Bem-vindo o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my July finance report, as prepared from my apartment (aka Casa Gringo) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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 here in BH. Diving in…

July Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out € 138 $ 186
Groceries € 154 $ 207
Total € 292
$ 393

Down quite a bit from the €349/$477 I spent in June. I realized that it’s actually cheaper to eat out twice a day in Belo Horizonte, rather than buying groceries and cooking at home. The trick is to go to a sem balanca restaurant for lunch and get dinner to go while I’m there (store it in the fridge until evening). Works out to a little over eight dollars for two very healthy and filling meals.

That example highlights one of the hidden costs of travel: It can take a while to figure out where the best deals are in town, so you end up spending more than you have to your first few days/weeks/months in a place. Then by the time you do have it sussed, you’re on the move again :-/

Housing and Utilities

Rent at Casa Gringo in Belo Horizonte (1 month) € 504 $ 678
Total € 504 $ 678

Same as last month. We really got screwed on this, our last rent payment in Belo Horizonte. It wasn’t a bad price to pay while the World Cup was going on, but after that we could have probably found a better place for almost half the price. Unfortunately, we signed a three-month contract for Casa Gringo, so we were stuck with it.


90-day Brazilian visa extension € 22 $ 30
Taxis in Belo Horizonte € 5 $ 7
Total € 27 $ 37

Up a little from from €16/$22 last month. Once again, I stayed put the whole month in Belo Horizonte.

Business Expenses

Web design outsourcing € 521 $ 700
PayPal fees € 26 $ 35
AWeber email marketing € 22 $ 30
Skype credit € 19 $ 25
Total € 588 $ 790

Up from the €622/$851 I spent in June. I spent quite a bit on outsourcing to help get me through a few difficult freelance projects.

Gifts and Donations

Camera float strap giveaway on DtR Facebook page € 4 $ 6
Total € 4 $ 6

Up from nothing in June. In 2013 I gave away $7,000 and ended up minus about that much for the year. This year I was aiming to donate 15% of my income, but I’ve decided to drop that goal in light of some wise comments on last month’s report.


Einstein: His Life and Universe € 8 $ 11
Born Standing Up € 7 $ 9
Tuesdays With Morrie € 7 $ 9
The Great Santini € 1 $ 2
Total € 23 $ 31

Down a bit from the €32/$44 I spent on books in June. I also signed up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited which should save me a good bit of money given how much I read (up to two books per week now).

Quick reviews of the books listed above:

  • Einstein: Fascinating, not just for science geeks.
  • Born Standing Up: Steve Martin’s stand up years. Fun, insightful read.
  • Tuesdays With Morrie: Makes you think. Makes you cry.
  • The Great Santini: Solid novel with vivid characters.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Doctor check-up in Belo Horizonte € 84 $ 113
Bar/club/party entry fees in Belo Horizonte € 61 $ 82
Forro dance classes (3x weekly for one month) € 40 $ 54
Phone credit € 24 $ 32
iPhone cable € 16 $ 22
Toiletries € 11 $ 15
Headspace monthly subscription € 10 $ 13
Belo Horizonte walking tour € 4 $ 5
iTunes movie rental: The House I Live In € 3 $ 4
Total € 253 $ 340

Way up from the €143/$196 I spent on miscellaneous in June. The doctor I went to wasn’t great but he did give me peace of mind that the headaches I was having weren’t anything serious. Also, I’m surprised that I spent so much on nights out since I didn’t feel like I had a very active social life last month. Would have been a lot worse though if I was drinking!

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 292 $ 393
Housing and Utilities € 504 $ 678
Travel € 27 $ 37
Business Expenses € 588 $ 790
Gifts and Donations € 4 $ 6
Books € 23 $ 31
Miscellaneous expenses € 253 $ 340
Total Expenses € 1,692 $ 2,275

About the same as June’s expense total €1,656/$2,275.

July Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 681 $ 915
Book sales from Amazon € 103 $ 138
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 52 $ 70
Amazon affiliate income € 45 $ 60
Book sales: The Cargo Ship Diaries (direct from € 31 $ 42
Total Income € 912
$ 1,225

About a third of the €2,689/$3,678 I pulled in the previous month.

I’m disappointed with those totals, as I felt I worked non-stop in July and should really have more to show for it. I continued to suffer for some poor project pricing decisions I made back in April and May.

Biggest regret?

I don’t have any big spending regrets from last month. Really, my biggest regret is related to income, as I believe the freelance project that provided the bulk of my income last month actually cost me money. I spent way too much time working on it considering how little I was paid, and had to pass up other (likely more lucrative) job opportunities as a result.

When I think back to the initial discussions with the client about that project in May, I can now see all the red flags I ignored. Some hard lessons learned there.

Where that leaves me

I had €2,737/$3,744 to my name at the end of June. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals shifted a little to €2,781/$3,738. Taking into account all my July income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €1,982/$2,664.

Here’s how I’m doing so far this year:

  • €891/$1,202 in January
  • €550/$759 in February
  • €1,105/$1,525 in March
  • €1,616/$2,241 in April
  • €1,394/$1,900 in May
  • €1,033/$1,412 in June
  • €780/$1,050 in July
  • €2,071/$2,783 overall

Outlook for August

Expenses are not looking good given a big secret expense that I’ll share with you next month. I’ll be pretty happy if I can keep my total expenses for August under $2,500. Income should be pretty solid though, in the $3,500 vicinity, thanks to a bunch of projects I’ll be wrapping up.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

Archived finance reports

I’ve been posting these monthly finance reports since January, 2011. You can view all my old reports via this page.