May 2019: Travel, Expenses, and Income from Kharkiv, Ukraine

Wow, finally, it's been my first time in months that I had a proper home base and didn't have to board a plane, train, bus or boat for an entire month. I know it sounds crazy as most people dream about traveling and moving around but life really is about balance and as a full time digital nomad, it's nice to homebase once in a while and get back into routine. It's hard to explain but having too much freedom can get stressful as well and finally having a monthly rental on an apartment, a gym membership, and a normal life is exactly what you need once in a while.

For me, Ukraine is the perfect place as the weather is great from May-August, the costs of living are ridiculously low for the quality of restaurants, life, and infrastructure. Best of all, it's in Europe but not part of the EU or in the Schengen zone which allows easy 6 months visas every summer. Here in this post i'm going to breakdown my costs of living, renting an apartment, food, gym, data plans, bills, etc as well as how much I earned this month online and through passive income while living here in one of the cheapest countries in Europe.

Where I Traveled

This is the section where I normally have flights, trains, buses or other trips, but i'm really happy to say that the furthest trip I took this month was to Feldman Ecopark which was a great day trip out of the city but still only 13km/8miles away. The total trip was actually only 8 uah as well which is 30 cents as you can take the metro to the last stop then board a free shuttle that runs every hour or so. Funny enough, I missed both the shuttles to and from the station and didn't want to wait an hour for the next one, so I took a local bus called a marshrutka for another 30 cents.

On the way back, not looking at the time, I also missed the free shuttle and after 10 minutes of waiting in the rain for a bus, I called an Uber which was actually just 75 uah ($3). The funny thing was, since I was just with one other person and the Uber fits five, I asked the couple waiting with us if they wanted a free ride, and they reluctantly got in thinking it was some type of scam. It was actually a super awkward 30 minute ride as the entire time they were still confused on what was going to happen, but when I said goodbye without taking their money, I got a thank you handshake and a translationed message saying that here in Ukraine this never happens so they were weary.

It's strange because in the US, it would be super normal to offer someone a ride in this situation, especially since it didn't cost me any extra to have them hop in. Culturally, it would have been the opposite and would have been rude of me if I haven't offered them a ride or if I asked for money.

Feldman Ecopark in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Expenses: Kharkiv, Ukraine

The thing about Ukraine is that on one hand, the average salary being just 7,625uah ($283usd) a month means that some things are ultra cheap, and in fact cheaper than even places in Thailand. These things include rides on the metro being just 8 uah (30 cents) regardless of distance, or being able to have 6GB of 4G data for 80uah ($3) with no contracts. Some food like loaves of bread being just 10 uah (37 cents) or 8uah (30 cents) for 1 kg (2.2lbs) of potatoes are also ridiculously cheap. Even the Uber ride I took for 30 minutes because I was too lazy to take the 8 uah metro and walk from the station only costed me 77 uah ($2.87usd) and most rides within the city center are a fixed priced of 50uah ($1.86). Restaurants and eating out are quite cheap as well, you can have basic food like 1.30 Shawarma (Doner Kebab, Half a Pizza, or even a full serving of traditional Ukrainian food at a canteen for just 40-60 uah ($1.50usd). Nicer restaurants and bars aren't super cheap, but are still an extremely good value compared to big cities in the US.

However, on the other hand, some things are actually more expensive than back in the US. Rent for your apartment might only be $300 (8,000uah) but your utilities might be half of that again at $100+ (2,500uah). You'll also have to pay that same amount if you want a new pair or shoes, or a pair of jeans. For whatever reason, clothes, electronics, and utilities are the same price here as they are in California, even though everything else is 1/4 of the price and their salaries are 1/10th of the amount.

So that being said, I basically tried to live as much like a local as possible, expect when it came to conveniences that were worth paying for as I really love getting a good value and hate overpaying for things. That's why even though most locals wouldn't take 50 Ubers a month, eat at restaurants everyday, get weekly massages, it was such a good value and so convenient that I would do it anyways. So here's my expenses for the month, living directly in the city center, eating out 40 meals a month, and basically doing anything I want without worrying about the price, something that would easily cost me $5,000-$8,000 a month in California, NY, or any big city in the US. Prices below are in USD.

Rent: $500 (City Center via Airbnb)
Utilities: $0 (Included)
Wifi: $0 (Included)
Data/SIM card: $4 (10gb of 4G + calling)
Gym Membership: $12 (monthly, 7am-4pm)
Massages: $100 (650uah each)
Coffee/Tea: $50 ($1 each)
Food/Groceries: $460 (12,000uah)
Uber/Taxi: $93 (50 rides)
Metro/Train: $3 (10 rides)
Misc/Other: $100 (random stuff)
Gift to my parents: $1,000 (for their retirement)

Wordpress Website Hosting: $6 (Siteground)
Ecommerce Stores Hosting: $29 (Shopify)
VPN: $4 (WiTopia)
Email Autoresponder: $40 (Aweber / GetResponse)

Total Expenses for the Month: $1,401 

*Decrease from last month's $2,448.77 (not including donations and gifts)

Country Potatoes, Mushrooms, Onions and Egg, $3

Chicken Kiev, Pork Steak with Mushrooms and Cheese, $4

Earnings: Kharkiv, Ukraine

It's been a good month for work/life balance and with the free time I've had being settled in one place, i've been able to work on a couple of different projects and launches as well as some videos I've wanting to create. But even though I worked a decent amount this month and actually created things that will eventually pay me a good amount of money, almost nothing I do is ever for the instant win. The things I've made will bump up my passive income, or pay me after usually 60 days. Examples are the two videos and the blog post I made about Carry On Only Travel, the gear lists and the benefits.  This is a video I wanted to make for months now, but I wanted to test my luggage and the contents for a few months and a few different countries before recommending anything. But now that I've traveled with the same bag for half a year or so and took it through 6 different countries and situations, I can confidently recomend it.

The earnings from the video views itself, the affiliate earnings from the gear I recomend, and everything else combined will earn me money for at least the next year, but it doesn't all come at once.  The other thing I created was posts about the new course by Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi which a bunch of people signed up for, but won't actually pay me anything for another month or two as with any legitimate course, you have at least a 30 day window to get your money back if it ends up being a bad product. I've also went through not only my own dashboards and experience with promoting this course but also used the top 50 affiliates who promoted it alongside of me as a case study to show my students inside Income Boss what's possible and how to earn money earnestly as an affiliate.

So even though it's technically June now, the money I made this month wasn't from May, or even April, it's from the months and years of work I've done even as far back as 2014 that are still paying me in passive income today. That's what I teach inside my Income Boss course and why it's so valuable. Also a huge win for this month was our best month so far with some of my partner dropshipping stores. I haven't calculated the exact shared profits of the store yet into my income for the month, but at $16,098.92 this month, it was an incredible month. The photos below are screenshots of a few of my dozen or so different income streams.

Total Income for May: $4,306.75

*decrease from $4,949.14 last month.

Dropshipping Store built with Anton's Method

Earnings from Amazon as an Affiliate 

Earnings from My Youtube Channel

Interest Collected from Peer Street Loans

Goals for May and June

As mentioned last month in my April Income Report, my goals for the month of May 1st-31st was to get back into a good routine. That consisted of going to the gym 5 days a week, studying a new language for an hour a day, going for daily walks, and to simply chill out and enjoy life a bit. I'm proud to say that I've done exactly that this past month. I've worked out consistently monday-friday everyday, and feel quite a bit healthier and in better shape than I was just a month ago. I've managed to study a bit everyday, not for an hour unfortunately, but usually for 30 minutes or so, but still consistently. I've also really been enjoying the European summers and have walked a ton this month, maybe more than I have in years.

It's helped that every Ukrainian person I've met insists on walking 30 minutes wherever we go, even if it means to pass 20 different coffee shops just to go to one they had in mind. It's also been nice meeting up with people and just enjoying being outside, having a coffee or tea, and getting to know the culture without any agendas. It's a slow, easy pace of life here in Kharkiv, and really reminds of being back in University, just without classes or exams.

For June my goals are to continue to go to the gym 5 days a week, but to also continue intermediate fasting and only eating from 3pm-8pm which gives my body a 19 hour break everyday from food. It's been really easy to do on days that I don't eat sugar or drink alcohol, so another goal of mine this month is to eliminate both, at least until I get to Lithuania on June 20th to meetup with my buddy Sam. It's crazy to think that I only have two weeks left here in Kharkiv and that I've already been here for a month and a half. On one hand it feels like I've been here for ages, but on the other I'm sad it's ending soon. I'll be writing a full blog post about what it's like here, but feel free to ask any questions in the comments as well. Until then, check out the video below where I go into more detail.

Read Next: 

Here's more info on the different cities in Ukraine aside from Kharkiv, including the capital city Kiev, the beach town Odessa, and the European city of Lviv. 

Also I wrote a separate post about the cultural differences between Ukrainians and the rest of the Western world, dating, life, and the pros and cons of life here. 

More info about Traveling and Living in Ukraine

My thoughts on the Culture of Ukrainians 

With love from Kharkiv,

Johnny FD

Like this post? Share it! Also leave a comment!

Like This Post? Share It!

Income Report 1787113662554638292

Post a Comment

  1. Where was everyone based this month? What were you goals?

  2. Did you get the Airbnb monthly discount?

    1. Yup for sure! In general I get 20%-40% off the nightly price. For this one I think it was around 30% off or so for the month.

  3. Thanks Johnny, I am learning from Seth Godin the value of trust and consistency. I see how this is a long term journey to build brand. I was very disappointed with the new course by Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi. Two people with high profiles... I ask myself did I expect too much for the price?

    I won't waste time with a thorough review (does anyone review online courses like Nomad list reviews locations?). The quality and flow of the presentations were uneven. It felt like the guys stayed up all night pontificating into a camera without much thought to content flow or organization. Quality control was minimal. For example, the video section posted for Google Ads was unusable because Google had recently changed their interface and workflow. Robbins and Graziosi burned their brand trust with this offering. My take away is lessons learned from an affiliate perspective.

    1. Hey Greg, thanks for the feedback about their course. It's hard for things like Google Ad walkthroughs as things change so quickly and by the time something is filmed and released it's often already been updated.

      But at the end of the day, as the main message is most important. But it does suck to hear it wasn't well organized.

  4. Hi Johnny & thanks for the nice post. As you mentioned in your email we can ask questions & I've got a few.

    1. RE: "spend 6 months in Europe over the summers and don't want to have to worry about visas. "

    I'm a bit confused, so it's possible to stay there in the Ukraine for 6 months? Could you explain more about that?

    I noticed also you said you're leaving soon (less than 6 months are up) so I was not sure why that is.

    2. How are the gyms, very small or lots of equipment & weights? Are gym hours like the one you mentiond (7AM - 4PM) typical there?

    3. Any idea about what you could do if you needed to get packages sent there from the USA?


    1. Thanks for the questions Marty, I'll go into more detail in the main post but:

      1. Visas - Oops, I meant 6 months in Europe total. So 3 months in Schengen Zone, 3 months in Ukraine. (I'll be in Europe until September, just leaving Kharkiv soon)

      2. The 7am-4pm gym plan is the discounted day time, normal prices are 500uah ($19) for all day access. The gyms open until 11pm or later usually.

      3. I wouldn't even try getting something delivered here. Import fees, etc.

  5. It's amazing to read that the salary is so much lower, but at the same time people somehow survive with such prices as in America, I wonder how they do it.


Please take a second to log in before you comment. I've turned off the anonymous commenting option. I'm open and respectful with you, please be the same back. Stay positive, trolls and spam comments will be automatically deleted.


Home item

Blog Archive

Are you an Insider yet?

Search this Blog

Keep in touch


Any product or service I recommend on this blog I personally use and would recommend to both friends and family. All links on this site are affiliate links so please use them in the resources page or anywhere on the blog if you want to give me credit for referring you.

If you want to learn more about how to start your own blog and make money as an affiliate by earnestly recommending products, check out my course Income Boss.

Featured Post: Read Me!

2020 Travel Plans and 2019 Recap: 11 Countries Traveled!

Want to start an online business?

Want to start an online business?
A post written for friends and family - Step by Step instructions on How to start your own online store.