خوش آمد to all you legendary email subscribers.

Welcome to my February 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…

February Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 91
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 327
Total € 418

Up from the €389 I spent on food and drink in January. I’ve been opting to eat out more rather than hunt around for supermarkets and cook my own meals. I figure it saves me a good chunk of time, which in turn saves me money.

Housing and Utilities

3 nights at the Ankara Han Hostel, Ankara, Turkey € 78
4 nights at the Agora Hostel, Istanbul € 57
2 nights at the Green Frog Hostel, Bucharest € 23
Total € 158

Down from the €335 I spent in January, mostly because some very cool people in Romania gave me free places to stay for the majority of my time there. I could have found a cheaper place in Ankara, but opted to splash out on a private room.

Travel

3-day Train from Ankara to Tehran € 44
Bus from Bucharest to Istanbul € 37
Taxis in Bucharest € 30
Turkish visa at border € 17
Bus from Istanbul to Ankara € 16
Passport photos and printing for Pakistani visa application € 12
Taxis in Istanbul € 12
Ankara Metro tickets € 5
Tram/metro tickets in Istanbul € 3
Metro tickets in Bucharest € 2
Total € 178

This was €123 total last month. Given how far I traveled in the last week or so of February, I’m quite happy that this expense came in under €200. Gotta love that a 3-day sleeper train through Turkey and Iran costs less than a 4-hour train ride across the UK.

Business Expenses

WooThemes Developer Club (monthly subscription) € 15
MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription) € 14
Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 14
Domain renewal € 12
AWeber email marketing (extra charge for 500+ subscribers) € 8
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription) € 3
Total € 66

Not much different here from the €55 I spent in January.

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.

Gifts and Donations

Donation to One Girl € 38
Donation to Kopila Valley Children’s Home € 38
Donation to I Am That Girl (Mastermind penalty, see below) € 15
Donation to Heifer International (Mastermind penalty, see below) € 15
Donation to my buddy Tyson Barnhart € 15
Donation to 30vanquish for blog hosting € 8
Bottle of wine brought along to a house party € 4
Street donations € 2
Total € 135

Almost exactly double my donations from last month, but again I fell short of my goal to donate or give away 10% of my earnings. Must try make up for that in March.

Mastermind penalties
I’m part of a Mastermind group that meets every two weeks on Skype to discuss our goals and brainstorm ideas. To hold ourselves more accountable, we’ve set a monetary penalty for failing to reach our goals: a $40 donation to charity. The goal I once failed to achieve was to keep my total computer time below 45 hours per week.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Turkish bath and massage in Istanbul € 28
Turkish SIM card € 24
Skype credit € 18
Toiletries € 12
Book: The E-Myth Revisited € 11
Entry fees for clubs in Bucharest € 10
Phone credit € 10
Book: Walk Like A God € 9
HostelWorld.com Gold Card € 8
Book: Stranger in a Strange Land € 7
Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People € 6
Book: Anything You Want € 6
Subscription to Raam Dev’s Journal € 5
Nargileh in Istanbul € 5
Club cloakrooms € 4
Map of Istanbul € 3
New notebook € 3
Laundry service at Ankara hostel € 3
Postcard and stamp for the grandma € 2
Towel rental at Agora hostel € 2
Book: I Moved Your Cheese € 1
Book: How We Decide € 1
Currency exchange in Ankara € 1
Bus stop squat toilet € 1
Total € 179

Down from the €199 I spent on miscellaneous bits and pieces in January. I’ve been reading a lot more thanks to lots of time sitting on buses and trains, hence the book purchases. I signed up for the Kindle Daily Deal and scored a few good reads on the cheap that way. Only dumb purchase above was the Turkish SIM card, which I didn’t end up using at all.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 418
Housing and Utilities € 158
Travel € 178
Business Expenses € 66
Gifts and Donations € 135
Miscellaneous expenses € 180
Total Expenses € 1135

Slightly better than last month’s €1169 total, but a good bit above my goal of €1000.

January Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 1384
$50 Blogs € 255
A Course In Courage € 50
Total Income € 1,689

A good chunk better than January’s total of €1,145, and way more than enough to cover my expenses. If I could do it all over again though, I’d probably pass up a few of those freelance projects in exchange for more free time. Learning.

Where that leaves me

I had €3,803 to my name at the end of December. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had decreased slightly to €3,709. Taking into account all my February expenses and earnings, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €4,419.

Here’s how I’m doing so far in 2012:

  • €24 in January
  • €554 in February

Outlook for March

Everything is still a bit of a mystery as I move towards India. Turkey wasn’t quite as cheap as I expected, and I’m still figuring out the fair price of things in Iran. My next stop after Tehran will be Dubai, and I hear that’s a pretty expensive place to be. Once I do get to India though (hopefully before March 20th), I expect I’ll be able to live quite comfortably for very little money.

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.