We’re going to do this month a bit differently. Kayla will open with her normal overview, then Andrew is going to add his finances in below. If all goes well, this will be “new normal.”
I’m still working a ton when I’m working, but we managed to take quite a bit of time off this month. I ran my marathon on 10/7 and then we spent a few glorious days in Yosemite. We put our heads down and got to work in Los Angeles, and then we flew to Minneapolis for my best friend’s wedding. Then we drove to Mexico.
Overall, I’m surprised at how much work I got done between all of the fun!
Honestly, not much has changed for me work-wise since September. I’m hoping to spend November recuperating financially a little bit since I’m sure I’ll not get much work done in December again. It’ll be clear why in a second.
Let’s take a peek at the finances of being a digital nomad/freelance writer with a dog.
October Income Report: What Kayla Earned
All told, my pre-tax income this month was a bit over $3,200. To break that down a bit, this month I earned:
- Roughly $2400 from freelance writing
- Roughly $600 from freelance editing
- Just over $200 from Journey Dog Training course sales
- Another $150 or so from website work, SEO, and a few gifts
It was a really, really good month for me – even with all of my breaks. It might not look like much, but it’s enough for how I’m currently living. Hopefully, now that we’re in Mexico, I’ll be able to put more money into savings. One day, I might want those savings for something bigger than car repairs.
October Expense Report: How Kayla Spent It
GAH! I spent almost $5,000 this month. I was on track to be doing ok, and then… I bought tickets to India for my best friend’s second wedding. I have some savings in an Acorns account (separate savings account that I use for fun money – I actually have 4 different savings accounts) that I’ll tap into if needed to pay off the credit card bill.
Otherwise, this month was looking OK. We had some expensive car repairs and expensive groceries in LA, but… ah, forget it. Let me just break it down.
- Rent: We spent $170 on rent this month. Yay!
- Gas: $250 (California gas is expensive)
- Groceries: $308. Expensive. Not quite sure what went wrong beyond at least one huge grocery run at Whole Foods that was probably just way too much.
- Student Loans: $101, as always.
- Car Insurance and Maintenance: Ouch. Between paying ahead for our Mexican car insurance, a new timing belt, and a few smaller fixes on the car, we got hit hard at $960
- Health Insurance: First month of international health insurance – cost me $123
- Barley: Between his food and a vet visit for international vaccinations, Barley cost us about $217.
- Misc. International Costs: $25 for some odds and ends.
- Savings: I put about $250 into savings this month, split between my savings accounts.
- Business Expenses: I spent about $570 on my business this month between some new software and renewing my membership with the IAABC. Ouch.
- Adventures and Life Experiences: I spent about $1500 on a flight to India in December. That’s why I need November to be good – I’m sure I won’t be working much that week!
- Restaurants/Alcohol/Dates: $300ish. We ate out a fair bit, especially while we were in Minneapolis for the wedding.
- Coffee: $55. I’m trying to curb the expensive-girly-latte habit. Getting there.
- Shopping: Alas, I was doing so well – until I but $150 running shoes. $200 total here.
- Gifts: Just around $180 for wedding gifts and a birthday present for my dad.
Ok, so between the car repairs and the flight to India, it was a bit of a rough month. But I also overspent on groceries and going out to eat (per usual). Otherwise, most of the other expenses are somewhat unavoidable.
Looking forward to some big projects cashing out soon!
October Income Report: What Andrew Earned
All told, my pre-tax income this month was $4,015.
- $3,764 from client work
- $251 in sales from other eCommerce ventures
It was a pretty good month for me for income. My burn rate (projected monthly expenses) now that we are living in Mexico is around 2 grand a month so anything over that is bonus money as far as I’m concerned.
October Expense Report: How Andrew Spent It
Yeah, this was a heavy month of spending. California is no joke. I think San Francisco was the most expensive city we’ve living in so far… not to mention car repairs.
- Rent: $116. This was good.
- Gas/Automotive: $1,240. Between gas, Mexican car insurance, and car repairs, spent a ton of money here.
- Student Loans: $0. That seems wrong. I should probably look into that.
- Groceries: $206. I’ve spent more, and less. So-so.
- Health Insurance: $266. This was not a fun one. I’ve been coasting off of my parents’ insurance (thanks Obama) but now needing international coverage, will be paying this amount quarterly to IMG Global for their Gold Plus tier.
- Coffee: $180. I calculate this separately from dining and eating out so I know rough “office” costs. This was on the high side this month. Damn California.
- Dining: $710. Yeah that was a lot. San Francisco took a big hit on this one, as did LA.
- Gym/Workouts: $108. A bit high but not too bad. I never hesitate to spend money on working out because I believe the health consequences are more than the short term cash flow problems. But I did cop some free trial passes which helped to offset this cost.
- Entertainment: $111. OK.
- Subscriptions/SaaS: $153. This is actually down from what I projected at $215. These are tools and services I use for personal and business and have been creeping up in costs lately.
- Shopping (fun stuff): $271. Mostly Amazon purchases.
- Gifts: $122
- Services (Legal, Taxes, etc.): $148. More than usual. Mostly due to international travel for the first time.
- Lyft/Uber: $91. A lot of it was getting to/from the airport and wedding in Minneapolis. Some of it was Bird scooters in San Diego.
- Other Expenses: $218. Not exactly sure what this is but it was spent.
In total I spent $3,940 in October. Part of this was offset because I usually pay for dinner for both me and Kayla, and K Venmos me for part of it later. So in reality it was a little bit lower than this. I also should note that I spent $699 on Google and Facebook ads for my ventures, which yes, far outweighs the $251 in profit I received from those. It’s a work in progress at the moment to go ROI positive.
Including that adspend I was actually down $4,639 in expenses for the month. Which does outweigh my income in the same time period, something I had planned for back in June and am okay with at the moment to invest in future opportunities.
Next month I am planning on going cashflow positive for the first time in 3 months.
Our combined income was $7,215.
Our combined expenses were $8,098. I did not include K’s $1500 flight to India.
Not great but we had both planned to go negative this month so all around OK.
From now on though, our expenses are projected to drop to around $3k – $4k, which is 50% – 60% lower, while maintaining the same level of income. So that will be nice.
Kayla is a biologist, writer, and web designer. She’s passionate about animal behavior, the science of habits, and anything outdoors.