December 2014 Finance Report (subscribers only)

Bienvenido o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my Decmber finance report, as prepared from an office kitchen in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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 traveled quite a bit in December, starting off in Medellín, Colombia and ending up in San Jose, Costa Rica (see my travel map here).

Diving in…

December Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out€ 164$ 199
Groceries€ 92$ 111
Total€ 256
$ 310

About the same as the previous month. Food was pretty cheap in Colombia, more expensive in Panama, and more expensive again in Costa Rica. (I hope this trend doesn’t continue as I keep traveling north!)

Housing and Utilities

4 nights at Hotel Stil, Cartagena€ 117$ 142
2 nights at Hosteluego, Bocas del Toro€ 87$ 105
4 nights at Gaudy’s Backpackers, San Jose€ 66$ 80
2 nights at Hostal Goce, Panama City€ 23$ 28
1 night at White Lion Hostel, Panama City€ 11$ 13
1 extra day at Medellín apartment€ 8$ 10
Total€ 312$ 378

Down from the €504/$630 I spent on housing and utilities in November, thanks in large part to having rent prepaid for the first ten days of the month. I also stayed at a friend’s place in Panama for a few days over Christmas.


Cruise: Miami to Barcelona (April 2015)€ 598$ 724
Sail Boat: Cartagena, Colombia to Portobelo, Panama€ 429$ 519
2 months of travel insurance from World Nomads€ 168$ 203
Shuttle service: Bocas del Toro to San Jose€ 62$ 75
Bus: Medellín to Cartagena€ 38$ 46
Bus: Panama City to David€ 15$ 18
Boat fuel€ 8$ 10
Taxi: Sabanitas to Panama City€ 8$ 10
Bus: David to Alimrante€ 7$ 9
Boat: Almirante to Bocas del Toro€ 5$ 6
Panama City metro€ 4$ 5
Taxi in Cartagena€ 3$ 4
Taxis in San Jose€ 3$ 4
Panama exit fee€ 3$ 3
Medellín metro€ 2$ 2
Bus: Portobello to Sabanitas€ 2$ 2
Taxi in Almirante€ 1$ 1
Cartagena local bus€ 1$ 1
Total € 1,357 $ 1,642

Mega increase from the €14/$18 I spent on travel in November. I went ahead and booked my cruise across the Atlantic for April, and the boat trip from Colombia to Panama wasn’t cheap.

Business Expenses

ACF developer license€ 72$ 87
AWeber email marketing€ 65$ 79
PayPal fees€ 20$ 24
Total€ 157$ 190

About the same as the €164/$205 I spent on business last month.

Gifts and Donations

Christmas beer for Jinja Island€ 7$ 9
Homeless dude in Cartagena€ 1$ 1
Total€ 8$ 10

Down a little from €12/$15 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.


Consider The Lobster€ 8$ 10
Free Will€ 7$ 8
Time Sailors Of Pizzolungo (great book for kids)€ 3$ 4
Thinking, Fast And Slow€ 3$ 3
Total€ 21$ 25

About the same as last month. You can see all my book recommendations over on Goodreads.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Laundry€ 12$ 14
Cinema: Interstellar (broke my brain)€ 10$ 12
Flip flops€ 9$ 11
Rock climbing gym in Medellín€ 7$ 8
Toiletries€ 6$ 7
Sunscreen€ 5$ 7
AIB quarterly banking fee€ 5$ 6
Sunglasses€ 3$ 4
Dramamine tablets (for seasickness)€ 3$ 3
iTunes movie rental: Ted€ 2$ 3
Plastic bags€ 1$ 1
Public toilets€ 1$ 1
Total€ 64$ 77

Down from €192/$240 in November.

Expense Summary

Travel€ 1,357$ 1,642
Housing and Utilities€ 312$ 378
Food and Drink€ 256$ 310
Business Expenses€ 157$ 190
Miscellaneous expenses€ 64$ 77
Books€ 21$ 25
Gifts and Donations€ 8$ 10
Total Expenses€ 2,175
$ 2,632

Way up from November’s expense total of €1,171/$1,463. My goal as stated in the previous report was to try keep my expenses under the $2k mark for the month. I didn’t quite make it, but not far off.

December Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design€ 3,026$ 3,661
Amazon Ach/Cred€ 81$ 98
Book sales from Amazon€ 38$ 46
Reader donations (muchas gracias!)€ 21$ 25
Amazon affiliate income€ 20$ 24
Book sales: The Cargo Ship Diaries (direct from€ 12$ 15
Total Income€ 3,198
$ 3,869

Up from November’s income total of €2,443/$3,051 🙂

Biggest regret?

Nothing I can really point to in December. My expenses were fairly well aligned with my values, I earned a good chunk more than I spent, and I had a few fun adventures.

Where that leaves me

I had €2,934/$3,664 to my name at the end of November. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals shifted a little to €3,054/$3,695. Taking into account all my December income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €4,140/$5,009.

This is usually where I tell you how I’m doing for the year, but since 2014 has ended, you could just head on over and see my finance summary for the whole twelve months:

Outlook for January

I’ll be traveling up through Central America and won’t have much opportunities to work, so my income will take a dip. I’ll be very happy if I manage to pull in $1,500 in January.

As for expenses, I don’t foresee anything major. Most of my money will go towards food, transport and accommodation as I make my way north.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

Archived finance reports

I’ve been posting these monthly finance reports since January, 2011 (four years!). You can view all my old reports via this page.

Last thing…

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