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Everything I Earned And Spent In 2014

2014 was my fourth full year being a self-employed vagabond, traveling around the world without flying while working from my laptop. I managed to visit ten countries during the year, starting in South Korea and ending up in Costa Rica.

If you’re a regular visitor here you’ll know that I’ve been tracking all my income and expenditure since I quit my day job at the end of 2010, and sharing detailed monthly finance reports with my email subscribers. Below I’ll share with you a summary of all my income and expenses from 2014.

2014 Expenses

Business Expenses € 5,473 $ 7,374
Travel € 5,146 $ 6,645
Housing and Utilities € 3,726 $ 4,913
Food and Drink € 3,476 $ 4,588
Miscellaneous € 1,895 $ 2,515
Books € 204 $ 266
Gifts and Donations € 162 $ 219
Clothing € 100 $ 135
Total Expenses € 20,286 $ 26,655

Total Expenses in 2013: €44,523 / $59,157 (view my 2013 financial summary here).

Yes, I cut my spending in half compared to the previous year. I’d like to say that was due to frugality, but as you’ll see below, I didn’t have much choice.

2014 Income

Freelance web design € 13,801 $ 17,919
Gifts and Donations € 1,998 $ 2,681
Book sales (via Amazon and ebizfacts.com) € 1,672 $ 2,260
Coaching € 1,552 $ 2,091
Insurance payout € 352 $ 482
Affiliate Income € 273 $ 363
Book royalties € 255 $ 338
Refunds (rental deposits, damaged goods, etc.) € 174 $ 230
Amazon Ach/Cred € 96 $ 118
A Course In Courage € 53 $ 71
Credit card cash rewards € 38 $ 52
Sigma 6 project € 32 $ 43
Subletting € 14 $ 18
Total Income € 20,057 $ 26,328

Total Income in 2013: €39,408 / $52,228 (view my 2013 financial summary here).

As you can see, my income was also cut in half, thanks in large part to giving up a lucrative passive income stream at the end of 2013.

Other numbers of interest

Total cash and bank balances on January 1, 2014 € 4,036 $ 5,547
Total cash and bank balances on December 31, 2014 € 4,140 $ 5,009
Difference between those two numbers + € 104 – $ 538
Money spent per day in 2014 € 55.58 $ 73.03
Money earned per day in 2014 € 54.95 $ 72.15
Lowest income month (March) € 140 $ 193
Highest income month (April) € 3,045 $ 4,223
Most expensive month (May) € 2,663 $ 3,630
Least expensive month (October) € 1,147 $ 1,437

Lessons learned

2014 humbled me greatly. You might remember about eighteen months back I was confidently predicting that I’d have $100k in the bank before 2015 came around.

Well, that time has come and I’m about $95k short.

Silly me.

My biggest takeaway from my money struggles the past twelve months is that it’s very difficult to build a profitable and sustainable business while traveling the world at the same time.

I know, it sounds obvious, but it took me a while to accept it.

As such, 2015 will be a big year of transition for me. I’ll be finishing up my RTW trip in May, and I then plan to settle down in one place (probably Amsterdam) for at least a year to focus on business. I’m looking forward to getting into a solid work routine and a reliable internet connection, two things which are often sorely lacking while living a life nomadic.

Biggest regret?

Out of all my expenses last year, the one I most regret is the $3,600 I spent on The Foundation, an online course that teaches you how to build a SaaS business.

Right about here is where I suspect many of you will be shouting, “I TOLD YOU SO!”

But it’s not that The Foundation sucks. The course itself isn’t the problem. I’m actually quite impressed with the materials and the community.

The problem is that I underestimated how much time and effort I needed to invest to have a good shot at building a successful SaaS business. They say you can do it with just an hour a day of consistent effort, but even that proved very difficult for me. I’d knuckle down for a month and build some good momentum, then hit the road and let all the balls drop.

Thankfully, I have indefinite access to the materials in The Foundation, so I can’t say that my $3,600 investment won’t yield a great return down the line, once I make building a SaaS a long-term priority.

But as of right now, that $3,600 would be a lot more useful to me if it was still sitting in my bank account.

Life is good

To end on a lighter note, I want to emphasize that while it was a tough year for me financially, I did get to travel a lot and have many rewarding experiences. Among many other adventures, I crossed the Pacific Ocean on a cargo ship, wrote a book, visited Machu Picchu, lived in Brazil during the World Cup, trekked and swam in the Amazon, met a bunch of cool people, read a lot of good books, and continued to learn more and more about this crazy little thing called life.

Rich or poor, here’s to many more adventures in 2015 😉

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