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July 2011 Finance Report

Hola, all you legendary email subscribers.

Welcome to my July finance report. To give you a quick overview: The good news is that I spent less money this past month than any other this year. The bad news is that I failed to reach my income goal. Sad face.

As usual, I’ll share with you all the details below, along with a few notes that I think you’ll find interesting. Let’s dive in…

July Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 185
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 33
Total € 218

I spent €67 less here compared to last month, mostly because I stayed put in Burgos and didn’t eat out much.

Housing and Utilities

Rent € 200
Total € 200

Same as last month. My apartment here in Spain is nothing fancy, but it suits me perfectly and the price is excellent. Included in that €200 are all the usual utility bills, plus high-speed Internet. I’ll be moving out next week and hitting the road for a spell.


Total € 0

While I could classify several of my miscellaneous expenses (see below) as travel expenses, I’ve decided to keep this category solely for things like bus tickets and visa expenses. You know, the essentials. And since I didn’t leave Burgos last month, my travel expenses amounted to nada. Pretty sure we’ll be seeing an increase for August 😉

Business Expenses

oDesk virtual assistants (see notes below) € 26
Domain registrations and renewals € 21
MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription, see notes) € 14
Ecwid shopping cart (monthly subscription, see notes) € 13
Mobile phone credit € 10
E-junkie shopping cart (see notes) € 4
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription, see notes) € 3
Total € 91

Way down from the June total of €234 here. Helps that I have my Dreamhost and AWeber subscriptions paid up in advance.

oDesk Virtual Assistants

Throughout May and June you saw me investing a chunk of money in affiliate marketing, buying up software and the like. Given that I wasn’t seeing much return on those investments, this past month I decided to switch things up a little and hire a VA for some SEO work, as well as some travel research. I’m not sure yet if this SEO experiment is working, but I’ll stick with it for at least another month since it’s costing me very little.

MS Remote Desktop

Some recent software I’ve purchased only works on PC, and I only have a Mac, so I found this nifty service called MS Remote Desktop which gives me remote access to my own private Windows desktop. It also means I have access to a machine with a US IP address, which comes in handy every now and then 😉

Shopping Carts

I needed a shopping cart solution for the $50 Dollar Blogs service I launched a few weeks back. I tried out E-junkie’s cart first but quickly found it didn’t suit my needs, so that turned out to be a waste of $5. I then discovered Ecwid, and I’ve been pretty pleased with that so far. They have an excellent free version that I launched my service with, but since decided to upgrade to their Silver plan so I could offer discount coupons. The only thing I’m not really satisfied with is their affiliate system.


Just started experimenting with this a week ago and the jury’s still out. I’ll give more detail and report on my findings in my next Site Progress Report.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Deuter Futura Pro 42 Backpack (see notes below) € 119
Several items on Amazon.com (see notes) € 16
Cinema and movie rentals € 16
Donation to St. Baldricks via my buddy Alex € 7
Thank you gift for my buddy Spyros € 7
Book: Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil (Spanish edition) € 5
Postcard and stamp (hola, Abuela!) € 1
iPhone app: ICOON global picture dictionary € 1
Chase foreign transaction fee € 1
Love Drop subscription € 1
Total € 174

Some notes on the above…

A few items for my travels
Since I’m just two months away from embarking on my sure-to-be-epic RTW adventure, I decided to invest in a few items that should help me on my journey. The big purchase was the Deuter Futura backpack, which I bought online from this Spanish website. I originally ordered the 38 Litre version but it was out of stock. Kinda glad now though because I can just about fit everything I want to bring with me in the 42.

I also ordered several items from Amazon.com and had them delivered to my friend Spyros in the US, who then forwarded them along to me here in Spain. Here’s what I got:

  • 2 ALOKSAK Water/Sand Proof Dry Bags (32×16)
  • 3 pairs of ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs
  • Rick Steves Travel Gear Clothesline
  • MSR Packtowl Original (medium)
  • CE Compass Cover Case for Kindle

All of those things should have cost me at total of $113.24, but thanks to a bunch of Amazon vouchers I had saved up, plus a one month free trial of Amazon Prime, they cost me just $2.66. Add on $21 though to get them shipped across the Atlantic.

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.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 218
Housing and Utilities € 200
Travel € 0
Business Expenses € 91
Miscellaneous expenses € 174
Total Expenses € 683

That total is exactly $400 less than last month’s. Yayness.

July Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

$50 blogs € 114
A Course In Courage subscriptions € 78
Donations (muchas gracias!) € 39
Interest on savings € 2
Affiliate payment for one sale of You Don’t Need a Job, You Need Guts € 1
Total Income € 234

You may remember last month that I stated my goal was to earn €500 in July. As you can see from above, I’ve fallen well short of that. Not about to get down on myself though as I’ve been pretty pleased with the response to my $50 blogs service so far, and I’m due a nice chunk of commission from HostGator for the work I’ve already done.

My goal for August is to earn at least €1000, and I’m actually pretty confident that I can accomplish that, despite the fact that I’ll be on the road for a significant stretch as I wind my way back to Ireland via land and sea.

Sobre los impuestos

You may also have noticed that I’m no longer deducting 20% tax from my income and putting that aside. Why? Because of a very interesting chat I recently had with the legendary folks over at Parfrey Murphy. See, since I’m not living in Ireland for more than 183 days a year, I can’t be considered a permanent resident, and so I’m under no obligation to pay taxes there. The same is true for other countries, though the day-count tends to vary a bit.

Given than I don’t intend to live in any one country for more than four months at a time for the next few years, it seems I won’t be obligated to pay taxes anywhere. Which is nice.

Where that leaves me

Adding back in the €635 I’d set aside for taxes already this year, I had €5,678 to my name at the end of June. After applying the most recent exchange rate (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased slightly to €5,688. Taking into account all my July expenses, earnings and taxes, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €5,237.

A quick summary of how I’m doing so far this year (figures readjusted given the new situation with taxes):

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

Outlook for August

One thing I’ve learned pretty quick about freelancing: You’re never guaranteed a job until the money’s sitting in your bank account. I was sure I had two nice gigs lined up last month, only to see them both fall through at the last minute. So while I hope to crack that €1000 mark this month, I’m not going to rest easy and hope that some of the freelance offers currently on my plate turn into real paid work. Nope, gotta hustle hard, even when I’m on the move.

As regards expenses, I’m not really sure what to expect this month. I’m already off to a costly start, and I suspect traveling up through Spain and France to get back to Ireland won’t be very cheap. And then there are a couple of online courses I intend to invest in. Given all that, I’ll be extremely surprised if I manage to spend less than €1000 before September rolls around.

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. You mentioned that you are very good with internet design. Here’s my quick thoughts, which are probably some of the same thoughts you’ve had. What if you could find a few sites that need help year round. It would be cool if you could find a site where it would be a symbiotic relationship. Say a web site that deals with travel or travel clothing, then they could perhaps talk a bit about you and how they’re helping to support your life style. Or possibly some web site that would pride itself on being independent and wants to put that type of message out. I’m thinking like maybe a micro brewery or something. The ultimate would be to make how-to e-books, once the work is done you simply collect the money from your copyright material. Easy to say, but there again, it all comes down to marketing. It will all fall into place soon I’m sure!

    1. Thanks, Ty. I appreciate the ideas. Forming a relationship with existing sites is something I hadn’t really thought about and is definitely worth exploring. These next six weeks or so will be big for me, hoping to get some good and consistent money flowing before I take off traveling again.


  2. 42 Litres?! Mate, I’ve got a 65+10 backpack, and even then I have a trouble fitting in everything I need for the trip. And I’m planning to travel for just a few months!

    Teach me your travel magic, sensei 🙂

    1. Haha, I don’t think I have it all figured out just yet. I’m getting rid of quite a few items so I can fit everything into my 42L. I might end up regretting that!

      I’ll have a post and a video out before the end of the week showing everything I’m traveling with. Methinks you’ll find that interesting.

      Thanks for the comments, man.

      1. Ah, right. I’m traveling through colder climates, and also with a sleeping bag, sleeping mat and a small pillow. I guess we’re both talking about different kinds of travel 🙂

  3. Can you play any instruments? I’d play music on the streets for some extra money while traveling if I could!

      1. I’d personally definitely recommend learning to play the guitar. I’ve been playing the piano for years, and I love it. But I picked up the guitar a bit under a year ago, and it’s just so much more fun to play with other people around! (Plus, you know, you can carry it around.)

      2. Very cool, Vlad. I love that social aspect of playing guitar. The top three instruments I want to learn are that, piano and harmonica. I figure harmonica is the ultimate travel instrument 🙂

  4. Only a euro for the affiliate commission on “you don’t need guts”? I’d be having a word to Ambirge about that one…

  5. Dude, HITCHHIKE back to Liverpool or Wales to get a Ferry back. Or there’s this site http://www.rideshare.co.uk/ which you might find something on.

    I’d definitely recommend the hitching though. I hitched 2k miles from York to Marrakesh a couple of years ago and it was amazing!

    1. Wow. York to Marrakesh! That is pretty damn cool.

      It’s amazing the different reactions I’ve gotten from people about my hitchhiking plan. Some folks look at me like I have a death wish and tell me it will be impossible to hitch back to Ireland, while with other folks I see their eyes light up and they’re sure I’ll have a blast doing it.

      Anyways, I won’t be going through the UK on this trip, hoping instead to get a ferry direct from France to Ireland. I’ll be passing through the UK in October though, on my way to Germany 🙂

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