Life Update (Where the Money Went)
Our July Nomad Income Report isn’t pretty. Travel expenses combined with trading losses made it our worst month ever. After three months in Budapest our Schengen visa was up and we needed to move on. We read on other blogs that Zagreb, Croatia was a great destination for families and that accommodations were more affordable during peak, so we decided to travel by train from Budapest to Zagreb. The journey was a 5 hour ride packed with backpackers on summer break, but wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. The train took us through a number of small Hungarian towns and along Balaton Lake, which reminded us of the lakes around Seattle with vacation cabins lining their shores.
Our Airbnb host was kind enough to meet us at the train station and give us a ride to the apartment. We negotiated a deal for two months and the apartment couldn’t have been more perfect. We have a queen bed in the loft, a modern kitchen, bedroom downstairs for Spencer, a smart TV with Netflix, great wifi, and views of the wooded hills west of Zagreb.
While the journey and apartment were both great, all three of us came down with a nasty cold that lasted two weeks, followed by several other minor illnesses. Needless to say, we didn’t get much done on our business and on top of that trading was not going well.
So here it is, our July Nomad Income Report.
July Nomad Income: Trading
$3,592 in realized losses in July made it our largest drawdown in a single month. Similar to previous months, I was trading leveraged gold mining ETFs (NUGT & DUST). These stocks’ high volatility provide a good spread for day trading.
As a trader, you plan for drawdowns and the goal is to minimize losses, not to avoid them. A drawdown of this magnitude is par for the course considering we were beating the market by more than 5x year to date of July 1. As of the date of writing, we are beating the market by a 4x and have still made an average of $1300 per month including July’s drawdown.
Nevertheless, these drawdown months are painful and living expenses on top of losses really hurt. In July, I exclusively traded gold, as I did in June. Unfortunately, the indicators our used successfully in June misled me on a few trades and in some cases I held onto losing trades longer than my plan called for. Every trader will have a story about holding onto losing trades and the only logical answer to those situations is to “plan your trade and trade your plan”. This is simple but vital advice to minimize your loses as a trader.
Gold’s price dropped in July and I was shorting gold miners, but I was trading on a daily basis and my key indicators and analysis of them was just plain wrong. I’ve since added algorithms to my trading plan, which is helping me better plan my positions.
I’ve been incorporating algorithms into my trading and they’ve been helpful in getting back on track in August. I’ll be excited to share what I’ve learned from them in our next income report.
July Nomad Income: Miscellaneous Income
Blogging: $10 – Not much, but we aren’t pushing ads or product on our site. Thanks again to all those who shopped on Amazon via our affiliate links. Clicking the “Shop on Amazon” link at the bottom of any page before shopping on Amazon will give us a small commission 🙂
BigStock: $1 – We earned another half a latte via selling stock photography this month. We still haven’t touched this account since December. Still, I think once we get our camera fixed we’ll explore this income stream further.
Writing: $0 – Sarah was out of commission for three weeks with traveling, visiting with friends, and the two week sickness fest. Plus, most magazines don’t pay for fiction and the paid markets are extremely competitive. It may take a while to build up credentials with non-paying markets before she begins to crack the paid ones, but she’s not quitting anytime soon.
Total July Nomad Income: -$3,581
July Nomad Expenditures
Accommodations: $855 (This includes one Airbnb for Sarah and I in Budapest for 6 nights, another Airbnb for us and Sarah’s two friends in Budapest for 5 nights, and a third Airbnb in Zagreb for 20 nights.)
Transport: $283 (Includes cancelled flights to Split, public transport via tram and metro in Budapest, 3 tickets for the train between Budapest and Zagreb, and cab/tram rides in Zagreb)
Cigarettes: $28 (I’m still smoking; albeit half as much as I normally do.)
Child Care: $327 (We didn’t have any daycare for the last week in Budapest, but were lucky and found a nanny the day after arriving in Zagreb. This has become a major expense when compared to our time in Thailand – $90/mo)
Charity: $25 (Donated to the ACLU)
College Debt Repayment: $100 (Sarah has one small college loan left to repay in installments.)
Entertainment: $69 (Sarah checked out a couple museums in Budapest and went on a ghost tour with some of her friends visiting from London.)
Gifts: $77 (We bought gifts for Ribby, the daughter of fellow nomad Gretchen Kristina, and I picked up a stuffed Sully (Monsters Inc) for when Spencer and Sarah returned from their US visit.)
Groceries: $543 (We doubled our last month’s spend for groceries. This usually happens when we land in a new place and have to stock up again on oils, spices, coffee, ziplock bags, etc.)
Health & Beauty: $89 (Includes an Emergency Room visit, prescription drugs for all three of us and a massage.)
Restaurants: $261 (This amount continues to drop as we’ve been cooking at home more. Our kitchen in Zagreb is well equipped and the variety of produce and spices here allows us to try about anything. We even tried a well known croatian dish – Pungent Paprike)
Transportation: $157 (This can really add up in Budapest, since you use the tram or metro to get anywhere. This isn’t a complaint though, rather one of the things we love about the city. This amount also includes some ground transportation for Sarah in the USA.)
Supplies: $331 (This is kind of a catch-all category for random things we need for travel. This month was an apple charging cable for Sarah’s Macbook, iPad charger, an extra hard drive and a memory stick.)
Vacation: $0 (Nothing exciting this month.)
Total Expenses: $3,150
Net Savings: -$6,731
Yep, it was an expensive month. In fact, our total expenses for Budapest and Zagreb alone would allow us to live in SE Asia for the better part of a year. As a bootstrapping family, these costs are not sustainable and definitely add stress to the journey. Fortunately, August is going much better for both the business and trading, even though our living expenses will continue to be high compared to SE Asia.
That said, we don’t regret coming to Europe. Both Budapest and Zagreb are beautiful cities and we met some delightful people in each.
Our next two stops on the route were originally going to be Belgrade, Serbia, and then Cape Town, South Africa. However, we’ve decided to change our flights and head to Mexico where the cost of living is lower and we can explore a new part of the world.
July Nomad Income: Business Update
As mentioned in our last income statement, we’re waiting a year to disclose the business expenses and gains’ affect on our saving. Nomadica saw little change in June as the two weeks of sickness really slowed things down. We restocked some categories in our store and our first product, a travel nursing and infant car seat cover on Amazon, started to build sales momentum. Our business expenses were slightly higher than revenues in July, but we’re on track to be in the black later this year.
If the July Nomad Income report was your first layover with us, you may want to check out our other Income Reports.