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November 2011 Finance Report

Üdvözlünk to all you legendary email subscribers.

Welcome to my latest finance report. November was the second month of my round the world trip without flying, so the following should give you an idea of how much it costs to do the digital nomad thing in Europe. 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.

Let’s dive in…

November Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries € 183
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways € 137
Total € 320

Down from €425 in October, a surprisingly big drop since I was still in Western Europe for most of the month. I owe huge thanks to my friends in Frankfurt and Zurich for their generosity hosting me and treating me to several meals. If not for that, my expenses would have been a lot higher.

Housing and Utilities

Seven nights at a hostel in Munich € 95
Total € 95

This is down from €459 last month. Again, I was lucky to have great friends willing to host me in Frankfurt and Zurich so I was able to save a ton on accommodation.


Vaccinations € 107
Sleeper train from Zurich to Vienna € 91
Trains from Munich to Zurich € 57
Trains from Frankfurt to Munich € 33
Train from Vienna to Budapest (good deal from a CouchSurfer) € 12
Local trains in Munich € 14
Day pass for metro in Vienna € 6
Amsterdam metro € 3
Zurich tram € 2
Locker rental at Vienna train station € 2
Budapest metro € 1
Total € 328

Almost the same total as last month here. As you can see, I’m traveling mostly by train. I took a lot of local connections in Germany and that ended up saving me a good bit. As for the vaccinations, I just got those at the end of the month in Budapest, getting ready for my trip to India in the new year.

Business Expenses

MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription) € 15
Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription) € 14
AWeber email marketing (extra charge for 500+ subscribers) € 7
Premium WordPress theme € 7
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription) € 3
Admission to library in Vienna € 2
Printing € 1
Total € 49

About the same as last month. Some notes…

MS Remote Desktop
I originally signed up for this so I could run some Windows software that I had purchased, but it’s proving more useful these days for checking how the websites I build display in Internet Explorer. Since the company running this service is based in NYC, it also means I have access to a machine with a US IP address, which comes in handy every now and then 😉

This is working out pretty good. Check the August site progress report for more details.

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. Please don’t buy anything unless you have a clear need for it.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Long-sleeve thermal undershirt (tis cauld in Budapest) € 59
Mastermind donation penalties (see below) € 59
Restaurant voucher for my hosts in Zurich € 41
Donation to my friend Laura € 15
Hungarian SIM card € 13
3 pairs of new socks € 12
Condoms € 12
Haircut € 10
Book: A Short History of Nearly Everything € 9
Nightclub entries and cloakroom fees € 8
Toiletries € 7
Currency exchange fee € 6
Tour of Munich € 5
DVD rental (Limitless) € 5
Subscription to Raam Dev’s Journal € 5
Entry to St. Peter’s Church tower in Munich € 2
Train station toilet in Frankfurt € 1
Love Drop subscription € 1
Total € 270

Way up from the €98 I spent on miscellaneous last month. Notes…

Mastermind donation penalties
I’m part of a Mastermind group that meets every two weeks on Skype to discuss our goals and brainstorm ideas. To hold ourselves more accountable, we’ve set a monetary penalty for failing to reach our goals: a $40 donation to charity. Twice last month I set the goal to get three new clients for my $50 Blogs service, and twice I missed that target. Definitely wasn’t for lack of trying though!

Expense Summary

Food and Drink € 320
Housing and Utilities € 95
Travel € 328
Business Expenses € 49
Miscellaneous expenses € 270
Total Expenses € 1,062

Down from last month’s expense total of €1,367, and not far off my goal of €1k or less.

November Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Curious Courses blogging workshop in Zurich € 430
$50 Blogs € 231
Freelance web design € 144
Google Adsense (ndoherty.biz) € 77
Donations (muchas gracias!) € 51
WordPress training € 48
Total Income € 981

Up from last month’s income total of €854, and oh-so-close to hitting my target of €1k. That blogging course I presented in Zurich made a huge difference, and I should note that I once again benefited there from the generosity of my friend Selina in Zurich. She organized the course and we were supposed to split the profit 50/50, but she insisted that I have it all. I swallowed my old Irish pride and accepted gratefully.

Where that leaves me

I had €3,107 to my name at the end of October. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased to €3,221. Taking into account all my November expenses and earnings, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,193. First time all year I actually have more money at the end of the month than I did at the start.

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

  • – €1,173 in January
  • – €292 in February
  • – €741 in March
  • – €22 in April
  • – €672 in May
  • – €872 in June
  • – €449 in July
  • – €1,070 in August
  • – €629 in September
  • – €513 in October
  • – €81 in November

Outlook for December

Even though I’ve entered November with more money than I had a month earlier, I’m still not earning more than I’m spending. Hopefully I’ll turn that around in December.

As I’m writing this, things are looking good for the month. All of a sudden I’m getting more work thrown my way than I know what to do with, and I’m considering raising my rates as a result. Methinks word is beginning to spread about my work and clients are starting to find me instead of me having to go out and pitch my services all the time.

As for expenses, I don’t expect to spend a lot this month. I’ll be staying put in Budapest for most of December, and the exchange rate is pretty favorable here. Some big expenses might crop up though as I try to organize visas and such for January and beyond.

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. Josh Lipovetsky

    You’ve been going on this uphill climb for a while, and it’s so awesome to see your income/expenses nearly equal!! Way to be, man. Thanks for the encouragement, Niall. 🙂

  2. Hey Niall, thanks for posting these reports, love the transparency. I’m curious about socialoomph and checked out your August report (like you said) but can’t find it mentioned there. Am I just not seeing it?

  3. Niall, this has been my favourite report of yours in months. Real nitty-gritty details regarding living the nomadic lifestyle whilst trying to build a business (well done for buying the condoms, better to be safe).

    I’ll be interested to see your report next month after living relatively stably for a month. Keep ’em coming!

  4. So close! Sounds like you’ll be there next month!

    (Hey, here is a business idea that is closely related to the work you already do. Have you ever thought of possibly getting into “enhanced e-books”? I could see the college text book market going almost totally this direction in the next few years. Demand would possibly create this if the price of the book is cheaper and the author gets more money. The main work would be to format the enhanced e-book and to smartly design the layout. There could be business opportunities to create a business that knocks out the big publishing companies. It could be an opportunity to get in on the bottom floor and establish yourself in a medium that might just really grow in the coming years. Just a thought.)

    1. Thanks for that, Ty. I think you’re on to something there. I don’t imagine I’d get much of a kick out of that kind of work though. I’d rather be designing and building websites than designing and formatting ebooks.

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