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Personal Income Statement, March 2008 (Net Income: $9,257)

This article was written by in Monthly Update. 24 comments.


Each month, I publish a couple of financial reports on Consumerism Commentary in order to give myself a chance to review my financial health on a regular basis. Publishing the data online helps to keep me accountable for my spending and saving decisions. This post contains my income statement, and it goes along with my March 2008 net worth report. The two reports go hand-in-hand to present a complete picture of my finances every month.

Following the record-setting month of February, March was not a disappointment. I managed to keep my income up and my expenses down.

Continue reading to view the details and explanations. The chart is hard to read, but you can click on the graphic to zoom in.

Income and Expense Report, March 2008

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

The report is made with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Here’s an income and expense report Excel template.

Explanation and Details.

My “annual” raise from my day job took effect with the first paycheck in March. The second paycheck included the increase as a result of my promotion. These factors contributed to a slight increase in the “salary” income line over January. February was an anomaly due to receiving three paychecks during that month.

Let me talk a little about “business income.” I’ve had a plan in mind. I’d like to make the decision this summer whether I can do what I hinted at yesterday: quit the corporate rat race and focus full-time on writing and managing Consumerism Commentary and building other online projects. For over a year, I’ve been earning more from working online, mostly from advertising, than I have been earning from my day job. However, I’m not convinced of the long-term viability of this income. Too much is reliant, either directly or indirectly, on one company: Google. If people can’t find Consumerism Commentary via Google, then my source of income will diminish.

I’ve already removed “text link advertising” which Google frowns upon. At the time I began eliminating this type of advertising, these ads counted for 30% to 40% of my business income. Due to this change, I expected a significant drop in business income this month. If not for a long-term advertising deal reached during March, I would be seeing that drop in these reports. While I’m happy my business income has remained steady in March, I don’t expect to secure these long-term deals every month.

You may remember that Consumerism Commentary drew in over 100,000 unique visitors in January and doubled that in February. March saw a healthy 150,000 unique visitors, but that takes into account a very steep decline in visitors from Google over the past two weeks. Based on traffic from the past week, my traffic for April may be more on par with the state of Consumerism Commentary from last November. That being the case, the immediate plan will be to work on the things I can control — to cultivate my writing skills and focus on building regular readers.

Although I seem to have little control over visitors from search engines, this seems like a major step backwards. If income from the website follows the same pattern as the traffic, I will not be in a position to work full-time on Consumerism Commentary.

Let’s move on to the rest of the income and expense report.

My expenses were fairly ordinary in March. My entertainment expenses include about $50 for “entertaining,” which involves mainly treating my girlfriend to dinner, movies, etc. Another $50 was spent on “hobbies,” which right now consist of coin collecting and photography. The balance of the category was spent on movies, music, and games.

During March, I purchased round trip airline tickets for spring vacation; my girlfriend and I will be traveling to California to visit my family as we do every spring.

Coming up in April, my biggest expense will be my tax bill. There’s no doubt about that. Other expenses should remain light throughout the month.

Updated April 8, 2008 and originally published April 2, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Llama Money

With the amount of traffic you get here, and the # of subscribers you have, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t write here full time. I understand the risk, but still – imagine the freedom of not having a day job. A site redesign / overhaul, more focused direct ads ( less Adsense, so as to not overwhelm readers with ads ), and some rss ads…. you could do well.

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avatar Ken

Wow, I just turned off ad block plus and saw all the ads. Crazzzzyyy. Never knew there were so many. I see none with ABP. Browsing the web is awesome with it.

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avatar Curt

Don’t quit your day job just yet…

If your blogging income is based on one time ad clicks, then you don’t really have a consistent or a predictable income. To reduce your risk of income fluctuation, you need repeat customers that rely on your products or services. For example, if you had a monthly subscription list of user that you offered a membership service with a committed income – then you would have a much better predictable income stream – that you could also use to estimate the value of your business.

That is not to say that you couldn’t make a lot of money, but now that you have something going – I would try to add services that better build your customers committed income. Perhaps with longer term contract with advertizers.

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avatar Brian

While I know that going full-time is like the Holy Grail of the blogosphere, I would recommend a less-drastic “correction” to your working hours. Maybe negotiate a four-day work week for a 15% paycut (making the argument that people accomplish less on Friday/Monday anyways). Or, request a few more weeks of vacation time per year with a fitting downward salary adjustment.
This way, you would:
1. Retain the reliable “real job” income to flatten out the fluctuations in site revenue. Think of this as being similar to bonds or CDs in your “employment portfolio”, while CC.com is the stock portion.
2. Continue to be “one of us” from your readers’ point of view. Instead of some blogger who makes money running a website, which very few of your readers probably do, you still have the positives and negatives of a regular job. You’ll continue to relate to your readers, and even more importantly, your readers will continue to relate to you.
While it will obviously be a personal decision, that is my $0.02

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avatar Mr. Stupid

I am pretty new to this blogging thing, but having recently started one, I am trying to absorb all that I can. Can you please explain a little more about what “text link advertising” is — and why Google frowns on it?

Thanks,
Mr. Stupid

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

Llama: Thanks for the encouragement!

Ken: I’m a big fan of Ad Block Plus.

Curt: My thoughts run along the same lines. The variability (and as I mentioned, the reliance on one company) has kept me from making the jump already. I have other websites that are subscription based but I spend most of my time on Consumerism Commentary.

Brian: That’s exactly the reason why I don’t write more about “earning money from blogging.” I look at this as a personal finance blog, not a “get rich quickly online” blog. I’m not a fan of those.

Mr. Stupid: This probably isn’t the right forum to discuss the details of particular advertising methods… I’ll send you an email tonight.

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avatar Raymond

Flex

I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned it before…but what’s your day job?

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avatar FIRE Finance

That’s awesome. All the best for full time blogging and online publishing.
Cheers,
FIRE Finance

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,505 (Platinum)

Raymond: Without getting too specific, I work for a company in the financial sector.

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avatar CommRE

“My entertainment expenses include about $50 for “entertaining,” which involves mainly treating my girlfriend to dinner, movies, etc. ”

Wow – now that is stretching an entertainment budget. I’m not sure how you had any left over after dinner and movie for “etc”.

By the way, I downloaded your excel template for net worth at the beginning of the year and have been using it since. It’s great – thanks for sharing that…

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avatar Mark

I would look for ways to generate traffic outside of Google. Your RSS readers are a good start. Some type of email newsletter is another option. The trick is to turn visitors from Google into some type of connection that exists even if the Google traffic goes away.

If your Google traffic dropped off you might take a close look at which part dropped. Perhaps you lost your ranking for a particular keyword and with a little effort you could get it back. Perhaps you were ranking for some type of seasonal term that will be back again next year. If you can determine the cause, you may be able to find ways to insulate yourself from changes in the future.

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avatar AndyS

Great report and it is amazing the amount of detail you disclose online. I like your stand on not quitting your day job due to dependency on “Google” as your income source. I never thought of it that way, but good point to keep in mind.

Enjoy reading this blog and have added it to my blogroll.

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