December 2015 Finance Report (subscribers only)

Well hello there o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my December 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…

December Expenses

Food & Drink

Eating out€ 173$ 188
Groceries€ 181$ 196
Total€ 354
$ 384
Last Month€ 380$ 403

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$ 1,249
Total€ 1,150
$ 1,249
Last Month€ 1,150$ 1,221

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 in a central location.

Taxes

Total€ 0
$ 0
Last Month€ 75$ 80

Travel & Transport

OV-chipkaart (Dutch travel card)€ 20$ 22
Taxi to Cork airport€ 16$ 17
Total € 36
$ 39
Last Month€ 0$ 0

Business Expenses

Accountant: AGC Associates€ 410$ 445
AWeber email marketing€ 73$ 79
MemberMouse€ 18$ 20
Buffer social media management€ 9$ 10
Google Drive storage (100GB)€ 2$ 2
Total€ 512
$ 556
Last Month€ 655$ 696

Some notes on the above:

  • To post content to my Facebook page, I quit using Edgar and am now using Buffer instead. Buffer is 1/5 the price and does the same thing except you can’t automatically recycle content. I wasn’t using that feature of Edgar as much as I thought I would, so couldn’t keep justifying spending $50/month on it.
  • I’m using MemberMouse to create an online course for people who want to get started working online (more details on the course here).

Also, people keep asking my why I’m paying “so much” for an accountant, so let me try to explain here.

First of all, my business is registered in Ireland, not in the Netherlands. Having the business in Ireland means less company tax and I can do everything in English (as opposed to Dutch in the Netherlands).

My accountant acts as my company secretary and his office (in Ireland) is listed as my company’s office. This is how I’m able to have the company registered in Ireland without actually living there.

Here is what I pay my accountant for:

  • Bookkeeping and tax compliance services
    • Bookkeeping
    • Vat returns
    • Vat MOSS
    • Bank reconciliations
    • Annual accounts
    • General accounting and tax advice
  • Annual accounts, tax compliance and CRO returns
    • Statutory accounts
    • Abridged accounts for CRO
    • Nominee company secretary
    • Corporation tax returns
    • Directors’ personal tax returns (Ireland)
    • Annual returns
  • Registered office address
  • Accounting software

It all works out to €82/week, but that’s including VAT at 23% which I eventually get back. (Further down you’ll see that I received a VAT refund in December.)

The ultimate cost of my accountant then (i.e. excluding VAT) is €66/week.

Some readers will still consider that expense excessive, but I really don’t think it is. Consider that my freelance rate is €75/hour. So one hour per week of me doing work I’m good at and enjoy pays for my accountant to do a bunch of essential work I’m not good at and don’t enjoy.

That to me is a fair price to pay.

Lastly, my accountant came highly recommended by a good friend and very successful online entrepreneur, who has been using him for years.

Sure, maybe I could shop around and find another accountant who’s a bit cheaper, but how much time would I waste doing that? And would I be as confident hiring the cheaper guy?

I don’t think so.

Gifts & Donations

The Human, Earth Project€ 138$ 150
Christmas gifts for friends and family€ 95$ 103
Winter Clothes Nepal€ 6$ 7
Street busker in Waterford€ 2$ 2
Total€ 241
$ 262
Last Month€ 0$ 0

Notes:

  • The donation to The Human, Earth Project was actually part of my Christmas gift to family but wanted to list it separately above so you can click through and read about Ben’s amazing project.
  • Winter Clothes Nepal is a cause a blog reader alerted me too. I spent five months living in Nepal in 2012 and still have friends there.

Books

Murder On The Orient Express ***€ 7$ 8
Langer Homicide ***€ 6$ 7
Big Magic *****€ 4$ 4
A Spy’s Guide To Thinking ****€ 1$ 1
Total€ 18
$ 20
Last Month€ 32$ 34

Listed above are only the books I paid for last month. I also get books as gifts and via rewards credit. You can see all my book recommendations and what I’m currently reading over on Goodreads.

Clothing

Wildebeast trekking jacket€ 80$ 87
Scarf€ 15$ 16
Total€ 95
$ 103
Last Month€ 0$ 0

Miscellaneous Expenses

Phone Credit€ 10$ 11
Netflix subscription€ 8$ 9
AIB quarterly banking fee€ 6$ 7
ABN AMRO monthly banking fee (2 months)€ 6$ 7
Christmas decorations€ 6$ 7
Flea market entry€ 6$ 6
Friday night entertainment at Mezrab (pay what you want)€ 5$ 5
Basketball scrimmage€ 3$ 3
Toiletries€ 3$ 3
Bingo€ 2$ 2
Total€ 56
$ 61
Last Month€ 123$ 131

Expense Summary

Housing & Utilities€ 1,150$ 1,249
Business Expenses€ 512$ 556
Food & Drink€ 354$ 384
Gifts & Donations€ 241$ 262
Clothing€ 95$ 103
Miscellaneous expenses€ 56$ 61
Travel & Transport€ 36$ 39
Books€ 18$ 20
Taxes€ 0$ 0
Total Expenses€ 2,436
$ 2,674
Last Month€ 2,415$ 2,565

I was aiming to keep expenses under $2.5k, so didn’t quite make it.

December Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web development€ 1,522$ 1,653
1 Hour Website Webinar€ 306$ 332
VAT refund€ 169$ 183
Christmas cash gift€ 100$ 109
Book sales (via Amazon)€ 52$ 57
Affiliate income: Amazon€ 10$ 11
Total Income€ 2,160
$ 2,345
Last Month€ 311$ 330

My goal was to pull in at least $1.5k, so I made that mark. VAT is owed however on that freelance income.

I should also reiterate that I haven’t been doing much freelance work of late, focusing instead on building 3M1K, a course teaching people how to get started working online. I’ll have that launched by the end of January.

Biggest regret?

No specific regrets from December, but I realize now that the $50/month I was spending on Edgar was a big waste. I was subscribed to that service for four months and didn’t really gain anything from it, so $200 not well spent.

Where that leaves me

I had €8,198/$8,706 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 €8,146/$8,845. Taking into account all my December income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €7,836/$8,509.

Here’s how I did in 2015 in terms of profit and loss:

  • €3,696/$3,500 overall

Outlook for January

I expect expenses to be similar, aiming for no more than €2.5k. I will have some extra business expenses with product launches forthcoming, but no gifts to buy.

As for income, that will be a bit of a wildcard. I hope to launch two products by the end of the month and it’s tough to predict how they’ll do. I’m going to shoot for €3k total and we’ll see how it goes.

Feedback welcome

Thoughts? Questions? Speak up in the comments below.

Archived finance reports

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

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