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August 2011 Finance Report

Hola, all you legendary email subscribers.

Welcome to my August finance report. As usual, I’ll share with you all the details of my finances below, along with a few notes that I think you’ll find interesting. Let’s dive in…

August Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 147
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 74
Total € 221

Last month I spent just €3 less here. I’m pretty happy with that since I did a whole lot more travel and eating out in August.

Housing and Utilities

Hotels and hostels € 168
Rent € 100
Total € 268

I was paying €200 a month for my apartment in Burgos. I really only owed a weeks rent in August but I paid a bit extra since the lady I lived with was so nice and I didn’t exactly leave her blender in great condition (might have overdone it on the smoothies).

Accommodation for three nights in France proved more costly that I expected though. One ho-hum rest-stop hotel that I found myself stranded at cost €85 for the night. That’s one of the big disadvantages of hitchhiking: not being able to plan ahead and book cheap accommodation.


Cherbourg-Rosslare ferry € 60
Diesel for my Dad’s van (he lets me use that when I’m home) € 20
Local trams and buses (3 trips) € 6
Total € 86

Just for kicks, I added up the total cost of my hitchhiking adventure (if you missed that, check this post). It took me eight days to get from Burgos in Spain back to my parents house in Ireland. Accounting for all food, travel and accommodation I spent money on during that time, the total cost came to €290.

That number would have been much higher if not for the kindness of my friends Uzuri and Jon, who both acted as legendary hosts along the way. Massive thanks to them.

Business Expenses

Check the notes below the table for more info on the items listed.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 € 500
Headway developer option € 115
Camtasia screencast software € 69
Clients + Cash online course € 61
oDesk virtual assistants € 60
ClickBank account activation € 35
MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription) € 14
Ecwid shopping cart (monthly subscription) € 13
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription) € 3
Total € 877

Ouch. I spent almost €200 more on my business in August than I spent in total the previous month. Notes…

Adobe Photoshop
A pricey purchase, but I just had to do it. As a web designer, Photoshop is a pretty essential piece of software (sorry, Gimp fans). I’d been without it since my laptop crashed back in January and I lost the copy I’d kept from my old 9-to-5. Sure, I could have just made do with a pirated version, but that would have made me a bit of a hypocrite. That said, I did get a little sneaky and purchased the American version of the software, saving myself about €350. Seems a little ridiculous to me that Europeans have to pay so much extra for software that you download from the Internet.

Headway, Camtasia, and Ecwid
All of these expenses are related to the $50 Dollar Blogs service I launched a few weeks back. Headway is one of the premium themes I offer to install for clients, and buying the developer option lets me do that pretty cheaply (at least in the long run). I use Camtasia to produce screencasts showing folks how to use the blogs I set up for them, and Ecwid works great as a shopping cart to capture orders.

Clients + Cash
This is the latest course from Ashley Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project. It’s all about how to market yourself better so clients come to you and you no longer have to chase them. If there was an affiliate program for this course, I’d be all over it, because it’s that good. I’m learning a shitload and will be putting the lessons to good use in the coming weeks.

oDesk Virtual Assistants
I’m still working with a VA on an SEO experiment for ebizfacts.com. No strong conclusions yet on if it’s worth the investment.

ClickBank account activation
I relaunched A Course In Courage recently, switching it up to a one-time payment system. ClickBank handles all the payment processing, and required an activation fee to get the wheels turning.

MS Remote Desktop
I originally signed up for this so I could run some Windows software that I had purchased, but it’s proving more useful these days for checking how the websites I build display in Internet Explorer. Since the company running this service is based in NYC, it also means I have access to a machine with a US IP address, which comes in handy every now and then 😉

This is working out pretty good. Check my last site progress report for more details.

A quick note about affiliate links
I link to everything I use so you can go ahead and check out the products and services for yourself. However, I only become an affiliate for products and services that I actually like and am happy to recommend. If you click through and buy something via my affiliate links, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I get a percentage of the sale price. Please don’t buy anything unless you have a clear need for it.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Wedding present for my cousin € 50
New jeans € 30
New headphones € 25
Donation to Bowel Cancer UK via mi amiga Caroline Leon € 18
Haircut € 11
Big black marker for making hitchhiking signs € 8
Sax busker donation € 1
Love Drop subscription € 1
Total € 144

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 221
Housing and Utilities € 268
Travel € 86
Business Expenses € 877
Miscellaneous expenses € 144
Total Expenses € 1,596

Way up from last month’s total of €683, although I’m pretty happy with how I’m spending my money. I feel I’m making some smart investments in my business and hopefully I’ll be able to reap the rewards soon.

August Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 213
$50 Blogs € 113
Google Adsense (ndoherty.biz) € 98
A Course In Courage € 73
Donations (muchas gracias!) € 29
Total Income € 526

My goal for August was to earn at least €1000, and I was way off. I also fell short of my earnings goal for the previous month. Goes to show how bad I am at predicting this kind of thing :-/

I’m still owed a decent chunk of commission from HostGator via my $50 Blogs offer, but have only recently realized that payments are delayed two months, so I won’t see any of that money until October.

Where that leaves me

I had €5,237 to my name at the end of July. After applying the most recent exchange rate (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased slightly to €5,267. Taking into account all my August expenses, earnings and taxes, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €4,247.

A quick summary of how I’m doing so far this year:

  • – €1,173 in January
  • – €292 in February
  • – €741 in March
  • – €22 in April
  • – €672 in May
  • – €872 in June
  • – €449 in July
  • – €1,070 in August

Outlook for September

Realistic or not, €1000 per month is still my goal, and I’ll be shooting for that again in September. Once I can generate that kind of income consistently, I should be easily able to cover my expenses while doing the digital nomad thing.

I’m busy working on a solo site for $50 Blogs, as I’ve gotten great feedback about that service and believe it can do quite well for me if I invest just a little more time in setting it up right. If it gets rolling like I hope it will, all I’ll need is two clients per week and I’ll be close to that 1k mark.

As regards expenses, they should be much lower this month, as I’m not venturing too far from the sanctuary of my parents house in Slieverue.

Feedback welcome

Let me know your thoughts on these reports. Do you find the info helpful? Would you like more detail? Less? If you’re self-employed yourself, I’d also love to hear about your financial adventures.

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  1. Its truly inspirational to see you just put all this out for everyone to see…

    and after looking at it, I need to start working on my finances lmao.

    Best of luck!

    1. Hey Paula. The ads were on ndoherty.biz (this page was my big earner), which gets about 40k hits per month. I replaced them a few weeks back with ads promoting my $50 Blogs offer, though no sales have come from there yet. I’ll probably switch back soon.

      Oh, and the 98 Euros was accumulated over about three months. So it only works out to about 400 Euros per year. Seems to me that you really do need huge traffic to make good money from Adsense.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Niall. I think it is fascinating what you are doing and I love seeing how you make your choices with money. I shudder to think what would happen if I put mine out there. Or maybe I should. I’d be a lot more accountable. Although I guess to some degree I’m going to have to with the Million Dollar Blog Project.

    1. Thanks, Danielle. These posts have definitely me more accountable with my finances, and so far I haven’t seen any downside to posting all the info.

      Curious: Will you be using your Live Without A Job site for the Million Dollar Blog Project?

  3. I was eagerly anticipating your next report! Sorry to hear you’ve not reached your €1000 target yet but keep trying – I’m sure all your readers are behind you on this. It’s relevant to me as I’m too struggling to earn a decent income from a portfolio of freelance work, always trying to add in little bits here and there to increase my earnings.

    One thing I have learnt though is that income is irrelevant on it’s own – it’s only income minus expenses that counts. Therefore I think you’re very brave spending so much this month! Photoshop is a substantial outlay – I’ve done plenty of professional-ish design work with Paint Shop Pro and I’m sure there’s little it can’t handle. And it’s only £79.99. Oh but did I read you have a Mac?

    Thanks for replying to my earlier email. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hey Andrew, thanks for the comment. Yes, I’m on a Mac. I should have looked into Paint Shop Pro though. Never even thought of that. I gave Gimp a whirl (wasn’t very impressed) and made do with picnik.com for a while, but I’d used Photoshop professionally for years and I was definitely not the same designer without it.

      And yeah, definitely hear you about income minus expenses. On balance, earning €1000 per month should cover everything I need.

      Wishing you all the best with your own journey.

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