Everything I Earned And Spent In 2015

2015 was my fifth full year of self-employment, and it was a big year of transition as I quit traveling the world and settled down in Amsterdam.

I still managed to visit ten countries in 2015, the same number as the year previous, but most of those happened within the first five months. Since June I’ve barely left Amsterdam, save for a couple of quick trips back to Ireland to visit family.

If you’re a regular visitor here you’ll know that I’ve been tracking all my income and expenditure since I quit my day job at the end of 2010, and sharing detailed monthly finance reports with my email subscribers.

Below I’ll share with you a summary of all my income and expenses from 2015.

2015 Expenses

Housing & Utilities € 11,587 $ 12,730
Business Expenses € 5,442 $ 5,988
Food & Drink € 5,257 $ 5,777
Travel € 2,349 $ 2,600
Miscellaneous € 1,785 $ 1,955
Clothing € 1,123 $ 1,239
Gifts & Donations € 502 $ 548
Insurance € 402 $ 440
Books € 369 $ 409
Phone Credit € 336 $ 369
Movies/Cinema/Television € 157 $ 177
Toiletries € 120 $ 131
Gym Membership € 110 $ 123
Laundry € 62 $ 69
Total Expenses € 29,601 $ 32,555
2014 Totals € 20,286 $ 26,655

As expected, it’s proving to be more expensive to live in one place than it is to travel the world indefinitely.

My expenses for the first five months of the year (i.e. when I was still traveling) averaged out at €1,842/month. But since moving to Amsterdam that average has jumped €2,913.

Of course, a big chunk of my expenses here in Amsterdam can be attributed to renting a nice apartment all by myself. I could find somewhere cheaper to live, but I like having my own, centrally-located place, and I’m happy to pay a premium for that.

2015 Income

Freelance Web Design € 21,142 $ 23,263
Travel The World + Work Online (now 3M1K) € 8,921 $ 8,098
Gifts and Donations € 1,495 $ 1,634
Affiliate Income € 630 $ 685
Miscellaneous € 524 $ 586
Book Sales (via Amazon and ndoherty.com) € 421 $ 462
Speaking Gigs € 389 $ 432
Google Adsense (via my YouTube videos) € 321 $ 356
The 1-Hour Website Webinar € 306 $ 332
Fake Flight Itinerary € 143 $ 160
Total Income € 33,469 $ 36,831
2014 Totals € 20,057 $ 26,328

Thankfully my income rose in line with my expenses, even a bit more so.

As usual, freelance web design was my bread and butter. I made a good chunk from that despite working at it only part-time.

Other Numbers Of Interest

Total cash and bank balances on January 1, 2015 € 4,140 $ 5,009
Total cash and bank balances on December 31, 2015 € 7,836 $ 8,509
Difference between those two numbers + € 3,696 + $ 3,500
Money spent per day in 2015 € 81.10 $ 89.19
Money earned per day in 2015 € 91.70 $ 100.91
Lowest income month (November) € 311 $ 330
Highest income month (July) € 6,931 $ 7,612
Most expensive month (June) € 4,115 $ 4,571
Least expensive month (April) € 1,125 $ 1,257

Monthly Profit/Loss

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

  • €3,696/$3,500 overall

Lessons Learned

They say you’ve really only learned something when your behavior changes. Anything before that is knowledge, and knowledge is useless unless acted upon.

Before 2015 I knew all about the importance of routine, but until I settled in one place and started hitting the gym every morning and chipping away at my business every day, I hadn’t really learned.

So that was the biggest thing I learned in 2015: the value of routine.

Life on the road was great for a few years, but it was also very distracting. If you really want to make progress towards your goals, knuckle down in one spot and get after it relentlessly, day after day after day.

And that might sound like a chore, but it’s not. I worked a lot more in 2015 than I did in 2014, but I’d say I was also more content.

Biggest Regret?

A couple of clothing purchases spring to mind.

Back in June I dropped €115 on a pair of jeans that I’ve worn maybe two times since. And the following month I spent €40 on a nice white dress shirt that soon wouldn’t fit me because my boobs got all big from the gym.

Ah well.

A Few Photos From 2015

Motorcycle adventure beneath the shadow of Volcán Maderas on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.
Motorcycle adventure beneath the shadow of Volcán Maderas on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.
Giving away $100 on the streets of New Orleans. Lots more photos on Facebook.
Giving away $100 on the streets of New Orleans. Lots more photos on Facebook.
Arriving in Barcelona. You can see a bunch more pics from my cruise across the Atlantic over on Facebook.
Arriving in Barcelona. More pics from my cruise across the Atlantic over on Facebook.
The green green grass of home: arriving in Rosslare on May 16th.
The green green grass of home 🙂
Arriving in Rosslare on May 16th to finish my 44-month trip around the world without flying.
Arriving in Amsterdam back in June.
Arriving in Amsterdam in June.
Cruising the canals.
Cruising the canals.
Another workday in Amsterdam.
Another workday in Amsterdam.
Gay pride :-)
Gay pride 🙂
Fluffy Puppy Slippers!
Fluffy Puppy Slippers!
Autumn in Amsterdam.
Autumn in Amsterdam.
Would you believe my gym membership in Amsterdam is only €110 for 12 months?
Would you believe my gym membership in Amsterdam is only €110 for 12 months!?

2016 Forecast

I plan to spend most of 2016 living in Amsterdam, and so I expect both my income and expenses to increase significantly from 2015.

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1 Comment

  1. Really cool breakdown Niall! Especially interesting to me, as I also went freelance recently, in order to work from anywhere in the world. Naturally, I went a little bit overboard on the traveling the first year 😉

    So I couldn’t agree more when you stress the importance of routines and habits – that is key. The way I go about this: every month, I publish a list of my current daily habits on my blog and then reflect on how I did with each habit last month. Sounds a little bit tedious, but it helps a lot to hold yourself accountable!

    BTW, if you ever come to visit Munich, dinner is on me! I really enjoy reading your blog, it’s one of the few that I can stand in the personal development niche. Down to earth, honest and all the more inspiring for it. I like the momentons especially, might copy that format 😉

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