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July 2012 Finance Report

Namaste to all you legendary email subscribers. Welcome to my July finance report, as prepared right before I disappeared into my own mind for a 10-day meditation retreat.


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.

But before we get to that, let me throw out some of the many kindnesses that came my way last month. All told, they ended up saving me a good chunk of money or just making my life better in some shape or form…

Paid in Kindness

  • The security guards at Swayambhunath, who let me run to the top of the steps without paying the tourist fee.
  • My buddy Enwil gave me a small figurine that his grandmother gave to him, said it will bring me luck, has good energy, and that every time I look at it, it should make me smile. Working well so far. Enwil also helped me out running a few errands last weekend, bringing me around town on his bike and negotiating on my behalf with other Nepalese.
  • The guys I rent a scooter from accepted a cash deposit instead of holding onto my passport so I could go get my Nepalese visa extended.
  • Everyone at the Umbrella Foundation here in Nepal — especially Jack, Mac and Shane — for helping me do research for an article I intend to write about Irish people volunteering and making a difference in Nepal. They also invited me to have breakfast and meet the kids at one of the children’s homes.
  • Rachel and Evette from Team Nepal. Same deal as above. I’ve met a surprising amount of Irish here in Kathmandu doing volunteer work.
  • Several newspaper and magazine editors for hearing me out and giving me a shot to impress them with my writing.
  • My buddy Niraj for finding me an Irish flag and a good umbrella in Kathmandu. He’s also letting me stash some of my belongings at his place while I’m away meditating.
  • Benny Lewis and Johnny Ward for helping me out with an article for a national Irish newspaper. Really happy with how that turned out.
  • My buddy Jay for letting me know about an excellent samosa place here in Kathmandu. Good food never cost so little.
  • The Japanese couple who run the coffee shop I often work from, always very courteous and accommodating, even loaned me an umbrella one evening so I could get home dry.
  • Kai, Spyros, and Ian. All members of my Mastermind group who helped me come up with some pretty good ideas in recent weeks.
  • And thanks to everyone who read, commented, and shared my writing during the month of June. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

(Note: The risk of listing out such kindnesses is that I may accidentally forget someone who was very kind to me during the previous month. My apologies if you did me a good turn and I haven’t mentioned you above. It’s not that I don’t appreciate your generosity; more likely that I just had a brain fart.)

Okay, let’s move on to the more numerical form of currency. Keep in mind that I spent all my time last month in Nepal. Diving in…

July Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 45
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 284
Total € 329

Down from €347 from last month. I was better able to work from home in July, since the wifi there is more reliable than the place I was staying in June. More reliable, but far from perfect. I still had to resort to coffee shops quite a bit to get my work done. That meant spending money on lots of teas and coffees I didn’t particularly want.

Housing and Utilities

Six days prepaid rent for Sun Rise Cottage € 45
One night at the Hotel Family Home, Kathmandu € 19
Total € 64

Way down from €219. I prepaid most of July’s rent back in June. The one night at the Hotel Family Home was so I could have reliable wifi to host a late webinar. Internet at my own place wasn’t cutting it.


Nepal 60-day visa extension € 99
Taxis in Kathmandu € 21
2-day scooter rental (including petrol and parking) € 12
Rickshaw in Kathmandu € 2
Total € 134

About the same as last month. Didn’t need the scooter so much in July since I moved to a more central part of town.

Business Expenses

Project Shwatantra € 141
AWeber email marketing € 25
Facebook ads (for $50 Blogs) € 25
WooThemes Developer Club (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 17
Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 16
Domain registrations € 16
Post Affiliate Pro (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 15
Internet cafes / wifi charges € 4
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription) € 3
Total € 262

Up about €40 from last month. Some notes…

Project Shwatantra
I’ll keep quiet on this for now, will likely write a post about it later in August.

Post Affiliate Pro
This is for the $50 Blogs affiliate program. If you’ve ever got a friend who needs a blog set up, send them my way. I’ll get them up and running good and fast, and you’ll get a 60% cut of whatever your friend pays. Win-win-win. You can sign up for the program here and grab your affiliate link.

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

Laptop for a friend in Kathmandu € 223
Donation to Tealet (Mastermind penalty) € 13
Donation to Heifer International (Mastermind penalty) € 12
Donation to Charity:Water (Mastermind penalty) € 12
Donations to The Umbrella Foundation € 8
Restaurant meal for an old man I met on the street € 1
Total € 269

About the same as last month, and I’ve now dragged my donations for the year above ten percent of my income, which is the goal.

Laptop for a friend
This actually ties in with Project Shwatantra. As I mentioned last month, I’ve decided to make more of my donations gifts to friends, rather than sending money to a charity I don’t know much about.

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 $45 donation to charity ($15 to each charity designated by the other group members).

Miscellaneous Expenses

Clothing (2 pants, 2 shirts) € 44
Book: The City & The City € 13
Cinema: Spider-Man € 12
Laundry (several loads) € 11
Gym sessions € 8
Toiletries € 8
Book: Ikigai € 7
Book: Do More Great Work € 7
Book: How I Became A Famous Novelist € 7
Flip flops € 6
Phone credit € 5
Book: The Warrior Ethos € 5
Subscription to Raam Dev’s Journal € 5
Shisha € 3
Hourly Chime app for iPhone € 3
Hydration salts € 3
iTunes movie rental: Louder Than A Bomb € 2
Haircut € 1
Postcards € 1
Total € 151

Half of what I spent on miscellaneous last month. Had to buy some comfy clothes for the meditation retreat, as shorts and jeans won’t cut it.

Also, everyone should watch that Louder Than A Bomb documentary. So good.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 329
Housing and Utilities € 64
Travel € 134
Business Expenses € 262
Gifts and Donations € 269
Miscellaneous expenses € 151
Total Expenses € 1,209

Down a bit from the €1,490 I spent in June, but still significantly over my goal to spend €1k or less per month.

July Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 593
$50 Blogs € 281
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 122
How To Live A Life Of Travel affiliate payment € 94
Google Adsense (ndoherty.biz) € 79
Referral commission from SEO friend € 24
Total Income € 1,193

Way down from the €2,032 I pulled in last month (a personal best since leaving 9-to-5), but I’m cool with this. I consciously spent a lot of time working on non-paid stuff, plus I have a good chunk of money still owed to me by clients.

Where that leaves me

I had €3,121 to my name at the end of June. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased slightly to €3,173. Taking into account all my July income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,113.

Here’s how I’m doing so far in 2012:

  • €24 in January
  • €554 in February
  • €947 in March
  • €1,289 in April
  • €86 in May
  • €542 in June
  • €16 in July

Outlook for August

Should be an interesting month. This 10-day meditation retreat at the beginning of August is donation-based, so we’ll see how much value I get from that and how much I decide to pay. I won’t be able to spend any money for the duration of the retreat, so I expect my monthly expenses will end up a good bit lower than usual.

As for income, I obviously won’t be able to work while meditating (no Internt access), so that will set me back a ways. I am expecting some significant client payments to come through at the start of the month though, so they should get me off to a decent start. Once I’m back from the retreat, I have a few paid projects lined up that I can dive into.

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. Very helpful, as always, Niall. Really helps satisfy my inner entrepreneurial voyeur. I especially like reading about your biz expenses to get ideas for which services I might look at using or switching over to.

    Wishing you an excellent retreat. I did two 10-day Vipassana retreats in silence many years back at Wat Suan Mokkh in Thailand (http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org/), and really got a lot out of them.

  2. Hi,

    You had quiet expenses this month, but you made some money. There are so many ways to save money and live on really low budget.
    I’ve been reading some websites about that and now after 2 years of savings I can “retire” young. I could have saved more, but it’s hard sometimes.I intend to travel a lot, but have to find a way to make some money. Probably blogging like you.

    1. I took them off last month. Mostly the ads generating cash were on the demo page for a jQuery widget I released a few years back, but I just handed control of that over to a friend of mine and redirected all the traffic his way.

  3. Good stuff Niall, and good to see some affiliate payments come through for ‘How to Live a Life of Travel’.

    That haircut cost a Euro!? You’ve been had…

    1. Only because I was with a Nepalese friend and he negotiated for me. Otherwise I’m sure they would have charged me four times as much. Which of course would still have been a reasonable price for such a fantastic new ‘do.