A big fancy hello to all you legendary email subscribers.
Welcome to my September finance report. 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. I’ve been on the road since the very end of September, so all these numbers pertain to my final month in Ireland.
Let’s dive in…
Food and Drink
|Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways||€ 80|
Last month I spent just €221 here, but I’m okay with the increase since I spent the whole month in Ireland and food is generally more expensive there than in Spain or France (where I spent parts of August).
Housing and Utilities
|Sheila’s Hostel in Cork||€ 164|
Most of my time back in Ireland was spent living in my parents house (free rent, woohoo!). But I did spend some time in Cork as well, staying at Sheila’s hostel for about ten nights total. Nice place.
|6 months of travel insurance from World Nomads||€ 242|
|Prepaid bus ticket, Dublin to Liverpool||€ 48|
I went ahead and splashed out on travel insurance just to be on the safe side. I’d heard many people recommend World Nomads before, and my policy was a pretty good deal. That €242 price includes insurance for my laptop as well. I only paid for six months in advance because the policy doesn’t cover travel to Southeast Asia, and I plan to be there next year at some point. I will be able to modify and extend my insurance from the road though, so no worries.
Check the notes below the table for more info on the items listed.
|Sean Ogle’s Location Rebel||€ 220|
|AWeber email maketing (3 month subscription)||€ 36|
|MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription)||€ 15|
|Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription)||€ 13|
|Mobile phone credit||€ 10|
|One hour of slow wifi on Irish Ferries||€ 8|
|oDesk virtual assistants||€ 8|
|Newspapers (research for media pitches)||€ 7|
|Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription)||€ 3|
|Stamps and envelopes||€ 2|
|Internet cafe||€ 1|
I was pretty frugal on the business side of things in September, with one notable exception.
This is the course Sean Ogle put together, which helps people achieve location independence and live life on their own terms. I haven’t put much time into it yet, but I’m very impressed with the resources Sean’s got in there (e.g. detailed blueprints for becoming a freelance web designer or copywriter), and the community is pretty nifty. I got some great feedback in the LR forum when I relaunched my $50 Blogs service.
oDesk Virtual Assistants
I’ve pretty much faded out the SEO experiment I was trying. No significant results to report.
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.
|Singing Nina (great show I saw in Cork on the 9th)||€ 32|
|Nissan badge for my aunt, replacing the one I broke (oops!)||€ 10|
|Donation to Jillian Cottle (for this)||€ 6|
|AIB quarterly bank fee||€ 5|
|Attendance fee for Guardian Toastmasters in Cork||€ 3|
|Opera busker donation||€ 2|
|Homeless dude donation||€ 1|
|Love Drop subscription||€ 1|
|Food and Drink||€ 289|
|Housing and Utilities||€ 164|
|Business Expenses||€ 325|
|Miscellaneous expenses||€ 63|
|Total Expenses||€ 1,131|
Down a nice bit from last month’s expense total of €1,596. I always aim to keep my monthly expenses under €1k, but I’m happy to have invested in such things as Location Rebel and travel insurance this past month.
Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…
|Freelance web design||€ 327|
|Gifts from friends and family before leaving Ireland||€ 150|
|$50 Blogs||€ 106|
|Donations (muchas gracias!)||€ 7|
|Total Income||€ 590|
I’m still falling short of my goal to earn at least €1k per month. And I should emphasize the word earn, because while donations and cash gifts are very welcome and much appreciated, I’d rather not rely on them to keep myself afloat.
The good news is that my earnings from freelance web design increased about 50% from the previous month, and I expect that trend will continue.
Where that leaves me
I had €4,247 to my name at the end of August. After applying the most recent exchange rate (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased slightly to €4,346. Taking into account all my September expenses and earnings, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €3,717.
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
Outlook for October
Since I quit my day job last November, I’ve been pretty confident that I could make a good income just by doing freelance web design. I have the skills, and there are sites like oDesk and Elance out there where I should be able to pick up regular clients.
For most of this year though, I’ve avoided doing freelance web design and experimented with other ways of generating income. I’ve dabbled in affiliate marketing, created my own online course, set up some niche sites, and launched a blog setup service. The idea with all of those projects was to separate my time from my income, so I’d have the potential to earn money pretty much on autopilot. Unfortunately, none of those projects have done very well financially.
And now I’m getting to the point where my savings are running low and I can no longer afford to experiment. I just need to earn. So I’m getting back into freelance web design. I already have some cool clients, and I’m going to try find a few more this month via the aforementioned marketplace sites.
I’m pricing my services at $30 per hour to start with. At that I really only need to work about ten hours per week to cover my expenses and stop eating into my savings.
My ultimate goal is still to build some systems that will put my earnings on autopilot, and I’ll be working away at such projects consistently. But for the most part these next few months I’ll be happily trading my time for money so I can continue my travels.
Income-wise, I’ve gotten off to a pretty great start so far in October, though I do expect my expenses to be higher this month as well, since I’ll be in not-so-cheap places like London, Amsterdam and Zurich. €1k is still the magic number. I’ll be aiming to keep my expenses under and my income over. We’ll see how it goes.
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.