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How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch

How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch

How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch #makemoneyblogging #makeextramoneyI created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, my first online course, in July of 2016. And, after two and a half years, I have earned over $1,100,000 from it.

This was without any webinars, Facebook Lives, any guest posts, a “launch” period, or anything else. It’s an evergreen course that has mainly spread through word of mouth.

Most people are completely shocked to hear this, because when most people think about running a course, they think of an intense sales period with a huge team and lots of live videos.

However, my course has pretty much just been me, no big promotions or videos.

This doesn’t mean that creating my first course came easy to me.

Creating an online course is a lot of work, no matter how you do it, and I decided to create them on my own terms. I want to be comfortable with how I create and run my courses and make sure they fit with the rest of my business plan.

Don’t get me wrong, videos and a big launch period can be great for others, but for me, I wanted something a little simpler and something that reflects who I am.

I was very nervous when creating Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It was my first product that I’ve ever sold, and like all online course creators, I was afraid that no one would want it.

In fact, just a few months ago, I launched my second course, Making Sense of Sponsored Posts, and again, I felt the same way!

I knew that creating an online course, especially my first one, would be a lot of work– it still is! I was also afraid of what I was getting myself into because creating a course was such a foreign concept to me.

Many people told me that the first product a person creates usually ends up being a dud because there is such a steep learning curve. I was nervous because I really didn’t want to waste a ton of time creating something that would basically fail.

I still knew I wanted to create Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing because I wanted my to help others understand and benefit from affiliate marketing like I have. And, I knew I wanted it to be the best thing ever.

I wanted to share my experience and knowledge of affiliate marketing with others. And, instead of helping bloggers one-on-one, I knew that creating an online course would be a way to reach a wider audience, help more people, and (of course) bring in a new income source with a product of my own.

Online blogging courses are great because, unlike ebooks, you can create something that is extremely informative and that helps your students in all areas. Online courses can include workbooks, lessons, a community group, bonuses, and more.

After encouragement from others and hearing stories about successful online courses, I finally decided to jump in and create my first course.

It’s one of the best business decisions I have ever made!

So many people are afraid of creating a course on their own, but I want to tell you that you should go for it.

Here’s a screenshot of my income through the online course.

How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch

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Many of my students from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing have emailed me to say how much the course has helped them, which is always great to hear. Affiliate marketing is something that I love because it allows me to live a life that I enjoy, so I’m glad that I’m able to share my affiliate marketing knowledge and success with plenty of other people.

Income from my online courses now makes up around one-third of my business revenue.

And, that is just from two courses.

I plan on creating more products and helping even more people, so I expect this income stream to continue growing in the future.

I see my first online course as a great success. Like I said, I didn’t take part in any webinars, guest posting on other websites or blogs, and I spent less than $100 on advertising and marketing the course.

So, how did I earn over one million dollars from my first course?

 

Where it all began.

I created Making Sense of Cents in 2011.

Blogging changed my life for the better, and it allows me to earn thousands of dollars a month, all by doing something that I love.

The funny thing is that I created my blog on a whim after reading about a personal finance website in a magazine. It was just a hobby at first, and I used it to track my own personal finance progress. And, when I started in 2011, I honestly didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!

My interest in blogging quickly grew, but like I said, it was all just a hobby. I wanted a space to write about my personal finance situation, have a support group, to keep track of how I was doing, and more. I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money through my blog.

A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser, and I earned $100 from that advertisement deal.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already been putting into my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that I could make money doing something that I absolutely loved.

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew from there.

By the summer of 2012, just one year after I started my blog, I was earning around $1,000 a month. By the following summer, I was earning around $10,000 monthly.

My income just kept growing. In 2015, I earned over $320,000 from Making Sense of Cents, $979,000 in 2016, $1,500,000 in 2017, and around $1,600,000 in 2018.

That first deal sparked my interest in learning how to make money blogging and it motivated me to take my blog more seriously.

I now earn a great living from my blog, and I started it all on a whim without even knowing that blogs could make money. I was even featured on Forbes–  How This 27-Year-Old Made $1 Million Last Year!

Like I’ve said, blogging completely changed my life for the better, and if you are at all interested in blogging, I would urge you to learn how to start a blog as well.

Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more! It’s all because I learned how to make money blogging.

And, my course was created to help others build their own successful business, hopefully providing them with the same freedom and opportunity mine has offered me.

Here’s how I earned $1,000,000+ from an online course.

 

I’m all about networking.

If it weren’t for networking with other online business owners, I probably never would have started my first course!

In 2016, I was in a mastermind with Jessica Larrew and Abby Lawson, and they convinced me to create an online course on the topic of affiliate marketing for bloggers. I owe a lot of my success to them, because they helped me learn the best way to create and launch a course. They were both already selling several great products of their own, so networking with them was extremely helpful for me.

Networking has helped me in other areas of my course as well, such as having a number of high-quality affiliates.

Many of my blogging friends are affiliates for my two courses, and that helps to get the word out. I am so grateful to have blogging friends who help spread the love.

Networking is very important if you want to create a successful blog. Bloggers should be open to making blogging friends, attending blog conferences, sharing content from other bloggers with your readers, and more.

However, I believe that many bloggers overlook how important networking is, which holds many of them back. Many bloggers see other bloggers as competition, but that shouldn’t be your mindset. Everyone is doing things a little differently and getting to know other bloggers can introduce you to new possibilities.

Networking helps you enjoy blogging, learn new things, learn about new income opportunities, make great connections, and more. If you want to make money blogging like I have done, then you will want to network with other bloggers!

There are so many ways to network and to build relationships, and the best way is to be natural and treat it like building a “normal” friendship. You can start off simply by commenting on a person’s blog and sharing their articles. Then, you eventually may want to just interact with them on social media, attend blogging conferences, and so on. You can build relationships with just those in your niche, those in somewhat related niches, or people who are doing and blogging about things you are interested in, even if they aren’t related to your blog.

The key is to be genuine and to give more than you take, which are the two main things I always tell people when it comes to networking. I receive so many emails every day from people who clearly aren’t genuine and it’s very easy to see.

You shouldn’t be emailing other bloggers and people in the industry demanding that they do something for you– that is just not how networking works. Instead, you should find ways that you can genuinely help them.

 

I created a course on a very specific topic.

There are many different types of online courses out there. In fact, the online course market is a multi-billion dollar industry that just continues to grow.

Affiliate marketing is an area that I continue to do well in, and it was a topic that I was asked about nearly every single day. Due to that, I knew the focus of my course needed to be affiliate marketing.

But, I also knew that I could niche it down even further.

So, I made my affiliate marketing course for bloggers and online influencers.

There are other affiliate marketing courses that exist, but mine is really the only one out there specifically meant to help bloggers. By creating a niche, I can hit a specific target point for bloggers and online influencers who want to increase their affiliate income. It also means I am able to get rid of all the extra fluff that doesn’t pertain to their business.

And, this is exactly what my readers wanted, which means I was able to create a course just for them.

In case you’re wondering, your course does not have to be about blogging or online businesses. According to the creator of Teachable, here are their top selling courses:

 

I have real results.

There are tons of courses out there. Some are great, whereas others are clearly taught by people who have very little experience in the area they are teaching. You can easily tell that they are solely doing it to make money, not necessarily helping others.

That obviously wasn’t the intent for my course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I was seeing real results from my affiliate marketing strategy and I wanted to share it with others.

You see, the majority of my blogging income comes through affiliates, and I don’t have a ton of page views either.

I’ve been able to figure out how to correctly promote affiliate products to my readers.

And, in case you’re wondering…

Affiliate marketing is a blog monetization method in which you place a link (called an affiliate link) to a product or company on your website or a social media platform in an attempt to make an income from followers purchasing the product through your link. Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money blogging because if there is a product or company that you enjoy, all you have to do is create a review and hopefully others will be interested in buying it as well.

Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. It starts by just creating one blog or social media post that has the potential to earn you money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. However, with affiliate marketing, I have found that I am able to relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.

I regularly earn around $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and it’s all done fairly passively through blog posts and email sequences. For the most part, all the work is done and the traffic that is generated to my email list and blog posts passively converts people into buyers, with minimal work required from me.

Due to my real results, readers and bloggers were constantly interested asking me to share my knowledge of affiliate marketing.

So, then came the course!

 

I give tremendous value in the course.

By purchasing Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, students not only receive a great, informative course, they also receive a lot of high dollar bonuses.

Many people have told me that I should increase the price of the course, and that’s exactly what I want to hear.

I want students to be happy that they purchased the course, and I want them to feel like they are gaining more value than they paid for.

I created my course to include more than just valuable affiliate marketing information, so I have added over $500 in free bonuses. My online course teaches my students how to improve their affiliate marketing strategies, while also learning how to create a better and more well rounded blog.

And, I’m always adding new lessons and more value to the course. Since launching, I have added a few new lessons and a few more bonuses (for example: one is from an affiliate marketing manager so that students can see affiliate marketing from the eyes of the person on the other side). There is also a community group for the course that has great reviews.

In fact, many people have said that the community group alone is worth the price of the course!

Making sure to provide a high value course is key. This has led to many, many students becoming affiliates for the course (discussed further below) because they love how much the online course has helped them improve their own blogging business.

I launched my first and only online course in July of 2016. In the first year of running the course, I earned approximately $434,698. Here's how I did it!

 

I chose a great platform to host my course.

I’ve taken a few other online courses, and my favorites always happen to be on Teachable. As a student, I have always enjoyed how easy their platform is to use, and this made it an easy decision to use Teachable for my course.

Teachable is also great because they make it easy to create your own course. I don’t consider myself to be a super techy person, but I was able to do almost everything on my own.

And, countless students have told me how much they love the Teachable platform, so I know it was a great fit!

 

I’m always growing my email list.

After deciding to create an online course, I realized that I needed to start spending more time creating and growing a professional email list. Up until that point in 2016, I wasn’t really doing anything to grow my email list.

I wasn’t even emailing the readers I already had. And, for the longest time, I didn’t even have an email service provider! I was pretty much ignoring the value in my email list.

However, around April of 2016, I decided to start taking my email list seriously. Since then, with just minimal work, I have grown my email list to over 100,000 subscribers.

Now, I don’t regularly promote products to my email list, or even my course, but I do have an email sequence in place that makes it easy for people who are interested in blogging to hear about my course.

This email sequence was very easy to set, and I’ve hardly even touched in the past year.

This makes everything extremely easy and lets me enjoy other aspects of my business.

In case you’re wondering, I use Convertkit. I highly recommend Convertkit and it’s been a life changer for me and blog. It’s also really helped me with the success of my course.

 

I direct traffic towards the course.

But, I do so casually.

If you look at Making Sense of Cents, you won’t see my course plastered all over the place. In fact, it’s actually a little hard to find and only recently did I add it to my navigation bar.

To promote Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, I haven’t done any guest posts, webinars, etc. It has all been through word of mouth, occasionally mentioning it here on my blog and emailing my subscriber list.

While some would say that I’m making a huge mistake by not pushing my audience harder, this is the approach I chose to sell my course, and it’s what fits my personality and business best.

Here are some examples of how I casually lead my readers to Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing:

  • I mention my course in my monthly income reports. Because people are coming to my income reports for advice, it was only logical to include a link to my course. The information in my course is what people are there to find.
  • With Convertkit, I added an email to my email sequence. This means that anyone who signs up for my How To Start a Blog Free Course will eventually receive an email from me that promotes Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. There is no hard sell, just a simple email about it.
  • When the course first went live, I sent several emails detailing why affiliate marketing is something for all bloggers to look into, the positives of the course, and so on.
  • Whenever I have a coupon code, I will email my subscribers and let them know. Since the course is evergreen (always for sale and not on a limited time launch basis), having sales can drive up interest in my affiliate marketing course.

Now, this isn’t saying that this is the only way to sell a course. There are many successful course owners who do more of a hard sell, and there is nothing wrong with that, especially for a great product.

However, this is the path I took, and it has worked out well. The way I promote and drive traffic to my course has turned it into more of a passive income avenue for my business, and this is how I really like it right now.

As you can see above, I don’t do much to promote the course, so there is a lot of room for improvement! If I wanted to ramp up my income from my blogging course, I could host webinars, guest post on other websites, create an email course specifically about affiliate marketing, and more.

 

How Michelle Went From $0 Affiliate Income to $50,000+ A Month

I know the value in affiliates.

Because I know how valuable it is to have affiliates promote a product, it only makes sense to have affiliates for a course about affiliate marketing.

Due to that, anyone who takes my course is allowed to be an affiliate– after all, they have learned the right way to promote an affiliate product by taking my course, which means I know they will do it well!

I also encourage anyone who wants to be an affiliate to interview me for their website, this allows me to answer any questions their readers may have and to help them write the best possible affiliate review. Many students have taken me up on this offer, which is a win-win for everyone.

In the image above, you can see an example of one affiliate review, How My Sister Went From $0 Affiliate Income to $50,000+ A Month.

I give a high percentage to affiliates who successfully promote my course, as I understand the hard work that goes into being an affiliate.

Affiliates comprise a significant percentage of the amount of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing courses sold each month, and that is wonderful!

Are you interested in creating an online course? Why or why not?

The post How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.makingsenseofcents.com

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How To Prepare For Tax Season In 2019

How To Prepare For Tax Season In 2019

How To Prepare For Tax Season In 2019

The following is a sponsored partnership with H&R Block. I used H&R Block for years, starting at the young age of just 18 – and they have always made it so easy for me to prepare and file my own taxes.

Are you ready and prepared for this year’s tax season?

Taxes are due on Monday, April 15th, 2019.

Tax season is so overwhelming for the average person. But, today, I want to help you take the needed steps in order to prepare for tax season.

Even though you still have a couple of months before your tax return is due, it is so very important to start preparing now. So many people wait until the very last moment, and that can lead to mistakes, forgetting forms, spending more money on filing (forgetting tax deductions!), and more.

Here is how to prepare for tax season in 2019:

 

Decide how you will file your tax return.

Are you going to file online? Find an accountant to help you file your tax return?

It is best to figure this out now, instead of wondering what you will do on April 15th. So many people wait until the last moment, but it is best to figure it out now so that you can start preparing.

If you’re interested in doing your taxes yourself, H&R Block can assist you in making sure that your tax return is correct and that you have claimed every credit and tax deduction that you deserve. H&R Block has a DIY Online Help Center embedded in the experience, so that you can find information when you need it. If you want additional help, you can add unlimited, on-demand access to a highly-trained tax expert to answer questions with Ask a Tax Pro, or have a tax pro review, sign and file your return with Tax Pro Review.

So, by using H&R Block, you don’t have to decide between doing your taxes all by yourself or finding a tax professional. With H&R Block, you can use an expert, or DIY the whole thing – it’s all up to you! When you go the DIY route, you also can pick how much support you want from their team of experts with the three help options.

 

Gather the information that you need.

Hopefully, you have been keeping track of your receipts, expenses, donations, loan information, retirement contributions, and everything else tax-related for the past year. If not, you will want to start gathering everything that you’ll need for your taxes right away.

For the next month or two, you will most likely be receiving several important tax documents, such as W2s, 1099s, and more. You should be saving all of these important tax documents in a safe place as you will be needing all of them in order to file your taxes correctly.

Here’s a great tax prep checklist from H&R Block of the documents and forms that you may need for your tax return.

 

Be aware of the tax return deadline.

As stated earlier, personal tax returns are due on Monday, April 15th, 2019. I recommend putting this on your calendar now, so that you do not forget.

Running around on the very last day trying to get your tax return completed can lead to errors, forgetting important tax documents, and more. With today’s article, hopefully you can get a jumpstart so that you don’t have to stress about your tax return later.

Are you ready to file your taxes by the deadline? What are you doing to prepare?

The post How To Prepare For Tax Season In 2019 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.makingsenseofcents.com

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Living Your Best Life Starts With No More Excuses

Living Your Best Life Starts With No More Excuses

Living Your Best Life Starts With No More Excuses #livingyourbestlife #dreamlifeHave you ever thought of something you wanted from life, but then told yourself it couldn’t happen? This could be something like getting a promotion, paying off your debt, or retiring early.

Well, you’re not alone.

Everyone is guilty of making excuses, and I know that people will continue to make them until they realize that excuses are just that – excuses. My goal today is to get you on the path to living your best life, excuse free.

As a personal finance expert, I hear a lot of reasons for why a person can’t save money, pay off debt, live the life they want, reach retirement, and so on. These people see the success of others and give themselves a reason for why they can’t have the same reality.

Just think about the last time you said, “That won’t work for me because (insert your excuse here).”

I hate seeing this because you can start living your best life if you just say, “no more excuses.”

Now, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for why some people have financial setbacks, such as job loss, medical emergencies, family hardships, and more. Just because someone is currently struggling doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to work towards financial freedom. Remember, this is a long-term process and everyone’s situation is different.

Today, I’m talking specifically about the people who want something more than what they have but just keep making excuses for why they can’t achieve their goals or for why their life is bad.

Common excuses include:

The problem with making excuses is that this bad habit can hold you back, which means that you may never reach your financial or life goals.

To put it simply, to start living your best life, you have to stop making excuses. Excuses mean a you’re giving up before you’ve even begun.

To reach your goals and get what you want, you’ll have to work hard and say “no more excuses.” No one has a perfect life (not even those who make it look that way online), so it’s a waste of your time and energy to compare your situation to theirs, then giving yourself reasons for why that life is impossible.

Trust me, I know how easy it is to make excuses for things, and I’ve made plenty of them. However, I told myself that I was done making excuses. While it was hard at first, this has significantly changed my life, my outlook, and my mindset.

Sure, it’s nice every now and then to make an excuse for yourself whenever you’re stressed or you just feel defeated. But, that just won’t get you anywhere!

Related:

Ready to start living your best life? Here’s how excuses are holding you back and how you can make a change:

 

Stop wasting time with excuses.

Making excuses means that you’re wasting time.

I know that sounds really simple, but it’s true.

One example of this is with investing. Whenever I hear of someone wanting to get started investing, I am always really happy to hear this because investing is one tool that can help you start living your best life. But, I often hear people making excuses like:

  • “I don’t know how to get started”
  • “I don’t have enough money to invest”
  • “I don’t know anything about the stock market.”
  • “It’s probably too late to start.”

Well, with investing and everything else you might be making excuses for, it’s never too late to start making a change for the better. Compound interest is on your side with investing, but you can start working on saving for you future at any point.

For those making the excuse that they don’t have enough money, you can easily start investing with very little money, and there are apps like Acorns that make it really easy to get started. Acorns rounds up each purchase you make to the next dollar and invests that money for you.

With investing, if you aren’t doing it now, you are wasting your time and your money. And, the same can be said for many other things.

Instead of finding reasons for why you shouldn’t pursue a goal, spend your time creating a plan so that you can start living your best life.

Next time you’re about to make an excuse, say to yourself, “no more excuses! I’m done wasting my time.”

Related: 11 Ways You’re Wasting Time And How To Change

 

Excuses won’t fix your problems.

The average person is probably making lots of excuses – we all will or have at some point. But, your excuses are probably causing more financial stress than you realize. If you want to start living your best life, you will have to realize that excuses won’t fix your financial situation.

And, the reality is that the average American doesn’t have a very good financial situation:

Excuses aren’t going to solve any of those statistics, and you can read more of them at Money Statistics That May Scare You.

If you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, have money in savings and for retirement, take control of your financial situation, and start living your best life, you’ll have to start owning up to your mistakes and finding a way to change things for the better.

 

Stop comparing yourself to others.

When making excuses, you may find yourself comparing yourself to others and coming up with reasons for why something feels impossible or for why you aren’t living your best life.

When you compare yourself to others you are doing two things. One, you are forgetting that no one’s life looks as perfect as it does from the outside. You might be jealous, angry, or frustrated that someone else seems to be living better than you, but you really don’t know what their life is like.

The other problem with comparing yourself to others is that you may be minimizing their accomplishments. Many successful people have had their share of financial setbacks, have worked 100+ hour work weeks, and have really struggled to make their dreams happen. If you think you deserve what they have without acknowledging the work it took, you are minimizing their success. Not only is this a waste of time, it gives you unrealistic expectations.

Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or it may require more hard work, but committing to no more excuses will help you reach your goals. Things might be hard, but they don’t have to be impossible. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better off than you and people who are worse off.

Instead of comparing your path to those around you, focus on what you can do to start living your best life.

 

If you truly want something, you’ll make it happen.

This might be hard to believe, but you are capable of making your goals and dreams a reality. I promise that if you really want something in life, you’ll put the needed effort towards making it happen.

But, if you are making an excuse for why something is impossible for you, you’re already quitting.

Who wants to be a quitter?

Reaching your goal will take time and there might be setbacks, but your goal is only impossible if you quit before you get there.

 

Find out why you make excuses.

People make excuses for all sorts of reasons, and most people don’t really understand why they are making them. By figuring out why you make excuses, you’ll be closer to tackling your problem and capable of saying “no more excuses.”

Some of the common reasons for why you might be making excuses are:

  • Fear of not reaching a goal.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of putting in so much hard work.
  • A belief that life is unfair.
  • Not really wanting it (i.e. you’re not motivated).
  • Lack of confidence.

And more!

Read more at Stop Making Excuses For Why Life Isn’t Better.

 

Start believing in yourself.

Success isn’t easy. If it were easy, then everyone would be extremely successful and that word wouldn’t even exist. If you really want to take control and start living your best life, you’ll have to do one of the hardest things – you will have to start believing in yourself.

Next time you think “That’s not possible for me because of (your excuse),” you should think instead about how you can make your goal a reality. Tell yourself “no more excuses, I can reach my goals.”

You might be making excuses because you’ve felt like you’ve always failed at things, but if you keep believing that you will fail, you will expect just that. Believe that you can succeed and expect more.

Yes, it may be a little difficult to change your mindset in the beginning, but as time passes, you’ll realize that your excuses were just a waste of time and thought. Once you realize that, you can start making active choices for a better future. You deserve to start living your best life, you just have to believe that you can do it.

Related: Be More Confident And Get What You Want In Life

What excuses have you made in the past? Do you believe that making excuses can hold a person back?

The post Living Your Best Life Starts With No More Excuses appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How To Invest In Andy Warhol Art And Diversify Your Portfolio

How To Invest In Andy Warhol Art And Diversify Your Portfolio

The following is a sponsored post in partnership with Masterworks. Please read Masterworks’ disclaimer.

There are so many different ways to invest, and one that I recently found that is interesting is Masterworks.

Masterworks is the first art investment platform that allows you to invest in the world’s most valuable art, such as ones completed by Andy Warhol.

Yes, you invest in art and paintings with Masterworks – sounds interesting, right?

Masterworks has been featured on many publications such as:

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio, this may be an interesting platform to look further into.

Usually, investment portfolios are limited to the stock market as well as bonds, with the occasional person being invested in real estate as well (such as rental real estate).

However, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Art and Finance report, 88% of wealth managers say art and collectibles should be included as part of their investment portfolio. Fine art has also outperformed the S&P 500 by over 180% since the year 2000!

While art is not a part of my investment portfolio currently, I do know how important it is to be diversified.

And, currently, I’m not well diversified outside of my investment portfolio with Vanguard.

This is on my to-do list currently, and I am researching different options for how I can diversify right now.

Art has been an asset that has been used by the extremely wealthy for a very long time, however, Masterworks is now giving everyday people the option to invest in valuable art that has increased in value over time.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s The Best Investments of 2018? Art, Wine and Cars “Investors who put money into art at the beginning of the year saw an average gain of 10.6% by the end of November, according to Art Market Research’s Art 100 Index, the closest thing the industry has to a benchmark. Investors who put money in the S&P 500 at the beginning of the year have lost 5.1%, based on estimates of total return.”

 

How does investing with Masterworks work?

Masterworks’ platform is quite easy to understand. Here is how this investment platform works:

  1. Masterworks purchases multi-million dollar paintings – They review hundreds of possibilities each year and find great pieces to invest in by blue chip artists.
  2. After they purchase a painting, they file it as a qualified securities offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  3. You can invest in art directly on the Masterworks website for as little as $1,000 to start with.

Masterworks does have a fee – they charge 1% annual to cover management fees (such as storage and gallery space, insurance, expenses, etc.). Masterworks also earn 20% of the profit only once the painting is sold.

So, how does an investor like you and me make money with our investment?

There are two ways to make money on your investment. Below is what Masterworks says about this topic:

  1. “At any time, a collector can make an offer to buy a painting that you’ve invested in. As a shareholder, you can vote with others and decide whether to sell. If the painting is sold, your share of the proceeds are distributed to you.”
  2. “We seek to facilitate trading or sales through brokerage relationships within the next 12 months.

In the end, I think Masterworks is extremely interesting. The minimum investment is quite low to get started using their platform, so it could be an interesting way to diversify an investment portfolio with art as the asset.

Do you have a diversified portfolio? Why or why not?

The post How To Invest In Andy Warhol Art And Diversify Your Portfolio appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports?

How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports?

Welcome to December 2018’s business 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.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

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 business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on 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 business 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 business blogging 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 blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  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.

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.).

 

Is this the end of income reports?

I have an announcement to make in today’s report.

Back in 2012, I started publishing income reports. You can read one of the first income reports here. Back then, these were all about the extra income I was making, such as from selling textbooks, taking surveys, mystery shopping, and selling items on eBay. This was back from when I was a new blogger, and still working full-time at my day job,

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been publishing income reports for so many years, for the whole world to see.

Back then, I didn’t have any idea that I would become a full-time blogger. Making money from my blog was something I was barely even thinking about at that time.

I was working as an analyst, and I think Wes was still working as a package handler at UPS.

We were super young and just trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

I was still anonymous on my blog at that time, and I don’t think anyone knew about it except for Wes (he was called “W” back then, haha!) and my sister.

My income reports back then were very basic. They were mainly just for me to keep track of what I was doing. They were more of a life update on my goals and what was going on financially in my life.

Over the years, my blog has grown and my income reports have evolved over the years.

As you all know, for quite some time I have been thinking about getting rid of my monthly income reports. However, whenever I would mention this in an income report, 99.9999999% of you asked me to continue on. Due to that, I want to find a happier way to continue with them.

Now, these will be “Business Reports” where I talk about how the business is doing, my goals, etc. Basically, everything will be the same, except there will be no more numbers.

So, why am I getting rid of numbers?

There are several reasons for why I am no longer going to publish my “traditional” income reports:

  1. I want to be helpful – I understand that my income reports seem unattainable now that the income level is so high. So, I want to take the numbers out of the equation so that you can see exactly what I’m working on and how I’m improving my blog.
  2. Feel less pressure – I feel pressure to keep my income up every month and that’s just not the way I want to run my business. I want my reports to focus more on what I’m doing and the actions I’m taking, instead of people just looking at the numbers. Yes, I realize that this is a personal finance blog. But, instead of just looking at the numbers every month, I want the focus to be on what is actually being accomplished and what is being worked on.
  3. Safety – While I have never worried too much about my safety with publishing my monthly income reports, now that we are on a boat and it’s extremely easy to find us due to today’s location technology, I have decided that it’s probably not best for me to be broadcasting my earnings.
  4. Privacy – A big reason for why I want to stop publishing my income reports is because I simply just want more privacy.

Now if you’re looking for actual numbers, I did publish income reports for several years that talked about how much I earned from specific sources. You can find every single income report here.

I really don’t think too much will change. Instead, I want these monthly reports to be more helpful, instead of focused on just the numbers. I will still be answering reader questions, talking about what I’m working on, and so on, so I still think these will be extremely beneficial.

If there’s anything new that you would like me to add to these monthly reports, please let me know in the comments below!

 

2018 Business Year In Review

Before we begin with my monthly business update, I want to start off with my 2018 wrap up. 2018 was a great year for many reasons and you will read why below.

Two posts that I definitely recommend reading before we begin are:

2018 was a huge year for me and my business. Business income grew:

  • In 2013, my business income totaled $116,519. This was the year that I quit my job to blog full-time.
  • In 2014, it totaled $163,929. This was my first full year of being self-employed with no day job.
  • In 2015, I made $320,888. I think this was the year where I fired all of my freelance clients and started just working on my blog. This helped me to grow my income significantly because I was FOCUSED!
  • In 2016, I made $979,321. This is the year where I created my first product (Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing).
  • In 2017, I earned $1,536,732.
  • In 2018, I earned over $1,500,000 (as of November 2018, I had earned $1,510,040).

In 2018, my income grew about 10% over 2017. And, I worked significantly less – probably around 50% less than usual.

I focused most of my time in 2018 on enjoying running Making Sense of Cents, and doing what I love the most – writing articles and talking about personal finance, travel, side hustling, and so on.

And, I plan on doing something very similar in 2019. In fact, I don’t plan on creating any new courses or products in 2019, except for some smaller things, like printables and maybe something related to creating a budget.

2018 was a great year, and I’m so happy that the business did so well, and especially with so much less pressure than the previous years.

I attribute a lot of my business success in 2018 to several specific actions I took, which were similar to what I focused on the previous year as well:

  1. I made sure to improve and grow my email newsletter. Social media is a great way to grow a website, but an email list is even better because it is yours and you own it! I highly recommend spending time on your email list as that is YOUR list and it’s not impacted by any algorithms or anything like that. And, growing an email list does not have to be hard. I’m sure it seems like it is, especially to a new blogger, and that is exactly why I put it off for so many years. 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 100,000 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 spent time in 2018 creating new freebie optins, analyzing/testing the wording on my email signup forms, and more, which all helped me to grow my email list.
  2. I continued to diversify 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. In 2018, I finally created my second course, Making Sense of Sponsored Posts. Now, my business income primarily consists of affiliate marketing, two products, sponsorships, and advertising, which is a mix that I’m very happy with. If you’re looking for some easy ways to boost your blogging income, I recommend reading this free ebook – 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight.
  3. I emailed my list about affiliate products more. So, I have always emailed my list, however, it wasn’t until 2017 when I did my first major launch for an affiliate product. Instead, I’ve always just passively emailed my list and occasionally mentioned products. That first major launch was like a lightbulb going off for me, though. I earned five figures from one affiliate launch to my email list and it was just by easily promoting a product that I used and thought was great! While I didn’t take part in a lot of affiliate product launches in 2018, I do plan on doing this around once a quarter in 2019.
  4. I increased my sponsored post rate. In order to work less and manage a better work-life balance, I increased my sponsored post rate. I did this so that I could focus on higher quality/more meaningful sponsorships, and to also have less of them. I earned a great amount from sponsored partnerships still (I haven’t tallied it, but I think it was more than the previous year), and that was with doing significantly fewer partnerships. So, if you are afraid of raising your rates, I highly recommend that you do it! I found that almost everyone still said yes, even though my rates increased.

I’m hoping to continue all of the above in 2019, and I have a feeling that it will be an amazing year!

Thank you to all of my readers for being here with me on this journey! I’m so glad that I can share everything with you.

 

Here are my 2019 goals:

  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 40 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 40 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I have a looooong blog post being published on this goal in about 2 weeks. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Read 6 books. I have only read one book in the last several years that wasn’t work or sailing related. I would like to get back to reading books that have nothing to do with trying to learn something, haha.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!

Now, here’s my December income report!

 

 

My new course – Making Sense of Sponsored Posts

In case you haven’t heard yet, my new course is here!

Learn how I made my first blogging income, and how I’m now making $10,000-$20,000 a month with sponsored partnerships!

Are you a blogger but unsure of how to make money online? Or, maybe you’ve been blogging for awhile but haven’t had much luck with sponsored partnerships.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

It makes sense – sponsored partnerships are something that probably 99.9% of bloggers want to pursue, but the problem is that they have no idea where to start.

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts is a step-by-step guide to creating and making money from your own successful sponsored partnership strategy. This course explains all the ins and outs of sponsored posts and working with brands.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

I’ve worked with tons of high-quality brands that I love, have received all-inclusive vacations for free, and have brands lined up out the door wanting to work with me.

Whether you are a brand new blogger or if you’ve been blogging for years, this course will help you with your sponsored partnership strategy.

I’ve talked to many bloggers about sponsored posts and the majority said they earn little to nothing from sponsored posts. I have also found that many bloggers were earning way too little for the value they provide to brands.

Throughout the modules in this course, we will go through everything you need to know about sponsored posts, from developing relationships with brands, legalities of sponsored posts, different strategies, and more. This is a course that will teach you anything and everything there is to know about sponsored posts.

You can check out everything about the course here.

 

Blog/life news

December was a great month for the whole blogging business. There weren’t any big changes in December – instead, I mainly used the month to try to get ahead in work. We’re hoping to spend several months in the Bahamas on our boat, and in order to spend the most time enjoying that, I want to be as ahead as possible!

December was also a big month for us. We left the St. Pete area right after hurricane season was over (and our boat insurance would let us leave!) and we did a solo sail down to Key West – just me and Wes. It took around 33 hours and we sailed through the night. It was a beautiful sail and I’m so glad that I have a business that allows me to move my home to wherever I want, haha.

It was a great month, and I got a lot of work done!

I’m currently around two months ahead in blog posts, and I’m hoping to finish a few more to be done with the first quarter of 2019.

Overall, traffic for the month was around 400,000 page views.

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 13,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. 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 50,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also 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.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

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.

 

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

Below are some of my 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.

 

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

 

Featured Question: Is it too late to start a blog in 2019?

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. 

I answer this question all the time, but I want to bring it up again because lately I have been getting it A LOT.

No, it’s not too late. And, you haven’t missed out.

2019 is a great time to start a blog.

Trust me, people were saying the same thing when I first started Making Sense of Cents – that people who started in 2011 were starting too late and that no one would ever be successful with it.

However, that’s definitely not the case.

The online world is still so new, and there are new ways to monetize and to grow that come up all the time.

There is a lot of room for new bloggers, and there is plenty of room for growth well into the future. I believe that companies and advertisers are only recently starting to realize the value of online influencers, such as bloggers, which means that the blogging world will continue to grow well into the future and that opportunities for making money from a blog will continue to increase.

More and more companies are starting to advertise with online influencers on their blogs, social media accounts, and more, and I expect this to just continue to grow well into the future. Whereas in the past, it was mainly celebrities that companies advertised with, but now, it is actually shifting to bloggers and other online influencers (such as Youtubers and Instagrammers!).

The world is a huge place and the online world is just going to keep growing. Every blogger earns a living online in a slightly different way, and everyone has a different message and story. Plus, there are so many different ways to make money through a blog, and I expect this to keep growing.

Of course, blogging is constantly evolving, and there are always new things to learn, which will probably always be the case for managing any business.

So, if you are thinking about starting a blog, today is the day. Don’t let your fears hold you back any further! You can find my free How To Start a Blog Course here.

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:

  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 40 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 40 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I have a looooong blog post being published on this goal in about 2 weeks. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!

 

Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a similar level as the previous month. But, that will all change soon!

It will increase significantly from January to May, like it usually does. Those are the popular months for my blog, as people seem to be more focused and refreshed on reaching their financial goals.

Some of the things I am working on include:

  • Working on creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for the first 6 months of 2019. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy the last several months and I haven’t spent as much time towards the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

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 5,000 people enroll in the course, and I’d love to have you as a student as well!

In the course 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 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 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 2018 for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?

The post How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How I Made Money And Traveled Full-Time In January 2019

How I Made Money And Traveled Full-Time In January 2019

How I Make Money And Travel Full-Time #travelfulltime #travelWelcome to January 2019’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

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 business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on 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 business 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 business blogging 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 blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  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.

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.).

 

Quick reminder on last month’s announcement.

I want to repeat last month’s announcement one more time – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I’m sure I’ll receive many questions from readers who missed last month’s income report.

Back in 2012, I started publishing income reports. You can read one of the first income reports here. Back then, these were all about the extra income I was making, such as from selling textbooks, taking surveys, mystery shopping, and selling items on eBay. This was back from when I was a new blogger, and still working full-time at my day job,

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been publishing income reports for so many years, for the whole world to see.

Back then, I didn’t have any idea that I would become a full-time blogger. Making money from my blog was something I was barely even thinking about at that time.

I was working as an analyst, and I think Wes was still working as a package handler at UPS.

We were super young and just trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

I was still anonymous on my blog at that time, and I don’t think anyone knew about it except for Wes (he was called “W” back then, haha!) and my sister.

My income reports back then were very basic. They were mainly just for me to keep track of what I was doing. They were more of a life update on my goals and what was going on financially in my life.

Over the years, my blog has grown and my income reports have evolved over the years.

As you all know, for quite some time I have been thinking about getting rid of my monthly income reports. However, whenever I would mention this in an income report, 99.9999999% of you asked me to continue on. Due to that, I want to find a happier way to continue with them.

Now, these will be “Business Reports” where I talk about how the business is doing, my goals, etc. Basically, everything will be the same, except there will be no more numbers.

So, why am I getting rid of numbers?

There are several reasons for why I am no longer going to publish my “traditional” income reports:

  1. I want to be helpful – I understand that my income reports seem unattainable now that the income level is so high. So, I want to take the numbers out of the equation so that you can see exactly what I’m working on and how I’m improving my blog.
  2. Feel less pressure – I feel pressure to keep my income up every month and that’s just not the way I want to run my business. I want my reports to focus more on what I’m doing and the actions I’m taking, instead of people just looking at the numbers. Yes, I realize that this is a personal finance blog. But, instead of just looking at the numbers every month, I want the focus to be on what is actually being accomplished and what is being worked on.
  3. Safety – While I have never worried too much about my safety with publishing my monthly income reports, now that we are on a boat and it’s extremely easy to find us due to today’s location technology, I have decided that it’s probably not best for me to be broadcasting my earnings.
  4. Privacy – A big reason for why I want to stop publishing my income reports is because I simply just want more privacy.

Now if you’re looking for actual numbers, I did publish income reports for several years that talked about how much I earned from specific sources. You can find every single income report here.

I really don’t think too much will change. Instead, I want these monthly reports to be more helpful, instead of focused on just the numbers. I will still be answering reader questions, talking about what I’m working on, and so on, so I still think these will be extremely beneficial.

My monthly blogging reports will probably be a little different month-to-month for a little bit while I play around with this new direction.

If there’s anything new that you would like me to add to these monthly reports, please let me know in the comments below!

 

Income breakdown for January 2019

How was business income in January of 2019?

I’m trying something new this month. Instead of breaking my income apart down to the exact figure, I am including a pie chart. Many of you asked that I still do this so that you can see where income is coming from.

In case you are new, the main areas I earn a living from include:

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

Anyway, January of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month.

I took most of January off, as I am trying to focus on our new sailing life as much as I can.

January of 2019 was a great month, and my income was higher than in previous months, even while working less than usual.

It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. My business is growing, I have a lot of ideas for this year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

Below are some of my 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.

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.

Pictures taken in January 2019

Blog/life news

January was a fun month.

We sailed to the Bahamas from the Florida Keys in January, and it was a crazy busy month. We’ll be spending the next few months continuing to explore the Bahamas as well. There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas, which means that we still have a lot of exploring to do!

One question I’ve received often is how I’m working while in the Bahamas.

Surprisingly, I’ve found that internet is better in the Bahamas than anything we ever had in the U.S. while traveling full-time. We are using a new company called MyIslandWifi (this is not a sponsored mention). It is truly unlimited internet (you don’t even want to know how much data we’ve used in the past month, haha) for just $75 a month (and there’s no contract!). I can make phone calls, text, and hop online whenever I want, and it’s always a fast speed. For people in normal homes, this may seem expensive, but keep in mind that when traveling full-time you don’t have access to affordable wifi that is usually found in a home.

If you have any questions about our new sailing life, please ask them in the comments below. I’m hoping to turn it into a blog post.

Due to us arriving in the Bahamas, I didn’t get a lot of work done on Making Sense of Cents. I did do an affiliate product launch for a course that I promote and that went very well. You can learn more about that in the affiliate marketing section below.

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently a little over one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead.
  • Traffic for the month was around 500,000 page views.
  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 14,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. 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 50,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also 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.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

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.

 

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

 

Featured Question: Did you ever think you would earn this amount of income?

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. 

A question I answer all the time is if I ever thought that I would be earning the amount of income that I am. I am asked it almost every single day through email, comments, messages, or social media.

I definitely did not.

I think I receive this question a lot because it doesn’t seem possible, and that it is unattainable.

I realize that not everyone will make $100,000 a month blogging.

BUT, you may be able to earn something with whatever your side hustle is.

I honestly never even thought I would work for myself. I thought I would always work for a corporation.

I still remember when I first started reading income reports on blogs, and I specifically remember thinking that I’d be happy just to earn $100. I definitely never thought that I would earn $500, $1,000, or $10,000 – let alone over $100,000 a month.

While my income levels 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.

I know it can be hard to think that you can make money outside of a normal day job, especially through something like blogging.

Before you think that $100 or even $1,000 is something that you can never do, you should remember that it is not.

I 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 $1,000 a month, and I thought it was impossible.

Now, I’m here to show everyone that it is possible to make money online. Through hard work and dedication, you never know where life may lead you. No, you don’t have to be a blogger and you don’t have to do exactly what I do.

But, it’s also not a get rich quick scheme. Blogging is a lot of hard work and not everyone will see success. So, you have to be real about that as well.

In next month’s featured question I will be answering “Did your blogging income drop after getting rid of the exact numbers in your income reports?”

This is a question many of you have raised, and I’m excited to answer it next month after a full month has passed with this new form of income reports. Stay tuned!

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:

  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I recently wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!

 

Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a higher level than the previous month. This is because I promoted something new in January. You can learn more about the product I promoted here – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.

This led to 5-figure affiliate income results for me. And, it was super easy to promote because it’s a product that I believe in! I promoted it mainly through email, along with the interview above so that my readers could get to know Bobby better. This is a method that I highly recommend doing.

Affiliate income is expected to continue to increase from February to June like it usually does each year. Those are the popular months for my blog, as people seem to be more focused and refreshed on reaching their financial goals.

Some of the things I am working on include:

  • Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for the first 6 months of 2019. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven’t spent as much time towards the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

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.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

I also have a course too!

In the course 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 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 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.

 

Sponsored partnership results.

January was a great month for sponsored partnerships. That is because the first quarter of each year is usually a popular one for financial blogs. Page views are up and readers are interested in improving their finances due to making new annual goals.

Due to this, I started new sponsored partnerships with a few financial companies.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

It makes sense – sponsored partnerships are something that probably 99.9% of bloggers want to pursue, but the problem is that they have no idea where to start.

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts is a step-by-step guide to creating and making money from your own successful sponsored partnership strategy. This course explains all the ins and outs of sponsored posts and working with brands.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Are you interested in earning blogging income?

The post How I Made Money And Traveled Full-Time In January 2019 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.makingsenseofcents.com

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80 Ways To Make Money On The Side in 2019

80 Ways To Make Money On The Side in 2019

80 Ways To Make Money On The Side in 2019 #waystomakemoney #makeextramoneyIf you want to learn new ways to make money in 2019, then you’ve come to right place! Learning how to make extra income has completely changed my life for the better, and with the things I’ll talk about today, you can find several ways to make money that will work for you.

Learning how to make money on the side of my day job helped me pay off $38,000 in student loans within 7 months. I eventually turned my side hustle into a full-time job (blogging!), and I can now travel full-time, pursue my passions, and more!

On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make money on the side because I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life. You can stop living paycheck to paycheck, you can pay off your debt, reach your retirement earlier, and more.

Making extra income is the best way to start paying off your debt, put more towards savings, and work towards financial independence.

As you can tell, I am a big believer that learning new ways to make money can completely change your future for the better.

The crazy thing is that before I learned how to make money through my blog, the idea never even crossed my mind! I didn’t realize side hustles and side businesses were even a thing people did. Actually, when I started my blog, I had no idea that blogs could even make money. Now I wish I had gotten started even sooner.

One of the best parts of blogging and learning new ways to make money is that I can share what I’ve learned with all of you. I also love hearing from people who are making money on the side so that they can pay off debt, reach retirement, and more. I’ll be sharing some of their tips and stories here as well.

Finding extra ways to make money can change your life in some really great ways, such as helping you with:

  • Paying off your debt.
  • Saving up for big purchases, such as a vacation.
  • Getting out of a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.
  • Retiring earlier than you had originally planned.
  • Realizing that your job isn’t the only option out there, especially if you are currently feeling stuck.
  • Help you to become more diversified with the way that you make money, which will protect you in the future, and more.

Making extra money doesn’t have to consume all of your extra time either. You can find new ways to make money with just one extra hour a week. Or, if you are willing to work 40 to 50 hours a week on top of your full-time job, there are even more options when it comes to earning extra money.

You can make money online, by creating a side business, with a part-time job, selling your stuff, earning more at your current job, and more!

Related posts on how to make money on the side:

Here are 80 ways to make money on the side in 2019:

 

Making money online.

Some people may be skeptical when thinking of ways to make money online, but there are many legitimate online jobs and business ideas where you can earn a full-time living, or at least a side income. Yes, real work from home jobs do exist, and more and more people are doing it these days. Did you know that nearly 4 million Americans now work online? These aren’t just remote jobs either, as many are freelancing online, running their own businesses, and more.

I love being able to earn a living online, and it allows me to be location independent and/or work from home. Learning to make money online is how I was able to quit my day job, sell our house, and travel full-time on a sailboat.

So, if you are interested in learning ways to make money online, start here.

  • Start a successful blog – The first thing I recommend to anyone interested in learning how to make money online is to start a blog! Blogging is how I earn a living, and just a few years ago, I never thought it would be possible. In fact, before I started my blog, I didn’t even know that blogs existed! I currently earn around $100,000 a month with my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as little as $2.95 per month, plus you get a free domain if you sign up through my tutorial. I even have a Free How To Start and Launch A Money-Making Blog Course you can join, and it will help you start and launch a successful blog! Once you start a blog, you can learn how to monetize it with affiliate income and sponsored posts.
  • Run Facebook ads for local businesses – Bobby Hoyt, a former band teacher who now runs the successful website Millennial Money Man, started running Facebook ads for local businesses to help him pay off $40,000 in student loan debt in only 18 months. In our interview you can learn about how Bobby got started, why businesses want to run Facebook ads, and how easy it is to get started. Read the full interview at How To Make $1,000 Extra In Your Spare Time With Facebook.
  • Teach English – Did you know that you may be able to teach English online to children? VIPKID is a company that allows you to work from home, create your own schedule, and earn $18-21 per hour (many teachers are earning over $1,000 per month) all while teaching English online. You don’t need a teaching degree, but you do need to have a four year degree in something. This is a great option for anyone who has a passion for teaching and looking for ways to make money online.
  • Answer surveys – Answering surveys online won’t make you rich, but it is one of the ways to make money online that you can put towards your debt payoff or savings goals. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, ProOpinion, Pinecone Research, 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.
  • Create a course and teach others – Before you think that you have nothing to teach, I want to tell you that you most likely do! Online courses are extremely popular right now, and you don’t need to have a blog in order to be successful with an online course. I use Teachable for my online course platform, and I highly recommend it. Here’s How I’ve Earned $434,698+ From One Online Course Without Webinars Or Spending Money On Advertising.
  • Create an ebook – My friend Abby, from Just a Girl and Her Blog, explains how creating eBooks may be a great source of income source for you. In one year, Abby made over $110,000 from sales of digital products (such as eBooks). She started four years ago knowing nothing about blogging and she now makes six figures a year, due in large part to her eBooks. She is now teaching others the process she uses to write and launch profitable eBooks, and you guys, it is genius! Learn more at How To Create A Profitable Ebook With Abby Lawson.
  • Edit content – Websites, books, courses, and more all need editors to help them improve the quality of their content. No matter how many times a person reads a piece of content, something will usually slip through. If you’re a grammar-nut, then this can be one of the best ways to make money for you.
  • Manage social media accounts for others – Being a social media manager can be a fun job. Not everyone can do it, but if you have social media skills, then it might be something to look into. It’s not as easy as just sharing random content as you do need to create a strategy that works, but it can turn into a good career if you are successful. Learn more about How I Started a Pinterest Consulting Side Hustle.
  • Use Swagbucks for your online searchesSwagbucks allows me to earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded with points called SB for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points called SB, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up through my link!
  • Proofread for a living – In just one year, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 as a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations. If you are looking for a new job, or just new ways to make money on the side, this may be something to look into. Learn more at Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader.
  • Assist others with improving their resume – A few years ago, I interviewed a reader who ran a resume business. She showed me how others can earn money by helping people create the kind of resumes they need to land their next job. Because having a good resume is an important part of getting the job you want, this is an in demand option. If you are constantly reviewing resumes for your friends because you’re so good at creating them, then you may want to turn your skill into a paying job!
  • Post on social media – If you have social media accounts, even just a personal Facebook account, this can be one of the many ways to make money by posting small ads on your account. One popular company that I recommend is Izea.
  • Become a freelance writer – A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, and more. These writers don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing. Learn more at How To Start A Successful Freelance Writing Career. And, when I was at FinCon this summer, I heard from so many bloggers and online business owners who need freelance writers to help them develop new content.
  • Moderate forums – Some online forums will pay you to moderate their message boards. If there is a forum you visit often, you might want to see if they are hiring.
  • Become a transcriptionist – Do you know what a transcriptionist does? Did you know that it is one of the ways to make money in 2019? You can read more about how to make money on the side as a transcriptionist at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist.
  • Become a virtual assistant – Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing blog posts, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you get paid to do any task that needs to be done for someone’s business but doesn’t need to be done by them. You can read more about how Kayla is earning $10K per month working from home as a virtual assistant. My sister, Alexis of Fitnancials, has been my virtual assistant for a couple of years now, and it has helped her quit her job to become a full-time blogger. Plus, she is invaluable to me!
  • Become a bookkeeper – Ben, founder of Bookkeeper Business Academy, explains how becoming a bookkeeper may be a possibility for you. Ben helps people start and grow their own online bookkeeping business with his online bookkeeping course. And, guess what? You don’t have to be an accountant or have any previous experience! You can read more about how to make money on the side as a bookkeeper at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.
  • Start an online store – Did you know that you can create your own online store to make money? Jenn, a reader of mine, started her online business a little over four years ago and since then she has developed and grown three successful online ecommerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month. Learn more at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.
  • Test websites – This is a relatively new online work at home option that I have heard about. UserTesting.com is a website that pays you to test websites. You get paid $10 for each website you review and test, and $15 per website that you mobile test. You do not need to be a super technical person for this online job, as they want real people to review websites to see what people really think.

 

Create a side business (or a full-time one!) in 2019.

Creating a side business is one of the best ways to make money in 2019, and it may even lead to a full-time career. While many people start these businesses on the side of their regular job, most of the people who’s interviews I share in this list have been able to turn their side jobs into full-time businesses.

  • Pick up trash – This might not be the most glamorous option, but did you know that you can get paid $30- $50 an hour to pick up trash? Read Get Paid $30 – $50 Per Hour To Pick Up Trash to learn more.
  • Sell on Amazon – If you want to learn one of the many ways to make money on the side and online, then you may want to start an Amazon FBA business! Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, explains how selling on Amazon may be a possibility for you. She is a friend of mine, and I am blown away by her success! In the first year that Jessica’s family ran their Amazon FBA business together, working less than 20 hours a week total, they made over six figures profit! If you are looking for a new job, or even just a side hustle, this may be something that you want to look into. Learn more at How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA.
  • Maintain and clean yards – Yard maintenance is another one of the ways to make money this year. You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on. Because every season offers the opportunity for some type of yard maintenance, this can turn into a year round job.
  • House sit – House sitting is becoming more and more popular these days, and there are many websites out there for house sitting. You might not always get paid, but you are often compensated with a nice place to stay. In many cases, you do get paid to watch the house, water the plants, and so on.
  • House sit in a foreign countryHouse sitting doesn’t just have to be in your own town. It can be something you do while taking amazing vacations. You can read more about it at How We Became Professional House Sitters In Europe & Saved Over $5,000.
  • Rent out your RV – Many RVs sit unused in storage lots, driveways, and backyards, so why not try to make a little extra money while you’re not using your RV? Learn more at How To Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your RV.
  • Walk dogs and/or pet sit for extra money – If you love animals, then this is one of the ways to make money that you may want to look into. Walking dogs and pet sitting can be a lot of fun because who doesn’t love animals!? With this side hustle, 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. 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.
  • Groom pets – This is yet another animal related side business, and it could be a good one for you. With a mobile pet grooming business you will go directly to the pets rather than needing to find and set up a permanent business location.
  • Become a landlord – Whether you rent out a room in your home or start buying up properties to invest in and then rent out, this could be one of the more lucrative ways to make money on the side. Learn more in How This 29 Year Old Is Building A Real Estate Empire. For even more on information about becoming a landlord, check out my interview with Paula Pant of Afford Anything: How This 34 Year Old Owns 7 Rental Homes.
  • Become a cooking instructor – Healthy Hands Cooking is a self-paced cooking instructor certification program that can be completed from the comfort of your home. This is an 11 module course that will help you create your own cooking business with the correct licensing, permits, background checks, food safety regulations, marketing, and more. 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. If you love to cook, this will be a great way to make extra money this year.
  • Shovel snow – We no longer need to have our snow shoveled, but it was definitely something we didn’t enjoy doing while we were living in St. Louis. If you get snow where you live, then you may be able to knock on your neighbors’ doors to see if they would like their driveways and sidewalks shoveled. If you want to go a little further, you could even invest in a plow and market your services.
  • Babysit and/or nanny children – 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! If you have any special skills or can provide extra work, such as cleaning up around the house, teaching the child how to speak another language, picking up the child after activities, and so on, you will most likely be able to charge more than $10 an hour.
  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker. 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. I also did a great interview this year with Harry of Rideshare Guy, and he shares his tips for becoming a successful rideshare driver in the interview Want To Be A Rideshare Driver? Tips From The Rideshare Guy.
  • Help people fix things around their home – If you are a handy person, this might be one of the best ways to make money for you. Word of mouth is big when it comes to finding clients, but you can also post your service through Craigslist advertisements, post flyers to bulletin boards around your town, and more.
  • Clean homes – Cleaning is something that many people dread. If you are good at cleaning and enjoy it, then you may be able to find clients who want you to come to their home to clean. This can pay around $20 an hour or more in some areas. Because cleaning for others is such a personal job, you will often find loyal customers who want you to come back over and over again.
  • Move furniture – Moving is another task that many people dislike. Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $25-$50 an hour if you run your own business.
  • Become a photographer – Do you love photography? This could be one of the ways to make money while doing something you love. Learn more at How To Make $25,000 – $45,000 A Year As A New Photographer.
  • Tutor on a subject – Similar to teaching a skill, you may be able to make money by tutoring someone. You could help someone with their homework, help them learn a language, prepare for an important exam, and more. If you are particularly good at a subject, then looking at this as one of the ways to make money might be a really good option for you.

 

Ways to make money on the side with a part-time job.

If you’re looking for something a little more permanent than a side hustle, a part-time job might be one of the best ways to make money on the side. There are many part-time jobs that will work with your full-time job’s schedule. You can find a job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), Monster, and so on.

  • Deliver RVs to dealerships – RVs are huge, and the majority of the time they can’t be transported by semi-trucks because of their size. Due to that, someone has to drive them from the manufacturer to the RV dealership. We met a couple who did this for a living, and they both loved what they did. They were able to travel a lot, earn a living, and got to see new RVs all the time. To make extra income doing this, you can contact transport companies in your area, RV manufacturers, RV dealerships, and more.
  • Find a part-time seasonal job – If you have a job that gives you the summers off (or whatever season), then finding a part-time seasonal job might be one of the ways to make money while filling your time off. Some of the seasonal, part-time job options are listed below.
  • Bartend – If you have bartending experience, then you may be able to find a bartending job at a bar, restaurant, catering company, and more. Since the hours for this are usually later at night and on the weekends, you will probably be able to find a bartending job that works well with a regular 9-5 job schedule.
  • Work at a restaurant – You could be a host, wait tables, bus tables, and so on. You may even get to eat delicious food and receive a discount when dining out at the restaurant you work at.
  • Substitute teach – I know quite a few people who substitute teach both part-time and full-time and love it. Sometimes the schedule can be tricky as you may be called at the last moment, but other times you may secure a long-term position. In some places, substitute teaching can pay around $100 per day.
  • Teach during summer school – If you are a teacher, then spending part of your summer teaching summer school is a great way to make extra money. My brother-in-law is a teacher and he earns around $3,000 for just three weeks of work, and it isn’t even full days! He and his wife use that money to fund their summer vacations.  
  • Work at a hotel, motel, hostel, resort, etc. – There are many jobs in the hospitality industry. If you love meeting new people who are visiting your area, this can be one of the great ways to make money. When we were RVing, we met several RVers who make money at RV parks and campgrounds while they full-time RV.
  • Work at a retail store – I worked in retail for over five years, made lifelong friends, and I was able to make an okay income to live off of. Plus, you can usually receive a good discount when working in retail.
  • Lifeguard – You could lifeguard at a community pool, a private pool, a water park, and so on. You don’t have to be a teenager to lifeguard either!
  • Deliver newspapers – Delivering newspapers can be a good way to make some side money. You may have to wake up early, but maybe those are the hours you are looking for.
  • Run errands for others – Being someone’s assistant can be an interesting way to make money. Someone may pay you to do their laundry, clean their home, pick up their food, answer phone calls, and more.

 

Sell your stuff to make money.

There are many ways to make money by selling items. We all have things around our homes that can be sold instead of collecting dust, or you can even search for items that can be bought and resold for a profit. Or, if you are trying to live a minimalist lifestyle, then knowing that you can make money selling your things might be the motivation you need to get started. If you want to learn how to make money on the side by selling your stuff, then continue reading below.

Related post: 8 Things To Sell To Make Money

  • Flip items – Melissa’s family was able to make $42,875 in one year through buying and flipping items for sale, and they were only working about 10-20 hours per week. Learn more in How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.
  • Sell/donate blood, plasma, eggs, etc. – Yup, all of these can be sold for a price, and you can definitely make extra money by doing so. Women can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more for their eggs, 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 easy money, though. There are a number of doctor 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 often as 2-3 times each week.
  • Sell items on eBay – Whether you have old clothes you want to sell, a car, electronics, and so on, eBay can be a great way to sell many different types of items. eBay also has a worldwide reach, which can be great if the market in your area isn’t large enough. I know many people who use this as one of the ways to make money online, and it’s very easy to get started.
  • Sell items on Craigslist – Craigslist has gotten a bad rap in the past, but I have always had great success when I have bought or sold things through them. Craigslist can be a great way to sell your items, while often earning a higher value for them too. However, be safe, because you will have to meet with strangers to complete the transactions.
  • Sell things on Facebook Marketplace – Facebook is a great place to sell your items to make extra money. You can find buyers in your area, but for larger items, like cars and furniture, buyers are often willing to travel. Plus, because you are probably already on Facebook, it can be one of the easier ways to make money online.
  • Sell to second hand stores – There are many second hand stores out there that will take your clothing and shoes. Stores like Plato’s Closet, Hut No. 8, and Buffalo Exchange will pay you upfront for on-trend young adult clothing, and they take all of the legwork out of selling items, which is nice. There are also second hand stores for designer items, women’s clothing, children’s items, and more. Some pay upfront, whereas others may not pay you until after the item has sold.
  • Sell on Etsy – Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items, vintage finds, and craft supplies. If you are a crafty person, definitely check out this website if you are looking for ways to make money in 2019.
  • Sell your gift cards – If you have any gift cards in your wallet that you know you won’t use, you should think about selling them. There are many, many websites out there that will pay you cash for your gift cards. Some of the websites I know of are Gift Card Granny, Cardpool, and Raise. If you have unused gift cards sitting around your house, why not sell them as one of the ways to make money?
  • Sell items through a garage sale – A garage sale can be an easy way to make extra money because people come straight to your house. The only downside is that you usually don’t make as much for your items as you would if you were to sell them on sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell your old books – Back when I was in college, I would always sell my textbooks immediately after the class was over. This helped me regain the amount that I originally paid for the book. You can sell your books online, and most university bookstores have a buyback option.

Related:

 

Make more money at the job you already have.

If you’re already employed and not interested in learning ways to make money through starting a side hustle, online business, or taking part-time job, then you may want to see if you can earn more at the job you already have.

  • Work overtime – One of the extra ways to make money at the job you already have is to see if your company will allow you to work overtime. In many cases, overtime is welcomed and you can earn a decent amount of money by doing so. Plus, what’s an extra hour or two when you’re already there?
  • Ask for a raise – Asking for a raise may be the best way to make extra money at your current job, as the work is the same and you most likely won’t be adding additional hours to your work week. Many people never ask for a raise, which is money that may possibly be left on the table. Over numerous years, this can add up to a significant amount of income!
  • Get a promotion – If a raise is not possible, then you may want to try for a promotion at your company that you know comes with a pay bump. There are sometimes when a company can only pay you so much for the job you currently have, but perhaps a promotion with different and/or additional job duties, a possible move, etc. may result in an increase in pay.
  • Earn bonuses – Depending on the industry and the company you work at, you may be able to earn bonuses. Bonuses often come in large chunks which makes them ideal for paying off large amounts of credit card or student loan debt. Or, you could even invest your bonus to earn even more in the long run.

 

Interesting ways to make money in 2019.

If you’re looking for even MORE ways to make money on the side, then this is your spot. The things I will list below often aren’t what first comes to your mind when you are trying to make extra money, so they don’t fit into any of the categories that I listed above. I honestly love interesting and creative ways to make money because it shows you that there are really so many options out there. If there is something that you do to make money that is not on this list, please share in the comments below!

  • Cuddle with strangers – Did you know that you can make money on the side by cuddling with people that you don’t even know? Surprisingly, there are many cuddling companies out there, and this option seems to be growing more and more each year. You can sell cuddles to strangers, and some people even make a few hundred dollars a day by cuddling with others. I’m not sure if this is something I could do (haha!), but I know there are people out there who are perfect for this option.
  • Scoop poop – Okay, like picking up trash, this isn’t going to be the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it. This is definitely one of the more interesting ways to make money on the side.
  • Write a book about something you love to do – Alyssa and Heath quit their jobs in 2014 to RV full-time. They used their experience RVing to write and publish a book that is making them over $200 a DAY in passive income. Read the full interview at How Alyssa Is Making $200 A DAY In Book Sales Passively.
  • Place advertisements on your car, home, or even on your body – Yes, there are companies out there that will pay you to place an advertisement on your car, home, or even your body (such as a tattoo on your forehead). If there’s space on your car or your fence that you don’t mind placing an ad on, then look into this!
  • Help crew a sailboat delivery – Because you need sailing experience to do this, this won’t be for everyone. But, if you know your way around a boat, then you may be able to make money delivering sailboats. Wes actually helped out on a couple of sailboat deliveries in the past year, and he traveled to many amazing places along the way, such as visiting several European countries. 
  • Be an extra in a movie or TV show – If there’s a movie or TV show that is being filmed near you, you could always apply to be an extra as one of the more interesting ways to make money. You won’t have to do much, and it could be a lot of fun, especially if you are able to meet someone famous!
  • Write and self-publish romance novels – This probably isn’t something that many people ever think of as one of the ways to make money, but it is a growing and profitable industry. You can learn how Yuwanda Black, a freelance writer, started writing and self-publishing short romance novels in this interview. She earned over $3,000 in one month alone!
  • Invest – There are no guarantees when it comes to investing, but you should always start sooner rather than later. If you are looking for a good investment platform, I recommend Motif. Motif Investing allows individuals to invest affordably. This approachable investing platform makes it easy to buy a portfolio of up to 30 stocks, bonds, or ETFs for just $9.95 total commission.
  • Start investing with spare change Investing through platforms like Acornsmakes investing even more approachable. You simply link your bank or credit cards and Acorns rounds every transaction up to the next dollar. Read more at How To Start Investing With Little Money.
  • Sell breast milk – Only recently did I realize that some women make extra money doing this. If you are breastfeeding, then you may be able to sell your breast milk to make extra money. 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.
  • Receive bonuses and rewards for using a credit card – There are many credit cards out there that will give you cash back just for using them. If you are good with credit cards (please skip this if you are not), this is something to look into as you can make money without having to do much. Read more at How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.
  • Take part in medical research studies – Medical studies allow you to help with the research and study of diseases, medicines, treatments, and more. Studies ask for certain types of people for the different tasks needed to be performed. To find paid medical research studies, I recommend checking out your local Craigslist, contacting universities in your area, and seeing if there are any medical testing companies around you. Most cities have these options, and you just have to look for them.
  • Use Ebates when shopping online – One of the easiest ways to make money on the side is to use a cashback website. If you shop online, you should always use a cashback website like Ebates so that you can earn free cash back and make extra money for the online shopping you already do. And, it doesn’t cost anything to use Ebates! To earn money through Ebates, all you have to do is just click on a link through their website that leads you to the store you are interested in shopping at. They earn money when you shop through their link, and they give you part of what they receive as a thank you. You can still use coupons and discounts when shopping as well, so it’s just an extra way to make money back on your purchases with very little work. You can sign up for Ebates here.
  • Enter contests and giveaways – There’s no guarantee that you will win anything when entering contests, but it is possible to make money on the side by doing this. You may win cash, gift cards, vacations, electronics, and more. The key here is to enter as many as you can. One of the easiest ways to make money through this is to look at the back or bottom of your receipts, as many stores and restaurants have monthly or weekly giveaways that you can sign up for.
  • Mystery shop – Yes, you can actually get paid to shop at stores and eat at restaurants. 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 as a mystery shopper. I 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 if you are thinking about this as one of the ways to make money in 2019.
  • Use InboxDollars – InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend if you want to find ways to make money on the side. 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 $5.00 for free!
  • Travel the world and be an au pair – In 2016, my sister was an au pair in Italy. It was an interesting experience, and she shares how you can become an au pair and travel the world in her blog post. Learn more at How To Become An Au Pair And Travel The World.
  • Play video games on your phone – This is one is completely new to me, but you can earn money, even cryptocurrency by playing Long Game on your phone. Long Game was even listed as one of Forbes’ Startups Of The Week! To learn more, you can read my review at How To Earn Extra Money Playing Video Games On Your Phone.
  • Earn money with your FitBit – Did you know that you can earn money, points, gift cards, and more with your FitBit? It’s true, you can! Read 4 Ways To Earn Money With A Fitbit to learn more about how to make money on the side with your FitBit.

Are you interested in learning new ways to make money on the side? How could learning how to make money online or any of the other ways help you with your financial goals?

The post 80 Ways To Make Money On The Side in 2019 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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Life Insurance is More Affordable and Easier To Get Than You Think

Life Insurance is More Affordable and Easier To Get Than You Think

Life Insurance is More Affordable and Easier To Get Than You ThinkThe following is a sponsored partnership with Ladder. Ladder has been featured on The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Bloomberg, and more.

So many people skip out on life insurance, because they think it’s too hard and too expensive.

According to Life Insurance Awareness Month facts (from September 2017), around half of the people in the U.S. do not have life insurance. And, those who do have life insurance typically have much less coverage than they need, at an average of just $168,000.

Many of the people who do have life insurance, just take what is given by their employer. Let me say, that life insurance through work is not all that you need!

I highly recommend getting life insurance outside of your workplace – so that you can get the right amount (life insurance provided by your employer is usually a very low amount) and you’re still covered when/if you leave your job. Many people forget to look for life insurance after leaving a job that provided it, and then realize later that they didn’t have life insurance that whole time. Due to the two reasons above, I am in favor of always having your own life insurance policy and being in control of it.

Today, I want to tell you that the process of getting life insurance is easier than you think.

And, yes, you most likely can afford it!

Also, let’s not forget what life insurance is for.

Life insurance is money for your family if you pass away. And, if you are the sole or primary earner in your family, then there are a lot of people who rely on you financially. If you stay home and do not work, you still do all kinds of things for your family that are extremely important and can be costly without you, so life insurance is still quite important!

It is money that can be used to pay for funeral expenses, the day-to-day bills, pay off debt, etc. Life insurance is also beneficial if anyone has co-signed a loan for you – such as a private student loan, because you don’t want that person to be liable for your debt and put them in hardship if something were to happen to you. There are several other reasons for why life insurance is so important as well.

With Ladder, life insurance is quite easy to get.

The steps are:

  1. You get started on their website by selecting the coverage amount you would like and the term. They have a handy calculator to help you determine what you need as well.
  2. You apply in just 5 minutes. It can take just 5 minutes to answer their questions and submit your application for life insurance.
  3. You receive an instant decision. After you submit your life insurance application, you get a decision from Ladder right away.

Yes, Ladder actually gives you a decision on life insurance in an instant. So, what used to be a weeks long process, is now just down to a few minutes, so you really have no reason to not apply for insurance – even if it is just to see how much you would be paying.

With Ladder, you can also easily adjust your coverage online as your needs change.

Life Insurance is More Affordable and Easier To Get Then You Think

I did a quick estimate on Ladder’s website, and a $1,000,000 policy for myself could be found for around $22 to $50, all depending on the length of the term (from 10 years to 30 years).

As you can see, getting life insurance can be a simple process, with huge benefits. There’s no reason for why you shouldn’t look into it further.

Do you have life insurance? Why or why not?

The post Life Insurance is More Affordable and Easier To Get Than You Think appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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How We Paid Off $20,000 of Student Loan Debt in 12 Months at 23 Years Old

How We Paid Off $20,000 of Student Loan Debt in 12 Months at 23 Years Old

How We Paid Off $20,000 of Student Loan Debt in 12 Months at 23 Years Old #debtpayoff #studentloans #payoffdebtAs you all know, I love a good debt payoff story. Melanie reached out to me recently and asked if she could share how she paid off her debt. Below is her story, enjoy!

Hi, I’m Melanie! I’m a CPA by day, and personal finance blogger at Melanie De Jong Blog by night! I’m 24 years old, and I reside with my husband and beautiful baby boy in Northwest Iowa. My husband and I paid off $20,000 of student loan debt fresh out of college while living on just one income for 5 of those months AND paying for part of a wedding and a honeymoon (and no, we don’t make a fortune). Our debt payoff story has inspired me to help and encourage others to become financially free! Here’s our story.

When the confetti stopped, the champagne was done being popped, and I settled into my new job and new home post-college graduation, the last thing I wanted to think about was how in the world I was going to pay off my student loans.

For three and a half years, I signed my name on the dotted lines without even knowing what I was getting myself into. For three and a half years, I rarely glanced at my student loan statements and honestly had no idea what the balance was and what I would owe after school.

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That all changed one evening over Christmas break my senior year, when I decided I should probably sit down and figure out a plan. At this point, I had been dating my now husband for two months, and there was a possibility I would be moving from my hometown in Washington State to Northwest Iowa, where my school was located as well as where my husband was from.

I sat down with a warm cup of coffee, in my pajamas, and pulled out all the papers I had stuffed in an envelope and kept in my desk for three and a half years.

 

There it was. The $25,000 debt sentence.

Suddenly my coffee wasn’t so warm, the holiday feelings were so fuzzy,  and I was hoping I had too much Kahlua and coffee earlier and my vision was blurry.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I graduated that May with a big hole to dig myself out of.

At 22 years old I was $25,000 in the hole, about to get married, and to top things off my husband would still be in school for 5 months after our wedding.

With a little encouragement and a lot of hard work, we were able to pay of $20,000 in one year and the rest soon after!

Here is how we did it!

 

I Made Payments While in School & During the Grace Period

I started making small payments my student loans both before and during the grace period. For six months after graduation, your student loans are in what is called the “grace period”, meaning you don’t have to make any payments on them because essentially the lender is giving you “grace” to find a job before you start making your monthly payments.

After I returned from Christmas break, I started using the income I was earning from my internship and other part time job to make payments on my student loans. I did this for the last 5 months of school, throwing whatever money I could at my loans.

After graduation, the grace period started and I made payments then as well. I was able to make larger payments because I began working full time with the firm that I had interned at.

Since I was making payments when I was not required to, every dollar I was paying was going towards the principal balance of my loans instead of interest. As a result, when I would start making the required payments, I would start with a lower loan balance than the amortization schedule showed, thus decreasing the amount of interest I would pay on my loans in total.

I knew that if I started the discipline before it was required, it would make it that much easier after I graduated to consistently make extra payments.

I was motivated because I hated the fact that I would be the one bringing all the debt into our marriage. So I tried to get my balances as low as possible before we got married and combined our finances.

 

We Used The Debt Snowball Method

Following the debt snowball plan, we paid off my student loans from smallest to largest balance. This way, we got some easy wins right off the bat and that helped us stay motivated!

How the debt snowball plan works is you start making the minimum payments on all your outstanding debts except for the one you are working on (the smallest), and you throw all extra money you can at that debt. After you tackle one balance, you take the minimum payment you were making on the debt that is now gone (plus any extra money you have that month) and throw it at the next smallest balance, and so on so forth.

I’m glad that we saved the largest loan balances for last, because when you see light at the end of the tunnel, it makes it easier to stay motivated. If we would’ve started with the largest balance, it would’ve been a lot easier to give up (especially when setbacks came our way)!

 

We Created a Zero-Based Budget & Stripped it Down to the Essentials

We ran on a very tight, zero based budget during this time. It was vital that we created a budget, because it allowed us to cut out everything but the essentials like rent, utilities, food, etc. Having a zero based budget also made sure there was no wiggle room. Every single dollar was assigned before the month even began. We still live on a zero-based budget, it’s just not quite as tight.

Having a budget also allowed us to plan ahead for expenses that we knew were coming- like our wedding, honeymoon, and trips to Washington to visit my family. These were things that were important to us, so while we did them as cheap as possible, we still did them.

Creating a budget gave us a gauge of where we were, and where we needed to be in order to reach our goals. Having a budget meant having a plan for our money, and having a plan is what fast-tracked our debt payoff.

Click here to learn how we set up our budget in 7 easy steps.

 

We Cut Out the Small Leaks in Our Ship

Once we created a budget, we pinpointed the expenses that were creating leaks in our budget. What we thought were small expenses that were actually in total adding up to quite a good chunk of money over the course of a month.

One of these expenses we cut out was eating out. After tracking our expenses for a month, we realized that we were spending close to $500 a month on restaurants and bar tabs! Suddenly those $10 margaritas I was having every weekend didn’t taste so sweet. We drastically reduced this spending category and only ate out and went out every once in a great while, instead of every single weekend.

By tracking even small expenses, we were able to trim down the areas we knew we could do better and throw all extra at our debt. Some other things that I cut out included my daily latte’s, money I spent on clothes, and buying a lunch at work instead of packing one. While these seem like really insignificant expenses, they add up over time.

For instance, my daily latte is $5. I would get one every day during the work week. If you do the math, that adds up to $25/week. This ends up costing around $100 per month! I drank drip coffee instead and threw the extra towards my student loans!

 

We Lived On 25-50% of Our Income During This Time

After we got married, I got a job as a full-time CPA. My husband still had 5 months left until he would graduate and be in the workforce. He worked after school here and there, but nothing that consistently brought in income.

During this time, we lived on about 50% of my income and after my husband started working full-time, we lived on 25% of our income.

Once my husband started working full-time, we were really able to accelerate our debt payoff. We only lived on about 25% of our income during this period of time. By living well below our means (which we still do today), we were able to attack our debt. After all, your income is your biggest wealth building and debt dumping tool.

 

We Rented for Really Cheap

Renting allowed us to free up our income. After we were married, we lived in a really small triplex unit. It was not the most glamorous, but our rent was cheap! This allowed us to throw thousands of dollars at my student loan debt every month (once my husband was also working full time).

I’m glad we waited to buy a house, because with home ownership comes a lot more financial responsibility. Because we rented, we didn’t have a lot of the expenses that we now have to budget for, like home repairs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, etc.

 

We Learned the Power of the Word “No”

In a culture where we are constantly told that there is nothing we can’t have, telling yourself no is a learned habit. We mastered this habit.

We learned that there is no shame in telling others “that’s just not in our budget right now.” We weren’t afraid to let others know that we were working on paying off debt and thus we wouldn’t be able to do everything that we did before.

If friends wanted to go out to eat and then to bars after, we would suggest that they come over to our house instead and we make our own cocktails and play cards! This saved us tons of money and allowed us to throw that $500 a month that we were frivolously spending at my student loans.

 

We Were Intense

We didn’t half-ass it. For me, it was easy to be intense. The thought of making payments every single month for 10 more years petrified me. What was even scarier was the amount of interest I would be paying if I waited 10 years to pay it off! My husband had never been indebted in his life, so he was motivated to pay it off as fast as possible as well.

We got mad at our debt. When you get mad, you become very intense. We were relentless with paying off our debt. We knew the freedom we would have once we were debt-free, so we became laser-focused.

We found ways to throw more money at our debt that most people would consider crazy. We put the cash we got from our wedding towards my student loans. We put any bonuses I got at work towards my student loans. We worked extra hours any time we could. Any cash gifts we got (including birthday money) went towards my student loans.

 

We Didn’t Give Up After Setbacks

We never gave up. We definitely had times where we were discouraged, tired, unmotivated, and sick of it. Sometimes it felt like we were working so hard and getting nowhere.

There will always be setbacks, it’s inevitable! We weren’t able to pay off as much one month because we got married and had costs associated with the wedding. A couple months later, my husbands truck needed a new engine, costing us $5,000. I’m grateful we had the $5,000 (since we had cut out everything but the essentials and had an emergency fund in place), but it was still frustrating.

On the flip side, whenever we had extra money coming in that we hadn’t planned, we threw that towards our debt!

 

We Worked Together as a Team

Even though I was the one who brought all the debt into our relationship, my husband never held my debt over my head. He was well aware of how much debt I had BEFORE we got married, and he was ready to tackle it as a team. Love is blind, right? 😉

If you are married, it is vital that you are on the same page and you work together. You both have to be 100% committed or it won’t work. Either your finances will suffer, your marriage will suffer, or both.

We made sure that we had the same vision, goals, and we were working towards together. This meant we picked each other up when we were down, gave each other grace, and developed a team mentality.

 

We Didn’t Let Others Dictate Our Spending

We had to learn to let go of comparisons. At this time in our life, we were not going to be able to buy a house, have a new car, or go on expensive vacations. We weren’t going to base our spending off of what other people in the the same stage of life as us had.

This was especially hard for me, because I’ve always struggled with comparisons. I never understood how people fresh out of college just like I was could afford a brand new car, a house, and a trip to Europe. I now know that most of them finance it and live a life paycheck to paycheck. I knew that was not how we wanted to live, so I learned to let go of comparisons.

I am so glad that we went through this, because now we don’t feel the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses.”  We have learned to be content with where we are, with what we have, right now.

 

We Made Sacrifices  

We consistently made sacrifices. No lavish honeymoon. No large graduation gifts to myself such as a new car, computer, or vacation. No eating out multiple times a week.

It is HARD to pay off $20k in one year when you are young, married, and living off of one income (a starting wage nonetheless)  during part of your journey. We knew going in that it was going to be a tough year. We just had to keep reminding ourselves that if we make the necessary sacrifices now, we can reap the benefits later.

We now know that life is full of trade-offs. Yes, it was a tough year and even though we did some fun things, we had to really limit our spending. Now that we are debt-free, we know that the trade-off was worth it. We made a few sacrifices that allows us to now live a life of financial freedom.

Our financial journey is one that I hope will encourage and inspire others to get out of debt. There is nothing special about us or our situation. If we can do it, so can anyone! The freedom of being debt-free is not a far fetched dream, it can be a reality! If this is you, I hope I’ve inspired you to start your own journey. Read more about our journey on my blog!

Do you have debt? What are you doing to pay it off?

The post How We Paid Off $20,000 of Student Loan Debt in 12 Months at 23 Years Old appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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The Ultimate Guide of Over 50 Money Saving Tips For 2019

The Ultimate Guide of Over 50 Money Saving Tips For 2019

The Ultimate Guide of Over 50 Money Saving Tips For 2019 #savingtips #bestmoneysavingtipsHow much money do you save each month? Do you wish you had some more money saving tips for 2019?

If you’re looking for some of the best money saving tips, 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.

I am often asked for my best money saving tips from people who are having a difficult time saving money, and there are often many saving tips that I can help them with. This is because it can sometimes be very difficult to see where you are wasting and/or spending too much money. Often what is obvious to one, may be hard for another to notice.

Even if you’re already taking part in some of the best ways to save money, if you could just find a few more saving tips (or as many as you can!), you may be able to improve your financial situation so that you can live your dream life.

Taking part in these money saving tips can help change your life in many ways, such as:

  • Pay off your debt quicker.
  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Live off of one income.
  • Retire early.
  • Go on your dream vacation.

And more!

Today, we are going to talk about over 50 of the best ways to save money, and these money saving tips will help you save more or make more money each month. I believe that learning new ways to make money and save money can completely change your life, and it’s something we can all get better at.

If you do all of the saving tips I list below, you may be able to save hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.

Remember, even saving a little at a time can add up to a lot of money!

Related articles with more money saving tips:

Here are over 50 of the best ways to save money:

 

Find a more extreme way to save money.

I’m sure we’ve all done some super embarrassing things to save money. I know that I have, haha!

I recommend reading 60+ Extreme Things People Have Done To Save Money to see some of the most interesting money saving tips used by personal finance experts. That list also includes some of the extreme saving tips my readers have told me about.

These include money saving tips such as:

  • Shave your head. This is a great way for men (and women!) to simplify hair care and cut down on the cost of it.
  • Cut your own hair. Hair cuts are extremely expensive, especially if you get your hair colored too. Instead of spending money at the salon, I now let Wes cut my hair, and he does a great job!
  • Fill your name brand cereal box with an off brand. If your family says they “need” brand name cereal, then this is one of the saving tips that might help you out. Plus, I bet they will never know!
  • Dumpster dive for free food. This is super extreme, but there are a lot of people out there who save money on food this way. You might be surprised how much food restaurants and grocery stores throw away.
  • Move your whole family into your parent’s basement. Owning or renting a house can be extremely expensive, but I know many people who live with family while they are paying off their debt.
  • Make your own toilet paper. By cutting up things like old t-shirts, you can make your own toilet paper. This may sound like one of the most extreme saving tips, but it will help you save money.
  • Freeze water bottles instead of using the AC. Not only will this help you save money on cooling costs, it’s good for the environment.

 

Bring your lunch to work.

Does bringing your lunch to work actually save you money?

I read an interesting statistic that said Americans, on average, spend around $3,000 a year on lunches. That is a mix of eating out and eating in when at work.

That is a lot of money. And, if you’re not careful and aware of your spending, that’s an area that can creep up on you and lead to something disastrous, such as credit card debt.

And, that’s the thing about buying lunch at work– it’s a small purchase that doesn’t seem like it would add up to much.

But, bringing lunch to work is one of the best ways to save money and has the potential to save the average person at least $100 a month. To take part in this money saving tip, you can start by looking at these tasty budget lunch ideas.

Another easy way to start bringing your lunch to work is by making an extra serving or two at dinner and packing the leftovers away for lunches.

 

Stop paying for TV.

The average monthly cable bill is over $100. By the year 2020 (that’s only a year away!), the average cable bill is expected to be around $200 a month.

If you are looking for money saving tips that will change your life, no longer paying for TV is one of my top tips.

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!

We don’t pay for any form of TV, not even Netflix! This isn’t just one of the best ways to save money, it’s helping us simplify and enjoy life even more.

However, if you aren’t ready to quit paying for TV all together, there are lots of options that allow you to only pay, usually much less than cable, for the shows you want.

 

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.

 

Take part in a savings challenge.

The $20 Savings Challenge is one of the best ways to save money because this is one of the funnest money saving tips I’ll talk about. It’s very easy and starts you on a path to saving more money without even noticing! All you have to do is save $20 each week for a year, which easily adds up to a savings of $1,040. Right now is a great time to start this savings challenge.

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

Sign up for The $20 Savings Challenge here.

 

Save money automatically.

Digit is an app that allows you to easily save money, and I’m sure you’ll love it!

With the Digit savings app, you link up your bank account to Digit, then 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 more about this money saving tip in my Digit review here.

 

Simplify your life and go minimalist.

Trying to manage your life, especially your financial life, can be difficult in today’s age. Between learning about money saving tips, planning for retirement, paying bills, raising a family, etc. life can be exhausting. And, we all have a lot of clutter in our life– not just physical, mental as well!

By living a minimalist lifestyle, you can learn how to be happier, be in more control of your life, waste less of your valuable time, and more. All of this will allow you to enjoy life even more!

Simplifying your life can include:

  • Learning to be more organized.
  • Paying off your debt.
  • Spending less time on social media.
  • Paying expenses annually or semiannually.
  • Decluttering and maybe even downsizing.
  • Having less clothing options.
  • Automating your payments.

Learn more at Are You Making Your Life Difficult? 18 Ideas To Simplify Your Life in 2018.

 

Start a blog.

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

A blog can encourage you to keep track of your finances, introduce you to others interested in saving more, and help you make extra money. I know many people who have started a blog and are making thousands of dollars a month. Many 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 decide to become a full-time blogger and enjoy 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 join to help you start and launch a successful blog!

 

Start investing.

This may not seem like the most obvious of the saving tips I’ll talk about because investing means you will have to put some of your money out there to start earning more and saving. But, investing now will help you become prepared for retirement, and it may even help you retire early.

Investing is easier and easier these days, and you can start investing with very little money. This is one of the best ways to save for your future, and I definitely recommend that you get started sooner than later.

 

Think before you make a big purchase.

This may sound like one of the simpler money saving tips I’ll mention, but it can be difficult for some. Really, we have all experienced that regretful feeling after making a large purchase when we realize that we have made a huge mistake. You may be mad at yourself for wasting money, you may realize it will add to your debt, 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?

This is one of the best ways to save money that will help you for years to come, especially after you get in the habit of asking yourself those questions. You can read more at 11 Things To Ask For A Regret Free Spending Decision.

 

Stop paying to see your credit score.

Some companies will charge you for your credit score, and some people even pay for this on a monthly basis. The truth, though, is that you can receive your credit score for free a few times a year.

It never hurts to check your credit score, and you have no reason to be unaware of your credit score.

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, which makes it one of the best ways to save money. Knowing your credit score is something you should do today!

Plus, with Credit Sesame you can check your credit score for free, which is the first step to improving your credit score. There is absolutely no need to pay for your credit score.

You can also receive one free annual credit report from the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Yes, this means that you get one from EACH, so three per year. I recommend spacing them out so you get one every four months. You can read more about this here.

 

Go on almost free vacations just by using your credit card.

One of my favorite money saving tips is to get bonus points and cash back on my credit card purchases.

In 2018, me and my husband earned over $5,000 just by using our credit cards like we normally would. We put all of our expenses on our credit cards, completely pay them off 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! For more information on this vacation money saving tip, I recommend reading How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.

To make this one of the best ways to save money, you will need to be good with credit cards. If you aren’t, then there are plenty of other money saving tips to take part in.

 

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 money saving tips, as it’s easy and free for everyone!

Here are 31 Birthday Freebies You Should Sign Up For.

 

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

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

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

It’s only $5 a month, 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 or less per person. 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. Cell phone bills can easily cost over $100 per month, and if you have a family, then you may be paying a few hundred dollars per month.

Once you find a provider you like, it can be hard to switch. But, once you know how much you can save with another company while still having great service, this is a no brainer.

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

I have several family members who are now using Republic Wireless and they love it!

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

 

Quit smoking (one of the best ways to save money that will also save your life).

According to the American Lung Association, tobacco kills nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. each year and costs the U.S. $333 billion per year in healthcare expenses.

Smoking cigarettes can lead to many harmful side effects, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and many other medical problems.

I know and understand this problem because my father (who I was extremely close to) passed away from lung and brain cancer in 2008. He was an extremely healthy man, except for his serious smoking problem. We tried for a very long time to get him to stop, and it’s something I will always regret not trying hard enough for.

Due to this, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, and I never will. There are just too many harmful effects of smoking.

Not only is it extremely unhealthy, it is also quite expensive. According to Business Insider, cigarettes can cost around $5 in states such as Kentucky, and they may cost as much as $15 in New York. If you smoke a pack a day, that can be as much as $450 a month.

Another interesting statistic: According to GlassDoor, smokers earn an average of 20% less than non-smokers.

Due to all of the above, one of the most important money saving tips that I like to tell others is to STOP SMOKING!

 

Make a budget.

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

Budgets are great and one of the best ways to save money 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 printable here.

Budgets have helped people reach their goals, pay off debt, make more money, retire, and more. This is one of the saving tips that will completely change your financial life.

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

 

Find ways to work from home.

There are tons of work from home jobs that already exist. With the kind of technology we have in today’s world, there are more and more jobs online, and this trend is expected to continue well into the future.

I now work from home and learning to do so has allowed me to travel full-time, which I love!

Some work from home jobs involve working for someone else, or you may be able to even start your own business.

And, yes, you can even earn a full-time income from home.

So, if you are looking to start making more money, or if you want a new career path that lets you earn money from home, here are some ideas:

  • Sell on Amazon. Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, explains how selling on Amazon may be a possibility for you. She is a friend of mine, and I am blown away by her success! In the first year that Jessica’s family ran their Amazon FBA business together, working less than 20 hours a week total, they made over $100,000 profit! Jessica also has a FREE 7 day course that will teach you everything you need to know in order to start selling on Amazon. I recommend signing up for it now!
  • Start a blog. I created Making Sense of Cents almost seven years ago, and since then, I have earned over $3,000,000 with my blog and around $1,500,000 in just 2017 alone. Blogging changed my life for the better, and it allows me to earn thousands of dollars a month, all by doing something that I love. You can take my free How To Start a Blog course here.
  • Teach English to earn money from home. VIPKID is a company that allows you to work from home, create your own schedule, and earn $18-21 per hour (many teachers are earning over $1,000 per month) all while teaching English online.
  • Become a virtual assistant to earn money online. Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing content, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you can get paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business, but doesn’t need to be done by them. Learn more at Make Money Online as a Virtual Assistant.
  • Pick up trash. Brian makes a living (it’s a $650,000+ per year business for him) by picking up trash. If you’re looking to make some extra money, then this may be a side hustle option for you to look into. Learn more at Get Paid $30 – $50 Per Hour To Pick Up Trash.

Learn more at 12 Work From Home Jobs That Can Earn You $1,000+ Each Month.

 

Drive a more affordable car.

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

This is sad when you consider that many people 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, that number is going to be much higher.

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.

 

Make saving money fun.

Learning to have fun saving money is always a good idea, and it makes the saving tips I’m talking about more enjoyable.

So many people get tired of paying off debt and saving money because it can feel so monotonous or they just lack the motivation.

This is why I believe one of the best ways to save money is to learn how to make saving money fun. This can help keep you motivated and interested in saving money.

Here are some fun money saving tips:

  • Take part in the $20 Savings Challenge and easily save over $1,000.
  • Create a challenge between you and someone else. You can turn it into a fun challenge between your friends, family members, or coworkers.
  • Create a graphic that demonstrates your financial goal. An example of this would work for something like paying off your house. You could have a picture of a house and section it into 100 pieces. Then, each time you reach a small payoff goal, you can color a piece in.
  • Make an inspiration board for what saving money and/or paying off debt will mean to you. You could have images of amazing places you want to visit, ideas about retirement, and more.
  • Find ways to have frugal fun.

Learn more at How To Make Saving Money Fun.

 

Use a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat is something you may want to invest in to save money this year. They are relatively affordable, 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 of 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 heating or cooling an empty house. You can also program it for while you are sleeping, for the weekend, when you are on vacation, and so on.

Programmable thermostats are one of the saving tips that is also good for environment, so it’s a win-win.

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

 

Pay off your debt quickly.

By paying off your debt quickly, you may be able to pay less in interest fees and free up your money to save for other financial goals, such as retirement.

Here are some great debt payoff stories that I recommend reading:

 

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.

A family of four can easily spend over $50 for dinner out, and if you do that multiple times per week, that’s hundreds of dollars that you could potentially save.

Eating out just one less time each month is one of the best ways to save money, plus it will help you save a nice chunk of change over a one-year period.

 

Cut back on your subscription services.

Subscription services are a lot of fun, and they make it really easy to get just what you want delivered straight to you. And, there are subscription services for all sorts of things, like meal deliveries, clothes, streaming services, and more.

The problem, however, is that when you add too many subscription services, you may find that you are spending way too much money.

My saving tips for this one are to evaluate which subscription services you are using and then cut out the ones you no longer want or that cost you too much money.

 

Save money on groceries.

Learning how to save money on food and groceries doesn’t have to be difficult.

You can save money on groceries 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 already 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 a 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 3.35%!

Plus, it’s free to apply.

This is one of the best ways to save money while you pay off your debt!

Learn more at Credible Review – Refinance Your Student Loans And Save An Average Of $18,668.

 

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 easier money saving tips as canceling a membership is a monthly cost that you can get rid of completely!

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.

There are so many ways to get a good work out in that don’t require a gym membership. You can go for a bike ride, a hike, a long walk, and more. This is one of the best ways to save money that also lets you get outdoors and explore the world around you.

 

Get rid of your car.

I know some of you might be thinking that I’m crazy for including this as one of the saving tips, but getting rid of you car might actually be something you want to consider. Or, if you are a two car household, just going down to one car could be one of the best ways to save money in 2019.

Buying getting rid of your car you will save money on gas, taxes, insurance, payments, maintenance, and more. You can still use ridesharing services like Uber (that link will give you $5 off your first ride) or Lyft if you need to get somewhere by car.

We no longer have a car now that we are living on a sailboat, and we love it! We are getting in so much more exercise, and we are saving money in other ways too, like having to think through our purchases even more before we make them.

 

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 best ways to save money because you’re probably already shopping at one of their partner stores.

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.

 

Go meat free.

This is one of the saving tips that might not be for everyone, but cutting just some meat out of your diet can be one of the best ways to save money this year.

Now, you don’t have to go completely vegetarian or vegan, but you can do something like a meatless Monday or try having meat with just one meal a day. Not only will cutting meat out of your diet save you money, there are some studies that suggest it’s good for your health and the environment.

 

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 best 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 is one of the saving tips that 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.

Someone once told me how expensive it was to go out and have fun. They told me about all of their debt and everything that goes along with it, and 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 why you should be paying $500 a month to have fun.

All of that money can add up to a lot of stress! Cutting down your entertainment budget isn’t just one of the best saving tips, it is also one of the ways to simplify your life in the new year.

There are many ways to have fun for less. Check out How To Have Frugal Fun for some of the best ways to save money while still having fun.

 

Take online surveys.

One of the many easy money saving tips is to take online surveys. Taking online surveys isn’t really a way to cut back your budget, and you won’t get rich doing so. But, you may be able to earn money without doing much, and that money you make can easily be put into savings.

I used to take online surveys pretty often, and it’s one of saving tips that helped me pay off my student loans, so I definitely recommend giving it a try.

If you sign up for all of the companies I list below, you may be able to earn anywhere from $25 to $100+ a month by just taking surveys online.

Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Survey Junkie, ProOpinion, 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.

Insurance is a necessary expense, but you may be paying for extras that are a waste of money. Or, you may be wasting money by not shopping around for better plans and lower prices.

The average person does pay too much for various forms of insurance. It’s actually quite possible that you are currently paying too much for car insurance, so do something about it today!

I know someone who has full coverage car insurance 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 is one of the best ways to save money well into the future!

Stop wasting money on insurance by:

  • Shopping around at different companies to see what other offers are out there.
  • 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, as many times they will offer a discount that will allow you to save money just for asking! This is one of the super easy money saving tips, as this phone call will probably only take a few minutes.

 

Take a staycation.

A staycation is when you take a vacation by exploring the city you live in. This is one of the best ways to save money because it still involves going on a vacation. By taking a staycation, you will save money on airfare or other means of transportation, and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home.

The idea of a staycation is to explore your area as a tourist would. You could make a list of all of the places around you that you’ve been meaning to explore, from parks, museums, restaurants, etc. I’m sure there are tons of things to do and places to visit that you have never had the chance to see 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.

 

Use an Airbnb for your next vacation.

Ever since I first tried Airbnb (this will give you a $40+ Airbnb coupon code for your next stay), they have been my favorite way to travel. Airbnb offers short-term rental vacation homes in nearly every part of the world and for nearly every budget.

Airbnb vacation home rates are usually comparable or cheaper than a hotel, plus you typically have more room. They will often come with a kitchen too, and that can help you save money on going out to eat while you are on vacation. Also, if you have a lot of people going on vacation with you, you can split a house for much less than it would cost for everyone to get a hotel room.

Airbnb is my favorite way to travel, and we hardly ever stay in hotels anymore. This is also one of the best ways to save money for us because we are able to find Airbnbs that allow us to bring our dogs too, meaning they’re more comfortable as well. No dog has ever complained about having a backyard to run around in!

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

 

Save money on your next vacation.

If you want to get out of town for vacation instead of doing a staycation, there are still plenty of money saving tips just for vacations. Below are some of the best ways to save money on your next vacation:

  • Be flexible with your flight dates. A difference of just a day or two can sometimes save you over $100 per flight.
  • For tourist destinations, travel in the mid or off season instead of the peak travel season.
  • Stay in an Airbnb (mentioned above) for one of the best ways to save money while going on vacation.
  • Ask for a discount at the hotel you are staying at.
  • Eat like a local.
  • Buy groceries and eat out less (if you’re staying in an Airbnb, this is easy because many have kitchens).

Related: How To Travel On a Budget.

 

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 movies, music, and more. There are actually a lot of libraries now who let you borrow things like cameras, GoPros, even telescopes, and more.

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

 

Don’t keep up with the Joneses.

Another one of the best saving tips is to stop buying things to try and keep up with others.

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.

I truly believe that you are the only person you should be trying to make happy. Spending to impress others will only cause stress, and it’s not being true to who you really are. Instead, you should only purchase the things that you can afford and truly want. Really, 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 easiest money saving tips that you can take advantage of today.

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. 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!

 

Stop gambling.

Gambling at the casino and playing the lottery are both risky moves, and both of these things can cost you a ton of money. My money saving tips for this section is to either stop gambling entirely or know your stopping point and stick to it.

In the U.S. alone, people lose over $100 billion gambling each year (that doesn’t even include money lost playing the lottery).

And, according to Bloomberg, the average person who plays the lottery in the U.S. not only spends around $300 a year on lottery tickets, they also lose approximately $0.40 for every $1 in tickets purchased.

While I have gambled before (probably less than $100 in my whole life), I have never really enjoyed it. It always just feels like I am throwing my money away, and that is not something I have any interest in doing.

Unfortunately, I have seen people file bankruptcy after gambling too much, and that is why it is such a dangerous activity to get into.

Gambling can be extremely risky, which most often makes it an unwise financial choice. However, if you choose to gamble, you should always know your stopping point, and you should be able to afford to lose the amount of money you are gambling with. Keep in mind that casinos exist for a reason– they are making money because people are losing money.

 

Have an emergency fund.

An emergency fund is something I believe everyone should have, and this is one of the best 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 this is one of the saving tips that will 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. Without an emergency fund, you may have to take out a loan, rely on credit cards, and more. And, all of those things can cost you a ton of money in the long run.

Read more at The Ultimate Guide On Emergency Funds.

 

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

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

You can sometimes even get items for free by seeing what friends, family, and neighbors are trying to get rid of, and you can even find free items listed on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

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 a way to save money.

My husband and I have had roommates in the past, and while that’s not really as possible now that we live on a sailboat, I do recommend that anyone with an extra room in their house think about giving it a try.

While renting a room in your house will not make you rich, this is one of the saving tips that 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 that you check out Airbnb. I know people who are making thousands of dollars a month by renting out rooms on this website.

Related blog post with more saving tips about this topic: A Complete Guide To Renting A Room For Extra Money.

What are the best ways to save money that you know of? Do you have any saving tips to share? How much money do you save each month?

The post The Ultimate Guide of Over 50 Money Saving Tips For 2019 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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