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June 2014 Finance Report

Bem-vindo o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my June 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…

June Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out € 132 $ 180
Groceries € 217 $ 297
Total € 349
$ 477

About the same as the €335/$456 I spent in May. I thought I’d spend less here since I’ve been cooking most of my own meals, but groceries aren’t cheap, especially when I’m trying to eat healthy (i.e. lots of fresh fruit and veg). Not sure I can eat much cheaper in Brazil without an unreasonable measure of inconvenience.

Housing and Utilities

Rent at Casa Gringo in Belo Horizonte (1 month) € 494 $ 676
Total € 494 $ 676

Down from €845/$1,152 last month, when I spent quite a bit on accommodation while traveling through Bolivia and Brazil. The rent on our apartment here in BH is very high, but about as good a deal as can be found for short-term rentals during the World Cup.


Taxis in Belo Horizonte € 14 $ 19
Local bus in Belo Horizonte € 2 $ 3
Total € 16 $ 22

Way down from €180/$246 last month, since I didn’t leave Belo Horizonte at all in June. A welcome change from all the moving about I was doing the previous month!

Business Expenses

Web design outsourcing € 365 $ 500
Dreamhost web hosting € 87 $ 119
PayPal fees € 63 $ 86
AWeber email marketing € 58 $ 79
Bidsketch (one month subscription) € 21 $ 29
Skype credit € 18 $ 25
Domain renewal € 10 $ 13
Total € 622 $ 851

Down a little from €687/$936 in May. Bidsketch is a web app that helps speed up the process of creating and submitting web design proposals to potential clients.

Gifts and Donations

Total € 0 $ 0

Same as May, and way short of my goal to donate 15% of my income each month. I’ve been holding back on the donations for several months now. In 2013 gave away $7,000 and ended up minus about that much for the year. While I’ll still try to hit that 15% mark overall this year, I won’t be selling myself short to do it.


Great by Choice € 12 $ 16
Daily Rituals € 9 $ 12
The Lessons of History € 8 $ 11
Neverwhere € 2 $ 3
Wooden € 1 $ 2
Total € 32 $ 44

Up from zero spent on books last month. I had cut back on the reading (my usual pace is a book a week), but found I was really missing it. Quick reviews:

  • Great by Choice: Excellent, research-based business book with clear takeaways.
  • Daily Rituals: Fascinating look at the daily routines of famous creatives.
  • The Lessons of History: Difficult to find clear takeaways from this one.
  • Neverwhere: Fantasy novel. Not my cup of tea.
  • Wooden: Deep wisdom in here. Worth reading several times.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Olk casual shoes € 42 $ 57
Club and bar entry fees in Belo Horizonte € 26 $ 35
Phone credit € 23 $ 31
Forro dance classes (4) € 13 $ 18
3 pairs of sports socks € 9 $ 13
Cinema: X-Men Days of Future Past € 9 $ 12
Toiletries € 6 $ 8
Tailor fee for stitching up the arse of my pants € 6 $ 8
Air fresheners € 5 $ 8
Laundry detergent € 2 $ 3
Superglue € 2 $ 3
Total € 143 $ 196

Down from the €616/$840 I spent on miscellaneous in May.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 349 $ 477
Housing and Utilities € 494 $ 676
Travel € 16 $ 22
Business Expenses € 622 $ 851
Gifts and Donations € 0 $ 0
Books € 32 $ 44
Miscellaneous expenses € 143 $ 196
Total Expenses € 1,656 $ 2,266

Down quite a bit from May’s expense total €2,663/$3630.

Biggest regret?
I can’t say I have any spending regrets from last month. Of course I’d rather my rent was cheaper and groceries weren’t so expensive, but like I said, I don’t think it’s possible to reduce those expenses without going to a lot of time and effort.

June Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 1,385 $ 1,895
Book sales from Amazon € 361 $ 494
World Nomads insurance payout € 352 $ 482
Coaching € 351 $ 480
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 91 $ 124
Amazon affiliate income € 63 $ 86
Book sales: The Cargo Ship Diaries (direct from ebizfacts.com) € 48 $ 65
Chase credit card rewards credit € 38 $ 52
Total Income € 2,689 $ 3,678

More than double the €1,269/$1,730 I pulled in the previous month.

I’m actually a little disappointed with those totals, as I felt I worked non-stop in June and should really have more to show for it. I’ve been (re)learning some hard lessons about pricing and client management.

The insurance payout was for my €472/$643 hospital bill in Bolivia at the start of May.

The big payment from Amazon was due to sales of The Cargo Ship Diaries when it was first released in April. The book has done quite well overall — especially considering my shoddy marketing efforts — selling a few hundred copies and earning overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Where that leaves me

I had €1,642/$2,239 to my name at the end of May. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals shifted a little to €1,637/$2,239. Taking into account all my June income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €2,737/$3,744.

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
  • €1,291/$1,733 overall

Outlook for July

Expenses shouldn’t be much different to June, as I’ll be staying put in Belo Horizonte again for the entire month. Income I’m not so sure about. A few freelance projects are up in the air. If I manage those well, I may be able to eclipse last month’s income total.

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.

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  1. Good to see your back in the green. I see you have a subscription to Bidsketch. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

    1. Hey Josh. I like Bidsketch a lot, but really only worth using if you’re submitting a lot of proposals, like one a week minimum I think. I cancelled my subscription because I wasn’t using it enough. I was also curious to use it though because I was thinking of creating some similar software for a different niche.

  2. Niall, keep going buddy!

    I have one question for you:
    – Do you regret your decision of quitting your “passive” income of 2013?

    Personally I – respectfully – regret this for you, I feel that you wouldn’t have had these money issues and that you could focus more on the software business, the things that will be a big breakthrough.

    Why don’t you go back to that river of cashflow?

    Cheers, keep it up

    1. Still no regrets about that, Valentin. That business didn’t fit with my values, and even though this has been a tough year for me financially, I at least feel like I’m being a lot more true to myself.

  3. I’m still looking to know if The Foundation investment was worth it. There’s still no green from it, but I thought you were pretty far in.

    Also, like Angela, the past few emails have been showing up as spam for me as well.

    1. Hi Radhika,

      You may have a different issue thank Angela above. Sounds like my emails arrive in her inbox but the links in the emails don’t work quite right. Is that what you’re experiencing?

      As for The Foundation, I like to think it’s been worth it for me so far with everything I’ve learned, but until those lessons translate into a successful software business, I doubt I’ll convince many people of that 🙂

  4. Hey – I noticed you use aweber marketing for email. I use some software that automatically blocks “junky” websites and it tends to block aweber. There have been a few times I haven’t been able to access things you’ve linked to in your newsletter because the aweber link gets blocked. If its something I’m really interested in I usually can find it with some quick searching but its an extra step that sometimes I don’t want to (or don’t remember to) take.
    I like looking at your reports (and btw accessing them is rarely an issue) and it just clicked with me that this aweber thing is something you pay for and I wanted to let you know from the users end that sometimes it gets in the way.

    1. Hi Angela,

      Thanks for the heads up on that. What is the blocking software you’re using? I can contact Aweber and let them know that there’s a problem there.

      Thanks again.

  5. Hi Niall,
    Are you going to share your (re)learned knowledge in upcoming blog posts?

    All the best in July.

    1. I’d love to be doing more writing, but I’ve had to put the blogging on hold for now so I can focus on getting my business stuff right. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’ll be spilling all the beans on there again 🙂

  6. Hi Niall. It is fantastic to see you back into the green in your June expenses. Well done for eating out less because self catering is cheaper. I am pleased you got you travel insurance payout for your medical bill. I am glad The Cargo Ship Diaries is selling well to customers. I hope that your trip continues to go well and your expenses stay similar.

  7. Niall….this 15pc a month donation target is unworkable and a particularly american tactic rooted in biblical studies. in my own research, this kept being rejected ….it’s better to earn your money and spend it consciously….giving away money is usually to a place where it is simply contributing to waste……money is blood in your financial body, corral it and keep it in your control until you are so strong that you can be sure it’s is having a real effect
    Philanthropy is for people who have it to give…..keep it under ur control until such time as you have excess and from there give liberally to your hearts content
    the fact you were down at the end of the year by the amount which you gave away is a signal to you that it wasn’t in your interest to give
    you are a patient in a hospital giving blood donations….wait…then u can catch up when u are healthy and strong
    the yanks will disagree but that’s fine, it’s their stuff to deal with
    if you must, there was a book written by a man named victor boc in the 80s he said 5pc was more than enough …. however i suspect if you listen to your heart you will agree you don’t need to donate yet , you’re not strong enough ….nature will let you off until such time as you are a leader in your life and can allocate money where it was will be put to good use
    charities are shocking wasters of money – sad but true…it’s just a fact of life, they supply the demand that people have to give away their money and ease their consciences….so your donations help to support and prolong this situation….it’s not smart use of money…..you are a work-in-progress, build like crazy then donate well after your cup overflows

    1. Nelson Edward Montz

      Good analysis, Lou. I’m a Yank- have given mightily, when I had it. Think Niall is coming along, but young people need to rule their roost. It is one think, to help an individual, who you are positive isn’t peeing it away in other activities.That’s a good feeling! Anyone can do that with restraint. The Man Upstairs said to give from the increase, but your house better be in order.

    2. Well said Lou. Niall appreciate your generosity and commend you for your desire to help to improve the world, however I would encourage you to heed Lou’s advice. Many of us want to help out where ever we can. However it makes little sense if you damage yourself (Financially or physically) and end up needing to be rescued yourself.
      Great to see you getting back into the green and back on your feet. Your hard work is highly commendable. May things continue to improve for you and your dreams come true.