste better. I think it has to do with always having great views (as mentioned above) and just being happier with life in general.


RV living means you can move if you don’t like your neighbors.

I think pretty much everyone has lived next to a neighbor that they didn’t like. The great thing about RV life is that if you have a crazy neighbor or someone who you don’t get along with, then you can just move your home!

And trust me, we have done this a few times in order to get away from some not-so-friendly and/or crazy RVers.

RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!

You can work and travel at the same time.

Yes, you can do both.

We’ve met many amazing people while RVing. Some are retired, but others are like us and also trying different things in order to make their traveling dreams a reality. I know that thinking about making money while traveling can be a scary thing for many people, but it has really allowed us to live our dream life.

This factor is something that holds many potential full-time travelers back, but it shouldn’t! Don’t let making money on the road hold you back from living your dream, because even though it may seem big, it’s something that can usually be worked around.

Related articles on how to make money while traveling:

To be able to live in an RV full-time, I run an online business which consists mainly of this blog- Making Sense of Cents. It is a lot of fun being able to work and travel at the same time.

At first, I thought it would be difficult. I thought internet would be hard to find, that I would be too distracted, and so on.

I’ve come to find that I’m more motivated than ever when it comes to working, and having a great view out my window each day definitely helps as well.

If I want to take a break from work and go on a hike, I can do that. If I want to go on a mountain bike ride in the morning before I start answering emails, I can do that.

The list goes on and on!

Living in an RV makes traveling and working (and living) much more enjoyable because I can bring my home everywhere I go. I don’t have to worry about forgetting something, bringing a suitcase, or anything – I just have it all with me.

Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I am using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack. I also have AT&T for our cell phones so that we are always covered. This may sound crazy, but every RVer we’ve met has the same set up.

Note: Read more about how I earn a living on the road.


RV life is the best. We've had beautiful views, made great friends, and gone on great adventures. Living in an RV and RV living is something I recommend!

You’ll want to travel full-time for as long as you can.

RV life is a lot of fun, and due to that I know that I want to do this for as long as I can. Our next adventure will be to sail full-time, probably even some backpacking and long cycling trips too.

I’m so glad that I gave RV life a shot in 2015, because my life is so much better due to it.

Are you interested in RV life or traveling full-time? Why or why not?

The post 11 Reasons to Choose RV Life appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

March 06, 2017 at 04:25AM

How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week

Today, I have a fun interview to share with you that will show you how to start an online store. I recently had the chance to interview Jenn Leach of E-commerce and Prosper, who explains exactly how to start an online store and make extra income.

Interested in learning how to start an online store? Here's how Jenn makes over $10,000 a month with her ecommerce business in less than 10 hours per week.Jenn is a corporate mom turned e-commerce store owner and blogger.

She started her online business a little over three years ago and since then she has developed and grown three successful online e-commerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month.

She only dedicates around 5-10 hours per week on her e-commerce business and is super successful.

If you are looking for a new business or even just a side hustle, learning how to start an online store may be something that you want to look into.

Check out the interview below for more information on how to start an online store.

One last thing before we head to the interview on how to start an online store. Jenn Leach has a course called E-commerce and Prosper that teaches you successfully how to start an online store. She has a rinse and repeat formula that she’s revealing to students in the course. This formula earns her an average of $19,000 per month. In her course you will learn:

  • How to start an online store
  • Winning e-commerce Success Tools
  • How to turbocharge your e-commerce success
  • How to start making money in THREE days

Plus, if you use the coupon code MICHELLE, then you’ll receive $50 off her course.

Related articles on how to start an online store:

Here is how to start an online store:


1. Please give us a little background on yourself, how you started an ecommerce business, and how it’s going for you right now.

I’m a Texas-based entrepreneur and blogger over at Drink Coffee & Prosper. I educate readers about working from home, starting a business, blogging, side hustles, and more.  I have an MBA from Texas A&M University and a background in business and finance.  I was working in banking for 10 years before I decided enough was enough and I wanted to finally pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. 

During the final year at my employer I decided to start a business.  I tried many things: freelance writing, selling Twitter fan packages, and more.  I was very unhappy at my job and was really willing to try anything that would allow me to earn a full time income working from home and being an entrepreneur.  After many failed efforts, something finally stuck. 

I opened a women’s fashion retail store on the Storenvy platform.  I made my first sale shortly after launching and soonafter I was earning enough income to quit my day job, so I did!  One year after starting the e-commerce business I quit my day job to pursue entrepreneurship full time.

Fast forward 2.5 years later, I was the owner of 3 e-commerce businesses.  I sold my original online store, restructured the other two, and I’ve added teaching courses and blogging to my repertoire!

My remaining e-commerce business has enjoyed it’s second successful holiday season and is expected to experience some big positive changes and growth in 2017.


2. How much do you currently earn through this avenue? How much time do you dedicate towards it?

When all three stores were in rotation, I earned an average of $19,000/month (each store) in revenue. 

My remaining e-commerce store earns $11K-$15K/month operating part time and I dedicate about 5-10 hours/week.


3. What exactly is an ecommerce business? Can you explain this more for those who have no idea?

An e-commerce business is a business in which you conduct transactions over the Internet.  You are selling a product or service, making sales and collecting payment online.  So basically, any purchase made online would be an e-commerce transaction.


4. What do you like about learning how to start an online store?

I love so many things about this type of business.  First and foremost, the flexibility of being an e-commerce business owner is incredible. 

I’m a mom to a special needs preschooler and wife to a disabled Navy vet.  My schedule is crazy most days of the week, like I’m sure most moms experience.  It’s great to have flexibility to take my son to school in the morning, run an errand, head to a doctor’s appointment, go to a trade show, travel, and more.

I also love connecting with customers one on one.  You get to meet a lot of interesting people and make some awesome connections along the way.

The income potential for an e-commerce business is huge.  You control your destiny.  I like that the opportunity to increase your earnings is unlimited and it feels great to be my own boss and work for myself.

Networking is an opportunity to connect with like-minded peers in your field, learn from each other, make friends, and more. 


5. How much can a ecommerce business owner make?

The income potential for an e-commerce business owner is unlimited. 

It’s not uncommon to run into a million-dollar e-commerce owner.


6. What steps are needed to learn how to start an online store? 

Creating an e-commerce business is not as difficult as you may think.  Here are the steps involved:

  1. Pick a niche: Decide what you’d like to sell. Examples: apparel, home décor, kids wear, electronics, footwear, etc.
  2. Sourcing: Research where you will purchase your products from.
  3. Set up your e-commerce store: Pick a platform (ex. Shopify), buy your domain name, add products, and customize your store
  4. Promotion: Market your store to get customers and make sales

That’s it.  It’s not a difficult process but it can be time-intensive. 

Picking a niche – Picking a niche and sourcing tend to be the steps that take the most time.  Figuring out what to sell is the most important part of this process.  If you don’t pick a winning category, your store can suffer and you might not see success.  I recommend for those that are new to e-commerce to really take their time with step 1.  It’s not uncommon for it to take a few weeks or even longer to thoroughly research a niche and figure out what kind of product will see successful sales in an e-commerce setting.

Sourcing – Today, with the presence of Internet, sourcing isn’t as difficult as it has been in the past for new e-commerce entrepreneurs.  There are a variety of ways to source your product, both online and in person. 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of MOQ (minimum order quantity): Your budget can be eaten up quickly if you don’t keep a careful eye on minimum quantities required for products. 
  • Some helpful places to find out more about sourcing: forums. Examples: Wholesale Forum and The Wholesale Forums

E-commerce Store Setup – You’ll pick a platform that you’d like to have your store on.  Some examples: Shopify, WordPress, Volusion, etc.  Set up is usually pretty easy, involving things like adding products, product photos and descriptions, adding your payment method, shipping policy, etc.

Most platforms (like Shopify) will allow you to purchase your domain name through them.  If they don’t, you can purchase domain through GoDaddy or Namecheap (examples)

Promotion – In Steps 1-3, you picked your niche, sourced your products, and completed store set up.  The last piece is marketing and promotion.  This is your effort to get customers to your store.  There are many options to promote e-commerce stores paid and unpaid.  Some examples include: social media, ads, and word of mouth advertising.


7. What can a person sell? Where do you find products when starting an online store?

There are several products a person can choose to sell. 

Here are some examples: apparel, footwear, home décor, kids wear, electronics, etc.  You can even sell digital products like printables, workbooks, ebooks, etc.

For physical products, you find products from wholesalers. 

How it works: You purchase a product at the wholesale price, sell it for the retail price, and keep the difference as profit.  For example, a home décor e-commerce store sells a lamp to a customer.  They source that lamp from a wholesaler for $20 and list it at a retail price of $50.  The customer purchases the lamp for $50.  The e-commerce store keeps $30 as profit ($50 retail price minus $20 wholesale price). 


8. How does an ecommerce business owner find customers?

There are many ways to find customers.  I’ve had the most success by finding customers through social media.  Some other ways to find customers:

  1. Paid advertising: Ads (examples: Google Adwords), Social media ads (examples: Facebook ads), sponsored posts, paid email blasts, etc.
  2. Unpaid advertising: Social media, word of mouth advertising, etc.

For hopeful ecommerce business owners, I would recommend focusing on social media.  In my first 2 years in business, I relied only on social media and no paid advertising. In fact I did no other advertising at all, just social media and I grew the store to four figures monthly in year 1 and five figures monthly in year 2.  Paid ads are also a great option if you have the budget for them. 


9. How much does it cost to start this type of business and how much on a monthly basis to maintain it?

Startup costs can vary depending upon the type of business but generally e-commerce businesses enjoy lower start up costs compared to brick and mortar businesses. 


Some expenses to plan for if you want to learn how to start an online store:

  1. Inventory
  2. Store platform fees
  3. Storage
  4. Shipping materials
  5. Supplies
  6. Equipment

For my e-commerce store, my start up costs were under $100.  This is because I focused on dropshipping in my first year.  Dropshipping means that you are the middleman between the wholesaler and the customer.  Similar to wholesale buying, with dropshipping, the wholesaler ships the product directly to your customer. 

Look at this comparison example:

Inventory held model: Described above (in sourcing), you, the retailer purchase goods from your wholesaler.  You buy a wholesale product at a wholesale price and sell at a retail price, keep the difference as profit.  When your order is received, you have the product in hand, package it, and ship to the customer.

Dropship model: You, the retailer purchase goods from your wholesaler at a wholesale price and charge a retail price, keeping the difference, your profit.  When your order is received, you place the individual order with the wholesaler and they ship the order to your customer.

With dropshipping, expenses are a lot lower because you are not doing the fulfillment, your wholesaler is.  So, there are no packing/materials costs and no storage costs.  Your labor cost is also less because you don’t have to fulfill orders yourself or pay employees to fulfill orders.

My startup costs were very minimal.  I sold in a free marketplace with no membership fees.  I dropshipped orders and did no paid advertising.  The only costs were the cost of the product (that I would only incur after a sale was made) and PayPal fees.

When I transitioned to an inventory held model, my startup costs included:

  • Inventory ($3K-$5K/month)
  • Domain/store platform fees ($80/month appx.)
  • Fulfillment warehouse ($1K-$2K/month)
  • PayPal fees (varied)

These costs might not be typical.  I was in year 2 of my business when I transitioned to an inventory held model and private domain.  The store was already established and had higher sales.  Initial startup costs for an inventory held model might be half of this (shown above) or less.


Maintenance costs are the regular recurring monthly costs to operate the ecommerce store. This can include costs like domain, hosting, PayPal or other payment processor fees, advertising, shipping supplies, and inventory.


10. Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to learn how to start an online store?

My #1 tip would be if you have an interest in this field, dive in.  It’s affordable to start.  You can definitely do a lot of testing by buying small quantities, dropshipping, doing unpaid advertising, etc.  I would have never thought I would be where I am today, earning five figures from ecommerce. 

I started my ecomm store on a whim, literally. 

I just gave it a try.

A year later, I was earning enough to quit my full time day job. Three years later, that store is sold and I have 2 more in it’s place.  I would have never gotten to this point if I didn’t dive in and try my hand at ecommerce.

Some additional tips:

  1. Ask for help before you need it – It can be easy to fall behind and if you wait until you absolutely need help, you can get delayed further by researching the type of help you need, hiring, etc.  Virtual assistants are great for handling day to day, simple tasks that can be time consuming like social media efforts, customer service, etc.  This will help you free up your time to do bigger business tasks like sourcing, ordering inventory, etc.
  2. Learn – I’ll teach you my secret strategies that landed me three successful online stores earning an average of $19,000 per month! Learn how to start an online store and start earning full time income from your online store in 3 days! Learn how to start an online store from my course that can be found at Ecommerce and Prosper.
  3. Don’t be afraid to scale up – One of the fastest ways to increase your earnings is scaling up.  For example, if you are a footwear online retailer and doing Facebook ads at $10 day selling $50/day in product, try doubling your ad budget to $20/day for potentially $100/day product sales. 
  4. Diversify your income streams – With ecommerce, there are many ways to earn money, other than through your store direct.  These additional income streams are covered in the course and are a great way to double or even triple your earnings.
  5. Network – Networking has gotten me very far. It all started on Instagram for me.  I found a friend who happened to be addicted to the platform like me. We found ourselves in the same group Direct Messages late at night browsing around and soonafter developed a close friendship.  This opened tons of doors for me, meeting more store owners, joining engagement pods, forming amazing business relationships and more.

The ecommerce industry can be very rewarding. Think about how great it would be to wake up one day and be your own boss. Today, I feel so blessed to be able to have the life that I do, with a flexible schedule and the ability to spend more time with my family, all thanks to ecommerce.

Are you interested in learning how to start an online store?

The post How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

March 03, 2017 at 05:45AM

Do You Need Identity Theft Protection?

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by TransUnion and contains affiliate links to their products. I am provided with compensation for advertisements on this blog and commissions for purchases made through links in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by TransUnion or its affiliates. My experience is my own, and your experience may differ. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

Just in the year 2014, over 17,000,000 people were victims of identity theft. That is around 7% of Americans 16 years of age and older!

That is such a high number. And, sadly, without the correct precautions, that number may not decrease anytime soon.

Identity theft is becoming such a common occurrence in recent years and it is something far too many people have personal experience with.

No one wants to deal with identity theft. Identity theft could potentially lead to headaches, a drop in your credit score, loss of money, and more. While some situations can be fixed in just a day, some identity theft situations can linger on for years and years. Plus, many times you’ll feel like your privacy is lost and you may wonder when the next identity theft will happen.

Related read: Do You Have An Emergency List For Your Family?

Here’s why you need identity theft protection:


Identity theft can happen in so many ways.

Sadly, there are many ways that identity theft could happen. As you can read in TrueIdentity’s article How does identity theft happen?, identity theft can happen in ways such as:

  • Personal documents being lost or stolen. Documents that contain your personal information is usually one of the biggest reasons for why someone’s identity may be stolen.
  • Unsafe online data. A lot of identity theft cases are found to be because of things that happen on the internet. You need to keep your passwords safe, watch unknown Wi-Fi connections, only click on links that you know of, and more.
  • Company data breaches. It seems like data breaches at companies happen more and more often. This is where hackers may gain access to credit card information that shoppers make, such as at stores like Target.

As you can see, in today’s digital age, more and more identity theft is starting to happen. Identity theft can happen so easily, and it may not always be due to an error on your end – it may be due to a company data breach which you have absolutely no control over!

You should always be careful with you private information, and one way is to have identity theft protection (as discussed below).


You can never be too careful.

Identity theft is becoming more and more sophisticated. Identity thieves are becoming smarter about how they steal identities.

There are some things that you can do in order to help lower the chances of identity theft such as:

  • Don’t give out information unless you’re sure it’s needed. There are many scammers out there just hoping to find someone who will fall for one of their tricks. You should always be sure that you’re talking to the right person before you give out any private information.
  • Always be careful with what internet connection you use. You never know who else is on the same Wi-Fi as you. For example, they may be stealing your information by logging every key that you type.
  • Keep your social security card and number safe. I know way too many people who keep their social security card in their wallet and/or purse. I’ve even seen numerous people who place their social security cards in the slot where their license goes, so it’s in view of everyone whenever they take out their wallet at a store. Instead, you should leave your social security card and number in a safe place instead of on you all the time.
  • Shred documents that contain your personal information. Before you throw out papers that contain any personal information, you should shred them. This includes credit card statements, bank statements, bills, and so on.
  • Check your credit reports. You should review your credit report at least once a year. You can receive up to three each year for free, though – one from each credit bureau. It’s free and I highly recommend doing this!
  • Get identity theft protection. This can help protect your identity even further than what you can do.

And, that leads me to the next section…


There is a great option to protect you from identity theft.

Identity theft protection such as through TrueIdentity Theft Protection is 100% free and has many great features such as:

  • Lock your credit. You just simply log in with your phone and lock it right then and there. You can simply unlock your credit report with another swipe.
  • Free identity theft insurance. TrueIdentity Theft Protection is free!
  • Free report alerts. With this service, you can stay updated on any changes to your credit report.
  • Free means free – pay nothing. No credit card required, no trial period

You don’t pay anything in order to use TrueIdentity Theft Protection, you don’t have to enter your credit card information, there is no trial period, or anything else. It is a completely free service that anyone can take advantage of.

Please click here to check out TrueIdentity Theft Protection further.

Do you have identity theft protection? Why or why not?

The post Do You Need Identity Theft Protection? appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

March 02, 2017 at 12:00PM

10 Real Ways To Make Money In A Day (or a Week!)

Sometimes unexpected expenses come up and you need to find ways to make money fast. Maybe you have an unexpected car repair, something broke in your home, you forgot about a bill, or something else.

Do you need to know about the ways to make money fast? If so, then you've come to the right place! Here, you'll learn how to make money fast in a DAY for extra cash! This can be online, for teens, easy, at home, DIY, and more!Perhaps you need extra income in the next 24 hours or by the end of the week.

No matter how small your timeframe is, there’s probably something you can do to earn at least a little bit of money quickly.

While I think that everyone should have an emergency fund, there are still times when you need to find ways to make money fast.

After all, things come up and sometimes you may not have the cash on hand that you need. Or, maybe you just don’t want to dip into your savings and would like to see what you can do to quickly make some money instead.

Whatever your reasoning is, there are plenty of ways to make money fast for when you need it.

Related blog posts on ways to make money fast:

Here are 10 real ways to make money fast:


Sell stuff from around your home.

Probably one of the best ways to make money fast is to find items around your home to sell.

The average person has a lot of extra stuff in their life. Too many clothes, old electronics (such as old cell phones!) that have been tossed to the side, appliances that have been replaced, books that will never be read again, useless furniture, gift cards that will never be used, and more.

If you’re looking for ways to make money fast, then there are many items around your home that you may be able to sell.

I’ve heard all the excuses for why a person doesn’t want to try selling their stuff:

  • But, no one will pay for my junk.
  • That item isn’t worth it.
  • It’s so much easier just to throw it away.
  • I would look stupid if a thrift store says no to everything I am trying to sell to them.
  • What can I sell to make money? I have nothing!

Stop with the excuses!

We all have something we can sell, and there are many places you may be able to sell your things. These include:

  • Thrift stores – Thrift stores may pay on consignment, cash on the spot, or store credit. Taking your stuff to a thrift store will probably be the fastest way to sell things as they will be able to pay you cash right away for whatever they can sell.
  • eBay – eBay can be a great way to reach a larger market.
  • Craigslist – Selling on this free site can be one of the easiest ways to make money fast, but be safe and don’t fall for any Craigslist scams.
  • Garage/yard sale – This can be an easy way to sell many things at once, plus you can do it all from your home. A downside is that the pay is usually lower.
  • Facebook – There are specific groups on Facebook dedicated to selling items to someone in the same city as you.


Become an Uber or Lyft driver.

Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker, and it’s one of the most interesting ways to make money fast as you can meet all sorts of people as a driver. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver. Click here to join Uber and start making money ASAP.

Here’s a quick snippet from an interview I did with an Uber driver:

“For those unfamiliar with rideshare, it’s basically a way to hail a ride with a smartphone app.  There are thousands of drivers out there just like me who work full time jobs, part-time jobs, etc and whenever they want to drive, they can just turn their app on and they’ll be matched with passengers in need of a ride.  The entire transaction is cashless and everything is done over your mobile app.

You can drive 80 hours a week if you’d like or you can take an entire month off from driving.

Everything is handled by the app and you are paid via direct deposit weekly.  Some customers will tip in cash but for the most part, the entire transaction is cashless.

As a driver, you have to pay for pretty much everything including gas and maintenance on your car but typically I don’t use more than a few dollars worth of gas per hour.  The big ‘hidden cost’ is probably the depreciation of your car but you do get to deduct 56.5 cents/mile on your taxes as a driver.”


Find random Craigslist jobs.

There are many, many random one-time jobs that you can find on your local Craigslist.

One great thing about these jobs is that you usually get paid before or right after you complete the work, which means that you can get paid the same day!

To find random gigs in your area, just go to Craigslist and find the “gigs” section.

Here are some jobs I found through a quick search:

  • Remove yard debris
  • Gem Show helper
  • Dirty house cleaner
  • Passing out flyers and brochures
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Motorhome hauler
  • Movie extra

Here’s a screenshot of one of these easy to find Craigslist gigs:



And here’s another job that, if you have the right equipment, would make you a nice $200, especially if you were heading that direction anyway:


Related read: How I Earned $655 From Random Craigslist Jobs In One Month


Rent out a room in your home.

Renting out a room in your house will not make you rich, but I do know a few people renting out rooms in their home and they have been able to pay off their home completely due to this.

If you are interested in renting out a spare room on a short-term basis (such as for vacations), I highly recommend you check out Airbnb. I know people who are making thousands of dollars a month by renting out rooms on this site!

There are many places where you can advertise your rental. You can put a sign on your front lawn, advertise in a newspaper, or place an ad online on a website such as Craigslist.

Everyone and everything is online now, so posting your ad online will most likely be your best choice, and would make this one of the ways to make money fast, especially as it would get someone renting from you quickly.

Always be honest with what you list in your advertisement. You should be honest about how big the room is, what rooms come with the agreement, if there is a separate entrance, and more. Also, be sure to include pictures of what is included.

Read more at A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.


Answer surveys online.

This one won’t earn you actual cash overnight, but you may be able to make money right away and eventually receive your first check or payment within a month.

Survey companies I recommend include Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Clear Voice Surveys, VIP Voice, Product Report Card, Survey Club, ProOpinion, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, Survey Spot, and Harris Poll Online.

These survey companies are free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can, as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.



Walk dogs and/or pet sit as one of the ways to make money fast.

If you love animals, then you may want to consider walking dogs or pet sitting if you are looking for ways to make money fast.

With this side job you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you.

For dog boarding, you may be able to make around $25 and up per day for watching someone’s dog or other pet in your home. This is a great service to offer, and if you love animals (which you should if you are going to do this) then it could be fun as well!

Rover is a great company that you can sign up with in order to become a dog walker and pet sitter.

Learn more about this at Rover – A Great Way To Make Money And Play With Animals.


Babysit and/or nanny for families.

Parents are almost always looking for good babysitters, and they are willing to pay well for a night out.

Websites like and allow you to advertise your services while letting you see if there is anyone in your area needing your services. This means that you may be able to find a one-time job or even a permanent babysitting gig just by searching online.

When I was just 14, I was making $10 an hour babysitting for a neighbor. I babysat 40 hours a week and it was a great way to make extra money! And, I found this babysitting gig by just looking at the bulletin board in my neighborhood.

If you have any special skills or provide extra work, such as cleaning up around the house, teaching the child how to speak another language, tutoring, picking up the child from activities, and so on, you will most likely be able to charge more than $10 an hour too.


Help move furniture.

Moving is a task that most people dislike.

Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $50 an hour if you run your own business.

To find moving gigs so that you can learn how to make money fast, you may be able to simply post an advertisement on Craigslist, placing flyers around town, or telling those that you know. Many people find movers at the last moment, so you may be able to find a quick job quite easily.

By just searching Craigslist, I was able to find several people who needed help moving, as you can see in the screenshot below:



Mystery shop.

Mystery shopping can be one of the more fun ways to make money fast while also getting paid to eat at a restaurant or to go shopping.

While you won’t make your money back right away in most cases, you can sign up for mystery shopping companies today and get your first mystery shop done fairly quickly.

Some don’t require you to spend money either, such as if you do a phone call mystery shop where you just have to call a store and pretend to be a customer with questions.

And yes, I used to mystery shop in the past, and I did it quite often!

A few years ago, I mystery shopped a lot to make extra income. I made anywhere from $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping and received free meals, makeup, and more. I only used Bestmark for mystery shopping, so I know that they are a 100% legitimate company.

There are other legitimate mystery shopping companies that exist, but you should always do your research.


Maintain and clean yards.

Yard maintenance is another one of the ways to make money fast. You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on.

While mowing lawns will require you to have a lawn mower of some sort, you could always do something that won’t require much equipment, such as raking leaves.

No one likes to do lawn maintenance. Okay, I guess some people do. But, the majority of people would rather do other things with their time.

Due to this, there are many ways to find yard cleaning jobs. You can:

  • Post a Craigslist advertisement announcing your services.
  • Search Craigslist gigs, as discussed above, and see if there are any available in your area.
  • Post flyers on a local bulletin board.
  • Announce your services on social media, such as your personal Facebook account.
  • Go door to door and see if anyone needs any work done.

What other ways to make money fast can you think of? What have you done in the past when you needed quick cash?

The post 10 Real Ways To Make Money In A Day (or a Week!) appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

March 01, 2017 at 04:25AM

50 Easy Ways To Save Money – Start Saving Thousands Each Year

Are you looking for easy ways to save money? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! There are many ways to learn how to save money, and today I’m going to tell you about them.

Are you looking for easy ways to save money? Here are over 40 tips on how to save money fast so that you can save thousands of dollars each year!Even if you’re already taking part in some of these easy ways to save money, if you could just find a few more (or as many as you can!), you may be able to improve your financial situation so that you can live your dream life.

Learning about the many easy ways to save money can help you in ways such as:

  • Paying off your debt faster.
  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Live off of one income.
  • Retire earlier.
  • Go on your dream vacation.

And more!

Today, we are going to talk about over 50 easy ways to save money each month. If you do all of the below, you may be able to save hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. Remember, little savings can add up to be a lot!

Related articles on the different easy ways to save money:

50+ easy ways to save money each month:


Find a more extreme way to save money.

We’ve all done super embarrassing things to save money.

I recommend reading 60+ Extreme Things People Have Done To Save Money to see some of the interesting things other people have done.

These include extreme and easy ways to save money such as:

  • Shaving your head.
  • Cutting your own hair.
  • Fill your name brand cereal box with an off brand.
  • Dumpster dive for free food.
  • Move your whole family into your parent’s basement.
  • Make your own toilet paper.
  • Freeze water bottles instead of using AC.


Bring your lunch to work.

One of the easy ways to save money is to bring your lunch to work.

Back when I had my day job, I always brought my lunch. Instead of spending $5 to $10 or even more on lunch, I would usually bring myself a simple sandwich and some fruit.

This will most likely save you a couple hundred dollars a month, if you just stop eating out for lunch on workdays.


Stop paying for TV.

According to the NPD Group (a market research company), the average monthly cable bill is around $120. By the year 2020, the average cable bill is expected to be around $200 a month.

You can read more about cutting cable here and how to save money by doing this. I recommend getting a digital antenna so that you can receive local channels for free!

For us, we completely got rid of cable, Netflix, Hulu, and everything else. Now, we just watch local channels by using a digital antenna, and we don’t miss paying for TV at all!


Buy a water filter.

Sometimes in order to save money, you may have to spend a little.

According to The Water Project, the average person in the U.S. spends around $100 per year on bottled water.

Instead of spending $100 on bottled water each year, you can probably drink the water from your own home. You can even buy a water filter if you want to.

Note: Yes, I realize there are some towns where the water is not clean enough to drink and that water needs to be bought, but that is not the average person.


Use an Airbnb for your next vacation.

My preferred way to travel is to stay in short-term rental vacation homes such as Airbnb (this will give you a $20+ Airbnb coupon code for your next stay).

Airbnb vacation home rates are usually comparable or cheaper than a hotel, plus you typically have more room and there is usually a kitchen as well. Also, if you have a lot of people going on vacation with you, you can split a house for a much cheaper price than it would be for everyone to get a hotel room.

Read my Airbnb review The Many Positives Of Using Airbnb Plus a Coupon Code For Your Next Vacation!


Take part in a savings challenge.

The $20 Savings Challenge is an easy way to save money without noticing! All you have to do is save $20 each week for a year, which easily adds up to a savings of $1,040.

And, it’ll make saving money just a little more enjoyable.

Sign up for The $20 Savings Challenge here.


Save money automatically.

Digit allows you to easily save money, and I’m sure you’ll love it! I’m a user myself and I am able to save more money without even noticing.

With the Digit savings app, you link up your bank account to Digit and every few days Digit looks at your income and spending habits to see how much you could possibly save. Digit then automatically moves money from your checking account to a Digit savings account.

Each transfer averages around $18, but it could be higher or lower depending on your individual situation. You can read my Digit review here for more information.


Know your credit score.

It never hurts to check your credit score, so you have no reason not to know what your credit score is.

Your credit score can affect whether or not you are approved for a loan, whether you are hired at certain jobs, your interest rate, and more. It’s relatively easy to raise your credit score, so you should start doing so today!

Plus, with Credit Sesame you can check your credit score for free.


Start a blog.

This isn’t a way to cut expenses, but there are many ways a blog may be able to help you save more money.

A blog can help you to make more money. I know many people who have started a blog and are making thousands of dollars a month and have also left their day jobs to work from home. No, it’s not easy work, but it can be well worth it if you put some hard work towards it.

I now earn around $100,000 a month from my blog. I also travel full-time and am happier than ever!

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 $2.95 per month for blog hosting (this low price is only through my link and for a limited time). In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free blog domain (a $15 value). I also have a free blogging course you can also join to help you start and launch a successful blog!


Think before you make a big purchase.

Everyone has felt that dreadful feeling after you make a large purchase and realize that you have made a mistake. You may be mad at yourself for wasting money, you may go into debt, you may feel regret, and more.

Perhaps you don’t realize for months or years later, but you eventually understand what a waste of money the item was.

Before you make your next large purchase, you should ask yourself several questions to make sure that it is actually worthwhile. The questions include:

  • Can I afford it?
  • What else is the item going to cost?
  • What else could I spend this amount of money on?
  • Can the large purchase wait 24 hours?
  • Can I borrow the item from someone instead of buying it?
  • Is there a return policy?
  • Do I actually need this?


Receive free vacations just by using your credit card.

One of my favorite easy ways to save money is to get bonus points and cash back on my credit card purchases.

In 2016, me and my husband earned over $5,000 in free cash just by using our credit cards like we normally would. We put all of our expenses on our credit cards, pay them off completely each month, and earn free rewards points and cash back.

Plus, did you know that you can take a 10 day trip to Hawaii for just $22.40?

Yes, it’s possible! I recommend reading How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included for more information.


Birthday freebies.

Everyone has a birthday, and you may be able to score a lot of free birthday stuff by simply showing your birth date on your driver’s license or by signing up for a company’s email club to receive a coupon for your birthday. This is one of the super easy ways to save money, as everyone has a birth date!

Here are 31 Birthday Freebies You Should Sign Up For.


Meal plan as one of the easy ways to save money.

Meal planning is something that has completely changed our lives. We eat healthier than ever, we are saving money, and we have less food waste.

That’s saying a lot considering that the average person wastes over 40% of the food they buy. Yes, 40%!

If you have trouble eating at home and want to learn how to eat healthy at home while saving money fast, then try out $5 Meal Plan. They send meal plans directly to your email.

It’s only $5 a month (the first two weeks are free), and you get meal plans sent straight to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.


Switch to a more affordable cell phone plan.

Most people overpay for their cell phone plan.

If you are looking for a cheap cell phone service, check out Republic Wireless. They have monthly cell phone plans as low as $15 per month.

Please read Saving Over $2,000 A Year With Republic Wireless Review for more information.


Quit smoking.

According to Statistic Brain, the average smoker spends around $34 a month on tobacco products. That is a lot of money for a very unhealthy habit.

My father passed away when I was just 18, partly due to his smoking habit (he had brain and lung cancer). If that’s not enough to tell you it’s a horrible habit, then I don’t know what will!


Make a budget.

Budgets help people manage their money better. It’s that simple.

Budgets are great, because they keep you mindful of your income and expenses. With a budget, you will know exactly how much you can spend in a category each month, how much you have to work with, what spending areas need to be evaluated, among other things.

You can download a free budget spreadsheet here.

Budgets have helped people reach their goals, pay off debt, make more money, retire, and more.

Learn more at The Complete Budgeting Guide: How To Create A Budget That Works.


Drive a more affordable car.

According to, the average person in the U.S. spends $483 on a new car payment and $361 on a used car payment.

Yes, I was also shocked when I read that statistic!

This is sad, especially considering that many also take out high-interest loans in order to pay for their car. Back when my husband worked in new car sales, he often told me about new car buyers who had car loans at interest rates of 20% and above.

While $483 a month may be affordable to some, I’m going to assume that it’s a lot of money for most people. Plus, once you add in gas, maintenance, insurance, taxes, registration costs, and more, the number is going to be much larger.

I think everyone should buy a car that they can actually afford. I am a big believer that your car expenses should be less than 10-15% of your monthly income in order for it to be affordable.


Use a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat is something you may want to invest in to save money this year. They are relatively cheap and you will most likely make your money back within a year, or maybe even just a few months.

With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature at exactly what you want it to be for different times throughout the day. And, because it automatically changes on a schedule, you won’t have to constantly worry about it.

For example, your AC will automatically turn up when you leave for work so that you don’t waste electricity or money cooling a house that no one is in. You can also program it for while you are sleeping, for the weekend, when you are on vacation, and so on.

I did a simple online search and was able to find plenty of programmable thermostats for less than $50, well worth the small investment.


Eat out one less time each month.

How many times per month do you eat out? How much do you think you spend each month at restaurants? Most people are surprised when they actually sit down and track how much they’ve spent.

Eating out just one less time won’t kill you, plus it will help you save a nice chunk of change over a one-year period.


Save money on groceries.

Learning about the easy ways to save money on groceries doesn’t have to be difficult.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that most families waste around 40% of food each month!

You can save money by:

  • Planning your grocery trips better.
  • Use this cell phone app for cash back on your groceries.
  • Start meal planning.
  • Always shop with a grocery list.
  • See if there are any sales for the items you are buying.
  • Use coupons when grocery shopping.
  • Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
  • Skip the pre-made and pre-cut items.
  • Sign up for the grocery store’s loyalty card.


Refinance your student loans.

I highly recommend Credible for student loan refinancing so that you can save money on your student loan payments. You can significantly lower the interest rate on your student loans with Credible, which may then help you shave thousands off your student loan bill over time.

Through Credible, you may be able to refinance your student loans to a rate as low as 2.13%!

Plus, it’s free to apply.


Cancel your gym membership.

Gym memberships can be costly if you’re not using them. If you’re not getting the full value out of your gym membership, then you should cancel it ASAP. This is one of the easy ways to save money as canceling a membership is a monthly cost that you can get rid of completely!

There are so many ways to get a great workout both inside and outside your home. While it’s beneficial for some to pay for a gym membership, the majority of people do not get their money’s worth out of a gym membership.


Receive cash back on your purchases.

Sign up for a website like Ebates where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending how you normally would online. Stores you can use Ebates at include Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Amazon, Kohls, and more. This is another one of the easy ways to save money because you’re probably shopping at one of their partner stores already.

The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link and make your first purchase, you will also receive a free $10 cash back.


Get rid of your storage unit.

Nearly 10% of households rent a self-storage unit. However, many people don’t really have a use for them – it’s just unwanted clutter that people forget about and don’t want to deal with, so they continue to pay that monthly cost.

Instead, you should think about getting rid of your storage unit as one of the easy ways to save money.


Read personal finance books.

If you want to change your life, then I recommend that you start reading personal finance books. Yes, money is not everything, but improving your financial situation can help you gain control of your life.

Personal finance books I recommend include:

You can find the whole list of personal finance books I recommend here.


Look for easy ways to save money on entertainment.

Recently, someone was telling me about how expensive it was to have fun. They were telling me about all of their debt and everything that goes along with it, and then they also told me that their monthly “fun” budget was around $500.

Uhhh, what?! $500? A month?!

If you are trying to get rid of high-interest rate debt, I can’t think of any reason for why you should be paying $500 a month to have fun.

There are many ways to have fun for cheap while saving money. Check out How To Have Frugal Fun for some of my ideas.


Take surveys online as one of the easy ways to save money.

One of the many easy ways to save money is to take online surveys. No, taking surveys online isn’t really a way to cut back your budget, but you may be able to earn money without doing much. If you sign up for all of them, you may be able to earn anywhere from $25 to $100+ a month by just taking surveys online.

Survey companies I recommend include Survey Junkie, American Consumer Opinion, VIP Voice, Clear Voice Surveys, Product Report Card, ProOpinion, YouGov, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.


Negotiate your car and home insurance bills.

The average person pays too much for various forms of insurance. Yes, I said too much! I know someone who has full coverage with a deductible on a car that is worth $500, I know someone who pays for towing even though their new car comes with free towing, and there are even more situations like this.

A lot of this is because the average person doesn’t fully understand how insurance works. However, it’s something that you’ll definitely want to learn about because it can save you a great deal of money in the future!

Look for easy ways to save money on insurance by:

  • Shopping around.
  • Evaluating whether or not you should change your deductible.
  • Changing some of your coverage amounts.
  • Understanding insurance terms better.
  • Possibly taking a driving class.

I also recommend simply calling your insurance agent and asking for a discount, many times they will offer a discount that will allow you to save money just for asking! This is one of the super easy ways to save money, as a simple phone call may only take a few minutes.

Many of these same tactics can be applied to your home insurance bill as well.


Take a staycation.

A staycation is when you take a vacation by exploring where you live. This can help you save money on airfare or other means of transportation, and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home.

The idea is to explore your area as a tourist would – I’m sure there are tons of things to do and places to visit that you have never had the chance to do before!

This can be a great way to treat yourself as you’ll pretty much be on a vacation, but you’ll get to save more money than if you were to go on a “normal” vacation.


Start investing.

I always say the first thing you need to do if you want to start investing is to just jump in. However, what if you don’t even know how to start investing?

If you are like many out there, you may not really understand the first thing about investing.

Investing your money can be a scary, stressful, and overwhelming topic to tackle. Remember, you want to invest your money so that you can:

  • Retire in the future (and possibly even retire early!).
  • Prepare for unexpected events in the future.
  • Allow your money to grow over time.

Read more at The 6 Steps To Take To Invest Your First Dollar – Yes, It’s Really This Easy!


Visit the library.

Your local library can be a great way to have fun without spending any money.

You can check out the latest bestseller, a classic you’ve been wanting to read, or borrow a movie- which you can then bring home and have a fun night in with friends and/or family members.

This is definitely one of the easy ways to save money as all you need is a library card.


Don’t keep up with the Joneses.

Another easy way to save money is to stop keeping up with others and what they are buying.

When trying to keep up with the Joneses, you might spend money you do not have. You might put expenses on credit cards to (in a pretend world) “afford” things. You might also buy things that you do not care about.

The problems can go on and on.

This can lead to an excessive amount of debt and potentially set you back years with your financial goals, if not decades.

Instead, you should only purchase the things that you can afford and that you truly want. Who cares about what other people have?!


Sign up for Swagbucks and InboxDollars.

Swagbucks allows me to occasionally earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Yes, this is definitely one of the easy ways to save money!

Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded points for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. I actually just redeemed over $50 worth of Amazon gift cards through Swagbucks. Super easy! Plus, you’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!

InboxDollars is an online rewards website that I also recommend. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5 for free just by signing up!


Have an emergency fund.

An emergency fund is something I believe everyone should have and this is one of the easy ways to save money as it can help you greatly in the future. However, according to a report by Bankrate, 26% of Americans have no emergency fund whatsoever.

According to this same report, only 40% of families have enough in savings to cover three months of expenses, with an even lower percentage having the recommended six months worth of savings.

This is frightening to me, as having an emergency fund can help you get through tough parts in life.

An emergency fund can help you if you lose your job, if your hours are cut, if you have a surprise expense, and so on.

Read more at The Ultimate Guide On Emergency Funds.


Buy used as one of the easy ways to save money.

Purchasing used furniture, clothing, and more allows you to save money on the things you are already buying.

Sometimes, you can even get items for free by seeing what friends, family, and neighbors are trying to get rid of, or by perusing the free section on Craigslist.

Trust me, people want to give away their stuff! It’s much easier than trying to find a place to donate things (some places actually have too many donations and have to say no), plus it can mean the person doesn’t have to haul it away.


Finding a roommate is one of the easy ways to save money.

My husband and I have had roommates in the past, and while that’s not really possible now that we are living in an RV, I do recommend that anyone with an extra room in their house think about trying it out.

While renting a room in your house will not make you rich, it may earn you a good amount of side income with little effort.

If you are interested in renting out a spare room on a short-term basis (such as for vacations), I highly recommend you check out Airbnb. I know people who are making thousands of dollars a month by renting out rooms on this site!

Related blog post on this easy way to save money: A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money

What other easy ways to save money are there? How much money do you save each month?

The post 50 Easy Ways To Save Money – Start Saving Thousands Each Year appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 27, 2017 at 05:30AM

How To Make Money By Becoming A Cooking Instructor

Today, I have an informative interview to share with you that will show you how to become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes. I recently had the chance to interview Jan Pinnington from Healthy Hands Cooking, who explains how this extra income opportunity may be a possibility for you.

Did you know that you may be able to become a cooking instructor and hold kid's cooking classes? This could be a great opportunity and business idea!In 2011, Jan realized that her children were ill-equipped in the kitchen and falling into unhealthy eating habits.

She started teaching her daughter how to cook, and eventually more and more children started coming to her home for cooking lessons. Some parents started putting money in Jan’s apron to cover food and time and she suddenly thought, “hmmmm…I wonder if I could turn this into a business?”

This eventually led to Jan launching Healthy Hands Cooking.

Healthy Hands Cooking is a movement to fight childhood obesity by empowering adults to teach children about nutrition and healthy cooking through entertaining and informative classes, camps, and birthday parties.

Healthy Hands Cooking is a self-paced cooking instructor certification program that can be completed from the comfort of home. This is a 11 module course that will help you to create your own cooking business with the correct licensing, permits, background checks, food safety, marketing, and more.

If you are looking for a new business idea or even just a way to earn some side income, this may be something that you want to look into.

Check out the interview below for more information on how to become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes.

Related articles on making extra income:

Here is how you can become a cooking instructor and hold kid’s cooking classes:


Please give us a little background on yourself and how you started your cooking instructor business.

This cooking instructor business was really just something I stumbled upon out of a need to fix a concerning situation at home.

I remember very distinctly back in 2011 trying to rush out the door to get my kids to football and karate practice and trying to make some dinner omelets to get us all fed.  I asked my daughter, (who was 11 at the time), if she would crack 6 eggs into a bowl.  She stared at me like I had TWO HEADS and I remember in that very instant thinking wow…at her age I was making full meals with my mom.  I asked her if she wanted to learn how to cook and her enthusiastic squeal of delight gave me my answer.  So, every Tuesday after getting off the school bus, she would come running down the street with a few friends and we would spend a few hours in the kitchen making healthy meals and snacks from scratch.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t long before more kids asked to come to my house and I was greeting parents at the door to let them know they were welcome.  Some parents started putting money in my apron to cover food and time and I suddenly thought, hmmmm…I wonder if I could turn this into a business?

Before long, I outgrew my kid’s cooking classes at home and decided to move my cooking instructor service to a nearby community center.  By then, I had developed our 8-Hour Core Cooking program that incorporates kitchen safety, cross-contamination, nutrition education, and recipe preparation into four, 2-hour classes covering healthy snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. 

With my background in developing custom corporate communications programs, my education in nutrition, and my passion for cooking, this was a no-brainer and a perfect fit for how I envisioned teaching kids these important life skills.

During one of my fee-based kid’s cooking classes, a little 8-year old boy came up to me and asked where mashed potatoes came from.  I said, “Honey, they come from potatoes” and he was shocked.  He thought they could only come from a box.  That was my saddest but greatest AHA moment and I instantly began to wonder what the health of our nation could look like if we had a thousand, or even ten thousand instructors teaching just 10 kids a month. 

I decided to take everything I had learned over the course of several years and created an online training program called Healthy Hands Cooking Certified Instructor Training. That’s how Healthy Hands Cooking was born.


Can you tell us more about this business idea? How does it work?

Sure. It’s a 3-step process.

  1. Enroll online to take Become a Healthy Hands Cooking Certified Instructor and take the 11-module online training course that teaches anyone how to set up their business structure, licensing, permits, marketing, media, etc.  During this training, instructors-in-training will also need to do a food handling safety course and background check (which is a minimal extra charge).  We have a private Facebook community just for instructors and instructors-in-training who are there to help and support one another through this process if needed.
  2. After certification, an instructor can decide to either start teaching his/her own custom classes on their own, or they can join the HHCIC (instructor community) and get instant support tools like a customizable website, HHC lesson plans, recipes, class scheduler, payment portal, support and more.  There are monthly and annual pricing options depending on their needs.
  3. Start scheduling classes!  The training will teach instructors where to teach, how to teach, when to teach, and anything else they need to get their business going.


How much can a new cooking instructor expect to make? 

I’m almost embarrassed to say how profitable this kid’s cooking classes business is.  One of the things I was fiercely adamant about was creating a business model where our instructors keep 100% of everything they earn. 

In saying that, we have no franchise fees, no hidden fees, and no sales commission fees of any kind. 

Let me give you an example of a typical class scenario. 

Let’s say an HHC instructor holds one 2-hour class a week with 10 kids and they charge our recommended price of $30/student.  That one class can be held in a home or partner facility such as a school (which is usually free) plus the cost of food and supplies at approximately $4/student.  The income to the instructor is $300.00 – $40.00 in costs leaving them about $260 profit or $130 an hour!  That’s twice as much as the median wage of lawyers!  Plus, these classes can be portable so a full kitchen is not required to teach classes. 

The only other fee they have if they collect credit cards for their classes is a very small payment processing fee to the payment provider – but that is such a tiny percentage of the sale and very worth the convenience of being able to accept online payments. For facilities that charge a fee for use, we recommend that our cooking instructors increase their class fees to cover the costs of the facility.

If an instructor held one kid’s cooking class a week that’s about $15,000 in income a year.  Two classes a week is $30,000; 3 classes is $45,000.  We have many instructors making full time income teaching part-time hours.  We even had one instructor book $63,000 in revenue by holding 9 weeks of summer cooking camps last summer.  It’s amazing!

Plus, we have a business plan to help cooking instructors grow even larger if they so choose by hiring and training HHC Certified Helpers who can help teach more students in multiple locations at once. This opportunity is truly unlimited!


Is this a full-time job or a part-time one?

It’s both. 

An instructor can turn this into a great little hobby or a cooking empire of their own.  It’s really all up to the individual to decide what they want to do. The beautiful thing is that this is totally flexible so a cooking instructor can work around the needs of his/her own schedule to make this happen.


What do you like about this business?

I love that fact that we are empowering others with their own businesses while at the same time doing our part to fight childhood obesity and educating kids and families. 

I heard a statistic recently that we now have two generations of families who have not learned home cooking skills, and as you know, there are no more home economics classes available in schools either. 

What an honor it is to be able to effect positive change in the health of our nation while also having a positive economic impact by helping others earn a fun living doing something that really matters. We currently have 326 instructors but our growth goal is 15,000 (one for every McDonald’s) so we have lots of opportunity to train more instructors to really make a difference.


How can a person start their own kid’s cooking classes?

I recommend they go to our website and thoroughly check it out.  We have an instructional webinar that shows them exactly what they will get and how to get started.  Then if they still have questions, they can just pop an email to us as well.


How much does it cost to start and maintain this business?

It is a one-time cooking instructor certification fee of $497 plus a background check of $15 and a food safety handling course which is $17.45 in the U.S. (and varying prices in Canada).  The cooking instructor community has different options starting at $99/year (to maintain certification only) or $39/month for limited membership, and $70/month for full membership. 

On top of that, cooking instructors will purchase liability insurance and likely an Instructor Starter Kit for $195 which includes instructor’s manual, apron, cutting boards, chef knives, measuring cups, spoons, bowls, and more. 

This is available in our Instructor’s Store once a person becomes certified.  With everything in, an instructor can expect to pay around $1,500 in their first year which can be recouped by holding one summer cooking camp with 10 students. 

Compared to Young Chef’s Academy or Tasty Buds Franchises charging between $70,000 to $300,000 per instructor, we are a very affordable alternative solution.


Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to try this?

This opportunity is perfect for anyone who loves kids and cooking.  We have stay-at-home moms, dads, teachers, nutrition grads, entrepreneurs, grandmothers, wellness advocates, and anyone in between teaching HHC classes. 

I would recommend looking for a class near them by going to our website and putting in their zip code.  Maybe just attending a class would give them a good feel about how our programs are structured. 

We also have some great content on our Healthy Hands Cooking Facebook page that highlights some of the great work our instructors are doing.


Now, I know you offer products to instruct others how to start their own business. What can a person learn from your instruction? 

Once a person finishes our certified cooking instructor training, they are completely equipped to go out on their own and start their career.  And since our classes can be portable, they can be taught anywhere – like homes, schools, churches, gyms, grocery stores, wellness offices and more. Some of our instructors have received employment contract positions while others prefer the flexibility of being self-employed.  We have both for-profit and non-profit instructors so adding HHC classes to an existing service is a great way to optimize the training. 

In addition, our cooking instructors can choose to offer any other service or product under the scope of their business umbrella, so in addition to teaching Healthy Hands Cooking classes, they may also be teaching things like kid’s yoga, art classes, or even creating their own specialty classes such as raw foods classes, vegan cooking and more. 

As mentioned, this is such a huge opportunity for personal creation with ultimate flexibility and fun.

Are you interested in learning how to become a cooking instructor so that you can hold kid’s cooking classes?

The post How To Make Money By Becoming A Cooking Instructor appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 24, 2017 at 06:45AM

The 7 Money Mistakes That Shaped My Life

Some say that the best way to learn a lesson is to learn from your money mistakes. You live and learn! Here is how I learned how to manage money better.Some say that the best way to learn a money lesson is to learn from your past money mistakes, after all, you live and learn!

Still, no one wants to make money mistakes, but if you’re going to get anything positive out of a money mistake, it might as well be a lesson in becoming a better money manager.

Learning from your money mistakes is extremely important, because no one wants to make the same mistake again.

Sadly, though, that is what seems to happen for some people. It can be easy to fall into the same money mistakes over and over again if you do not stop to reflect and learn from your past money mistakes.

And, I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve made plenty of these mistakes in the past. I’m not perfect, and everyone has made them. Instead of running away from your money mistakes, I believe that it’s best to face them and learn from them, so that the same money mistake or something similar never happens again.

Today, I’m going to talk about the seven money mistakes I’ve made in my life and how they have shaped me into a better money manager. When it comes to money, I’m a very different person from just a few years ago. It just goes to show that you can completely turn around your financial situation by learning how to take control of your personal finances.

Related blog posts on money mistakes:

Here are some of the money mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learned from them.


I took out extra student loans.

I didn’t take a lot of extra student loans out each semester, but overall, I ended up taking out a few thousand dollars more to use on everyday expenses.

But still, this is a mistake I wish I wouldn’t have made. I was working full-time, so I should have learned how to manage money better instead of looking at my student loans as free money to spend.

Due to having my high interest rate student loans, I’ve learned to never again fall into that trap. I know that student loans and other forms of debt (such as credit cards) are not free money and that you’ll eventually have to pay them off.

While this is a given for some, many, many people take out more student loans than they actually need and live off of the difference, even though they do not really need to.

Rather than adding to your student loan debt, you can always find more ways to make money or lower your expenses so you don’t feel the need to take out more high interest rate student loans to pay for your living costs.

Read more at How I Paid Off My Student Loans By The Age of 24.


I bought a brand new car at 18.

One of the biggest money mistakes I’ve made is that I bought a brand new car at the age of 18. Now, I don’t care if someone buys a new car, but not many 18 year olds can realistically afford a brand new car.

And, I definitely wasn’t one of those people who could truly afford one.

But, I did it anyways.

At that point, I had already been working full-time for a few years, and I must have thought that I was so awesome and deserved it, haha.

Well, I can now look back and say that my $400 monthly car payment was not awesome.

I spent a large percentage of my monthly income on my car payment, and it stung every single time.

What I learned from this is that you always need to be more realistic with your spending and saving. The $400 monthly car payment made me live paycheck to paycheck. I could barely afford anything else, but somehow I still had to manage other monthly costs, such as rent, food, going to college, and more.

It was tough and definitely not worth it. I would never want to go through that again and would have been much better off if I would have just bought a more affordable vehicle.


I waited to start investing.

I always say that the first thing you need to do if you want to start investing is to just jump in. However, what if you don’t even know how to start investing?

This is exactly how I used to feel. Although I used to be a financial analyst (I dealt with businesses, not so much on the personal side), investing my own money was always something that I was unsure of. It always seemed like there were too many decisions, too many questions about how to invest, and I was too scared to invest my own money.

Due to this, I put off investing and waited much longer than I should have. This was a mistake because I should have learned how to feel comfortable with investing earlier, rather than waiting and waiting and just letting my money sit in a bank account.

If you are like I was, and many others out there, you also may not know how to start investing your money.

Investing your money can be a scary, stressful, and overwhelming topic to tackle. You want to invest so that you can:

  • Retire one day.
  • Prepare for unexpected events in the future.
  • Allow your money to grow over time.

Read more at The 6 Steps To Take To Invest Your First Dollar – Yes, It’s Really This Easy!


I spent way too much money on clothing.

When I was younger, I worked at a clothing store for around 5 years and often spent more money on clothing than I would actually earn, even though I worked full-time!

We got a decent discount on what we purchased, so I just couldn’t pass up a good “deal.” It was really hard to not buy things each time I worked.

When I look back on the situation now, I can’t believe I survived without going into credit card debt. That was just a disaster waiting to happen.

I now hardly spend any money on clothing, and I’m happier than ever. I’ve learned to be happy with what I have and not to spend so much time and money finding things that are trendy, instead I focus on quality and things that I will actually wear for a long time.


I cared too much about keeping up with others.

I used to really care about what other people thought of me. And, I was always buying the latest and greatest because I thought I needed to.

I know this is a common problem for many.

Whether you are five years old and want that new toy everyone is playing with, or if you are 50 years old and are feeling the need to upgrade your house, car, etc., everyone has experienced wanting to keep up with someone else.

The problem with this is that keeping up with others can actually make you broke.

And, I used to be the same way. I used to care too much about the things that I owned, worrying about what other people were able to buy, thinking that I deserved things, and so on.

While this didn’t lead to credit card debt, it did lead to me having high monthly expenses and living paycheck to paycheck.

When trying to keep up with the Joneses, you might spend money you do not have. You might put expenses on credit cards to (in a pretend world) “afford” things. You might buy things that you do not care about. The problems can go on and on.

This can then lead to an excessive amount of debt and potentially set you back years with your financial goals, if not decades.

Now, I’ve learned to not care about what other people have, to not feel the need to compete with others, and I’ve learned to only buy what I actually want. And, I’m happier than ever.


I thought everything I was doing was normal.

Before learning to be a good money manager, I never really tried that hard when it came to my financial situation (at the time, I thought I was trying my hardest!) because I thought it was all normal. It seemed like everyone had credit card debt, student loans, a car payment, cable, an expensive cell phone, and more.

Due to that, I thought all of my money mistakes were just normal life and that I would somehow get through it because everyone else seemed to be managing similar choices.

Well, that was a big mistake. That all led to me living paycheck to paycheck and feeling financially stressed out.

I now know that I don’t want to be “normal,” especially if that means that I would never reach financial freedom.

Now, I want to retire early, travel full-time, be debt free, not keep up with others, and so on. It’s crazy how different I am about money and life from just a few years ago!


I took part in emotional spending.

Emotional spending is something I would take part in a lot. If I had a bad day, I would buy something to make me happy. To make up for my dislike of my day job, I would make big purchases and justify them by saying that I worked hard for the purchase.

Emotional spending is a bad money habit that many people take part in. It’s one you should stop now, because it doesn’t cure any problems.

According to NerdWallet, the average U.S. household (who has debt) has an average credit card debt of $15,611, and I’m sure some of that is due to emotional spending.

Emotional spending occurs for many different reasons. You may have had a bad day at work, a fight with your loved one, and so on. You might even be spending because you are so stressed out about the amount of spending you have done.

To end your emotional spending habit, I recommend:

  • Figuring out the amount of debt you have. You’ll most likely be shocked, and hopefully this will persuade you to change your spending habits and the way you deal with stress.
  • Understanding why you spend when you’re stressed. In order to stop stress spending, you need to really think about why you have this problem. Without understanding your problem, you might just keep falling into the same cycle over and over again.
  • Thinking about your financial goals so that you can stay motivated.
  • Finding different ways to deal with stress.
  • Sticking to a budget.

What money mistakes have you made? What did you learn from them?

The post The 7 Money Mistakes That Shaped My Life appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 22, 2017 at 04:45AM

The Power of Meal Planning – 6 Reasons Meal Planning Will Change Your Life

Weekly meal plans completely changed my life. Trust me, there are so many positives of meal planning and today I'll tell you all about them!In today’s blog post, we are talking about the power of weekly meal plans and how it can help you learn how to save money and time.

“What should we eat?” “What’s for dinner?”

Is there a question that is honestly asked more than those two?

And, for some, it can be those dreaded questions that may even make you want to scream.

After a long day at work, raising a family, or something else, it can be stressful to think about what you should make for dinner.

With the amount of food a person eats, these questions can even come up multiple times a day! So, how do you stop asking these questions while saving money?

The solution is that you should create a weekly meal plan!

So, what is meal planning?

Meal planning is when you list out exactly what meals you’ll make for the week. You create this meal plan before you shop so that you know exactly what you need to buy in order to make the meals.

And, yes, we meal plan too.

One of the areas that I’ve always struggled with is eating at home. I never feel creative enough to think of new meal ideas, I’m not patient enough to deal with a recipe that takes hours to prepare, and I often fall victim to the myth that eating out will just be easier.

Meal planning is something that has completely changed our lives. We eat healthier than ever, we save time, we are saving money, and we have less food waste.

If you have trouble eating at home, then try out $5 Meal Plan. They send meal plans directly to your email and I have included my review of them at the bottom of this blog post.

Related blog posts on weekly meal plans:

Here are the positives of weekly meal plans.


You can save money with weekly meal plans.

Creating weekly meal plans can help a family save money on groceries in multiple ways, which we will expand on further in the sections below.

These include:

  • You’ll spend less money on gas driving back and forth to the grocery store.
  • You’ll waste less food because you’ll know exactly what you need for meals.
  • You won’t buy as many extra snacks and items at the grocery store.
  • You’ll eat out less because you will already have your meals planned.


You’ll save time with weekly meal plans.

People spend a lot of time thinking about what they will make each night for dinner or even wandering the aisles at the grocery store trying to think of a meal.

And, we’ve all had to make trips back to the store because we’ve forgotten one or two items for that night’s dinner. So, instead of driving to the store every other day to buy the one or two items that you need for a meal, you can plan a whole week’s worth of meals and purchase everything that you need at once.

With a weekly meal plan, you’ll know exactly what you need, how much of that item that you need, and so on.

Meal plans tell you exactly what you need because it will all have been thought out ahead of time. Thinking about your weekly meal plan in one sitting is much easier and more time efficient than doing the same process every single day of the week.


There’s less food waste with weekly meal plans.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that most families waste around 40% of food each month!

Yes, a lot of food is thrown away each month. Food spoils, leftovers are thrown away, too much food is cooked, and so on.

Meal planning is great for many reasons, and one of the big reasons is that it prevents food waste. By purchasing only what you need to make a meal, you will have less food waste.

Ever since we switched to creating weekly meal plans, we have had far less food waste because we know exactly what we need to buy each week in order to make our meals.


You’ll be able to better plan your grocery trips.

We’ve all gone to the grocery store and have bought random items that we thought would make a meal, then have gotten home and have wondered “what can I even make with this stuff?”

We often buy these random things because we shop without a grocery list, and that is also a bad idea because you generally won’t know what you need, how much you need, or anything like that. This may lead to you buying items that you then end up throwing away because you don’t use them before they spoil.

Shopping with a grocery list can also prevent you from purchasing unnecessary items because you’ll only go to the aisles and areas that are on your list, rather than scanning every single aisle and shelf in the grocery store.

This will also help prevent impulse purchases.

Before you head to the grocery store, you should plan your trip with a list and weekly meal plan. By doing so, you’ll be able to save money on groceries because your trip will be better planned for finding sales, deals, buying exactly what you need, and so on.


You can eat more healthy with meal plans.

Many people eat out because they are too tired to think of a meal to eat at home. This leads to eating unhealthy meals out or resorting to junk food to fill your stomach.

One of the great benefits of weekly meal plans is that you can create healthy meal plans for you and your family. With weekly meal planning, you’ll be less likely to eat out or to eat an unhealthy snack. Instead, you’ll have a healthy meal planned and ready for you to make!


Meal planning can allow you to create more diverse meals.

Do you ever get tired of eating the same meal over and over again?

By meal planning, you’ll be able to cook new meals because you’ll have thought about exactly what you need ahead of time. You won’t have to resort to the same meals over and over again when you’re too tired to think of a meal because the hard work has already been completed!


What do weekly meal plans look like?

A weekly meal plan can be whatever you want it to be. It can consist of every single meal that you make each week, just dinners, lunch and dinners, and so on.

For us, our weekly meal plan consists of the dinners that we will eat each week. This is because our breakfasts are always the same (eggs, fruit, and toast), lunches either consist of us going out to eat (we RV and like to try all the best lunch spots that we can in new towns!), leftovers, or something else easy like sandwiches.

Here’s a sample meal plan for us. It’s really this easy:

  • Monday – Tacos
  • Tuesday – Spaghetti with salad
  • Wednesday – Chili
  • Thursday – Chicken Teriyaki with white rice
  • Friday – Out to eat somewhere or with a friend
  • Saturday – Crockpot stew
  • Sunday – Steak with vegetables and salad

Creating a weekly meal plan is super easy, and it’s even easier if you use a meal planning service because they tell you exactly what to buy and what to eat.

To create our meal plan, I take my favorite recipes from $5 Meal Plan as talked about below, as well as mix in my own favorite meals, and/or something fun that I may have found on Pinterest that week.


The weekly meal plan solution – $5 Meal Plan.

$5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every single week for just $5 a month.

Sometimes I’m great when it comes to meal planning, but other times I am quite bad. To overcome this problem, I just have meal plans sent directly to me. I never understood this before, so I always skipped meal planning subscriptions because I thought I would just do the work myself. However, at $5 a month, with a lot of the legwork already completed, it is a GREAT idea.

The weekly meal plans are designed by Erin Chase of $5 Dinners and she’s able to make each meal for less than five dollars. They even have a gluten free menu planner version too!

$5 Meal Plan offers a 14-day, 100% risk free trial. I started using this meal planning service over one year ago and it has helped us eat at home more.

By signing up for a weekly meal planner, you can save money, time, and stress by having weekly meal plans sent directly to you.

With $5 Meal Plan, each week you will receive a menu that includes:

  • Five dinner entrees with sides – Each week they include one freezer friendly, one slow cooker, and one 20-minute meal.
  • They also include one lunch and one breakfast meal.
  • A random “goodie” each week – sometimes it’s a dessert, sometimes a beverage, and sometimes it’ll be a snack.

You can sign up for $5 Meal Plan here.

Do you create weekly meal plans? Why or why not? What meal planning service do you use?

The post The Power of Meal Planning – 6 Reasons Meal Planning Will Change Your Life appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 20, 2017 at 04:40AM

Here are 5 great blogging freebies!

Hello and happy Saturday!

If you’re looking to start a blog or if you already have one, I have some great freebies to share with you today.

First, if you don’t have a blog, then I recommend starting off with my free blogging course How To Start A Blog FREE Course.

I started my blog, Making Sense of Cents, in August of 2011 and have built a great business. It allowed me and my husband to leave the day jobs we disliked to pursue something that we loved. Now, we travel full-time, make a great living (last month we made over $130,000 blogging), have a flexible schedule, have more time to spend with loved ones, and we will be able to retire early.

If you already have a blog or if you are thinking about starting one, I recommend checking out these free resources below as well.

  • Blogging Made Simple – This is a free video training series that will teach you how to create a successful blog.
  • Blog Structure Blueprint – This freebie will help you to create an organized blog.
  • Boost Blog Income Ebook – This free ebook gives great tips on how to increase your blogging income.
  • Goal Setting Workbook – Do you want to learn how to work smarter, not harder? This Goal Setting Workbook for Bloggers is the perfect tool to help you take back your time by allowing you to clarify your purpose and prioritize what’s really important.



The post Here are 5 great blogging freebies! appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 18, 2017 at 09:00AM

How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items

Today, I have a fun interview to share with you that will show you how to buy and sell by flipping items. I recently had the chance to interview Melissa Stephenson of Flea Market Flipper, who explains how this may be a possibility for you. 

Are you interested in learning how to buy and sell by flipping items? Here's how Melissa made over $40,000 in one year flipping!Melissa’s family yearly income through buy and sell by flipping items for 2015 was $42,875, and that was through doing this buy and sell business in about 10-20 hours per week.

Yes, just 10-20 hours a week!

And in 2016, she hit $133,000!

Some of the best flipped items that they’ve done include:

  • An item that they bought for $10 and flipped for $200 just 6 minutes later.
  • A security tower they bought for $6,200 and flipped for $25,000 just one month later.
  • A prosthetic leg that they bought for $30 at a flea market and sold for $1,000 on eBay the next day.

If you are looking for a new job or even just a side hustle, learning how to buy and sell may be something that you want to look into.

Check out the interview below for more information on how to buy and sell by flipping items.

Related articles on how to buy and sell by flipping items:

Here is how to buy and sell by flipping items:


1. Please give us a little background on yourself, how you started buying and selling items, and how flipping items is going for you right now.

Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for having me on your blog! My name is Melissa Stephenson. My husband Rob and I buy used items and resell them online for a living. It has always been a side stream income for us, but more recently has become the bulk of our income. He started way before I did, and I got into it because of being married to him!

He started back when he was 16 – and was one of eBay’s first users.

Even though he was 16 when he started selling on eBay and in the classifieds, he was exposed to it as a young kid. His mom used to go to yard sales all the time when he was a kid and buy baby items to resell. She would find the nicest clothes, strollers, and car seats and post them in the classifieds. She made a great side income for their family of 9! (They had 7 children and my husband is the youngest and only boy. Can you imagine being the only boy with 6 older sisters! He admits he was a little spoiled by them.)

This was something she could do with her kids, make some money, and still be home with them. This aspect of ‘flipping items’ has more recently attracted me to it. Something we can do while still being home with our three young kids. We have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 9 month old, and having the power of our own schedule has helped us out a ton. We haven’t had to pay for daycare because of it.


2. What’s the best item you’ve ever flipped?

We have had some pretty interesting items come though in the past 10 years of marriage. It is so hard to pick just one! I can put them into 3 best categories.

The award for the fastest flip would go to a parachute harness we sold in September. We found it for $10 at the flea market, listed it on eBay and it sold for $200 in 6 minutes! That is both a good and a bad thing. Good because we made a 2,000% return on our money, and quickly, but bad because if it sold so fast we probably priced it too low!

The award for the most profitable flip goes to a large purchase and sale this summer. We bought a large parking lot security tower from an online auction for $6,200. We don’t usually spend this much money on items, (we actually like to stick to the $10-$50 range) but he did some research and we made it happen. We ended up selling it on eBay for $25,000 in one month’s time!  That was a great summer bonus!

Lastly the flip that wins the most unique is one that we did almost 9 years ago. A prosthetic leg! Yep, that’s right! A titanium leg with knee joint. We found it at the flea market for $30 and sold it on eBay for $1,000 the next day!! That was also a quick and very profitable flip too, so it might win best overall as well.


3. What exactly is a flipper? Can you explain buy and sell more?

I would love to explain a little better what it is we do. A flipper is someone who buys something at a lower price point from one market, and sells it at a higher price point to another market that is looking for it. Some people may be familiar with the shows American Pickers and Storage Wars. All of those people would qualify as pickers and flippers. They pick through used items, find out what they can sell then turn around and sell it.

Another example of flipping that is popular is with houses. Many people buy houses that need some TLC, fix them up and then sell them for a higher cost.  Pickers and flippers are buying from one market and selling it to another (usually with a little bit (or sometimes a lot) of work in between).

Everyone in the scenario wins. Take for example what we do – buying used items from the flea market, thrift stores, and yard sales. We will use just the flea market to simplify it. We buy an item from a flea market vendor; they make money on us because most likely they bought their item cheaper from an auction in bulk, or from a thrift store. (They are flippers too!) Then we sell it online (on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook or Offer Up), to reach a larger audience. The person who bought it is happy because they got the item they wanted and they got it for a discounted price as well.

You might ask why the flea market vendor wouldn’t just sell the item online to make the larger profit. Do they not know that option is available? Many of them are well aware of selling online, and the ones Rob knows will even tell him what it is selling online for – telling him what we could get for it. I think some of them have lived this lifestyle of the flea market for so long that they don’t really want to mess with selling online. They have their routine of going to auctions to buy supplies, and then selling them at the flea market for a small markup. They make the money to pay the bills, and are happy with that. They don’t really want to learn or try a new skill.

We have good relationships with several of the vendors at our local flea market now, after years of buying things from there. We have returned non working items before, and sometimes we may even have a tab or credit running with some of them. That is how often we see them! Sometimes when they come across an item they think we would be interested in, they call us up and we go check it out, and most likely purchase it. They are helping us out and we are helping them out.


4. How do you make a living through buying and selling?

I mentioned before that we have done this on the side for as long as we have been together (and Rob even longer), but the last 4 years we have made this more of a significant part of our income. We have a couple small income streams on the side. My health and nutrition network marketing company and Rob’s one day a week home insurance inspections help us out, but the flipping items has been the bulk of our income since I stepped away from personal training to raise our three young kids.

We knew that if we could make a significant side income in a few hours a week, that if we put more time into it that we could make a living off of it.


5. What do you like about being a flipper and flipping items?

There are a couple great benefits from doing this as our ‘job’. One thing that we both love is our time flexibility. With three young kids who aren’t in school yet, my day revolves around them. They require a lot of attention, so I primarily work on our business when they are napping or after they go to bed. We can go to the flea market together on the weekends, and I also enjoy browsing yard sales on a Saturday morning. Rob works a little more on our business during the week, but if we want to take a morning off with the kids as a family we do it. For example, in December we wanted to take the kids to go see Santa Clause at the local mall, but wanted to do it on a weekday before school kids got out of school.  We did it and walked right up to see Santa with no line! We also have a membership to a water park and in the summer time (who are we kidding, most of the year since we are in Florida!) we take the kids there once a week as a family.

Another thing that I love about it is not answering to a boss. I have enjoyed working for several companies, one as a personal trainer for 5 years, and another as a performer on horseback in a dinner show for 3 years (that was fun!). With any job comes management – some great, and some not so great. It is nice not having to deal with some of the not so great anymore. And we don’t have to ask anyone when we want to take off for vacation! We like our vacations- especially road trips We did a 2 week road trip at Thanksgiving and were able to make $5,600 on eBay while on the road!

A third benefit is that the kids are constantly getting to play with new toys! An example is a couple Powerwheels (drivable toy cars) we have sold. We buy them used, usually replace the battery, and they ride around in them until we sell them. It’s always a thrill to see what comes home from the flea market each week! Which leads me to my next point:

There is never a dull moment. It is hardly a boring job. We never know what fun item we are going to find next. We recently purchased a very large lot of baseball, basketball, and football cards from a flea market vendor who won a storage unit auction. We are going through them to see if there are any ‘treasures’ before we sell the whole thing off. It’s fun because both Rob and I collected baseball cards as a kid. My dad was really into baseball and I loved collecting cards with him. I also think it was the thing to do in the 90’s (when both of us were teens). Last week we bought searchlights that have been used by NASA to guide the space shuttles in – next week – who knows!


6. If you don’t mind sharing, how much have you earned by flipping items? How much can the average person expect to make on a part-time or full-time basis?

When we were just treating this as a side hustle/ side income, we didn’t do a good job keeping track of our numbers. We changed that in the past two years and now keep track of everything. Our yearly income for 2015 was $42,875, and that was doing this business in about 10-20 hrs/week. In 2016, our income totaled $133,000 with probably an average of 15-30 hours per week.

Obviously there are no guarantees with this or any business, but if someone puts in the effort, they should be able to make a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month over time. We were making on average $2,000-$3,000 per month when we were doing this part time in about 5-15 hours per week. Most people can fit in a few hours in a week to make some extra money – heck, in the U.S. we average 31hrs of television per WEEK! (I could not believe this statistic when I looked it up!)

Our goal is to help people first hit $500/month, then $1,000 and more.


7. How does someone start a buy and sell business?

One thing I love about this business is that ANYONE can do it.

Male, female, any race, any age, any education, and any skill set can all learn the skills needed to be successful at this. A person just needs access to the Internet and a camera or a smart phone. Smart phones have made all the difference in this business the past few years. Rob used to buy an item, take pictures with a camera, plug the camera into the computer, upload them to eBay and then did the item description on a third party html site. Now we snap a picture with our phones and can immediately upload it from the apps. Such a time saver!

We decided in 2015 to start teaching an online course called Flipper University to help people get their business started.  We take all of our knowledge and 20 years of experience, and put it all together in a 6 module step-by-step course. We help people get started who have never done eBay before and we help people re-launch their business so they are bringing in more income.


8. How much time does it take to start and maintain a buy and sell business?

That all depends on the buy and sell income goals that a person has.

Someone could easily get started and do well in 5-10 hours a week. When they are just getting started it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to get $500-$1000/ a month in the beginning, and then growing to a few thousand dollars as their experience increases.


9. Who does a flipper typically sell to?

This will depend on their buy and sell niche. We encourage people to sell items in a niche when first getting started.

We ask what things are they passionate about or interested in? Fashion? Accessories? Antiques? Furniture? Baby items? Collectibles? Gadgets?

Whatever they are interested in, they will have a better understanding of the item, and be more comfortable selling it in the beginning. This is just something we encourage in the beginning, but not something that has to be done. We no longer have a certain type of item or a certain type of buyer.

Most of the buyers are from eBay, so we don’t even know much about them. We just know they are looking for the item we are selling, and then they buy it. We usually only know their eBay username and shipping address.


10. How much does it cost to start a buy and sell business and how much on a monthly basis to maintain it? Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to start flipping items?

I love this question because it can really be very little to start up.  You can even start up with zero cost if you put a little effort into it. There are several ways to find free items that you can flip for a profit.  Rob even wrote an eBook several months ago on this topic because we have done all these too!

In our course we also suggest that people budget out a number that they are comfortable with spending in a month to grow their business. We can say for example it’s $20-$100 the first month. With that, a person can buy one or several items to start making a profit on. We won’t buy anything that we can’t at LEAST double our money on. So if we are investing $100, than we are at least going to make $200 on the item.  But 90% of the time it is way more than that. Usually we get 3x-5x the amount we are investing.

We recommend that people pick a budget to start with. Let’s say that number to start with is $50. Then they take that $50, make $150, put $75 back into the bank and $75 into buying more items. Now they could make $225 from that $75, put $125 back in the bank, and take $100 to invest. Or they could put $150 in the bank and re invest the $75 to make another $225. (These numbers are not exact numbers obviously, but they are a good idea of what can be done). You can build up a nice little account of money to use to buy items, and keep making more money to pay your bills, put into savings, pay for a trip, etc.

Both Rob and I love the $10-$50 price range for a lot of items. Percentage wise we usually make the most money on this price range. He will spend a bit more on some items that he has done some research on, but we do like to stick to under $50 for the most part. One of his more expensive purchases recently was 3 bedbug machines for $250 at an auction. They were pretty big machines (like a large generator size), that heated the whole hotel room up to kill the bed bugs.  We sold the three of them for $3,000. So that was a $2,750 profit minus the eBay fees. EBay charges 10% and Paypal charges about 3% on transactions. While it kinda stinks to pay the fees, eBay reaches such a larger market than craigslist, Facebook or Offer up, so it is definitely worth it. It is a cost of doing business, so you just factor it into your profit.

For someone wanting to try this out, I would suggest start seeing what resources they have available. Find out what flea markets, auctions, and thrift stores are near them. Also check out offer up and Facebook for some good deals that can be flipped. And most of all HAVE FUN! We have a great time visiting the flea markets on the weekend. It is really funny to see how Rob just jumps out of bed those days! He gets lit up when it is flea market day! When you enjoy what you do, the work part of it doesn’t feel as much like work anymore. We are very thankful for our flipping business!

Are you interested in learning how to buy and sell and becoming a flipper by flipping items?

The post How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 17, 2017 at 03:30AM

43 Extreme Things People Have Done To Make Money

There are many things you can do in order to learn how to make money. And, some of these extra income ideas can be quite embarrassing, funny, and more.

Do you want to learn how to make money? There are many extreme ways to make money, and some of them are quite embarrassing. Yes, you can learn how to make money from home, how to make money for teens, how to make money traveling, how to make money on the side, and more! Check them out here!I published the post 60+ Extreme Things People Have Done To Save Money a few months ago, and there were a lot of crazy interesting things mentioned in that blog post.  There was someone shaving their own head to save money, people taping their shoes together, dumpster diving, and more.

Since that post, others have shared their own stories, and due to that I’ve decided to make a post that shares these new (and even more interesting) ways to make money.

And, we’ve all probably gone to some extreme measures to make money.

There are so many different ways to make money. You can make money at a part-time job, a full-time job, online, offline, and so on.

I believe that learning how to make money can completely change a person’s life for the better. In fact, because of learning how to make money, I was able to pay off $38,000 in student loans within 7 months, I was able to leave my day job to pursue my passion, travel full-time, and more!

By sharing the things that we do, maybe we can all feel a little less embarrassed about our best making money tips and even find new ways of learning how to make money.

Doing one or all of the below may allow you to change your life for the better, such as by allowing you to pay off your debt more quickly, improve your financial habits, help you reach your dream sooner, and more.

Related blog posts on how to make money:

Here are 43 interesting ways on how to make money.


The many interesting ways people are learning how to make money (even as a kid), save money, and competing for it.

Sell your smelly shoes to strangers online. “I’ve sold my smelly shoes on eBay to men who enjoy that sort of thing. They actually turned out to be the nicest customers ever, and it was easy to ‘upgrade’ their sales to include photos of my feet I’ve made over £2,000 to date, around $2,500. Just from selling my old trashed shoes on eBay.” – Emma Drew

How to make money by becoming a sugarbaby. “I signed up for a sugar daddy website (SeekingArrangement) as I was so desperate for money at one stage to pay for university. If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically where you meet up with rich businessmen and they take you to fancy places and pay you, etc. I had some very weird requests, for example someone had a fetish for massaging people’s feet and was prepared to pay US$500 for a meet up! And many guys asked me to travel round the world with them whilst paying me around USD$5000 to just come! I am so embarrassed that I even decided to sign up, wasn’t the best decision I have made!” – Emma Lomas

Sell your life. Did you know that you can make money by selling your life? If you don’t know who Ian Usher is, let me tell you all about him. In 2008, he put his life up for sale on eBay. He sold everything as a package, which included his car, job, home, and friends. Someone actually paid for it too! Another interesting take on this is from Mike Merrill. He offered 100,000 shares of himself to investors at a price of $1 a share. Each investor has a voting share and gets to decide how he lives his life. It seems like even more people are learning how to make money this way as well.

Start a blog – This may not seem extreme to you since you’re a reader of my blog, but who would have ever thought that you could learn how to make money online like this just a decade ago? Blogging is how I make a living, and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I average over $100,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $2.95 per month, plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial. I have a free blogging course you can also join to help you start and launch a successful blog!

“A while ago, I wanted to make some money… So I started a blog. When I told my husband I was doing it, he looked at me like I had antlers and told me that online journals are really sad. When I told my sister I was doing it she just stared at me and said ‘I don’t understand.’ These are not people who generally doubt me. I still haven’t told 90% of the people in my real life that I have a blog – despite the fact that I’m making a full time income.” – Carly Campbell

Pose nude for a drawing class. “Well … my first job was detasseling corn. In college I posed nude for a drawing class. And then there is writing for a living, which is pretty ridiculous …” – Emma Johnson

Participate in medical research studies. Medical studies exist to allow you to help with the research and study of diseases, medicine, treatment, and more. Depending on what is being studied, a study asks for certain types people to do the different tasks needed to be performed. To find paid medical research studies and to learn how to make money by doing this, I recommend checking out your local Craigslist listings, contacting universities in your area, and seeing if there are any local medical testing companies. Most cities have these options, and you just have to look for them. When my husband was younger he actually participated in a few medical research studies to help us earn more money. He was usually paid around $1,000 for a week’s worth of time.

“I regularly participated in FMRI studies in college because they paid $25/HR! They were much better than Phyfe studies which paid $16/hr.” – Emilie Lima Burke

Watch several young children at once. “When I was pregnant with my second and still working in a salon as a hairstylist, we were in need of a little extra income and I would volunteer to watch other kids along with my own 1 year old. After work, I came home and found out I said YES to too many people and found myself watching 5 kids all the same ages under 2 years old! Pregnancy brain perhaps? But had made $150 that day for groceries on top of what I made at work! Haha, the things we do!” – Tahnee Smallwood

Find trash in exchange for rebates. “When I was in college, I was into refunding. Phone time wasn’t cheap back then (or free). KitKat candy bars had an offer out at the time that for every 10 UPCs you would send in, you got a 10 minute phone card. As luck would have it, there were only three candy bars sold in our dorm, and KitKat was one of them. Every evening, I would go through the lobby every hour or so and pull out the KitKat wrappers. I got over 100 free phone cards doing that. 🙂 To me, that was the same as over $100 because I could call home and call friends for free.” – Jenn Wilson

Get extra tips when you’re pregnant. “I was an enormous pregnant lady. Gained almost 90 pounds. At the time, I wanted to work but didn’t want to do anything stressful. I worked as a host/coat hanger at a friend’s restaurant but was so pregnant that customers just ended up hanging their own coats (bec. They were afraid I would hurt myself and the baby) but they also tipped me as much as $20 – $50 ‘for the baby.’ Easiest and most profitable job of my life!” – Brenda Tolentino

Don’t take investing advice from a comedian. “I’ve taken investing advice from a comedian. Luckily, I only lost $500 from this ‘hot stock’ tip.” – Kate Dore

How to make money by giving massages. “When we arrived in Peru after a year of traveling full time, we managed to borrow a massage table, which my husband pushed around all of the hotels in an old wheelbarrow, offering massages to the guests to earn money.” – Katrina Howe

Become a telemarketer. “Just before entering college, I wanted to make some money to travel with my friends. I ended up getting a temp telemarketing job that required me to call up random folks and persuade them to go for a timeshare talk. I got some nasty responses (some people just hung up on me, some screamed at me). Needless to say, I hated the job!” – Nellie Huang

Demonstrate pet food. “While in college I wanted a job that allowed me to work with my school schedule so I signed up as a pet food demonstrator. I had to go on the weekends, dragging my own folding table, and set up the products and coupons. In business outfits. In a pet store. The other product demonstrators got to wear more casual outfits, but they wanted me in clothes that were completely out of place in a pet store. I had to be there for 4 hours at a time and they didn’t want me to bring a chair, but rather stand in heels for 4 hours straight next to the table. I wasn’t allowed to bring something to read, and they didn’t even want me taking a break! I think it was for about $12 per hour. I think I lasted for about 2 weeks before I quit!” – Maya Lalosh

How to sleep for extra money. Getting paid to sleep sounds interesting, right? Yes, you can actually learn how to make money by allowing others to study your sleep! For some, it can pay fairly well, to the tune of $18,000. All you have to do is lay in a bed for 70 days. You will be in the bed at all times, even to shower or use the bathroom. I think this would be a very difficult study to do as I would probably go crazy not seeing sunlight or walking for that many days, but it does pay well. If you’re accepted into this NASA study, you will receive $1,200 per week for your time.

Take as many online surveys as you can. There are several online survey companies that you can sign up for and learn how to make money with. If you sign up for all of them, you may be able to earn anywhere from $25-$100+ a month by taking online surveys. Survey companies I recommend signing up for include Swagbucks, American Consumer Opinion, Pinecone Research, Survey Junkie, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.

Call in sick and deliver newspapers. “I had my then-fiancé (now husband) call in sick to his Army base when he was a soldier. Then, he helped me deliver the base’s newspaper. I drove the route and he wrapped his head in a scarf so no one would recognize him and he threw the papers out the window. He was very nervous driving through the officer’s housing section! I made $90 that day.” – Lindsay VanSomeren

Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker, and you can learn how to make money by becoming an Uber driver in my blog post – How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver. Click here to join Uber and start making money ASAP.

Rent out your home and sleep on people’s couches instead. “When times were tight, as they often were, I afforded my NYC rent by airbnb-ing or subletting my apartment and crashing with friends instead.” –Stefanie O’Connell

How to make money by buying and returning. “Buying and returning TVs from Circuit City. Their most expensive television cost me $15,000. Prices were dropping rapidly and it was marked down to $10,000 the next week. They honored their guarantee by rebating me $5,500 before I returned it for $10,000. I bought and returned that television enough times to be able to afford to keep it (not that I ever would).” – Chris DeMuth, Jr.

Resell on eBay, get paid to stay up for 48 hours straight, and extreme couponing. “Lots of crazy things over the years! Most of these I remember from when I was laid off and totally broke. Some things that come to mind: I used to go to yard sales and buy things and resell on eBay, that was a lot of fun and I made good money doing that! I had some friends that would do it too and we had a code: ‘would Angie (or some name) like it?’ That was us asking if the others thought it would sell on eBay or not. I used to do focus groups and I did one that paid $1,000 to say in a hotel for a week and I had to stay up 48 hours straight for something they were testing, it was brutal! I used to do extreme couponing and became friends with the paper guy in my neighborhood and he would bring me 10 extra papers each week so I had tons of coupons. At one point I had a whole closet filled with things I got free or next to free.” – Jenny Kerr

How to make money by becoming a mystery shopper. A few years ago, I mystery shopped a lot to make extra income. I made anywhere from $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping and received free meals, makeup, and more. I only used Bestmark for mystery shopping, so I know that they are a 100% legitimate company. There are other legitimate mystery shopping companies that exist, but you do want to do your research. Read more about how to make money as a mystery shopper at Mystery Shopping – Make Extra Money.

Cuddle with strangers to make extra income. Yes, you can learn how to make money by cuddling with others. There are many cuddling companies that currently exist. You can sell cuddles to strangers, and some people even make a few hundred dollars a day by cuddling with others.

Sell used toilets or get shoes from the trash. “When we built our house (like… we built it, not hired it out) I saved money every possible way, because we didn’t actually HAVE much money (we had to work for a week, get our paychecks, then go buy nails and stuff)… So I bought used toilets that had been taken out of other people’s houses. I bleached them all up, cost us a fraction of what new toilets cost. And you can’t tell they’re second hand. Just in case anyone is wondering … if used toilets are too gross, when I was backpacking and had to go to work in these horrible red dirt fields for a month and didn’t want to wreck my only shoes – I just got some other shoes – from a garbage can. It seemed like no one was using them.” –Carly Campbell

Pawn stuff, make your food, and sell things from your home. “In college I went to the pawn shop more than a few times. Those were not proud moments! We are super tight on money right now. These aren’t crazy things, but we’ve started making our own food like butter and jelly. I started a garden in the backyard so we don’t have to buy any veggies. So far everything is going well, but I’ve yet to see a veggie. We might just have to eat the veggie leaves – ha! This weekend I am having a garage sale, and I’ve put just about everything in the house up for sale, but the kids, on eBay! I have to admit, I am NOT turning off the air conditioner down here in Florida. The combination of humidity and my premenopausal moments ain’t pretty. No one else wants me to turn it off for those reasons, either. Ha ha!” – Julie Powell Pollitt

How to make money by selling cookies. “Out of college, I was fundraising for AIDS/LifeCycle – a trans-California bicycle ride. So, I went to where the cyclists were – the younger, social cyclists who like to drink beer and ride bicycles across Los Angeles. Young, hungry, drunk cyclists were easy pickings for my fundraising technique: selling fresh-baked homemade cookies at $5 a pop. I was able to meet the $3,000 fundraising goal without a hitch.” – Jon Luskin

How to make money by creating wood catapult kits. “I once manufactured wood catapult kits to make money. I was 14 haha. And hired my siblings to help. Then paid them out of the profits. Made about 25 bucks an hour doing it for a few summers and little time during school year. Probably made close to $15,000 over the whole time.” – Jacob Brad Johnson

How to make money by selling lingerie. “Years ago, I bought and sold a Lingerie Dropshipping store for like $3,000 from a Flippa auction. Sold for a slight loss but also sold some high profit lingerie. Probably didn’t make money with all the FBN and business license fees. Killed the SEO waiting for the vendors to process my application. Not one of my better investments.” – TJ Pridonoff

Sell your poop for side income. Yes, you can actually make money selling your poop, and this is probably one of the more extreme ways to make money, but you can really help people with this! According to The Washington Post, you can make up to $13,000 a year by selling your poop to the company OpenBiome. OpenBiome needs it because it is “administered to patients who are very sick with infections of a bacteria called C. difficile.” The company is willing to pay so much for these donations because finding a good donor is quite difficult. They need extremely healthy people, with only around 4% of people who have applied actually passing all of their tests. So, what does the company pay? They pay $40 for each sample you give. You receive a $50 weekly bonus on top of that if you donate five days each week. The average donor donates around three to four times a week. If you are interested in learning how to make money by selling your stuff, you can check out the details and how to apply here.

Sell breast milk. Only recently did I realize that some women can learn how to make money by doing this. If you are breastfeeding, you may be able to sell your breast milk and make extra income. Breast milk often goes for $1 to $2.50 per ounce, and sometimes it sells for as much as $4 per ounce. There are many people who are looking to buy breast milk – not just mothers. Athletes, and those looking to boost their immune systems, are buyers as well. Recommended reading: CNN’s With breast milk online, it’s buyer beware.

Donate your eggs or sperm. There are some things that you may be able to sell for a good deal of money, and this includes selling your eggs or sperm. Yes, you can learn how to make money in this way by contacting a company that is in need of eggs or sperm. For eggs, women can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more, depending on their characteristics. Egg donors are typically under the age of 30 and healthy. African American women and Asian American women usually earn the most money as there is a larger need for their eggs. This is not super easy money, though. There are a number of doctor’s visits, and extracting the eggs requires a medical procedure. For sperm, the average donation pays anywhere from $50 to $100. It can be quite easy to donate, and some men donate as much as 2-3 times each week.

Sell used bras. “I sold used bras on eBay for a year and make about $10k from bras alone. I found a place where I could buy nice but used bras for a quarter each and turned around and sold them for twenty or more bucks each. That’s what got me started with my eBay side hustle.” – Elizabeth Crazy Busy Happy Life

Sell plasma until you reach an iron deficiency count. “I sold plasma for a few weeks until my iron levels dipped low. I tried taking an iron supplement, but that messed with my stomach. I was working part-time, but my hours kept getting cut and I had a part-time internship (unpaid) as well.” – Zina Kumok

“I donated plasma when I was younger. I fainted during it, but made $20. Fail!” – Kristin Larsen

Win at an inflatable horse race. “In high school, we had some company come in to peddle their fundraiser. To drum up support, they offered $50 to the winner of an inflatable horse race. I volunteered, tried, and actually won the race! I looked ridiculous but who cares because $50 is $50!” – Gwen

How to make money by gambling online. “I don’t know if this counts as extreme but in college I used to gamble online back when online casinos were a thing. You deposited $100, got $100 as a bonus, and could withdraw when you put 4X your total ($800 in that case) into play. Casinos got wise and eventually that multiple got up to 20X, which made it no longer profitable. Craziest part was that I’d won and lost several $1,000 hands of blackjack. 🙂 The losses were only palatable because I’d only have $100 of my own money at stake! (illogical yes, but psychologically beneficial after a $1000 loss) I did that for a few years in college and paid for a lot of fun times.” – Jim Wang

How to make money by taking part in a wrestling match. “I did a wrestling match in a boxing ring at an MMA gym. This wasn’t the right audience for the show nor was the ring setup for me to be landing on hard. The gym was throwing an anniversary party and they wanted entertainment. I just couldn’t say no. I got paid $50 and treated myself to a steak.” – Martin Dasko

Make a video about your acne. “I entered a video contest about how acne had destroyed my adolescence and how a company’s product fixed it for me. I made a grainy video at 5 in the morning before I went to my real job in 2010. I won the $250 Visa card for first prize, but I forgot to take the video down until one month ago on YouTube. I can’t imagine how many potential clients saw that!” – Laura Pennington

How to make money by competing on a TV show. “I went on a UK TV quiz show. I was desperate and thought I had no chance but felt I had nothing to lose. I walked away with £2,750 (not sure of the exchange rate but I can check tomorrow). I cried when I got into the final as I already knew I’d never gamble any winnings and already had over £1000! One of my creditors took a reduced settlement so cleared half my debts in one day!” – Vicky Eves

Sell calendars to teachers. “In middle school, I sold calendars to a few of my teachers and friends. I made about $50 doing it.” – Jason Butler

Charge children to use the swing and sell pencils. “As a kid, I used to charge the kids to use the swings. Once we got out for recess, I had one of my friends ’guard’ a swing. We’d stand there and ask kids to give us $0.05-$0.10 per ride (depending on the demand) and I’d time it. Just a few minutes, literally counting the seconds. We’d make a couple bucks and use the money to buy candy. At my school, there were few swings but a lot of kids who wanted to ride them. Another thing I did as a kid was ‘raid’ the pencil machine. Basically, I’d get two pencils for $0.25 (really cool pencils with neon designs). All the kids wanted them. Once I emptied out the machine (with some money from my friend and mine), we’d sell the pencils for $0.25 each. Made some serious dough back then as a kid. Though, this was short lived until we got in trouble. Entrepreneurship was looked down upon at my school and the principal asked us to stop. But I didn’t. Had a few other ideas and tricks up my sleeve that I took into adulthood.” – Rachel Hernandez

Buy and sell textbooks. “When I was in college, everyone seemed to just buy their textbooks at the campus bookstore because they didn’t care or want to look online for better deals. I would go on Chegg or Textbooks R Us, and buy the cheap used textbooks, then contact people who were taking the classes and sell them the textbooks for a higher price than what I bought them for (but still lower than the campus textbook store). It was an easy way to make some quick cash.” – Colin

How to make money by selling origami. “When I was in primary school I had a dream that I wanted to travel the world. But I obviously had no money. Then I found out how to make origami animals from post-it notes. I started selling it to other kids at school (I was 7 at the time). Surprisingly everyone loved it and wanted more of them. I remember I made a full-time adult salary after 2 months.” – Anna Lysakowska

How to make money by selling candy. “At 14 years old I had my mom drive me to Sam’s Club and I would buy a $100 worth of Snickers, Milky Ways, and Hershey bars. I could get them at $0.50 – $0.75 per bar. I then sold them out of my backpack at my high school for $1/bar. I made a few hundred dollars the semester and used it to buy a new mountain bike. I eventually stopped because I kept getting in trouble for selling on school property.” – Nick True

“In middle school and high school I used to buy and resell candy for my own profit. I would ask my mom to take me to Costco and buy the bulk size candy packs like Snickers and such. I would take them in my backpack and sell them at break and lunch. I could make about $10 per day in profit. I did for several years!” – Robert Farrington

Take exams for money. “I don’t know how crazy this is, but I took a 2.5 hour long ‘competency’ exam in college because they were bribing students with $50 Amazon gift cards. And that was better than working 2.5 more hours at minimum wage!” – Natalie McKee

Do you want to learn how to make money? Do any of these extreme ways to make money interest you?

The post 43 Extreme Things People Have Done To Make Money appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 15, 2017 at 05:30AM

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Live Your Own Life

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others often? Here are reasons you should stop comparing yourself to others and start living your own life.I think we can probably all agree that your life might be different if you decided to stop comparing yourself to others.

Over the years, I’ve compared myself to others plenty of times. I’ve compared myself to others when it came to school, looks, money, and more. I know that sounds bad, but without acknowledging that, it would be hard to stop.

Many people compare themselves to others too.

In fact, everyone has done it at one point in their life.

People often compare themselves to others to determine how well they are doing in life and base their personal value on that. However, that usually doesn’t lead to feeling too good about yourself. Plus, who actually wants to judge themselves in a negative way?

While in some circumstances it can be motivating and inspiring to compare yourself to others, but in most circumstances it is negative and can lead to:

  • Debt, such as when you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses and buy the same expensive things that other people are buying.
  • A feeling of defeat, like when you feel that you aren’t as good as someone else.
  • Unhappiness, in that the process of comparing yourself to others is neverending.
  • A waste of time. If you spend all of your time comparing yourself to others, you will never have enough time to do what you really want. Comparing yourself to others can take valuable time and moments away.

To put it simply, by comparing yourself to others, you are holding yourself back.

Now, I know that just telling you to stop comparing yourself to others is easier said than done. In today’s world, with social media and how everything seems to be on full display for the world, it can be easy to compare yourself to others.

But, you need to stop doing it in a negative way.

By doing so, you’ll be able to move on with your life, reach your goals, be happy for others, and more.

Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or it may require more hard work, but that doesn’t mean that everything is impossible for you. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better or worse off than you.

Instead of comparing your path to those around you, you should focus on what you can do to make your dream a reality.

Here is how you can stop comparing yourself to others.


Understand why comparing yourself to others can hold you back.

The first step to stop comparing yourself to others is to realize that comparisons are often negative and that most of the time they do not help.

You should think about why you feel the need to compare yourself to others, and think of how that may be impacting you. By realizing these things, you’ll be able to move forward and stop wasting your time with comparisons.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”


Be happy for others.

Instead of feeling jealous or like it’s a competition between you and whoever you are comparing yourself to, you should just be happy for the success of others.

Good things can happen to other people, it doesn’t mean that your life is any less important. Plus, by being happy for others, you’ll learn to accept yourself and let more positivity into your life.


Be motivated, not competitive.

Instead of feeling jealous or competitive when comparing yourself to someone else, you should instead turn that emotion into inspiration and/or motivation.

The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone, you could think about how you could possibly do something similar (only if that’s what you truly want to do, of course). You can use their achievements as inspiration for your own life and goals.

As you can see, comparing yourself to someone else doesn’t have to be entirely bad, as long as you use that process for positives means.


Take a break from social media.

Social media can be fun and all, but for the most part, you are just seeing carefully selected pieces of someone’s life.

While that can be great, some people allow it to drag them down.

If you find yourself feeling jealous or negative when you are on social media, then you may want to take a break from it until you figure out how to turn that self-doubt into inspiration. This way, you can stop comparing yourself to others.


Be confident.

You may find yourself comparing yourself to others because you lack self confidence.

Some believe that confidence is something people are born with and that a person cannot learn how to be confident.

I used to feel the same way. While I’m not as confident as I would like to be, I am a fairly confident person and I believe that has helped me a lot in life. That sounds odd to say, but I am confident enough to say it!

I believe that gaining confidence can help you as well. Learning how to be confident can lead to getting the job you want, making more money, reaching your dreams, public speaking, meeting new people, networking, managing a business or employees, traveling the world, and more.

As you can see, gaining confidence can help a person in many, many different ways.

Plus, by being confident with yourself, you will learn how to stop comparing yourself to others because you’ll already believe in yourself.

Learn more at Be More Confident And Get What You Want In Life.


Take control of your finances.

Money is a leading cause of comparison.

Often, you may feel stuck with your current life because of some sort of financial reason. This happens to all of us.

And, this may lead to comparing yourself to others.

By paying off your debt, making more money, not living paycheck to paycheck, budgeting better, and more, you may feel free to reach for your dream life because you won’t feel controlled by your finances.

Related article: 10 Great Ways To Gain Control Of Your Finances and Reach Financial Freedom.


Be positive and happy with who you are.

Many people find themselves comparing themselves to others because they feel unlucky or sad about their situation.

Everyone has something that might make them sad, angry, scared, etc., and I understand that in some circumstances it can be quite difficult to see the positive or to be happy for yourself.

However, no matter how life may be going for you, I believe that a positive outlook can help to improve your life. It’s all about being grateful for what you already have.

Being negative causes limitations. If you think you cannot do something, then you most likely will not. Negative thoughts can make you feel stuck, they can make you feel like there is no way out of your problems, and that you have zero options.

On the other hand, being positive can help you realize that you are able to do things, that you are in control of your life, and that little things will not kill you. Being positive will also help you move on and deal with stressful situations better.


There is no such thing as the perfect life.

No one is perfect.

Once you realize that, you’ll find that comparing yourself to others is wasted time because everyone has a different path, including you.

Instead, you should accept your past and present, and realize that you can make changes for the future if you desire to do so.

Remember, you should never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. You don’t know what they’ve been through, and instead you should be happy for other people’s accomplishments.


Think about your dream life.

To stop comparing yourself to others, you may want to think about your dream life. This may help you realize that everyone’s on a different path, and that you should be creating your own path to reach happiness and success.

You should think about different things such as:

  • What does it take to reach your dream life? Do you need to go to school? Pay off debt? Learn something new?
  • What will your action plan be?
  • Why is what you’re currently doing no longer working for you?
  • What excuses are you currently making?
  • What are the risks? What will you have to overcome to reach your dream life?
  • What are the positives of reaching your dream life? What is success to you?

How could you stop comparing yourself to others? How has it impacted your life?

The post Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Live Your Own Life appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

February 13, 2017 at 05:30AM

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