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June 2012 Finance Report

Namaste to all you legendary email subscribers. Welcome to my June finance report, coming at you from the monsoon-drenched city of Kathmandu.

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 landlord, his son, and all the building staff at my old apartment in Lazimpat, all of whom regularly went out of their way to help me out and make me feel welcome.
  • My current landlord for giving me a pretty good deal on the cottage, and buying a new fridge for the place especially for me.
  • Various other landlords and estate agents for taking the time to show me their rental properties last month.
  • That Andrew Caldwell chap, for treating me to several meals while in town, and giving me a bunch of great business and blog ideas.
  • Aussie couple Vanessa and Glenn; very cool people who’ve driven from London to Kathmandu on a motorcycle, and who proved to be great company several times last month.
  • My friend Preim let me work from his office in Lazimpat several times, gifted me a pair of sunglasses, and gave me the opportunity to practice a little public speaking as part of a business presentation he was doing.
  • Jackie and Subarna for inviting me out to the House of Music in Thamel.
  • My buddy Niraj, who’s been my regular partner in mischief and adventure here in Kathmandu, and who also helped me out several times on various missions around town.
  • The Japanese couple who run the coffee shop I often work from, always very courteous and accommodating.
  • 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…

May Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 133
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 214
Total € 347

Down €30 from last month. Once again I was working mostly from coffee shops in Kathmandu, so had to buy a lot of tea and coffee I didn’t particularly want. As Andrew C can attest though, I’m quite good at nursing the one cuppa for several hours 😉

Oh, and I should note that more than half of my grocery money was spent on milk. A gallon a day ain’t cheap!

Housing and Utilities

One month prepaid rent for Sun Rise Cottage € 210
One night at the Royal Grand Hotel, Kathmandu € 9
Total € 219

Rent for my new place in Kathmandu is about half that of the old, with much faster and more reliable wifi. Niceness.


26-day scooter rental (including petrol and parking) € 126
Taxis in Kathmandu € 3
Total  € 129

Down from €216 last month. Having moved more to the heart of Kathmandu, I won’t be needing the scooter so much in July.

Business Expenses

Dreamhost web hosting (12 months) € 96
AWeber email marketing (3 month subscription, plus extra charge for 500+ subscribers) € 47
WooThemes Developer Club (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 20
Post Affiliate Pro (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 15
Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 13
Domain renewals € 10
Internet cafes / wifi charges € 10
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription) € 3
Total € 214

Up €20 from last month. Some notes…

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

“Loans” to friends in Kathmandu € 91
Donation to One Girl € 80
Donation to my buddy Momekh, taking on a triathlon to raise money for RightToPlay € 62
Donation to Heifer International (Mastermind penalty) € 16
Donation to TWLOHA (Mastermind penalty) € 16
Donation to Be The Match (Mastermind penalty) € 16
Pastries for street kid in Thamel € 1
Total € 282

Way up from the €100 I donated last month. As noted previously, my goal is to donate or give away at least ten percent of my income this year. June proved to be my best month income-wise so far in 2012, so I stepped up my giving to make amends for short-changing charities on previous months. I’m now at 9% for the year.

I’ve had bad experiences in the past with lending money to friends, and so I’ve felt very uncomfortable doing so for several years now. But recently I’ve had a change of heart, coming to the conclusion that it’s a bit silly to be giving money away to strangers while simultaneously being reluctant to help out a friend who’s low on cash.

So, my new policy is to help out friends financially when I can, with one caveat: I only loan them an amount I’m comfortable never getting back. I view it as a donation instead of a loan. That way, if they never repay me, I won’t hold a grudge and our friendship won’t suffer. And if they do pay me back, then I can just turn around and donate the same money to a charity.

Also: One thing I like to do when giving money to friends, is to give them more than they ask for, with the instruction to pay forward the extra sum. I like to think this changes their frame a bit, taking them from a mindset of indebtedness to one of generosity. The latter always feels better.

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 $40 donation to charity ($20 to each charity designated by the other group members).

Miscellaneous Expenses

Adult Friend Finder (3 month subscription) € 55
Homemade kettlebell (as shown in this video) € 52
ATM malfunction € 40
Book: How To Live A Life Of Travel € 22
Shirt € 21
Phone credit € 20
Gym membership € 20
Book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion € 10
Laundry (several loads) € 9
Book: Sex at Dawn € 9
Toiletries € 8
Book: Imagine: How Creativity Works € 6
AIB banking fee € 6
Subscription to Raam Dev’s Journal € 5
Haircut € 5
Admission to House of Music in Kathmandu € 3
Book: Brain Power € 2
Chase/Amazon credit card fee € 2
Dare penalty, paid to a friend in Kathmandu € 1
Marker € 1
Rehydration salts € 1
Stamps € 1
Total € 299

Up from €173 last month. A few notes…

Adult Friend Finder
I wrote about signing up for this service a few months back. Honestly, I haven’t gotten nearly as much out of it as I hoped I would. It seems most of the girls on AFF in this part of the world (India/Nepal) are either escorts/prostitutes or looking for a sugar daddy. I was hoping to find the odd cool chick on the hunt for casual fun times, but they seem to be few and far between. Since signing up, I’ve actually only met one girl from the site, though I like to think that experience alone was worth the subscription fee 😉

Anyways, like a fool I left my subscription on auto-renew and ended up with another three months of AFF. Since I’ll be in Nepal until late August, I’m thinking the subscription is pretty much useless to me. I was going to offer to blank my account and let a frisky reader on here have access to it, but not sure I can trust just anyone to keep auto-renew off. Don’t want to be stuck paying for other people’s sexual adventures!

ATM malfunction
This sucked. I went to withdraw money from an ATM here in Kathmandu, entered my pin, hit the required amount, and then watched the damn thing flip back to the welcome screen. I checked my account online later and saw that the amount had been deducted from my account, even though I never received any cash. I called the bank who owned the ATM, and they told me I’d have to file a complaint with my bank and have them sort it out. After a few minutes of deliberation I figured it wasn’t worth my time to try for a resolution. It would probably take at least an hour of emails and phone calls, an hour which I could alternatively spend doing freelance web design and earn more money than I lost.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 347
Housing and Utilities € 219
Travel € 129
Business Expenses € 214
Gifts and Donations € 282
Miscellaneous expenses € 299
Total Expenses € 1,490

Jumped quite a bit from the €1,075 I spent in May, and way over my goal to spend €1k or less per month. Only real expense that I regret last month though was the Adult Friend Finder subscription renewal. Everything else was fair game methinks.

June Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 1,543
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 135
Location Rebel affiliate payment € 117
Unique Article Wizard affiliate payment € 81
AWeber affiliate payment € 55
A Course In Courage € 52
$50 Blogs € 39
Amazon.com affiliate payment € 10
Total Income € 2,032

Aw yeah.

Way up from May’s income of €1,161, and the most I’ve earned in a single month since I started working for myself back in December 2010.

I purposely started taking on a lot more freelance web projects in June, and I’ll continue to do so in July as I look to earn enough to take a few weeks off for trekking and such in August.

With the work flooding in, I raised my freelance rate once again, so I now charge $80 per hour for web design. I’ve also been saying no to bigger, longer-term projects, preferring those which don’t require much planning and that I can plow through quickly. I find bigger projects make me feel a bit too much like web design careerist, which interferes with this new self-image I’m trying to cultivate: me as a writer.

Where that leaves me

I had €2,583 to my name at the end of May. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had decreased slightly to €2,448. Taking into account all my June income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,121.

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

Outlook for July

More of the same, hopefully. My expenses should be a lower this month. For one thing, my new living situation saves me money in several ways. For another, I’m pretty determined to spend less than €1k, something I haven’t managed since last December. On the other side of the ledger, I doubt I’ll be able to replicate June’s web design earnings, but cracking the €1k mark should be doable.

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. Josh Lipovetsky

    “Don’t want to be stuck paying for other people’s sexual adventures!”

    Quite a pickle you got yourself in, Mr. Doherty.

    1. Hey Terry,

      It’s nothing official. My and two like-minded friends get together every two weeks on Skype to discuss our goals, hold ourselves accountable, and brainstorm some ideas. Inevitably, some ideas emerge from every call that no individual can take full credit for.

      If you want to start your own, just reach out to a couple of people you admire and ask them if they’d be interested. You can meet via Skype or in person.

      We structure our calls like this (each call lasting one hour):

      — 5-minute check-ins, where each person talks about what they’ve been working on since the last call.

      — 30 minutes of brainstorming. Sometimes we just brainstorm one idea/topic for the entire half hour; other times we tackle multiple.

      — 5-minute wrap-ups, where each person talks about what they’re going to be working on for the next two weeks, and sets a goal they hope to reach (for which they’ll be held accountable).

      Hope that helps!

  2. I second the appreciation of your transparency, especially regarding women and your businesses.

    Concerning the ATM malfunction, when I get ripped off or unfairly taken, I sometimes choose to pursue a resolution not because it will profit me, but because it will profit others in the future. How many other people had bad days because that particular ATM didn’t work? Your call may have made the difference in getting the machine fixed and thus sparing others your same fate.

    1. Fair point, Scott. If it was in Ireland, I may have pursued it. But as a friend of mine said, it’s like Kathmandu is being run by school children. I sincerely doubt that any action I took would have resulted in that machine being fixed.

  3. Congratulations on the green! 😀

    It’s interesting to me to see the “diminishing returns”. Looks like your $50 blog is not much of a money spinner, but your web design and affiliate work earns a lot more. Have you done an overall total to see how it adds up? While monthly figures are helpful, a year-to-date overview may be quite revealing.

    Thanks, as always, for the honesty. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on the green numbers, Niall! I love how you give all the data, I just find it really interesting! Here’s me cheering you on 🙂

  5. Niall man, always a pleasure to read your monthly reports! When while scrolling and reading I had an internal “Yeah!!” once I saw your positive cashflow for June.

    Always cheering you on !

  6. Pics of chick you hooked up with!

    Also I like your strategy for helping friends…

    Rajan: Niall old buddy old pal… could you spot me 1000 rupees?
    Niall: (wiping milk off goattee) Sure mate – I’ve known you for nearly three days now… here’s 4000 rupee but you have to pay forward the overage to a charity… deal?
    Rajan: But of course!

    Three hours later – at horse track
    Rajan: (at counter) give me 1000 rupees on horse named “Royal Wedding and another 2000 rupees on horse named “Charity Case”.

    Three days later….

    Rajan: (at market, sees Niall across the street) Oh Crikey, there’s that gullible English chap… (ducks into alley)

  7. Mate, I fucking love what you said about the ATM malfunction. I lost about €100 last year when I ‘recycled’ my old mobile phone on a website which later turned out to be fraudulent. I was pissed at first, but decided to drop it as there was nothing that could be done.

    None of my friends (some of whom you met) could understand why I didn’t peruse it further, but even apart from the money I could have made during the time I would have been complaining, I figured it wasn’t worth my bloody time – whatever else I intended to do with it.

    Good decision mate. Great report, I hope you’re damn well!

    1. Cheers, dude. Definitely hear you on that phone issue. Often times when you pursue those things you end up throwing good time and energy after a little money lost. Rarely worth it.

  8. This is totally awesome! The way you track it all, and then show it all. Your transparency is just too cool!

    Thanks for the inspiration as always man!

    I wonder if you can make it to London in September hehehe 😉

    Thanks again and rock. on.!