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August 2014 Finance Report

Bem-vindo o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my August finance report, as prepared from the maid’s room of a friend’s apartment in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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. Keep in mind that I was on the move quite a bit in August, spending a couple of weeks in BH, a week back home in Ireland, and a week in Rio de Janeiro. Diving in…

August Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out € 246 $ 323
Groceries € 74 $ 97
Total € 320
$ 420

Up a little from the €292/$393 I spent on food and drink in July, but not bad at all considering I prepared very few of my own meals throughout the month. Of course, it helped that I was home in Ireland for a week where friends and family treated me to many a fine meal 🙂

Housing and Utilities

3 nights at Ocean Hostel Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro € 51 $ 66
2 nights at Lemon Spirit Hostel, Rio de Janeiro € 34 $ 45
1 night at Che Lagarto hostel, Rio de Janeiro € 15 $ 20
Total € 100 $ 131

Way down from the €504/$678 I spent the previous month. I had free accommodation while home in Ireland, and the first two weeks of the month were covered with rent paid in July. I jumped around to a few different hostels in Rio to be nearer friends.


Flights: Brazil to Ireland (round trip) € 935 $ 1,228
3 months of travel insurance from World Nomads € 172 $ 226
Bus: Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro (round trip) € 63 $ 83
Locker for one week at Rio airport € 34 $ 44
Bus: Dublin to Cork € 21 $ 27
Bus and entrance fee for Cristo Redentor in Rio € 18 $ 23
Local buses in Rio € 15 $ 20
Taxis in Rio € 11 $ 14
Taxis in Belo Horizonte € 8 $ 11
Parking in Belo Horizonte € 2 $ 3
Metro in Rio € 2 $ 2
Local bus in Belo Horizonte € 1 $ 1
Total € 1,281 $ 1,682

I only spent €27/$37 on travel in July, so this is a massive jump. I actually splashed out on those flights back to Ireland a couple months previous, but I held off listing the expense in an earlier report so as not to ruin their surprise when I showed up for my dad’s birthday unannounced.

Business Expenses

Web design outsourcing € 373 $ 490
PayPal fees € 110 $ 145
AWeber email marketing € 23 $ 30
Facebook ads € 18 $ 23
Domain renewal € 9 $ 12
Total € 533 $ 700

Down a little from €588/$790 spent on business in July. Once again I spent a decent chunk on outsourcing. My ROI on outsourcing hasn’t been great. I either need to charge my clients more, or find cheaper programmers (anyone you recommend?).

Gifts and Donations

Gift for a friend € 9 $ 12
Tip for favela tour guide in Rio € 7 $ 9
Book (Wealth Warrior) for a friend € 5 $ 7
Tip for metro buskers in Rio € 1 $ 1
Total € 22 $ 29

Up from €4/$6 in July. I no longer have a specific goal for donations (I used to try give away 15% of my income), having decided to focus on building up a decent savings cushion before trying to save the world.


Kindle Unlimited € 8 $ 10
Limitless € 7 $ 9
Ham On Rye € 2 $ 2
Let Go € 1 $ 1
Total € 17 $ 22

Down a little from €23/$31 last month. Thanks mostly to Kindle Unlimited, I started reading fourteen books last month and finished fourteen. I’m thinking of creating a separate page on this site listing the best books I’ve read. Let me know if you’d be interested in that.

Quick reviews of the three books listed above:

  • Limitless: Definite page-turner, but didn’t end well. A bit frustrating.
  • Ham On Rye: Anticlimactic book about an antihero. Love Bukowski’s writing style.
  • Let Go: Pat Flynn’s origin story. Not as helpful as I was expecting.

Miscellaneous Expenses

iPhone cable € 40 $ 53
Phone credit € 24 $ 31
Favela tour € 24 $ 31
Bar/club/party entry fees in Rio de Janeiro € 19 $ 25
Headphones € 17 $ 22
Bar/club/party entry fees in Belo Horizonte € 17 $ 22
Headspace monthly subscription € 10 $ 13
3 pairs of underwear € 9 $ 12
Grooming kit € 7 $ 9
2 black t-shirts € 5 $ 7
Beach chair rental € 4 $ 5
Laundry detergent € 3 $ 4
Toiletries € 3 $ 4
Ice € 3 $ 4
iTunes movie rental: 21 Jump Street € 3 $ 4
iTunes movie rental: The Dark Knight € 3 $ 4
iTunes movie rental: Wall•E € 3 $ 4
Umbrella € 2 $ 3
Entry fee for Forte de Copacabana in Rio € 2 $ 3
Towel rental € 2 $ 2
Bus station toilet € 1 $ 1
Total € 200 $ 263

Down from €253/$340 in July. I’m souring on Apple because replacement cables and headphones are ridiculously expensive.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 320 $ 420
Housing and Utilities € 100 $ 131
Travel € 1,281 $ 1,682
Business Expenses € 533 $ 700
Gifts and Donations € 22 $ 29
Books € 17 $ 22
Miscellaneous expenses € 200 $ 263
Total Expenses € 2,473
$ 3,247

Up from July’s expense total of €1,692/$2,275

August Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 2,302 $ 3,023
Family cash gifts € 816 $ 1,071
Business coaching € 381 $ 500
Deposit back from Belo Horizonte apartment rental € 89 $ 117
Book sales: The Cargo Ship Diaries (direct from ebizfacts.com) € 60 $ 79
Book sales from Amazon € 58 $ 76
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 56 $ 74
Amazon affiliate income € 18 $ 23
Amazon Ach/Cred (unknown bank deposits) € 15 $ 20
Belo Horizonte apartment subletting € 14 $ 18
Affiliate income: How To Live A Life of Travel € 13 $ 17
Total Income € 3,822
$ 5,018

More than quadruple July’s income total of €912/$1,225, and a personal best for the year. Not bad considering I was offline most of the two weeks I was in Ireland and Rio de Janeiro.

Of course, quite a slice of my income from web design and coaching was earned in July, and I’m lucky enough to be related to people who like giving me envelopes full of money when they see me for the first time in three years. (A younger me was always uncomfortable accepting gifts like that, but I’ve since learned to accept them graciously. After all: the world can’t be a more kind and generous place unless we’re all more willing to receive.)

Biggest regret?

Buying a replacement iPhone cable and headphones could have been avoided if I’d taken better care of the originals (seems it’s not such a good idea to stuff them in your pocket regularly), and I only had to buy that grooming kit because I accidentally left the one I had back in Ireland. D’oh! $85 down the drain for those few items combined.

Where that leaves me

I had €1,982/$2,664 to my name at the end of July. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals shifted a little to €2,023/$2,656. Taking into account all my August income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,411/$4,479.

Here’s how I’m doing so far this year:

  • €891/$1,202 in January
  • €550/$759 in February
  • €1,105/$1,525 in March
  • €1,616/$2,241 in April
  • €1,394/$1,900 in May
  • €1,033/$1,412 in June
  • €780/$1,050 in July
  • €1,349/$1,771 in August
  • €722/$1,012 overall

Outlook for September

Tough call this time around, as I’ll be on the road quite a bit in September — I’m overlanding it from Belo Horizonte in Brazil to Medellin in Colombia — and I’m not sure what to expect. I’ll likely have to spend quite a bit on transport and accommodation, and I might try squeeze in a tour or two. If I manage to spend less than $2k, I’ll be very satisfied.

Income-wise, I’m expecting sporadic Internet access and have put most of my web design work on hold, so I certainly won’t be raking it in. That said, there’s a good chance I could still clear $1k.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

Archived finance reports

I’ve been posting these monthly finance reports since January, 2011. You can view all my old reports via this page.

Last thing…

As you can see above, I make very little money direct from this website. If you find any of this information or my articles helpful and would like to help ensure I keep on doing what I do, this page is for you.

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  1. I, too, would love to read your book reviews – also where the motivation came to read them.
    May be my ignorance but … why don’t you hyperlink your movie watching choices to amazon the same way you do your books? The deal doesn’t include movies? I know I did google searches on the movies to see if I would like to watch them.

  2. Yah..your getting closer to Nicaragua (we moved from Belize in April) and we may even have an extra bedroom (may be in a 2bedroom) by the time you get here.
    Can’t wait to hear about Columbia…it’s on our list!

    Safe travels,

  3. Susan Bradley Jackson

    Niall, I am new to your blogging and vlogging, very impressed with all you do and share … the monthly budget. feature is especially illuminating, providing great ideas I can incorporate into my own, currently less adventurous existence. Would be interested in seeing suggestions on good reads. Happy travels to you!

  4. Greetings from Malaysia,
    Niall, you’ve made me believe that travelling around the world and working from the internet is not impossible. I really admire what you are doing. Drop by Malaysia sometime, you will surely have a wonderful experience.

  5. I’m looking forward to reading your Medellin adventures, especially after leaving Rio/BH. I’ve never been to Rio/BH but I’ve spent decent bits of time in Medellin and other cities in Colombia… I wonder how you will end up seeing the place after leaving Brasil.

  6. Great work Niall.

    I agree on a page for “best books”. I would love to learn more about your favorite books, and I’m sure it would be a great page for amazon affiliate income for you. I’d probably like to see some different categories (business, travel, fiction, ect). I wouldn’t necessarily need to see a ranking of the best, but just a list of the books that you enjoyed most and are most memorable for you.


  7. I liked reading about your August expenses. I would like to say well done for not telling your readers about your flight back to Ireland. You dad most have been delighted with the surprise of seeing you for his birthday celebration. You seemed to spend less on accommodation and food due to going to Ireland and staying in a few hostels in lovely Rio. We went on a cog train up to the Cristo Redentor on Easter Sunday in 2012. It was busy that day with very large crowds. I hope you get on well with your next bit of travelling and your expenses stay low.

  8. Why do you need Apple-specific gear? Everyone knows they’re overpriced. Especially with the headphones, the sound quality is absurd… I use actual headphones instead of earbuds, but these are known to be pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-108320-Enhanced-Isolating-Earphones/dp/B007VEQ2UU

    They’re much cheaper, they probably last longer than Apple earbuds, and I can almost guarantee they sound better. I once bought a pair of Sony headphones ($22) that lasted me 2 years. I could still use them, but they just look quite worn.

    1. I’ve tried not buying Apple specific gear, but that didn’t work out too well. I tried no less than four third-party cables and they either fell apart or stopped working within a couple of weeks. Really frustrating!

      The new earbuds I bought aren’t Apple but I don’t find them to be very good. The Apple ones were way better (except for the fact they only lasted me a year). I’d like to buy some of the better earbuds recommended on Amazon, but can be tricky to get them delivered when I move around so much.

      For some reason I have it in my head that headphones would be too clunky for carrying around and wearing while exercising, but I must test that assumption.

  9. Would definitely LOVE if you made a page for your book suggestions/reviews. I had thought you used to have a list on the site somewhere but couldn’t find it when I looked recently 🙂

  10. Hi Niall. It’s interesting to follow your travels vacations key via your expenses. I’d be interested to hear what books you have read. I just read No Matter What by Lisa Nicholls, who I recently met at a business women’s conference in Dallas which I enjoyed. Next on my list is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. There’s a fair bit if Godtalk in that one so we will see. Have a great September.

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