Making Sense of Cents Review: Pros, Cons & Alternatives

making sense of cents reviews

Looking for a thorough Making Sense of Cents review? If so, you’re in the right place.

If you’re considering quitting your job to pursue an occupation you’re more passionate about (maybe even your own business), then there are few stories out there more inspirational than Michelle Schroeder Gardner’s from Making Sense of Cents. Michelle followed the traditional path: going to school, graduating college, and getting a good corporate job, but once she “arrived” to her hard-sought position, she didn’t think it was all it was “hyped up to be”.

She was a Finance professional, and made reasonable pay, but she had lots of school loan debt and little time to enjoy life as a result. She decided to try getting out of debt by doing side hustles (like mystery shopping) and to chronicle her journey along the way, and that’s how her blog was born.

Within the first year, she learned it was possible to take her “little” online journal and begin making money from it when one of her friends introduced her to an advertiser who wanted to sponsor a post for $100. That first $100 turned a mental “light bulb” on, and she realized blogging could be a side hustle she might have been overlooking.

Within a few short years, her blog outpaced her corporate job and she decided to quite to focus on it. Now, 7 years later, she earns more than $100,000/mo from her blog (sometimes up to $200,000/mo) and she’s using the location freedom it affords her to travel the world.  She travels sometimes in an RV and sometimes in a sailboat, and she still chronicles her adventures on her blog.

If your here, it’s likely you’ve been following Michelle’s adventurous story, and you’re considering taking her course to pursue an endeavor of your own. You’re probably thinking, “If an online business afforded her that beautiful lifestyle”, can her courses teach me how to do that too?”. In this Making Sense of Cents review, I’ll help you make that decision by laying all of the facts out for you.

In this Making Sense of Cents review, I will give you:

  • What it is
  • How it works
  • Pros and Cons
  • What it does well and what it does not
  • What others are saying (good and bad)
  • My Recommendation
  • And, Alternatives (in case you want to do some comparison shopping)

What is Making Sense of Cents? An Overview

While most people call Making Sense of Cents a “blog”, or think of Michelle Scroeder-Gardner as a “blogger”, the picture is much bigger than that–it’s a digital publishing company and she’s a seasoned CEO. She creates partnerships (some affiliate and some sponsorships) and creates content that’s engaging to over 300,000 monthly readers!

As a result of her amazing talent to entertain in writing, Michelle has been able to consistently grow her readership, partner with interesting companies, and make great money.

making sense of cents review

Unfortunately, I often see other people who underestimate what she does and assume that since she’s on a boat or RV while running her business that it must be easy, and I’ve heard her say that’s far from the truth. In reality, Making Sense of Cents has been a more aggressive publisher than most companies of it’s size and with the number of employees and collaborators. Added to that, theirs some great Market Research expertise demonstrated that makes Making Sense of Cents a consistent publisher of in-demand topics and courses.

How Does Making Sense of Cents Work?

For most people, they run into Making Sense of Cents on Pinterest or when searching online for things like:

  • Side hustles
  • Money making tips
  • Blogging tips
  • RV stories
  • Digital nomadic lifestyle
  • or other personal finance topics

Michelle and her team have split tested Pinterest pins quite interestingly, so when you see her pins, they peak curiosity, and she’s getting lots of engagement as a result. Once you arrive on her page, there’s alot of personality in her writing. She’s ambitious, she seems to go against the grain of what’s common, and her story is quite interesting as a result.

Whether you’re looking to get out of debt, master a side hustle, pay off school loans, or achieve many common dilemmas many people are having today, you can find a piece of content about that on Making Sense of Cents, and Michelle’s still working to make it an even better resource!

Surprisingly, her minimalist team (her, her sister, her husband, and possibly freelancers here and there) are able to captivate an audience the size of many teams of much larger size! Added to her superb marketing research, she’s also chosen some ways to monetize her blog that aren’t yet at the peak of the mainstream understanding. Of her $100,000+/mo income she generates a large majority thru affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and digital courses. Since this is a common goal many businesses and online publishers have, she’s earning lots from creating courses around a high demand and low supply topics.

Currently, she offers two courses: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and Making Sense of Sponsored Posts. In one of her income reports, she disclosed that her first course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing had made her $1 million dollars!

$1 Million dollars is astonishing especially considering that she did no paid ads (or very few), no PR, and no video promotion! Instead, her results show the pure power of search engine optimization (SEO), the network of trust she’s established, how much she’s been helping people, and the demand of people to learn more about affiliate marketing.

Kudos to Michelle for achieving such phenomenal results! She’s inspired many people to pursue this amazing and fairly new career field of “blogging”, or publishing helpful content online. She’s definitely inspired me, for sure!

How Do I Get Started with Making Sense of Cents?

To get started with Making Sense of Cents, you can visit the website and begin reading in the library of personal finance, business, and blogging resources. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a course to master affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, you can also find that there.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a highly rated course that Michelle made and actively engages with her exclusive buyer community. I explained affiliate marketing and how it works on my post here, so if it’s a new concept to you, definitely, check that post out! If you’re interested in creating a website and monetizing the content with affiliate marketing, you’d want to check out her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course here.

She teaches:

  • How to pick the right products
  • What types of content to promote
  • How to get the right traffic to the offers
  • and more…

You can learn more about her affiliate marketing course here.

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts

If you’re interested in collaborating with companies as an influencer, sponsored posting can be alot of fun for you, and not many people have spoken about how to do it publicly like Michelle has. Some niches have much more awareness about influencer marketing while others are quite behind. If you’re interested in seeing how you can add an additional income stream and opportunities to help more people by bring them new business, Making Sense of Sponsored Posts may be worth looking into.

  • She’ll teach you how to meet sponsors
  • How to set up agreements with them
  • How to legally cover yourself
  • How to charge
  • and more

You can learn more about Making Sense of Sponsored Posts here.

Who is Making Sense of Cents For?

The Blog

Making Sense of Cents blog content is best for:

  • Those who want to start a side hustle
  • Those who want to bridge their way out of a job or current venture
  • Bloggers who want to learn from her journey in the blogging career field
  • Those who are unsure of their professional direction but want to evaluate various ideas to see which might work best
  • Those who want to learn to save money or make more money
  • Those considering an RV lifestyle
  • or, those considering life on a boat

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is best for:

  • Those that already have a website
  • Those who are unsure how to monetize their website or want to add affiliate marketing as an income stream
  • or, Those who have dabbled in affiliate marketing, but aren’t having great results with it

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts is best for:

  • Those who have a website
  • Those who want to work with companies and promote them thru sponsored partnerships
  • and, those aren’t getting the results they’d like with Sponsored posting

Making Sense of Cents Tools & Training

Making Sense of Cents offers email courses that prep students for their courses or give more information about what to expect on things like:

  • Blogging
  • Setting up a Website
  • Intro to Affiliate Marketing
  • and an Intro to Sponsored Partnerships

Making Sense of Cents Support

Making Sense of Cents has three large Facebook groups:

  • One free group for readers of the blog
  • One paid Facebook group for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing alumni
  • and, one paid Facebook group for Making Sense of Sponsored Posts alumni

What Does Making Sense of Cents Do Well

  • They create high in-demand content
  • They do lots of great market research to discover what readers would like to see
  • They create courses that teach on pressing issues
  • and, Michelle is very active with her comments, in her groups, and attending to her partners to make sure everyone is satisfied with the business operations

What Doesn’t Making Sense of Cents Do Well

  • They don’t create video or audio content or courses
  • Sometimes, they teach from subjective experiences rather than teaching based on what works for the masses
  • They don’t always promote the products or services with the highest customer satisfaction or customer service. For example, Bluehost one heavily promoted advertiser, but their customer satisfaction or customer service ratings aren’t very good, and there are even serious ethical issues there.

Making Sense of Cents Review Roundup

Of course, there’s good and bad to every company, so this review roundup will show you the good and bad things you can expect from Making Sense of Cents. Generally speaking, the company has a very positive customer satisfaction rating. Majority of the reviews you’ll find are from satisfied or even raving customers.

making sense of cents reviews

Common Positive Feedback

  • My income drastically went up after taking Michelle’s courses
  • She’s very involved in her Facebook groups, so it’s like having access to a very highly credentialed consultant on-demand
  • She does an “Ask me anything” thread inside of her Facebook group that’s really helpful
  • There are lots of screenshots in her courses so it’s easy to comprehend for visual learners
  • She’s very transparent and shares the inside details of how her business runs which is invaluable!

Common Negative Feedback

  • The courses aren’t for newbies who don’t have a blog yet
  • The courses aren’t for advanced bloggers who already understand affiliate marketing or already know how to do sponsored posts
  • She promotes Bluehost hosting company and their not the best out there
  • There’s not much hands on, video, or audio content in the courses

Most Helpful Positive Making Sense of Cents Review

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Review

I’m not going to say Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is for anyone who wants to make money online via affiliate marketing because we are all on different stages in our journey.

Before you decide whether this course is for you, you need to first understand where you are right now.

For example, some people have a blog but are just struggling to make money from it. They will certainly benefit from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and potentially scale up their blogging business right after going through the course.

On the other hand, there are many people who are just looking for ways to make money online. They don’t have their own blog right now and just want to get started.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is not a course to teach you how to set up your own blog so this course is definitely not suitable for this group of people.

Jerry Huang, SmartAffiliateResources.com

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts Review

Michelle and Alexis go through everything that you need to know about sponsored partnerships, such as:

  • How exactly sponsored posts work.
  • Why sponsored partnerships can completely change your blog.
  • How to find sponsored partnerships.
  • How to pitch and contact companies the right way, including template emails that you can use!
  • How much you should be charging.
  • How to build trust and not lose followers.
  • Required disclosures that you need to know about.

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts is worth much more than its price, and this is the lowest price you’ll ever see it listed for.

OnlineCoursesPro.com

Most Helpful Negative Making Sense of Cents Review

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Review

It’s a pretty basic overview, not some advanced-level affiliate marketing training. This was probably the only letdown of the course for me. The content IS GOOD, but it wasn’t anything mind boggling or advanced. This is a good thing for beginners, but if you’re intermediate or advanced, I think you won’t learn anything new.

The social media section was very light. She does a very basic overview of different channels—BUT the Pinterest bonus is definitely something that helped me increase Pinterest traffic FAST. So I do like the Pinterest bonus that’s included, but the actual social media section itself was a bit lacking.

There are no videos. Personally, I don’t like videos. I prefer text because it’s faster to skim through and I can search for certain words. But I know others like videos, and if you do, this might be a negative for you.

Amy, TheWhereEverWriter.com

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts Review

So far, there aren’t any negative reviews or constructive criticisms for Making Sense of Sponsored Posts, but I’ll continue to be on the look out!

Making Sense of Cents Price

When you consider that you get lifetime updates, have access to Michelle in her Facebook groups, get to network with others on the same pursuit, and the courses are getting lots of results, Michelle’s courses are priced as a super deal!

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Price

making sense of affiliate marketing price

Making Sense of Sponsored Posts Price

making sense of sponsored posts price

My Final Opinion of Making Sense of Cents

Overall, Making Sense of Cents is a great resource center for those who want lifestyle advice, personal finance tips, or bloggers who want to learn from Michelle’s experiences. Readers and onlookers do have to be careful not to be hypnotized by Michelle’s success, and follow her, her courses, or her recommendations blindly just because they perceive it worked well for her.

Trust but verify all recommendations and evaluate yourself to see if you’re willing to do what it takes. Michelle clearly has an amazing work ethic and level of savviness that makes her able to create what’s in-demand, but that doesn’t mean what she’s doing will work for you.

If you believe Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing could be a good fit for you, be sure to look further into it, and see if the skills you walk away with are the ones you’re looking for. You can see more details about what the course offers.

If you believe Making Sense of Sponsored posts might be the next step for you on your blogging journey, evaluate all the lessons, and see if it’s what you’re looking for. You can check out the lesson titles and descriptions.

Top Alternatives to Making Sense of Cents

If you’re still a little uneasy or unsure about whether Making Sense of Cents courses are a good fit, there are other highly rated alternatives out there. I only recommend companies who:

  • Have high third-party review ratings
  • Have lots of customer success stories
  • Offer great customer support
  • Teach proven methods that are working

And, my top alternative recommendations check all of those boxes. Added to that, you can also try for free!

Wealthy Affiliate – My Top Recommendation

Wealthy Affiliate is my #1 Recommendation for those who want to learn affiliate marketing or improve their results with it: from newbies to seasoned internet marketers. Here’s a breakdown of what you get:

Making Sense of Cents vs. Wealthy Affiliate

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between Making Sense of Cents and Wealthy Affiliate:

Added to those differences:

  • It’s a fully comprehensive course that teaches how to start and run an online business (including monetization methods like affiliate marketing)
  • Wealthy Affiliate has 1000’s of hours of content and growing
  • They’ve been in the industry for 15+ years
  • They have an engaged social media style community of 1.4 million+
  • There is live weekly video training with Q&A
  • The training is in video and text
  • There are loads of success stories proving their methods teach people to make money online, create full-time incomes online, and maintain long careers in online entrepreneurship

Start Learning Affiliate Marketing from Industry Leaders for Free!

Still unsure? check out my full Wealthy Affiliate review to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Other Alternative Courses I Recommend

Dare to Conquer – You can also check out Dare to Conquer. Alot of comprehensive courses for online business owners. They teach affiliate marketing, SEO, and much more. Plus, there’s a very engaged community. Learn more about DTC here on their website or read my full Dare To Conquer review here.

VERDICT: Recommended


But, Try My #1 Recommendation Free First

Making Sense of Cents

6.3

Reliability

7.0/10

Pricing

6.0/10

User Friendly

7.0/10

Support

6.0/10

Features

5.5/10

Pros

  • Michelle is highly engaged in the community
  • The courses had high customer satisfaction ratings
  • It's an affordable price for a course + lifetime free updates
  • There are many student success stories
  • The group is engaged so you can network with others pursuing common goals

Cons

  • Some of the products and services recommended (like Bluehost) have lots of customer dissatisfaction and issues of ethics
  • It's not a fully comprehensive course on building an affiliate marketing business--Instead it's a supplemental course to add onto other internet marketing knowledge
  • No video or audio content
  • There are "ask me anything threads in Facebook, but no live video Q&A
  • Competitors (like my #1 recommendation) have more comprehensive courses (including tools like hosting and websites) you can try for free
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6 thoughts on “Making Sense of Cents Review: Pros, Cons & Alternatives”

  1. Todd Matthews

    Awesome review. Very rarely am I sold as much as I was of reading this review on Making Sense of Cents. I’m not sure if I relate to Michelle Shroeder Gardner because she’s a blogger or simply the fact that she only has a small team around her, but I’m intrigued nonetheless. It sounds even greater due to the fact they have some courses to offer as well, so I’m definitely researching this right now. 

  2. Hi Tiffany,

    Thank you for introducing me to Making Sense of Cents. I had never heard of that website before, but it is clear Michelle has certainly done quite well with it. And to see it is a small family affair is astounding! After checking out the other links, I think everyone agrees it may or may not be for me. I am already with your best training recommendation for beginners at Wealthy Affiliates, I might be just fine with the training I have right now!  

    I am thinking she may have used a google search and email campaign to meet the sponsors for her sponsored blog program? Did you happen to pick up any tid bits of information about that? Overall, Tiffany I enjoyed your review and once again thank you!

    Chas

    1. Tiffany Domena

      Chas, I always recommend making one strategy work at a time. When you add different strategies in too quickly, it can get overwhelming, or just be ineffective at making the results you want. WA has a working strategy, so I’d recommend making that one work, then moving onto others. 

      Michelle’s course may be worth looking into once you’ve mastered WA, and you’re looking to rub shoulders with different ways of doing things. As for her course on sponsored posts, she doesn’t simply do email campaigns or Google searches. There are quite a few modules to explain that. When you’re ready, you can have a look.

  3. Hi Tiffany,I must say that I am a newcomer in affiliate marketing. I started my work with wealthy affiliate platform. Thank you for introducing me to Making Sense of Cents. I had never heard of that website before, but it is clear Michelle has certainly done quite well with it. in Making Sense of Cents, private coaching, free website, web hosting, domain platform service are not available. to a newcomer it becomes tough to start work here.

    1. Tiffany Domena

      You’re welcome! Michelle is definitely a leader in the industry, so check her out. Regarding your take on the courses, she has many raving reviewers because there are quite a few people out there trying their hands at affiliate marketing and sponsored posts and not having success on their own. She’s been able to help them become successful in making money with affiliate marketing or making money with sponsored posting, so that means her courses work.

      I agree that it’s better to have the full suite compiled like Wealthy Affiliate has, but after you’ve majored what they teach (and you’re making a good sum of money), it’s nice to rub shoulders with a different way of doing things, and Michelle’s way works. It’s like the case of going to college for your profession versus grabbing a few books here and there to brush up on a topic. College is supposed to be the comprehensive way for you to learn a career path, but there are books you can read to master the skills and stay fresh afterwards–that’s like WA and Making Sense of Cents (in my opinion).

      I always recommend people to start at WA and continue their professional development after they’ve mastered the first path; otherwise they risk losing focus and can get confused. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

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