“Money isn’t everything, but not having it is.”
It’s been almost 6-months since my last ‘money update’ so I figured I’d take some time today to organize my finances and explain how I have kept this dream alive for 9+ months with less than 5k in the original T2T bank account.
If you missed the first Let’s Talk Money post you can get caught up on all my spending habits, expenses and income options.
My Balance Sheet:
I have less than 1 month left here in Buenos Aires and I just paid my last month’s rent ($400), credit card ($170) and student loan ($185) bills. This leaves me just over $300 in the T2T Bank Account for the entire month of July. I’m hoping with this and a little extra income I should be able to make it back to the States before I have to start selling my stuff and/or my body.
My concern however is the fact that my financial stability won’t immediately improve when I get home. It’s not like I have a big chunk of money waiting for me back State-side. My savings are all tied up and the textbook company is movingly slowly towards any buyout. With weddings, parties and events planned for when I get home, I need to come up with some substantial short-term revenue streams as I continue to work on the other, more lucrative, longer-term ventures.
Side Note: I am pretty proud of the fact that I have only used my credit card once on this entire trip and that was the other day to purchase my ticket back to the States on August 10th.
Sources of Income:
Bartending: My only source of “scheduled income” over the past 9 months has been bartending at the Buller Pub in Recoleta. I was originally working 6 nights a week, but cut it to 4 (Thurs-Sun) in March. The difficult thing about bartending here is that I only bring in around $200-$300 pesos per night, which works out to less than $6US/hour! However, like I’ve said before, the bartending gig has a lot more to do with meeting new people, practicing my Spanish and learning about Argentine business than the money. With that being said, it’s still not easy justifying a 10-hour shift netting me around $55 US bucks! As of July 1st I decided to stop bartending in order to rock out for my last few weekends here in Buenos Aires.
Website Affiliates & Referrals: Over the last 5 months or so I’ve received a ton of emails from people traveling through Buenos Aires seeking advice on places to go and things to do. I started making some loot as an affiliate by referring people to places that I’ve been to and enjoyed myself. I’ve also been working on promoting the Bueno, entonces Spanish learning program that I’ve been using to develop the language skillz. My goal is to setup a more in-depth affiliate program once I return home and have the time to revamp Tourist2Townie.com.
Travel Writing: A few weeks ago I had my first piece published by an external publication, Viator.com. Although it didn’t bring in direct income, they exchanged the article and a few photos for a tour in Chile worth about $250 US bones. The goal is to write more pieces for them and search for other publications to bring in some more cashola and trips.
Marketing Consulting: There are 2 marketing consulting project in the works but they haven’t materialized into the bank account yet so I’ll keep you posted on those.
Holiday Money: Let’s be honest, between Christmas and my birthday (February) I was able to pay a month’s rent from gift money. I feel a little guilty about it but it is what it is.
Tax Money: I got back almost $3k from taxes this year which paid for May’s rent, credit card, student loan bills and pretty much my entire trip to Salta ($400 US dollars, more on Salta next week).
Friends & Family Trips: I would have never been able to travel to Mendoza, Chile or Iguazu Falls without the help of my father. Just like I would have never been able to go to Punta del Este, Uruguay without the help of my buddies Devin, Chris and Dan and I would have never made it to Rosario without Speedo. THANK YOU.
I have a very difficult time saying no. I have realized this, and this is my weakness. If there was ever a road trip, fancy dinner or raging fiesta, I want to be a part of it. However, these last 9-months have taught me how to discipline my spending habits, adjust my way of life and make sacrifices to stay within my allotted budget. It sucks turning down ski trips to Las Lenas and treks through Patagonia, but it’s something I had to do. when you look at that ATM screen and it reads ‘INSUFFICIENT FUNDS’ I had to get real… but it also pushes me to succeed. Despite the financial barriers, I’ve turned down 3 “normal” 9 to 5 jobs since I’ve been here because I am working towards my dream of having the freedom to do what I want and the income to afford it.
Plan of Attack:
1. WRITING – Write a few more articles for Viator while I seek out other travel sites and magazines that want a piece of my mind. This seems like it could bring in some decent side money but nothing to really bank on.
2. DISTRIBUTION – Continue to help Bueno, entonces… revamp their website and distribute the Spanish program State-side. This is a longer term project that will hopefully turnover some income within the next 2-4 months.
3. WEBSITE – When I get home I will redevelop the site, add a ton of videos, pictures and info that I’ve been saving up as well as leverage it to bring in some green. There is one big feature that I am pretty stocked about that could be HUGE. The plan is to learn from those who have done it before me (below) and add my own creative twist and unique personality.
- 279 Days to Overnight Success – The Art of Non-Conformity
- Monetize your Travel Blog – Nomadic Matt
- A Practical Guide to Going Digital – Almost Fearless
- The Business of Travel Blogging – Planetd.com
- Make Money Travel Blogging
- Travel Blog Success
4. CONSULTING – Continue to pursue the marketing consulting projects and try to monetize everything.
5. PART TIME WORK – I might need to find some part time work when I get home depending on how fast these other projects turn over. My genius plan of attack on this one is to wait and see.
Yesterday, I went to an Asado in Liniers (outside the city) with some friends from the bar to watch the World Cup Final and play some Truco. My friends house was simple, modest and warm. There was one bedroom for her and her son (6) to share, a small kitchen and a dog that looked like he hadn’t eaten in months.
When the game was finished, my friend’s son asked if I wanted to play some futbol on the terrace. I agreed and started searching for the ball on my way out the door. He jumped up from the table and ran over to a tall shelf, grabbed a bunch of restaurant menus and plastic bags and headed for the kitchen. I curiously followed him in and asked what he was doing. With all the excitement in the world he told me we had to make the ball first. Speechless and intrigued, we spent the next 15 minutes constructing the pelota by rolling up the papers and sealing them with the grocery bags. I drew an Adidas logo and FIFA symbol on it to make it official and just like that we were ready to play. To him it was just another game of futbol against some giant Yankee but for me it was something so much more.
This was one of those moments on this adventure, where I would just stop and think about how lucky I really am. I’ve been able to experience some amazing things over the past year that not a lot of people have the opportunity to do. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and warm food on the table.
Although I will never stop pushing myself to succeed, every now and then I have to stop and realize… life is good.
OTHER MONEY RELATED MATTERS: