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May 2011 Finance Report

Welcome, welcome, all you legendary email subscribers. Let’s get stuck right in…

May Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 165
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 75
Total € 240

Overall, I spent €51 less here compared to April.

Rent and Utilities

Rent € 200
Total € 200

My rent in Spain is almost half what it was in Ireland, and all bills are included in that €200 so it works out pretty nice.


Checked bag fee with Ryanair € 35
Bus from Burgos to Madrid (end of the month) € 20
Bus from Madrid to Burgos (start of the month) € 17
Metro tickets in Madrid € 12
Bus to Dublin airport € 4
Total € 88

Regarding that first charge, so much for fitting everything in carry-on!

Most airlines let you bring aboard one bag and one personal item, and I can usually pass my backpack off as the latter. But not with Ryanair, so I had to check my case. Feckers.

Business Expenses

The Best Spinner € 58
Vimeo Plus (12 month subscription) € 51
Unique Article Wizard € 46
Instant Article Wizard € 33
Mobile phone credit € 20
New domains from Dreamhost € 14
Aweber email marketing € 13
Spanish SIM card € 9
MS Remote Desktop € 5
My Ecover Maker € 4
Stationary € 3
Printing € 2
Total € 258

As you can see above, I invested quite a lot in my business this past month, almost a third of my total expenditure. Diving into some details related to the above…

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.

Affiliate marketing

Many of my recent business expenses are related to this. Right now I’m in the middle of an intense affiliate marketing experiment, pumping out one mini-website per week and trying to get those sites to the first page of Google for specific keywords. If anyone clicks through one of my sites to buy a promoted product or service, I get paid a commission. Affiliate marketing has become quite popular in recent years and so there’s a lot of competition out there. I’m honestly not sure if it’s a viable way to make money online anymore, but I decided to give it my best shot for a few weeks and see what happens. I’ll be happy to share a full report on my experiment later this summer.

The Best Spinner

The Best Spinner (affiliate link) allows me to turn one article into hundreds of articles, which can then be used to build backlinks to my mini-sites. Works pretty good, although it does take a little time investment up front. Pat Flynn does a good job explaining article spinning and demonstrating how the TBS software works.

Unique Article Wizard

Unique Article Wizard (affiliate link) again helps with backlink building, allowing me to submit spun versions of an article to hundreds of web directories very quickly. I’ve been pretty happy with the results so far. Once again, check Pat Flynn’s blog post for more info on this.

Instant Article Wizard

No affiliate link this time because Instant Article Wizard hasn’t been as useful as I’d hoped. It does a great job of researching topics and pulling in lots of information, but you still have to do a lot of work to come away with a finished article. Not worth the money for me, so I’ll be asking for a refund on this.


I’ve started moving all my websites from GoDaddy to Dreamhost since the price is about the same and I’m not a big fan of killing elephants. If you’re looking to create a website, you can use promo code NIALL50 when signing up for Dreamhost; that will get you $50 off your first year of hosting, plus a free domain name, plus a $32 kick-back to me. They also have a two-week free trial, so you can test it out and not pay anything right away.

MS Remote Desktop

Software such as The Best Spinner and Instant Article Wizard only work on PC, and I only have a Mac, so I found this nifty service called MS Remote Desktop which gives me remote access to my own private Windows desktop. They don’t have an affiliate program, but I’ve been very happy with them so far and highly recommend the service. Just don’t freak out like I did when they don’t send you a confirmation email after sign-up; give it an hour or two and they’ll be in touch.

My Ecover Maker

I used My Ecover Maker (affiliate link) to create the promo graphic for The 50 Most Courageous Quotes of All Time – And Why! That’s an ebook I put together to entice people to sign up for the Course In Courage interest list. Next weekend I should have a full report on how that course has fared since launch.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Huaraches invisible shoes (haven’t put them together yet) € 22
El Teatro – Un tranvía llamado Deseo € 10
Donation to Tessa Zeng for Change Creation € 7
Donation to Matt Bailey for his WDS Road Trip € 7
Toilet paper (this was actually a gift!) € 6
Comedy show in Dublin € 5
Sun glasses € 4
Deodorant € 3
Love Drop subscription € 1
Total € 65

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 240
Rent and Utilities € 200
Travel € 88
Business Expenses € 258
Miscellaneous expenses € 65
Total Expenses € 851

May turned out to be €7 more expensive than April, which was my least expensive month so far this year. Pretty happy with that since I moved country, started paying rent again, and invested a good chunk of money into my business.

May Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

A Course In Courage subscriptions € 77
Google Adsense earnings (for several months) € 70
Donations (muchas gracias!) € 18
Affiliate payment for Unautomate Your Finances € 6
Cash found on Metro € 5
Interest on savings € 3
Revenue € 179
minus 20% tax – € 36
Income € 143

Nothing much to shout about as regards earnings in May. I still have a long way to go, and I’m actually considering taking on some freelance web design work so I won’t have to continue eating into my savings.

That said, it was great to receive a few donations last month (muchas gracias!), and I also received my first ever payment from Google Adsense. Funny that the Adsense money came from a project I did almost two years ago and haven’t touched since. That little Coda-Slider gizmo only seems to be growing in popularity (11k hits per week!), and is now earning me $30 per month without having to lift a finger.

Where that leaves me

I had €6,517 to my name at the end of April. After applying the most recent exchange rate (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased to €6,660 (first time it hasn’t shrunk this year). Taking into account all my May expenses, earnings and taxes, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €5,892.

A quick summary of how I’m doing so far this year:

  • – €1,173 in January
  • – €641 in February
  • – €785 in March
  • – €186 in April
  • – €708 in May

Outlook for June

We’re almost two weeks into June as I’m writing this and my finances aren’t looking real hot thus far. My little trip to the US for The World Domination Summit cost quite a bit (though it was certainly worth every penny). I’m going to try knuckle down for the rest of the month in an effort to keep my total expenses under €1000.

As regards income, we’ll see if any of my affiliate marketing efforts start paying off, and I may be able to bring in some moolah by freelancing at the end of the month. I’m pushing my own comfort zone by pricing projects high, not sure how that will work out.

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. I had to laugh when I read “Cash found on Metro”. On a serious note, wow, great going man. It’s never really easy to quit a job (that guarantees monthly pay) and do what you love for way less money. I just have to stand back and admire. This gives me inspiration. The harder you work, the luckier you get, which I think, answers the adsense earnings. 🙂

    Btw, good luck with freelance web designing.

    1. Thank you, kind Sir!

      “The harder you work, the luckier you get…” I definitely believe that, and this month I seem to be getting even luckier with some unexpected opportunities popping up 🙂

      As regards the cash found on the Metro, at least three people ahead of me walked right over the €5 note. Makes me wonder how much money I’ve walked by over the years!