September 2014 Finance Report (subscribers only)

Bienvenido o’ legendary email subscriber. This is my September finance report, as prepared from one of the best hostels I’ve ever known, The Dreamer Hostel in Santa Marta, Colombia.

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 was on the move quite a bit in September, spending time in five different Brazilian cities (you can see my travel map here). Diving in…

September Expenses

Food and Drink

Eating out€ 343$ 433
Groceries€ 48$ 60
Total€ 391
$ 493

Up from the €320/$420 I spent on food and drink in August. I splashed out more than once and regretted it a couple of times, but them’s the breaks when you’re passing through cities unfamiliar.

Housing and Utilities

8 nights at Belém Hostel Amazon€ 94$ 119
1 week rent for apartment in Belo Horizonte€ 71$ 90
2 nights at Apart Hotel Presidente, Belém€ 59$ 75
1 night at Albergaria Hostel, Fortaleza€ 36$ 45
1 night at Atlantic City Apart Hotel, Salvador€ 31$ 39
Total€ 292$ 368

Way up from the €100/$131 I spent the previous month, but not bad at all considering I didn’t stay in any one place for more than eight days. I crashed at a friend’s place in Salvador for a couple of nights, so that saved a few bucks. I also slept a few nights on buses and five nights on the boat up the Amazon (accounted for below).


Boat: Belém to Manaus€ 166$ 210
3-day Amazon jungle tour€ 145$ 183
Bus: Salvador to Fortaleza€ 91$ 115
Bus: Belo Horizonte to Salvador€ 85$ 107
Bus: Fortaleza to Belém€ 72$ 91
Taxis in Belém€ 23$ 29
Taxis in Belo Horizonte€ 7$ 9
Salvador walking tour€ 7$ 9
Local buses in Salvador€ 5$ 6
Local buses in Fortaleza€ 3$ 4
Local buses in Belém€ 2$ 3
Total € 607 $ 766

About half of the €1,281/$1,682 I spent on travel in August. The three big bus trips (all 20+ hours) plus the boat took me more than 5,000 kilometers!

Business Expenses

Web design outsourcing€ 95$ 120
AWeber email marketing€ 63$ 79
Facebook ads€ 33$ 42
PayPal fees€ 27$ 34
Domain renewal€ 10$ 12
Total€ 227$ 287

Down from €533/$700 in August. I was on the road a lot so didn’t spend much time working.

Gifts and Donations

Tip for boat lady€ 6$ 8
Chocolates for English school€ 3$ 4
Food for lady at Belém bus station€ 2$ 3
Donation to Manaus violin busker€ 2$ 2
Food for skinny kid at Belém market€ 1$ 1
Donation to dude singing on the bus in Salvador€ 1$ 1
Total€ 15$ 19

Down from €22/$29 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.


Kindle Unlimited€ 8$ 10
God’s Undertaker€ 7$ 9
The Obstacle Is The Way€ 4$ 5
The Millionaire Next Door€ 2$ 3
Waiter Rant€ 2$ 2
Total€ 23$ 29

Up a little from €17/22 last month. I will be creating a recommended reading page soon so you can see my favorite books.

Quick reviews of the books listed above (apart from The Millionaire Next Door, as I haven’t started into that one yet):

  • God’s Undertaker: Helping me battle-test my atheist beliefs. Deep, thought-provoking read.
  • The Obstacle Is The Way: Phenomenal. One of my top three reads this year.
  • Waiter Rant: Enjoyable. Interesting to see someone write about the in’s and out’s of what many would consider an unremarkable profession.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Sunscreen€ 20$ 25
Head shaver€ 17$ 22
Bar/nightclub entry fees in Belo Horizonte€ 16$ 20
Headspace monthly subscription€ 10$ 13
Toiletries€ 10$ 13
Tracksuit pants€ 10$ 13
Laundry€ 7$ 9
Caricature portrait at market in Belém€ 6$ 8
AIB quarterly banking fee€ 5$ 6
Mosquito spray€ 4$ 6
Stamps and postcard€ 2$ 2
Hand towel€ 1$ 2
Total€ 109$ 139

Almost halved from €200/$263 in August.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink€ 391$ 493
Housing and Utilities€ 292$ 368
Travel€ 607$ 766
Business Expenses€ 227$ 287
Gifts and Donations€ 15$ 19
Books€ 23$ 29
Miscellaneous expenses€ 109$ 139
Total Expenses€ 1,665
$ 2,101

Down from August’s expense total of €2,473/3,247.

September Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Freelance web design€ 634$ 800
Book sales from Amazon€ 53$ 67
Reader donations (muchas gracias!)€ 44$ 55
Book sales: The Cargo Ship Diaries (direct from€ 36$ 46
Refund for iPhone cable in Belo Horizonte€ 13$ 17
Amazon affiliate income€ 9$ 11
Total Income€ 789
$ 996

That’s way down from last month’s income totals of €3,822/$5,018. My big earner last month was freelance web design, which pulled in €2,302/$3,023. As predicted though, this month I wasn’t able to earn as much thanks to all the moving around, and I didn’t have many invoices due from clients for past work.

Biggest regret?

I spent more on food than I was happy with (I’m not a foodie), and those Facebook ads turned out to be a waste of money. I did pretty well otherwise though. Knowing I was going to be on the road a lot, I wrote in last month’s report that I’d be content with spending $2k and earning $1k, and I came pretty close to those numbers.

Where that leaves me

I had €3,411/$4,479 to my name at the end of August. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in EUR, HKD and USD), those totals shifted a little to €3,581/$4,519. Taking into account all my August income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €2,683/$3,385.

Here’s how I’m doing so far this year:

  • €891/$1,202 in January
  • €550/$759 in February
  • €1,105/$1,525 in March
  • €1,616/$2,241 in April
  • €1,394/$1,900 in May
  • €1,033/$1,412 in June
  • €780/$1,050 in July
  • €1,349/$1,771 in August
  • €876/$1,105 in September
  • €1,598/$2,117 overall

Outlook for October

Now that I’ve arrived in Colombia, it’s time to settle in for a couple of months, get some quality work done, and hopefully earn some big bucks. That said, I’m heading out on a four-day trek to La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) right after I publish this report, and probably won’t be set up in an apartment in Medellin until the 20th, so not a lot of time left in the month to knuckle down and earn. It might again be a stretch for me to pull in more than $1k.

Luckily, the cost of living is pretty good here in Colombia, much cheaper than Brazil, so it should be easier to keep my expenses low.

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.

Last thing…

As you can see above, I make very little money direct from this website. If you find any of this information or my articles helpful and would like to help ensure I keep on doing what I do, this page is for you.


  1. Jonathan

    If Michele (one of the Italian owners at dreamer hostel) is around, say hi from Jonathan from Salamanca!

  2. Vito

    I’m looking forward to see how things go in Medellin, how you set up your apartment, and how you think it compares to Brazil. I’ve never been to Brazil, but found metropolitan Colombia to be surprisingly expensive for what it is.


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