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November 2015 Finance Report

Well hello there o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my November finance report, prepared and delivered to you from the fine city of 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.

Diving in…

November Expenses

Food & Drink

Eating out € 160 $ 170
Groceries € 219 $ 233
Total € 380
$ 403

About the same as the €360/$396 I spent in October. My ideal is to keep my total food and drink expenses around the €400 mark each month, so this was right on target.

Housing & Utilities

1 month’s rent for Amsterdam apartment € 1,150 $ 1,221
Total € 1,150
$ 1,221

This was €0/$0 in October as I’d paid for two month’s rent in advance back in September. So a big jump this month. I could save quite a bit on rent if I shared an apartment but I’m happy to pay a premium for my own place.


Amsterdam municipal tax € 60 $ 64
Water tax € 15 $ 16
Total € 75
$ 80

A new category since I’m now registered as a resident of the Netherlands and they’ve started to send me bills :-/

Travel & Transport

Total € 0
$ 0

Way down from €217/$239 last month. I loaded a good bit of credit onto my travel card back in October so I was able to get around using that.

Business Expenses

Accountant: AGC Associates € 328 $ 348
Elegant Themes: 1 Year Subscription € 65 $ 69
Thunderbolt/HDMI cable € 60 $ 64
Edgar social media management € 46 $ 49
Gravity Forms € 37 $ 39
Dreamhost domains € 34 $ 36
AWeber email marketing € 28 $ 30
Skype credit € 24 $ 25
MemberMouse € 19 $ 20
Gumroad fees € 12 $ 13
Google Drive storage (100GB) € 2 $ 2
PayPal fees € 1 $ 1
Total € 655
$ 696

Down from the €708/$779 I spent on business in October. Some notes on the above:

  • I pay my accountant in Ireland approximately €80 per week. For that he takes care of essentially everything so I need not worry about it.
  • I bought the subscription for Elegant Themes for a client project. That cost has been billed to the client so I’ll be reimbursed for it in December.
  • The thunderbolt/HDMI cable was for a dual-monitor setup, handy for presenting a webinar.
  • Edgar is a service I started using recently to push more content out to my Facebook page. It’s pretty cool in that it allows you to automatically recycle content, so you can put a lot of evergreen stuff in there (like many of my old blog posts) and let it keeps posting on your behalf. The $49/month price tag is a bit hefty — almost $600/year! — but once I have a few things set up to make the most of the extra traffic Edgar generates, it should easily pay for itself.
  • I’m using MemberMouse and Gravity Forms to create an online course for people who want to get started working online.

Gifts & Donations

Total € 0
$ 0

Down from last month’s donation total of €30/$33.


All The Pretty Horses ***** € 12 $ 13
How Proust Can Change Your Life **** € 12 $ 13
Managing Oneself **** € 6 $ 6
A Moveable Feast *** € 2 $ 2
Total € 32
$ 34

Down from the €44/$48 I spent on books in October. You can see all my book recommendations and what I’m currently reading over on Goodreads.


Total € 0
$ 0

Down from last month’s total of €136/$150. I have a clothing budget of €150/month and usually roll over anything unspent to the next month. For November I had €457 to play with, so now in December I could allow myself a clothing budget of €607. That seems excessive though. I want to buy a couple of things but methinks I’ll cut the budget back to €300, should be plenty.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Entry to Sauna Deco € 23 $ 24
Toiletries € 21 $ 22
Phone credit € 15 $ 16
Bike service € 15 $ 16
Apenkooi meetup € 12 $ 13
Cinema: Spectre **** € 12 $ 13
Cold medicine € 9 $ 10
Netflix subscription € 8 $ 9
Overtoom 301 entry (nightlife venue) € 3 $ 3
Laundry € 3 $ 3
Kitchen cleaning supplies € 2 $ 2
Total € 123
$ 131

Way down from last month’s total of €283/$311.

Expense Summary

Housing & Utilities € 1,150 $ 1,221
Business Expenses € 655 $ 696
Food & Drink € 380 $ 403
Miscellaneous expenses € 123 $ 131
Books € 32 $ 34
Taxes € 75 $ 80
Clothing € 0 $ 0
Gifts & Donations € 0 $ 0
Travel & Transport € 0 $ 0
Total Expenses € 2,415
$ 2,565

Up a bit from last month’s expense total of €1,777/$1,956. I was aiming to keep expenses under $2.5k, went a little overboard.

November Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Sales of Travel The World + Work Online € 146 $ 155
Google Adsense (from YouTube videos) € 73 $ 78
Blog reader donations € 42 $ 45
Book sales (via Amazon) € 35 $ 37
Affiliate income: Amazon € 14 $ 15
Total Income € 311
$ 330

Way way way down from the €2,808/$3,091 I pulled in the previous month. In last month’s report I wrote that even $1k would be a tough target given that I’d put almost all freelance work on hold to focus on building my course.

That’s also the least I’ve earned in a month since March of 2014.

Biggest regret?

No expense I can point to as regrettable in November. Aside from rent I only spent €1,265/$1,344 while living in an expensive city. I’m content with that. Obviously my income could have been much better, but a few lean months is a price I’m willing to pay in order to focus on building the course. I believe that’s the most important work I could be doing right now.

Where that leaves me

I had €10,222/$11,252 to my name at the end of October. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals shifted a little to €10,314/$10,953. Taking into account all my November income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €8,198/$8,706.

Here’s how I’m doing so far this year in terms of profit and loss:

  • €4,160/$4,605 overall

Outlook for December

Expenses should be a similar story this month. I will be home in Ireland for ten days over Christmas but I already have the flights booked and paid for. I’ll be buying some gifts for family and friends but even with that I’ll aim to keep everything under $2.5k again.

Income should jump quite a bit thanks to some client payments I have due. I very much doubt I’ll make it into the green though. $1.5k is a reasonable target.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

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  1. Hey Niall, was just thinking about you and decided to check in on you. Glad to see things are going well. I am happy to hear you’re working on your course and I can’t wait to see it. You’re still inspiring and I love it.

    I do have a question. I’m started to get more into youtube space. I’m curious what your monetization experience has been like on youtube. How many views are you getting daily / monthly that yield 150 USD in adsense? Have you tried to monetize your videos through affiliate offers?

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


    1. Hey Jordan, great to hear from you!

      I actually made a mistake in the finance report and had the figures mixed up for YouTube vs. the sales of my guide. I’ve corrected that now. So my actual income from YouTube in November was only $78.

      And that’s for about three months’ worth of views.

      I worked out before that 1,000 views equals about $1 in advertising payout. So you really need to rack up the views to make decent money this way.

      I’ve never tried doing affiliate offers on the videos. I may look into that down the line but not a priority for me right now, more focused on creating my own products.

      Here’s to a mighty 2016 for both of us 🙂

  2. It would be good if you could earn money watching youtube videos. Have you thought of monetising this website a bit more with the odd discrete advert or product recommendations? Or maybe monetising your email list (the money is in the list!)

    1. Not from playing videos. I publish my own videos on there and YouTube displays ads on them. I get a little bit of money when people click on the ads. It works out to about $1 per 1,000 views I think.

  3. Always admire how you handle your finances!
    One question: Since you are now settled in a place.. how do you handle income taxes? I don’t see a budget for that. Or are you for some reason not required to pay that? Which would be good to know how do that if that is some special thing in Holland.

  4. €80 a week for an accountant seems hugely excessive to me. Presumably you didn’t use one whilst travelling?

    That 4000 your handing over per year would cover almost 4 months of not inexpensive rent.
    If I were you, I’d be looking to drastically reduce this cost.

    1. €80/week for a regular accountant would be excessive, but I should provide some additional context: apart from what you’d expect, my accountant also provides secretarial services for me. I need that to have the business registered in Ireland without being a resident. All business mail goes to his office and he processes that for me, and also drops into the bank on my behalf when needed.

      Before hiring that accountant, I asked some other business owners in Ireland about the price and they agreed that it’s reasonable given the service.

      1. The obvious follow-up question is why do you feel the need to be registered in Ireland? considering the EU dimension, I don’t see any obvious benefits, even if you plan to relocate to Ireland in the future.

        I know I’d be fairly pissed off having to fork over 2 months of average income per year to a third party and close to 4 months of previously mentioned rental costs. How many hours per year would 4 grand take to earn? Could you or a family member possibly do it in a more minimal kind of way?

        I’m not in anyway criticising you by the way, but that item of expenditure did spring out at me as a hefty outgoing with questionable validity.

        1. Registered in Ireland because everything is in English there, plus I only pay 12.5% company tax compared to 20% company tax in the Netherlands. Also handy if I ever do decide to give up residency in the Netherlands. I’ll always have Irish citizenship.

          And I’m happy to pay someone else to handle all that. I’m much more focused on making money right now than saving money. Only so much I can save but no limit to what I can earn. Honestly, if I can’t afford to pay an accountant €4k per year at this stage, I seriously need to rethink being self-employed. I don’t see it as a big expense at all.