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June 2015 Finance Report

Well hello there o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my June finance report, as prepared from my kitchen table in Amsterdam.

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. Note that this past month saw me staying put in the Dutch capital.

Diving in…

June Expenses

Food & Drink

Eating out € 232 $ 257
Groceries € 244 $ 271
Total € 476
$ 528

Almost identical to the previous month. I figured I would have spent less on food since I was buying groceries and cooking a lot of my own meals throughout June. Still, it works out to less than $7 a meal, which isn’t too bad. For July I’ll see if I can keep it under $500.

Housing & Utilities

1 month’s rent, Amsterdam apartment € 1,150 $ 1,280
Security deposit, Amsterdam apartment € 1,150 $ 1,280
4 nights at Euphemia Hostel, Amsterdam € 110 $ 122
Total € 2,410
$ 2,682

Way up from €249/$272 last month, but no complaints here. I knew getting settled in Europe would cost me a bit, and I’m very happy with my apartment. A nice one-bed for €1,150/month within Amsterdam’s A-10 ring and with all utilities included is about as good as it gets.

Travel & Transport

Bicycle € 75 $ 83
Public transport in Amsterdam (mostly metro) € 41 $ 45
Total € 116
$ 128

Down from €319/348 spent on travel in May, when I finished my trip around the world without flying.

Business Expenses

Freelance To Win course € 178 $ 197
Web design outsourcing € 162 $ 180
Dreamhost web hosting € 108 $ 120
MacKeeper one year subscription € 59 $ 65
AWeber email marketing € 53 $ 59
PayPal fees € 49 $ 54
Elance Small Company membership (2 months) € 36 $ 40
MailChimp email marketing € 9 $ 10
Total € 654
$ 725

Way up from the €122/$133 I spent on business in May. Some notes on the above:

  • Freelance To Win course: I heard very good things from friends about this course by Danny Margulies and wanted to buy it and learn a few tricks I could share in my own, soon-to-be-released guide about working online. Rather than go through the course myself though, I asked my friend Jack in Ireland to do it. He’s just out of high school with no specialized tech skills but interested in working online. I figure if he can find a few web gigs using that course, the advice is solid. And so far, so good: Jack has found two paying clients within two weeks, so he’s off to a great start. (By the way, I’ll have an in-depth interview with Danny in my guide, which is scheduled for release on July 21st. Assuming you’re on my email list — and if you’re not you can sign up here — you’ll get plenty more info about my guide in the coming weeks.)
  • Elance Small Company membership (2 months): I bought this for Jack as it’s one of the ways Danny recommends having your profile appear more professional on Elance.
  • MailChimp email marketing: I still use Aweber as my primary email marketing software, but signed up for MailChimp as an experiment while playing around with some ideas for a travel agent.

Gifts & Donations

Fruit for hotel reception € 3 $ 3
Total € 3
$ 3

Way down from €52/$57 last month. I no longer have a specific goal for donations (I used to try give away 15% of my income), having decided to focus on building up a decent savings cushion before trying to save the world.


Amsterdam: A History Of The World’s Most Liberal City € 13 $ 14
The Fountainhead € 5 $ 6
Total € 18
$ 20

Numbers here are the exact same as last month. Loving both those books so far, even if The Fountainhead makes me feel stupid sometimes. You can see all my book recommendations over on Goodreads.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Levi jeans € 115 $ 128
Philips Food Processor € 81 $ 90
Phone credit (including Dutch SIM card) € 50 $ 55
16kg kettlebell € 40 $ 44
Bicycle locks € 32 $ 36
Brown leather belt € 25 $ 28
Yoga mat € 20 $ 22
Toiletries € 14 $ 15
Tailor (clothing repair) € 10 $ 11
Candles € 9 $ 10
Sunglasses € 8 $ 9
Washing detergent € 6 $ 7
Basketball scrimmage € 5 $ 6
Postage € 4 $ 4
Tupperware € 4 $ 4
Kitchen cleaning stuff (dish soap, cloths, etc.) € 3 $ 4
Sewing thread € 3 $ 3
iTunes movie rental: Swingers € 3 $ 3
Fabric softener € 2 $ 2
Postcard € 1 $ 1
Doorstops € 1 $ 1
Cigarette lighters € 1 $ 1
Incense € 1 $ 1
Total € 438
$ 485

Way up from €135/$147 last month. Getting settled in Amsterdam meant lots of miscellaneous expenses. And of course I had to buy some fancy new pants to impress the local ladies 😛

Expense Summary

Housing & Utilities € 2,410 $ 2,682
Business Expenses € 654 $ 725
Food & Drink € 476 $ 528
Miscellaneous expenses € 438 $ 485
Travel & Transport € 116 $ 128
Books € 18 $ 20
Gifts & Donations € 3 $ 3
Total Expenses € 4,124
$ 4,571

More than triple last month’s expense total of €1,377/$1,502. I was hoping — actually, more like wishing — to keep expenses below $4k in June but it wasn’t to be.

June Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 2,613 $ 2,896
Coaching € 27 $ 30
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 23 $ 25
Book sales (via Amazon) € 14 $ 15
Amazon Ach/Cred € 13 $ 14
Book sales (via ebizfacts.com/books) € 10 $ 11
Money found in public restroom (score!) € 4 $ 4
Total Income € 2,702
$ 2,995

Up from €1,766/$1,927 in June and right at my goal of pulling in $3k for the month, but alas, my green streak has come to an end: this was the first month since October of last year that my expenses exceeded my income.

(Of course, you could say that the streak came to an end last month, as it was only thanks to cash gifts from family and friends that I managed to stay in the green.)

Biggest regret?

A few purchases I wasn’t happy with in June:

  • Bicycle: It cost only €75 but I shouldn’t have bought it as (a) I had a strong suspicion that the guy I bought it from had stolen it, and (b) turns out I don’t really like riding that style of bike anyway. But not to worry, karma came along a few days ago when the bike was stolen from me, and I’ve since bought a better one from a proper bike shop. (You’ll see that expense in next month’s finance report.)
  • Yoga mat: I bought a cheap one online and it kinda sucks. It keeps slipping on my hardwood floor and I’ve found I can stretch better without it.
  • Tupperware: I bought some and then found loads tucked away in my kitchen cabinets. D’oh!

And yes, while I did spend $128 on one pair of pants last month, I don’t regret that expense. Them’s some nice pants!

Where that leaves me

I had €8,960/$9,776 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 €8,914/$9,881. Taking into account all my June income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €7,459/$8,268.

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

  • €174/$196 in January
  • €2,170/$2,355 in February
  • €608/$655 in March
  • €1,366/$1,526 in April
  • €389/$425 in May
  • €1,422/$1,576 in June
  • €3,285/$3,581 overall

Outlook for July

This will be another expensive month for me. A few days in and I’ve already made another rent payment (two months paid in advance), splashed out on a new bicycle, and booked flights to and from Ireland for August. That puts me $3k in the red and we’re only a week deep! Keeping under $4k for the month should be doable though.

As for income, well, it’ll be interesting. I don’t have a lot of client work lined up for July, but that’s intentional as I’ve tried to clear my schedule so I can devote more time and energy to getting my guide to working online and traveling the world finished and launched on the 21st. A successful launch would mean at least $5k in revenue. If everything goes really well, I could hit five figures, which would easily be a new personal best for a single month.

But I won’t get my hopes up too high. I’ll be very satisfied with $5k in income this month. That would mean the guide was well received and should put me comfortably back in the green.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

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  1. Just thinking the guy that sold you the bike might steal it back from you again. Lol.

    I didn’t know about Freelance To Win. Just checked out and great copy written I must say! My biggest concern about going after sites like Elance is exactly like what he said, fearing of too much competitions that drive the prices down. Looks like the guy has taken a completely different approach and know something that most of us don’t. I know you get most clients through referrals, but would you consider trying Elance yourself?

      1. I read your story by accident actually on Irish Times. It’s been impressive, and is that you who designed the course FreelancetoWin.com? I’d like to have a talk with you, and probably you can have a look at my profile on Upwork? Thanks.