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March 2015 Finance Report

Well hello there o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my March finance report, as prepared from a place known at different times throughout the last three centuries as The Wet Grave, The Crescent City, and The Big Easy.

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 stayed put in New Orleans for the entire month.

Diving in…

March Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out € 437 $ 470
Groceries € 254 $ 274
Total € 691
$ 744

Way up from the previous month, when I spent €461/$500. I probably spent $200 in coffee shops alone throughout March, and another good chunk buying sodas and such in bars and clubs.

Housing and Utilities

10 nights at VRBO rental, New Orleans € 759 $ 817
4.5 weeks’ rent for room in New Orleans € 511 $ 550
1 night at Holiday Inn Express, Orlando (for April) € 102 $ 110
Total € 1,372 $ 1,477

Way up from €194/$210 last month. The VRBO rental was a killer, but that’s about the going rate for renting an entire house/apartment short-term close to downtown New Orleans. Actually, the full cost of the rental for the ten days was $1,500, but friends chipped in to help pay for it.

The Holiday Inn Express in Orlando is for me and my mother, who will be coming to visit me later this month. I’d usually opt for much cheaper accommodation, but figured I’d splash out a bit for the mammy 🙂


2-day car rental in Florida (for April) € 115 $ 124
Taxis in New Orleans € 87 $ 94
Flight: Cork to Amsterdam (for June) € 84 $ 90
Bus: New Orleans to Orlando (for April) € 44 $ 47
Streetcar in New Orleans € 12 $ 13
Total € 342
$ 368

Up from €203/220 last month. Lots spent on taxis during the ten consecutive nights out I had with friends mid-month. The rental car will take myself and my mother from Orlando to Miami in mid-April.

Business Expenses

AWeber email marketing € 73 $ 79
Working On The Road € 46 $ 49
UpdraftPlus Migrator € 28 $ 30
PayPal fees € 16 $ 17
Digital Nomad Guide to Chiang Mai, Thailand € 5 $ 5
oDesk withdrawal fee € 2 $ 2
Total € 169 $ 182

Down from the €277/$300 I spent on business in February. I bought Working on the Road and the Digital Nomad guide as part of my research for a travel guide I’m putting together.

Gifts and Donations

Kawehi live at the House of Blues (2 tickets for friends) € 35 $ 38
Marijuana for friends € 19 $ 20
Street musicians € 8 $ 9
St. Baldrick’s Foundation (via Finn McCool’s on St. Paddy’s Day) € 5 $ 5
Birthday donations € 2 $ 2
Tips for band at live show € 2 $ 2
Total € 71 $ 76

Up from €6/$6 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.


The Presence Process € 9 $ 10
Total € 9 $ 10

Down from €20/$22 in January. You can see all my book recommendations over on Goodreads. I’m aiming to read 100 books this year but have gotten off to a slow start with all the work and socializing. I’ll have almost two weeks on a cruise ship at the end of April so I’ll get a lot of reading done then.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Western Digital 2 TB Portable Hard Drive € 93 $ 100
Bicycle € 79 $ 85
Tuxedo rental € 79 $ 85
Parade throws for Paddy’s Day € 63 $ 68
Lost cash € 56 $ 60
Phone credit € 49 $ 53
Bicycle lock € 21 $ 23
3 dark t-shirts € 18 $ 20
Kawehi live at the House of Blues (1 ticket) € 18 $ 19
3 plain white tees € 14 $ 15
Comedy shows € 12 $ 13
Dance performance: The UpStairs Lounge € 11 $ 12
4 pairs of socks € 9 $ 10
Cinema: Iron Man € 9 $ 10
Shoe cream € 7 $ 8
AIB quarterly banking fee € 6 $ 6
iTunes movie rental: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes € 5 $ 6
Key cutting € 5 $ 5
iTunes movie rental: Rise of of the Planet of the Apes € 4 $ 4
Black markers € 4 $ 4
Toiletries € 3 $ 4
iTunes movie rental: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark € 3 $ 3
iTunes movie rental: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom € 3 $ 3
iTunes movie rental: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade € 3 $ 3
iTunes movie rental: Wayne’s World € 2 $ 3
Light gloves € 2 $ 2
Face painting € 1 $ 1
Game of pool € 1 $ 1
Printing € 1 $ 1
Total € 582 $ 627

Up a little from €540/$586 last month. I had to buy a new bicycle for a friend after the one I borrowed from him was stolen. I also spent quite a bit one entertainment-related expenses, such as parade throws, movie rentals, etc.

Expense Summary

Housing and Utilities € 1,372 $ 1,477
Food and Drink € 691 $ 744
Miscellaneous expenses € 582 $ 627
Travel € 342 $ 368
Business Expenses € 169 $ 182
Gifts and Donations € 71 $ 76
Books € 9 $ 10
Total Expenses € 3,236
$ 3,484

Almost double February’s expense total of €1,700/$1,844. My goal was to keep expenses under $2.5k. I was a good bit off that.

March Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design € 3,682 $ 3,964
Book sales (via Amazon) € 70 $ 75
Amazon Ach/Cred € 27 $ 29
Chase credit card rewards credit € 25 $ 27
Reader donations (muchas gracias!) € 23 $ 25
Amazon affiliate income € 18 $ 19
Total Income € 3,844
$ 4,139

Almost identical to February’s income total of €3,870/$4,199. I was hoping to hit the $4k mark and I just about made it. A lot of my March income was thanks to work done in February however.

Biggest regret?

Leaving that bike in a shady spot overnight was dumb. No wonder it was stolen. The $60 lost cash could also have been avoided if I’d been paying more attention. Pretty sure that was swiped from me at a bar in the French Quarter. I could have saved quite a bit on food and drink as well if I’d been more disciplined there, but I can’t be mad about that because I had a pretty great month socially.

Where that leaves me

I had €6,533/$7,085 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 shifted a little to €6,558/$7,061. Taking into account all my March income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €7,289/$7,848.

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

  • €174/$196 in January
  • €2,170/$2,355 in February
  • €608/$655 in March
  • €2,952/$3,206 overall

March was the fifth consecutive month that I finished in the green (i.e. I earned more than I spent). This is definitely the best run I’ve had since quitting my day job in 2010. Feels good. Let’s hope I can keep it going!

Outlook for April

Income will take a big dip as I didn’t work much in March and won’t be working much in April (I’ll be offline for the latter half of the month on a cruise across the Atlantic). I might still make it to $2k if I’m lucky.

My goal for expenses will simply to keep them lower than income. Below $1.5k and I should be safe. Given that I’ve already paid for all my accommodation and transportation for April, that should be doable as long as no crazy unforeseen expenses pop up.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

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  1. Well done on the income!

    Is your ‘everything I own’ page up to date? How do you survive with so few socks and underwear?

    Also how did it go with the foldable travel towel?

    1. Hey Mark,

      That page isn’t very up to date, but I’m still carrying everything I own around with me, so I still don’t have much stuff.

      The foldable travel towel sucks. I prefer to have a small hand towel.

  2. Hi Niall, I really enjoy your blog and also reading ‘disrupting the ramblement.’ As a freelancer myself and also trying to live a location independent lifestyle, I think it would be really cool to see some details of your freelance/website development… And how you’re able to sustain an income. Your awesome mate. : )

    1. Hey Ian,

      I don’t think I’ve cracked the code yet on finding freelance work. In many ways I’ve gotten lucky the past few months with some big projects falling in my lap. One client contacted me out of the blue via oDesk (where I wasn’t active at all), and another client just kept throwing more and more work my way. Once I get to Amsterdam in June I plan to focus on a niche and see if I can excel at finding clients within that niche. I’ll be happy to share what works for me. Stay tuned!

  3. Hi Niall
    Thank you for sharing! A lot off people shun away from sharing numbers, not you! So thanks, as a viewer and a follower I appreciate that.
    Have fun on your trip and stay in the green! 🙂

  4. Thank you for being so raw…and open about everything… down to every detail I love it and look forward to it…I can really see how much time you take in doing this for us… so thank you.

    I also love moments

    They are so down to earth and also a little mysterious!

  5. You got a terrific deal on that bike . .
    You reminded me of the years i spent on the road as a musician . . (thank you)
    I have a feeling you are going to do GREAT ans end up so much better than you dreamed. yes, thank you – i am learning from you . . . (and it’s only “our” first month . . grin) Happy Happy to YOU! -g-

  6. Awesome to see you’re in the green for another month, well done man!

    How are you approaching planning for later in life with what you currently do? Just not bothered right now? lol. It’s a big thing holding me back from doing something similar to you when I finish uni. I’d be like 30 by the time I’m finished, with no savings, pension or nada.

    1. Then you’d be in my situation right now! I’m 33, with very little savings and no pension.

      My plan is to focus on business for the next few years and see where that takes me. I will likely establish Amsterdam as a home base and look into social security there.

  7. Looks like Niall Doherty is going to succeed in traveling around the world without flying and have no significant change in his bank account along the way! 🙂 Well done my friend. 🙂

    1. Haha, thanks man. Tis true that I’ll get back home with probably a bit more money in the bank than I set out with 3.5 years ago. Which is nice. But at the same time I did expect I’d be doing a lot better financially after 4.5 years of self-employment! It’ll be interesting to see what happens once I make work a real priority later this year and don’t have all the travel distractions to contend with.

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