Bienvenidos o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my March finance report, coming to you from the land of barking dogs and fantastic clouds (aka. Cusco, Peru).

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 first half of the month on that cargo ship across the Pacific (save for quick stops in Mexico and Panama), and the second half in Peru. Diving in…

March Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out € 188 $ 260
Groceries € 49 $ 67
Total € 237
$ 327

Up from the €157/$217 I spent in February. I spent quite freely eating out my first week or so in Peru, have been more conservative since.

Housing and Utilities

Rent at Casa Pepe (3 weeks) € 116 $ 160
Tierra Andina Hotel, Cusco (1 night) € 17 $ 24
The Flying Dog Hostel, Lima (1 night) € 9 $ 12
Total € 142 $ 196

Not far off last month’s total of €121/$167. The place I’m staying in Cusco is nothing fancy but it’s safe, comfortable, and has pretty good wifi.

Travel

Machu Picchu tour package (including transport and accommodation) € 144 $ 199
Lima-Cusco bus € 43 $ 59
Callao-Lima taxi € 11 $ 15
Cusco taxis € 5 $ 7
Panama City taxi € 4 $ 5
Manzanillo taxi € 3 $ 4
Manzanillo local bus € 1 $ 1
Total € 210 $ 290

Up a little from €175/$242 I spent on travel in February. That Machu Picchu package was a quick two-day trip, and it’s about as cheap as it gets. And yes, the place was awesome. I’ll go back some other time to do the full jungle trek.

Business Expenses

The Foundation € 434 $ 599
AWeber email marketing € 57 $ 79
A Course In Courage refund € 36 $ 50
Kindle formatting on Fiverr.com € 14 $ 20
Mic cable (for recording audio book) € 7 $ 9
Amazon Web Services (ebizfacts.com CDN) € 3 $ 4
Total € 551 $ 761

Up a bit from €474/$654 last month. Notes…

The Foundation
This is an online course teaching people how to build a software business. The $599 payment is one of six, due monthly. I haven’t taken advantage of the training materials the past two months, first because of travel and more recently because I need to focus on freelance work to get some income rolling. But I’m still happy with my investment in The Foundation and planning to devote a lot more time to it once I settle in Brazil in May.

Gifts and Donations

Bottle of rum for captain of the cargo ship € 13 $ 18
Hospital charge for friend € 3 $ 4
 Tip for street dude who told me about the stone of twelve angles € 1 $ 1
Total € 17
$ 23

Down from €72/$100 last month, and short of my goal to donate 15% of my income each month. I’ve been holding back on the donations for a few months now. Doesn’t make sense to be giving away money when my savings are running low.

Books

Total € 0 $ 0

Same as last month. No need for me to buying books right now with a bunch of good stuff unread on my Kindle.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Samsonite backpack € 54 $ 75
Toiletries € 8 $ 11
Laundry € 6 $ 8
Phone credit € 5 $ 7
Peruvian SIM card € 4 $ 5
Entry to hot spring in Augascalientes € 3 $ 4
Haircut € 3 $ 4
App: Five Minute Journal € 2 $ 2
Postcard and stamp € 1 $ 2
Rain poncho € 1 $ 2
Toilet entry at Machu Picchu € 1 $ 1
Total € 88 $ 121

Up from the €61/$84 I spent on miscellaneous in February.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 237 $ 327
Housing and Utilities € 142 $ 196
Travel € 210 $ 290
Business Expenses € 551 $ 761
Gifts and Donations € 17 $ 23
Books € 0 $ 0
Miscellaneous expenses € 88 $ 121
Total Expenses € 1,245 $ 1,718

Up from February’s expense total of €1,061/$1,464. No major regrets from all that spending though.

March Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 78 $ 108
Amazon affiliate payment € 20 $ 28
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 17 $ 23
Book sales: The Cargo Ship Diaries € 14 $ 20
Amazon royalties: Disrupting the Rabblement € 10 $ 14
Total Income € 140 $ 193

Ouch.

Way down from February’s income total of €511/$705. I wasn’t expecting much for March though, given that I was offline for the first two weeks and then spent the third getting settled in Cusco, enjoying my birthday and visiting Machu Picchu.

Where that leaves me

I had €2,567/$3,543 to my name at the end of February. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals were left pretty much the same at €2,567/$3,544. Taking into account all my March income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €1,352/$1,866.

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
  • €2,546/$3,486 overall

Outlook for April

So yeah, to put it lightly, I’m not in a good spot financially right now. My savings are the lowest they’ve been since I quit my day job 3.5 years ago. And it’s actually worse than it appears above, as I have almost $700 stuck in my Hong Kong bank account, the minimum balance I need to avoid fees. And the only way I can close that account and withdraw the cash is by going into the branch in HK, which I obviously can’t do.

Yeah, kinda sucks.

The weird thing is though, I’m not very worried about all this. I’m into a good routine in Cusco and I feel I’m making solid progress towards landing a few well-paid freelance gigs. I can’t imagine ending April with even less money to my name, and I’m excited about everything I’m learning right now business-wise. Worst-case scenario, I can stay holed up here in Peru and work my ass off for a few weeks until the bank balance bounces back. Ideally I want to be moving on to Bolivia mid-month and then getting settled in Brazil the first week of May, but it’s gonna take a little magic to pull that off.

Time to punch in.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.