After spending years of his life in the funeral business as a mortician – and temporarily trying out a career in sales – my husband Greg was able to quit his job in February to work at home with me. Everything since then has been a whirlwind. Not only did we accomplish nearly everything we set out to do in 2015, but we traveled the world with and without our kids and had a whole lot of fun.

That’s pretty much exactly how December played out. Although we worked relentlessly on our blog, social media management business, and freelance endeavors, we made plenty of room for fun. From December 11th to the 16th, I visited Puerto Rico on a press trip and had the time of my life. Not only did I meet a bunch of awesome people, but I also zip-lined on the world’s tallest (and second-longest zip-line) in the world. It was absolutely cray! I also stayed at the El Conquistador Waldorf Astoria Resort in Fajardo, which just might be my favorite resort on Earth!

But yeah, we worked quite a bit, too. Actually, I worked a few weekends in December to make up for the fact that I was in Puerto Rico for a week – and that we were cutting our work month short by leaving for a winter break trip to Cancun on December 29th. Then there was Christmas, which pretty much cost me two full workdays. Fortunately, we made up for it and then some. Even better, we had the best month in terms of income ever! Huzzzzahhh!

December 2015 Online Income Update

Yep, you read that right. After scheming up some affiliate stuff and working like dogs, we had our best month for income ever. Here’s what we made in December 2015 – and all without wearing pants. (Kidding……sometimes.)

$23,620.49

In case anyone is wondering, our online income comes from a variety of sources – some passive and some not. Here’s how it broke down. Remember, these numbers are approximate:

  • Affiliate Marketing including credit card sales from Free Travel Advice : $2,500
  • Social Media Management and other Consulting: $1,300
  • Content Creation, Consulting, and Freelance Writing: The rest

Our expenses were pretty weak sauce again last month, which happens to be just the way I like it. Here’s what we paid to run our online businesses last month:

  • Internet: $51
  • Writing Services: $260
  • Blog Hosting: $15

Total: $326

Online Income: What We Did Right

Obviously, we did a lot of things right! Most notably, I worked like a fiend. My husband swears I’m the most productive person on the planet, and I think he may be right! In order to get as much done as I do, I really have to focus all day long. Despite the fact that people invite me to do stuff, I mainly just sit here and work. And sometimes, I even work the “second shift,” which is the hour of night after my kids go to bed.

I wouldn’t have to work so many hours if we didn’t travel so much. But when we’re traveling a lot, I have no choice but to cram all my work into our hours at home. Fortunately (unfortunately?), we don’t have any big trips planned until Spring Break. In other words, I am going to be home for 80 days straight in a hot minute. That’s very unusual for me, but I think it will be nice for a change!

Other stuff we did right in terms of income was boost some of our affiliate sales. Greg has tried a few different strategies with our main affiliate pages lately, and they appear to have paid off. Our traffic is also up tremendously, which helps grow our income in every way possible. Another thing we did right: We kept our expenses low. I just want to make extra money here, folks – not spend it!

See also: How I Make a Living on the Internet

Online Income: Where We Fell Short

I wouldn’t say we failed in any respect, but I do wish more of our income came from our two websites. It does take time to make this happen, however. Further, we didn’t really start monetizing the right way until Greg came home to work with me and got his bearings. When he worked full-time and I blogged alone, I neglected our site in the worst way possible. Fortunately, we are on the right track now. It’s still going to take time, but at least we’re heading in the right direction.

If I learned anything from December and really the entire year, it would be these things:

  • I need to clone myself!
  • Monetizing in the online world is a constant struggle. Things change all the time, and you have to change with them!
  • The amount of money we could be earning online is truly limitless.
  • A lot of people are smarter than me. Other people just think they are.

In summary, we had a great month – and a great year. I wouldn’t necessarily change anything. I just want to continue doing better and reaching for greater heights – both in terms of my professional development and in terms of income.

Final Thoughts

December was the best month ever for our online income! We made a whopping $23,620.49, all from blogging and online pursuits. Learn how we did it here!I feel very lucky that I found my purpose in life. I absolutely love writing about money and the way it affects our lives – both good and bad. I enjoy watching people make subtle changes that improve their lives in amazing ways, and I thrive in an environment where I am helping people achieve their dreams – whatever they are.

Money isn’t everything. It is merely a tool we can use to get the life we want. But when we learn to harness it and take control, amazing things can happen.

Ten years ago, my husband and I were stuck in stressful jobs we merely tolerated. We worked crazy hours, including weekends and holidays, only to turn around and waste all the money we earned. Today, we are self-employed with a business we made up out of thin air. We literally made this shit up, people. And if you want, you can do the same. Our post, 6 Easy Steps to Starting Your Own Blogtells you exactly how to get started.

But even without this website – and the huge income boost that came with it – getting our money straight, embracing a budget lifestyle, and paying off all of our debts made our lives a million times better. As the year wraps up, I realize I’m thankful for where I am, but also where I’ve been.

How was your income in December? How about 2015? Did you meet your goals?