May 2017 Finance Report

Everything I earned and spent in Moscow, Crimea & Tallinn

Tere! 1

Here be all my finances for May.

I spent the first 11 days out of the month living in Moscow, then took a trip to Crimea for 8 days, back to Moscow for 6 days, and I finished out the month in Tallinn in Estonia.



Total Income€ 3,501
$ 3,934
Total Expenses€ 3,511
$ 3,945
Profit/Loss€ 10
$ 11

Note: there are a bunch of affiliate links on this page. That means if you click through to another website and buy something from there, I will probably get a commission, but you won’t be charged anything extra (actually you’ll often get a discount). These kickbacks help justify all the time I spend putting these monthly reports together.

3M1K 2€ 1,881$ 2,114
Freelance web development 3€ 1,366$ 1,535
Elegant Themes affiliate payment 4€ 75$ 84
Google Adsense payment 5€ 72$ 81
Cheap Flight Checklist 6€ 52$ 58
Book sales (via Amazon) 7€ 43$ 48
Book sales ( 8€ 12$ 13
Total Income€ 3,501
$ 3,934
Last Month€ 3,303$ 3,597

I was aiming to pull in $3k in May so pretty happy with how it shook out.


Food & Drink

Eating out€ 253$ 284
Groceries€ 188$ 211
9 Total
€ 441
$ 496
Last Month€ 372$ 405

Housing & Utilities

5 nights at Fili studio, Moscow 10€ 251$ 282
15 nights at Tallinn shared apartment 11€ 319$ 358
3 nights at Apartment ZHK Morskoy, Crimea 12€ 64$ 72
1 night at Shaliapin House, Crimea 13€ 32$ 36
Total€ 666
$ 748
Last Month€ 849$ 925

Health Care

12 months IMG Global Health Insurance 14
€ 1,165$ 1,309
Medicine 15€ 2$ 2
Total€ 1,167
$ 1,311
Last Month€ 52$ 57

Travel & Transport

Rental car: 8 days in Crimea 16€ 255$ 287
30-day Russian tourist visa (including agency fee) 17€ 122$ 137
Fuel for rental car€ 53$ 60
Cable car to Ai-Petri in Crimea 18€ 11$ 12
Metro in Moscow 19€ 9$ 10
Train: Moscow city center to Moscow airport (SVO)€ 8$ 9
Train: Moscow city center to Moscow airport (DME)€ 8$ 9
Train: Moscow airport (DME) to Moscow city center€ 8$ 9
Passport photos for Russian visa€ 7$ 8
Parking in Crimea€ 6$ 7
Flights: Moscow (DME) to Crimea (SIP) round trip 20€ 0$ 0
Flight: Moscow (SVO) to Tallinn (TLL) 21€ 0$ 0
Total € 487
$ 547
Last Month€ 276$ 301

Business Expenses

Annual US LLC renewal 22€ 223$ 250
PayPal fees 23€ 84$ 94
3M1K refund 24€ 65$ 73
3M1K affiliate payment 25€ 44$ 49
Bluetooth headphones 26€ 29$ 33
Proposal samples for 3M1K 27€ 18$ 20
Virtual Post Mail 28€ 9$ 10
Sven headphones 29€ 8$ 9
Gumroad fees 30€ 8$ 9
Currency exchange fees 31€ 6$ 7
Crimea SIM card€ 5$ 6
Phone credit€ 5$ 5
Cheap earbuds 32€ 2$ 2
Google Drive storage (100GB)€ 2$ 2
Amazon Web Services (more storage)€ 1$ 1
Dreamhost web hosting 33€ 0$ 0
Total€ 508
$ 571
Last Month€ 549$ 598

Gifts & Donations

Treating friends to dinner€ 28$ 31
Flowers 34€ 6$ 7
Monthly Love & Courage podcast donation 35€ 5$ 6
Total€ 39
$ 44
Last Month€ 57$ 62

Books 36

Extreme Ownership *****€ 12$ 13
Ego Is The Enemy 37€ 10$ 11
The Miracle Morning ****€ 9$ 10
Elon Musk *****€ 7$ 9
Wait But Why Year One 38€ 4$ 4
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly 39 *****€ 0$ 0
Total€ 42
$ 47
Last Month€ 26$ 28


Timberland Chukka sneakers (grey)€ 70$ 79
Sunglasses 40€ 12$ 13
Total€ 82
$ 92
Last Month€ 0$ 0

Miscellaneous Expenses

Kara Dag park entry and tour in Crimea 41€ 20$ 22
Toiletries€ 18$ 20
Netflix subscription€ 10$ 11
Ai-Petri bridge crossing in Crimea 42€ 8$ 9
Sudak fortress entry (x2)€ 5$ 6
Tallinn free walking tour 43€ 5$ 6
Sunscreen€ 4$ 4
Irish banking fee€ 2$ 2
Currency exchange fee in Crimea€ 2$ 2
Air hockey in Crimea 44€ 2$ 2
Laundry detergent€ 1$ 1
Public toilets€ 1$ 1
Monthly banking fee (Dutch bank)€ 1$ 1
Total€ 79
$ 89
Last Month€ 99$ 108

Expense Summary

Health Care€ 1,167$ 1,311
Housing & Utilities€ 666$ 748
Business Expenses€ 508$ 571
Travel & Transport€ 487$ 547
Food & Drink€ 441$ 496
Clothing€ 82$ 92
Miscellaneous Expenses€ 79$ 89
Books€ 42$ 47
Gifts & Donations€ 39$ 44
Total Expenses€ 3,511
$ 3,945
Last Month€ 2,280$ 2,483

I was aiming to keep my expenses under $2.5k for the month so… yeah, missed that mark by quite a bit. At the beginning of the month I didn’t have any intention of buying a big new insurance policy, so that made a big difference.

Biggest Regret?

Losing my earbuds and sunglasses in Crimea ended up costing me $56, so that felt a bit wasteful. Other than that, can’t say I have any regrets from all the above.

Year To Date

Here’s how I’m doing so far in 2017 in terms of profit and loss:

January€ 668$ 720
February€ 724$ 763
March€ 2,704$ 2,881
April€ 1,023$ 1,114
May€ 10$ 11
Total€ 1,635$ 1,735

Where That Leaves Me

I had €8,254/$9,007 to my name at the end of April.

Taking into account all my May income and expenditure, and the most recent exchange rates – I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD – my total bank and cash balances now work out to €8,314/$9,342. 45

Outlook For June

Welcome to the part of the program where I try to predict how much money I’ll earn and spend next month, and inevitably get it very wrong.

Last month I predicted $3,000 income and $2,500 expenses, and ended up with almost $4,000 for both.

Way off.

With that in mind, I went back through my last fifteen finance reports and calculated how much my predictions are usually off by.

The result: On average I underestimate income by 10% and expenses by 21%.

For June I’m thinking $3,000 for income and $2,500 for expenses, so I’ll probably end up at $3,300 and $3,025 respectively.

How I Track All This

Curious as to how I track everything I earn and spend? Check this video…

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.


  1. Pronounced TEHR-reh, that’s how you say “hello” in Estonia, where I’m preparing this report :-)
  2. This is my course that teaches people how to start an online freelance business.
  3. You can find links and details for my latest web dev projects here.
  4. I use their Divi theme on this very website.
  5. This is for advertising on my YouTube videos. I get paid about that amount every three months. Works out to about €1 per thousand views.
  6. This is a short guide I released earlier this year. I produced it with a partner so I only receive part of the profits.
  7. I currently have two books for sale on Amazon:

  8. I sell my Cargo Ship Diaries book direct via this website.
  9. Under €400 is what I usually aim for. Could have kept to that this month but a friend suggested I’d be better off applying my willpower to making more money instead of pinching pennies. Can’t help but agree!
  10. Found on Airbnb. Use this link to sign up and you’ll get $37 off your first Airbnb booking.
  11. Found on Airbnb. Use this link to sign up and you’ll get $37 off your first Airbnb booking.
  12. Found on Use this link to find accommodation there and you’ll get a €15 discount.
  13. Found on Use this link to find accommodation there and you’ll get a €15 discount.
  14. Decided to switch off World Nomads as I realized I was in violation of their T&C’s by not being a resident anywhere. My new IMG plan is more expensive but provides better coverage and will actually pay out if I have to make a claim. (That’s kind of important.) I opted to pay for a year up front to get a nice discount.
  15. For an upset stomach in Crimea.
  16. Via
  17. Using this agency in Tallinn to get another visa. Haven’t received it yet but everything seems to be going smooth so far.
  18. You can see a video (not mine) of this cable car ride here on YouTube.
  19. The metro is quite cheap in Moscow. I bought a metro card and loaded it up with credit.
  20. My girlfriend paid for these flights but wanted to list them here in case you were wondering how I got to/from Crimea :-)
  21. This flight also cost me nothing. Booked for free via points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. If you want to find cheap flights, use my Cheap Flight Checklist.
  22. All taken care of by the good people at Flag Theory. Give them a shout if you want to set up an offshore company or bank account. They know their shit.
  23. Mostly on 3M1K payments.
  24. I offer a 30-day refund policy on my course. I think only 7 people have asked for (and received) a refund out of ~170 sales so far, and two of them ended up buying the course again later (they didn’t have enough time available first time around).
  25. If you refer someone to my course you get $49.
  26. Lost my earbuds in Crimea so bought these as a replacement. Great for listening to music/podcasts but not so much for Skype calls or video because there’s a bit of a delay.
  27. We have a “Pitch Vault” section inside the course with samples of successful freelance proposals. I’ve started bribing people to share their best pitches :-)
  28. This service allows me to receive old-fashioned mail in the USA without having a physical address there. They scan any mail received and email it to me, and can also forward along any important documents to another address I specify.
  29. Had to buy another pair of headphones since the aforementioned bluetooth ones sucked for Skype calls.
  30. I use Gumroad to process payments for The Cargo Ship Diaries and the Cheap Flight Checklist.
  31. Some freelance clients pay me via TransferWise and I lose a bit in the transfer. Still way better than PayPal though.
  32. Bought these in a supermarket to hold me over for a few days. As you’d expect for $2, they didn’t last very long!
  33. I host all my websites on Dreamhost and like them a lot. I usually don’t have to pay them anything because as an affiliate my earnings go towards my bill. Use my link and you’ll get $25 off shared hosting over there.
  34. I gets real romantic sometimes.
  35. Set up this recurring donation to show support for one of my favorite Irish people and his new podcast. We need more people like Ruairi getting their voices heard.
  36. You can see all my book recommendations and what I’m currently reading over on Goodreads.
  37. Just started this one, so no rating.
  38. Just started this one, so no rating.
  39. Found it lying around the apartment I’m staying at in Tallinn.
  40. Lost my last pair in Crimea.
  41. Can’t remember if this was the cost for two people or one.
  42. According to this video, it’s one of the scariest bridges in the world.
  43. Free but you tip them whatever you feel like after.
  44. My girlfriend kicked my ass :-(
  45. Note that these totals are never quite right and don’t really align with my profit/loss numbers each month. That’s because of the different currencies and money constantly moving around between my accounts, plus I have some investments that can make or lose money in any given month. But I couldn’t be arsed figuring it all out perfectly and the above figures are close enough so let’s roll with them.


  1. Scott

    Niall, you seem to give a lot of books five stars. Is it a case of rating inflation, where five is the new three, or does your initial decision process just result in better picks, thus avoiding the stinkers altogether? And if the latter, what’s your picking process?

    Books are a huge time investment, IMO, and I’ve had the sense for a few years that most 150-300 page modern books can (i.e. should) be distilled to a few actionable pages, tops, like executive summaries do for us. Thoughts?

    Loving your stuff and hope the health insurance change is not indicative of anything serious,

    • Niall Doherty

      Hey Scott,

      I only give 5 stars if a book really blows me away. I’ll give 4 sometimes even if I didn’t get a lot out of a book but can see a lot of value in it for other people. The Miracle Morning was like that last month. I was already doing most of the recommendations in there, but I can see how it would be helpful to a lot of people so I gave it 4 stars.

      I think I have gotten better at picking good books. That’s easy enough to do now, just by average ratings on Amazon, and through recommendations from friends and bloggers/podcasters who have recommended stuff I liked in the past. I’m also quick to abandon a book if I’m not getting much out of it, or else just skim through it fast and move on.

      A lot of books can be distilled down, sure, but by skimming you can get through those bloated books quickly and come away with the main points. You can also search for podcast or YouTube interviews with the author and you’ll often get the main points that way in a lot less time.

      And nothing to worry about with the insurance stuff. Wouldn’t help me with an existing condition anyway, which thankfully I don’t have!

      • Scott

        Skimming and quitting are definitely underrated reading skills. I’m glad you utilize both.

        I sometimes think back to all the books I’ve read, consider how much I remember from them, and it’s embarrassing. I now make sure to type out salient points in my categorized notes as reminders. Given how meticulous you are with your finances, do you keep track of important book lessons, too? Derek Sivers-style perhaps?

  2. Joanne

    Amazing how you knew that we’d all be asking how you track your finances!! I’m very impressed with your web page/blog. Your very well organized.

    As far as using the app Money Wiz 2, I’m not comfortable with an app tracking my expenses. I have tried to write down where my money disappears to but, I’m sure like most I forget half the time.

    Great job. Always look forward to your posts!!

  3. Nick

    Will you be able to draw a pension in Ireland doing this sort of work?

    • Niall Doherty

      Nope. I’m not paying any social security in Ireland, so not entitled to a pension as far as I know. With that in mind, I’ve started saving and investing a lot more seriously in the past year.

  4. Lisa

    Glad to see you got yourself some health insurance Niall. It is important to get while you’re young and healthy, and you are a role model to many. Nobody ever knows if they’ll need it, but reality is, the older you get the more likely you’ll need it one day.


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