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January 2014 Finance Report

안녕하세요 to all you legendary email subscribers. This is my January finance report, as prepared from my favorite coffee shop in Gimhae, South Korea. I’m here until Tuesday, and then heading to Japan to catch a cargo ship across the Pacific.

I hope.

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 spent the entire month living in South Korea. Diving in…

January Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out € 153 $ 206
Groceries € 168 $ 227
Total € 321
$ 433

Up a bit from the €301/$413 I spent in December, but not bad considering food in Korea is ridiculously expensive. I cooked most of my own meals at home in January.

Housing and Utilities

Total € 0 $ 0

Down from €610/$839 in December. I didn’t spend any money on housing or utilities in January, as I prepaid rent for my apartment in Busan back in December, and the utilities were taken out of my deposit. I also spent a few nights at the end of the month crashing at a friend’s place in Gimhae, South Korea (not far from Busan).


Additional fee to book new cargo ship from Japan to Peru € 242 $ 326
World Nomads travel insurance (2 months) € 130 $ 176
Busan hospital checkup € 70 $ 95
Busan metro € 39 $ 52
Bus: Chiclayo, Peru to Guayaquil, Ecuador (ticket booked online) € 22 $ 29
Busan taxis € 15 $ 20
Gimhae public bus € 2 $ 2
Printing/scannind documents for cargo ship trip € 1 $ 1
Total € 520 $ 701

About the same as the €501/$688 I spent in December, though certainly not as much moving about. The extra $326 I had to pay for the cargo ship stings as it was through no fault of my own that I wasn’t allowed board the ship leaving Busan on January 29th.

I’m including the hospital checkup in travel expenses as that was specifically to get clearance to board the cargo ship. Total rip off really, as all they did was check my blood pressure, check a few boxes and stamp my form.

As for that bus from Peru to Ecuador, this was booked as “proof” for the Peruvian government that I don’t intend to stay in their country indefinitely. I’ll never get on that bus, as I’ll be heading to Bolivia after Peru, but I couldn’t book any bus to Bolivia online.

Business Expenses

Sigma 6 Personal Assistant € 819 $ 1,104
AWeber email marketing € 37 $ 50
PayPal fees € 14 $ 19
Domain renewals € 6 $ 8
Notebooks € 3 $ 4
Amazon Web Services (ebizfacts.com CDN) € 3 $ 4
Total € 882 $ 1,189

Down from €1292/$1775 last month, though the notable omission here is my monthly $599 payment for The Foundation, which for some reason was not charged to my credit card until February this time around.

I’ll tell you more about the Sigma 6 project further down. Other notes…

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

Busan street busker € 2 $ 3
Total € 2 $ 3

Down from last months’ donation total of €76/$104, and still far short of the goal to donate 15% of my income each month. It’s hard for me to justify giving away hundreds of dollars right now when my savings are pretty low.


Oooooh… Say It Again € 8 $ 10
Tenth of December € 7 $ 10
Natural Capitalism € 7 $ 10
Jesus’ Son € 7 $ 9
El Alquimista € 6 $ 8
Slaughterhouse Five € 4 $ 6
Total € 39 $ 53

Up from €8/$11 spent on books in December. I bought a bunch at the end of the month to help keep my mind busy on that cargo ship. Most of those links aren’t affiliate links as I’ve yet to actually read most of them.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Vitamin D3 € 12 $ 17
Toiletries € 10 $ 13
iTunes movie purchase: Benjamin Button € 8 $ 11
Observatory entry in Gimhae € 6 $ 8
Haircut € 4 $ 6
Jazz club entry in Busan € 4 $ 5
AIB credit card payment protection € 1 $ 1
Total € 45 $ 61

Down from the €105/$144 I spent on miscellaneous in December.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 321 $ 433
Housing and Utilities € 0 $ 0
Travel € 520 $ 701
Business Expenses € 882 $ 1,189
Gifts and Donations € 2 $ 3
Books € 39 $ 53
Miscellaneous expenses € 45 $ 61
Total Expenses € 1,809 $ 2,440

Way down from December’s expense total of €2,892/$3,974

January Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Coaching € 695 $ 938
Deposit back from Busan landlord € 62 $ 83
A Course In Courage € 53 $ 71
Freelance web design € 37 $ 50
Sigma 6 € 32 $ 43
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 17 $ 23
Amazon affiliate payment € 14 $ 19
Amazon book royalties € 8 $ 11
Total Income € 918 $ 1,238

Way down from December’s income total of €2,591/$3,561


I took on one “full-time” coaching client in January, as per this pitch. That worked out really well, and I collected the remaining $500 payment from him a few days ago (he paid the first $500 at the end of December). I was mostly showing him how to land more freelance clients for his web design business, and how to serve those clients better. In recent weeks I’ve also had two people approach me to coach them, and I’ve taken them on as part-time coaching clients, hence the additional coaching income this month.

Sigma 6 project
This was my main money-maker for the previous 14 months or so, but as explained here, I decided to leave it all behind. The business basically involved selling advertising on travel blogs, and I had an assistant take care of most of the work. I only had one small payment left to collect in January (the $43 listed above), but I still owed my assistant payment for the work she did for me in December, which accounts for the $1,104 business expense listed up above. I’m completely done with the whole thing now. Many people have called me crazy for leaving it behind — it was mostly passive income after all — but I have a lot more peace of mind having done so.

Where that leaves me

I had €4,036/$5,547 to my name at the end of December. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals had shifted slightly to €4,106/$5,538. Taking into account all my January income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,201/$4,317.

Outlook for February

My biggest expenses will be the $599 payment for The Foundation, a ferry ticket from Busan to Osaka, and 10 days of living expenses in Korea and Japan. Once I get on that ship on February 10th, all my room and board is essentially free for four weeks, as I’ve paid in advance for that.

Income won’t be very high either. I’m kind of in limbo right now as I can’t take on any big web design or coaching projects with these four weeks at sea looming. I’ll try do a few bits and pieces, but I doubt I’ll be able to bring in more than $500 unless I want to spend the entirety of my short time in Japan glued to my laptop.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

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  1. I hope that you will enjoy sailing from Japan to Peru. You had a very challenging time getting ready to sail from South Korea then you had a nightmare finding out the new rule. I am sure you will love it in South America. I have been to Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay. I would love to visit Peru in the future. Good luck with the rest of your amazing trip.