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Michelle is the creator of popular finance and lifestyle blog, Making Sense of Cents. She has won several rewards for her blog and has been featured on many popular websites. She provides great insights on saving money, budgeting, and paying off debt. We had the opportunity to interview her and ask a few questions. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! My name is Michelle and I run the personal finance blog, Making Sense of Cents. I have three finance-related college degrees, and I actually used to be a financial analyst. I’m now a full-time blogger and I travel full time with my husband and two dogs. We sold our house in 2015 and have one heck of a great life!

I graduated in 2010 with two business related degrees. I then graduated again in 2012; I got my MBA with an emphasis in Finance.

After all of that schooling, I had around $40,000 in student loan debt, even though I’ve worked full time since around the age of 14. Due to poor budgeting, living a “YOLO” lifestyle (thinking I needed tons of clothes), and living on my own (my father passed away when I was 18), I still racked up a lot of student loan debt. Like with many college students, I thought student loan debt was normal, and that I would have no problem paying it off later.

2. How did you pick a university and major?

I picked my university and major when I was young (like most people), so I just went for a field that I thought would lead to me having a good paying job. Oh, what a mistake that was! Go for your passion or do something that allows you to, at least. Pursuing your passion in your free time is extremely important.

My majors did help me with running the business I now run, so I am glad I did it. All of those business and law classes have paid off tremendously with my own business.

3. You paid off $38,000 in student loans in only 7 months. How did you do it?

The most important thing that I did that allowed me to pay off my student loans so quickly was learning how to make extra money. I did various things like running my blog (back then it was just a part time business), selling items around my home, taking surveys, completing mystery shops, freelance writing, and more.

I was working around 100 hours a week between my day job and my full-time job, but it was well worth it because I was able to pay off my student loans so quickly. Also, it forced me to take my side business more seriously, and now it’s my full time business!

You can read more about how I paid off my student loans here.

4. What advice would you give to your college self?

My top piece of advice would be to not take out so much in student loans, and instead create a budget so that I could put money towards my tuition. Instead, I relied so much on student loans, which was a huge mistake!

5. Is there anything related to finances or financial aid that you wish you would have known earlier?

Learning how to budget my money better, as discussed above, is the major thing I wish I would have realized.

6. How did paying off college loans helps you in the work force or in other aspects of your life?

Paying off my student loans allowed me to eventually leave the job that I dreaded going to each day. Since I was no longer financially controlled by my student loans, I was able to pursue my side business as my full time business. It allowed me to be my own boss, love my work, and travel full time!

We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.