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January 2012 Finance Report

Salutări to all you legendary email subscribers.

Welcome to my January 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…

January Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 141
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 248
Total € 389

Up a little from the €346 I spent in December, but I have to say I’m quite pleased that it’s not a lot higher since I cooked less and ate out much more in January.

Housing and Utilities

24 nights at the Loft Hostel, Budapest € 266
2 nights at Paprika Hostel, Budapest € 51
1 night at Tiger Tim’s Hostel, Budapest € 18
Total € 335

This was just €47 last month, as I was staying at a friend’s apartment most of the time. January was almost all hostels for me. All three listed above were great, but I do have an especially soft spot for the Loft Hostel. Really enjoyed the few weeks I spent there.


Train from Budapest to Cluj (first class) € 51
Budapest Metro tickets € 29
Sleeper train from Cluj to Bucharest € 28
Taxis in Cluj € 15
Total € 123

This amounted to €223 in December, mostly due to visa and vaccination expenses. I didn’t have to worry about any of that stuff in January, and instead spent some money on actually moving to different places. I booked first class to Cluj so I could get some work done on the train. Turned out pretty good.

Business Expenses

WooThemes Developer Club (monthly subscription) € 15
MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription) € 15
Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 14
AWeber email marketing (extra charge for 500+ subscribers) € 8
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription) € 3
Total € 55

Way down from the €199 I spent in December.

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

Amazon gift card for DtR Facebook contest € 19
Amazon gift card as thanks for client referral € 15
Donation to Niall Maxwell € 12
Donation to Unlimited Smileage € 8
Chocolates for Loft Hostel and Hummus Bar people € 5
Various street donations to homeless € 5
Paying forward my last Forints before leaving Budapest € 2
Birthday beers for a friend € 2
Total € 68

I’ve decided to give gifts and donations their own special spot in these reports, since I want to focus more on giving in 2012. I’m aiming to donate 10% of my total earnings over the course of the year.

Miscellaneous Expenses

New jeans € 57
Doctor visit in Budapest € 39
Phone credit € 26
Hungarian bath house admission (so good) € 13
Medication € 13
Book: Never Eat Alone € 12
Book: The Vegetarian Myth € 7
Toiletries € 7
Winter hat € 5
Laundry service at hostel € 5
Subscription to Raam Dev’s Journal € 5
Ice skating € 3
Club entry in Budapest € 2
Kindle Single: Lying by Sam Harris € 2
Club cloakroom € 2
Club toilet € 1
Total € 199

Up from the €108 I spent on miscellaneous bits and pieces in December.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 389
Housing and Utilities € 335
Travel € 123
Business Expenses € 55
Gifts and Donations € 68
Miscellaneous expenses € 199
Total Expenses € 1169

Nice! I was able to keep my expenses to triple figures in December. Last month I went a little over the 1k mark, spending €1062.

January Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 692
$50 Blogs € 223
Google Adsense (on ndoherty.biz) € 120
A Course In Courage € 45
Aweber affiliate payment € 39
Donations (muchas gracias!) € 15
Amazon.com affiliate payment € 11
Total Income € 1,145

I didn’t quite cover my expenses, but I’m quite happy to have broken the €1k mark again in January while making a conscious effort to spend less time in front of the computer. In all, I estimate I had about 40-50 hours less screen time compared to December, and so managed to do some fun things instead of being stuck in front of the computer all day, every day.

Also, I again didn’t need to spend any time pitching for freelance gigs, as cool clients are still approaching me instead of me having to go find them.

Where that leaves me

I had €3,864 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 €3,803. Taking into account all my January expenses and earnings, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,774.

Let’s start a new list to keep track of how I do month-by-month in 2012:

  • €24 in January

Outlook for February

I have no idea what to expect this month, as I gear up for my craziest few weeks of travel thus far. If all goes to plan, I should be in India before March hits, but to get there I need to pass through some big, mysterious countries, like Turkey and Iran. I’m not sure what to expect in terms of food and accommodation prices, and it might be tricky at times to get online and do some solid work to keep the income flowing.

Stay tuned, should be an adventure 😉

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. I was just introduced to this site by a friend. As a single mom, you feel like you can’t have any fun since you are responsible for another life. I want to travel like you one day but until then, I would like to donate to your next quest. Where can I do this?

  2. Hey Niall! Have you ever heard of Vipassana? It’s a 10 day meditation retreat and I’m sure they have plenty of centers in India. It’s all donation based. I, an many other people, have nothing but good things to say about it.

    You can check out my article about Vipassana below if you’re interested. I HIGHLY recommend it, it’s a deep surgical operation on your mind. And you pay what you think it’s worth.

    1. Been hearing a lot about Vipassana lately, Trevor. Definitely sounds like something worth trying, and I may give it a shot in the coming months. Thanks for all the info you provide in that article. Good stuff.

  3. Hey man, Congrats on breaking the $1k mark again! I’ve managed to do the same for the second month in a row, so am pretty hyped about future possibilities now!

    1 Question- how do you keep track of finances? I’d like to do the same for myself- is there a decent program you recommend?

    Good luck for Feb!

    1. Hey Rob. Congrats to you, man. More power to ya!

      See my response to Owen’s comment above for more on how I keep track of my finances. I record everything in a Google Docs spreadsheet, a new tab every month, nothing fancy.

  4. Your expenses with regards accommodation should begin to go down now you’re heading out of Europe and as long as you’re able to keep the income at the same level you should have a few shekels spare at the end of the month from now on.

    Looking forward to see the adventure unfold!

  5. Hey bro, everything you’re doing is awesome! As someone doing the same thing in terms of business and lifestyle, I enjoy the breakdown of the finances, seeing your thoughts, and the outlook moving forward.

    I am excited to hear about your journey on the trek to India! Follow your gut and follow your heart.. the path will always be revealed.

  6. Great post Niall. Great to see things picking up for you. Here’s to more green numbers in these reports.

    I’m considering doing something similar myself(not online now – I wouldn’t have your confidence to share my spending habits with the world). Any tips?

    I suppose it’s quite different in that I’m not self employed and paid a salary but nonetheless would like to hear how you actually keep track. I mean do you always carry a notebook to keep track or do you sit down at the end of the day and jot it out.



    1. Hey Owen. Good to hear from you, man.

      I keep track in a few different ways. Easiest for me is to just get a receipt for everything and keep them in my back pocket. Then at the end of the day or the next morning I go through them all. If I don’t get a receipt, I jot down the expense on a slip of paper or something.

      Other times I just remember what I spent and add the entries to my Google spreadsheet as soon as I can.

      Don’t worry if you forget a small expense every now and then, or if you forget an exact amount and have to estimate. Just do the best you can with it. You’ll never record everything exactly so no worries if it doesn’t balance out exactly at the end of the month.

      Hope that helps, man. Good luck with it.