This blog post is the result of nearly 2 days work for me (Chris), however hopefully in the future it will get a bit quicker !! I have also found an online accounting program called Spendee, which will help us to log our spending on the road. It also has some nice charts to help share the overview with you.
Getting ready for ‘the big trip’ is proving to be a real challenge both mentally and financially. We always knew that it wasn’t going to be easy and it certainly wasn’t going to be cheap ! It would have been much easier to spend 6 months backpacking India or Indonesia, but we’ll save that for another time. We like a challenge and why not drive around the world whilst we are both still physically able to do so.
Since quitting our jobs and renting out our house, we have become much more aware of our spending and the saying “it’s only a bargain if you need it” has never hit home quite as much as it does now. We have really had to consider what we spend our small savings on, or the trip could be over before it starts.
Of course doing the trip for ourselves and not sharing it with you would have been a lot cheaper. Creating content needs equipment and the cameras and computers that we invested in were bought before we started creating these monthly finance blogs. The branding on the van alone, has run up a bill of hundreds, although we love ‘Trudy’s’ new look and she starts many a conversation.
Most travel bloggers (written content) and vloggers (filmed content) don’t actually share their financial information. The amount of money then generate, be it from ads on their web site, or income from their YouTube channel, it is always a well guarded secret. One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘how can we afford to do it?’ We did take a huge step into the unknown, but hopefully if you plan to do the same or part of what we do (even if it’s just setting up your own YouTube channel) then we hope that our financial blogs will help give you an understanding.
We want to make it clear, so that if any of you are planning to do a similar thing, it may help you make that BIG decision. We are realistic and know that to make our lifestyle fully sustainable, from making YouTube videos, or writing blog posts, is not easy and if it’s possible, it will take a lot of time and effort. Your coming on this voyage of discovery with us – every step of the way.
What to expect from future posts
The countdown clock to our official start , on the 4th January 2020 is fast going down (there’s a countdown clock on the homepage of our website). From now until we leave, each month, we will share with you our income, and any costs associated with the preparation of the global trip, marketing, van preparation, equipment costs and creating content for you.
Once we set off in January we will share monthly, detailed income and expenditure of everything we spend, during the 2 year trip from food to fuel so you can get a real sense of all the costs involved on such a trip.
September 2019 - Income & Expenditure
We always knew that we had to spent out to get ready for the trip and we would share this with you. This month we have definitely over spent, but it’s all necessary for our upcoming trip, we are going to have to find ways of saving money on the road once we set off.
We have also been looking at ways of generating additional money to help cover some of the costs and so we have created TREAD merchandise – if you haven’t checked out our shop section of the new website, then what are you waiting for!! We are also in the planning stages of creating the ‘TREAD Tribe’ which will be a way that you can support us and receive some benefits in return – more on that in future posts.
Last month we announced that August 2019 was our busiest month on YouTube. Our videos in El Salvador, were very well received and is the main reason that we hit a new record. As we return to the UK and start the videos on our world drive preparations, the views have dropped. This is completely expected. Our views on YouTube are made up of a few different types of followers. Luckily we have a group of dedicated followers, like you, that watch all of our videos, regardless of where we are, as they are enjoying coming on this travel adventure with us. Thank you for your support and we can see that this section is slowly growing. Others search for a video on a specific destination and watch the videos for that area only. Travelling through Central America, we had a backpacking and local following, now we are back building a van life and travel following. We actually see ourselves as adventure travellers, it’s just the means of travel that changes. We are sure that as we set off travelling again, our views will continue to grow.
In September we had 53,600 views (65% less than August) We generated an income of $165.27 (approx £132). We say approx, as the exchange rate changes. The actual funds aren’t paid into the bank until the following month so the amount received will be slightly different.
Our consistent subscribers continues to grow and we saw an increase of 396 subscribers this month.
House Rental: £1,238.60
Our house Rental was slightly down this month due to a minor repair. This is the reality of renting a house there is always something to fix!
Merchandise Sales £407.79
We were asked by a number of you for merchandise, so we created a range of t-shirts, which are for sale on our web site. Great sales for our first month. Thanks to all of you who purchased one.
Paypal Contributions: £28.83
Buy me a coffee: £49.58
We are always blown away by how generous our followers are, by sending us a contribution via PayPal or our coffee link. We are so happy to hear that you like our content so much, that you give us a financial contribution for us to continue to do so – thank you, this means more to us that you know !!
Amazon Links: £0.84
We are delighted that we have generated our first income on Amazon! Even if it is only £0.84. Amazon links are a great way for you to help us without spending a penny. At the moment, we have set this up for Amazon UK so if you are from the UK and want to buy anything, if you use our link we get a small commission and it doesn’t cost you a penny! We have put an Amazon link on the ‘support us’ page of our web site and there are product links on every youtube video’s description. Just click the link then shop normally. I am working on creating Amazon links for purchases in the US and Australia too.
TOTAL INCOME AUGUST: £1,858 ( August = £1,383)
Yes, a very expensive month for a travel blogger, but unfortunately necessary for our trip and to be able to share our travels with you. With our new finance app Spendee – we have tried to create some expense categories to make it easier to share our finances with you.
Category 1: MARKETING – £206.75
Vista print £57.57 (one off)
This is for anything that helps promote us. This month we spent for TREAD keep in contact cards, we hand these to people that we meet and gives them all our social media platforms and contact details. This helps promote our adventures
FB Linker £5.18 (monthly)
This is a program that allows you to post and share large thumbnail images on Twitter and Facebook. It helps your post stand out, however facebook now automatically posts large images and so we will be cancelling this cost – every penny counts !
Signage for Trudy £144 (one off)
We have spent a lot of time and money planning the signage for Trudy. We LOVE the way she looks now and she gets a lot of attention as we’re driving or parked up. This months charge will be the last of it – we’re not adding any more branding to the van – other than sponsor’s stickers.
Category 2: MERCHANDISE – £210
Unfortunately to sell merchandise you have to buy it! This is the cost of merchandise to generate the sales of £407.79 giving a profit of £197.79. The T- shirt cost works on the quantity sold, so the more we sell then the more profit we make. Each shirt sold will give us approx 40 miles of fuel.
Category 3: VISAS / PASSPORTS – £701.98
You can’t travel to some countries without a visa and their not cheap !! This month we have started 2 of the main visas we need USA and Russia. After an interview at the US Embassy in London we now have our B2 visa which allows 6 months multiple entry and is valid for 10 years, which is great for future trips.
The Russian Visa process has been started.
Category 4: VEHICLE PREPARATION – £1,522.57
This category includes everything getting Trudy ready, from mechanical issues to navigation.
Maps – £128.52 (one off)
Although we have a sat nav (Europe only) and we are planning to use online apps, you never know, if you will have a signal or if your technology will fail, so we have purchased a paper map for every country – and yes! there’s a lot of them. They are also great for route planning – you can’t beat stretching out a map!
Vehicle Equipment £341 (one off)
There seems to be so many little bits that we need and will make our life on the road easier. Some items we have bought are- Clips, hooks & magnets, a spare toilet cassette, Shade sail for awning (needed in hot weather), Step (knee saver – Marianne reversed over the last one we had), drinking water container, bottle jack, fan, compressor and thermal blinds.
Mechanical Work £1,017.37) (one off)
This was a big expense for us this month. We had a lot of discussion and decided that because Trudy is 14 years old, it was highly likely that we would need to upgrade her suspension springs, with images of us bouncing across Mongolia etc. So this month we installed new shocks and springs.
Van Mate Alarm – £35.68 (one off)
Security on the van is always a concern and I found this wonderful little USB charged alram. Although small packs a punch and will hopefully help scare off any thief.
Category 5: TREAD EXPENSES – £1,618.26
This category is for other TREAD related expenses and this month there was a lot of them !
Technical Equipment £72,97 (one off)
This is for our filming and editing etc. This month we bought a few items – new headphones, an inverter (for charging computers etc from 12v) and a gimble cable (stabilisation devise) needed to link the gimbal to the camera.
New Web Site £1008 (one off)
When we started TREAD the Globe, I watched lots of YouTube videos and managed to build the initial Word Press website. Something as a non techie person I was very proud of and it served it’s purpose for the first year. However as we slowly grew, I wanted the website to look more professional and to be more interesting for you, with interactive maps, countdown clocks etc. So I spent a month planning what it would look like and with the help of Dean, we created our new site – and we LOVE it. Although the cost of £1008 sounds a lot, for the amount of work and help Dean gave us it was a great price.
Tube Buddy £15 (monthly)
This is a google chrome extension that makes any Youtuber’s life a lot easier. It allows us to bulk change elements of our end screens and descriptions of all our videos as well as lot of other perks.
Technical Insurance £12.49 (monthly)
You never know what life throws at you! I managed to spill a drink on my MacBook in Spain and luckily it was covered by our travel insurance. We now have a computer each due to the work load (Marianne has the fixed one and I have a new faster model), and so the new one, I took out insurance just incase. Money well spent if I have another clumsy moment.
Filmora Screen Capture Software – £33.58 (one off)
When making videos, having the ability to record what is actually on your computer screen is very helpful. With this piece of software I am able to talk and explain what is on my computer screen.
Canva Pro – £11.51 (monthly)
This is an online image creator and is great for us – we create all of our thumbnails using this software and effects like the diary cam on our videos.
New Drone – £398.39 (one off)
For those of you that have been following us for a while, will know that we crashed our drone ‘Doris’ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Drone footage makes the videos so much better, bringing another element to the video and so we have invested in a new one, ready for the big trip.
Epidemic Sound – £10 (monthly)
This monthly membership allows us to access lots of music for our videos without having to worry about copyright issues.
Site Ground Web Hosting – £12.50 (monthly)
This is an ongoing cost – once you have a website built, you still need to pay a company to host it for you
Mobile Phone – £43.82 (monthly)
We share a phone to keep our costs low, but we also need a data SIM card so that we can post videos and content with you whilst we are on the road.
TOTAL EXPENSES £4,284.56
Note at this point we are not including food, fuel and other day to day expenses these will be included when the world trip starts.
As you can see we spent a lot of money this month and shows the reality of creating content. We would have spent a fraction of this cost if we just travelled without making the videos and sharing it on our web site etc. This is one of the reasons why we are looking at creating the TREAD Tribe to help generate a small additional income to help balance the books.
We love creating and sharing our adventures with you and don’t worry we will continue to do so.
We hope that you enjoyed reading this post and it helps give you a better understanding of our financial position. If there is something that you want to know about our finances, then comment or message us.
Although we are sustainable now, with the rental of our home and limited income above, we are trying to increase the income so we are able to travel and share more experiences with you. All of the money we receive goes towards our travels and equipment needed to produce our videos.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Chris and Marianne