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.
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.