Income and Expenses During Lockdown - April 2020 Report and Recap

Time has really flown by since quarantine started and I can hardly believe it's already May. As of April 1st I've been living completely alone after Daniela had flown back to Germany to reunite with her family. It's been my first month in a long time without daily social interaction, coworking, a gym, or taking any kind of trip or travel since I can remember. When Daniela left, I was tempted to move to one of the hotels or hostels with private beach access to have more of a social life and to be around others, play board games at night, and swim or hang out on the beach.  One of my few friends left lives in a place with stairs that go directly down into a surf spot with no road access which I had considered moving to as well.

The problem is that I've gotten so comfortable being alone, that I actually afraid to give up my solitude. As I write this, quarantine has been lifted and I'm in a busy rooftop cafe with loud music playing, surrounded by over twenty other foreigners from around the world. While most of the country and the world is still shut down, I've discovered a little open piece of paradise. On one hand, I love it as the energy around me makes me feel alive again, but on the other hand, I realize that I'm actually more of an introvert than I had originally thought. Either way, lets jump into the expenses and income of the month, as I'm really lucky to have kept my costs relatively low, while actually having one of my best months ever with online business, even with the world shut down.

Watch This First

Here's the video version of the monthly income, expenses and goals report for the month of April 1st - 30th, 2020.

Where I Traveled

No where. Now onto the next section.

Just kidding. I was tempted to leave this part blank, as I really didn't leave my apartment or the few square blocks surrounding it for the past month, even during the days we had off to go to the grocery store and go out. But I wanted to leave this in as it's a good reminder and time to reflect on the past month and what we did. For many of us, an entire month has gone by and not only did we not go anywhere, but many of us also didn't do anything. Most Americans I know and many people around the world are unemployment and collecting money from the government, ordering food, groceries and random things off of the internet that they probably don't really need.

Some are taking this time to rest, medidate, spend time with family, facetime old friends to catch up. Others have been creating art, writing, learning skills, languages, or creating and/or scaling up their online businesses. For me it's been the most productive month I've ever had in my life. I worked out at home 27 days of the month, learned how to do a basic handstand, tried new recipes, improved my Russian language skills, did 8 different podcast interviews and uploaded 15 new videos to my Youtube channel. So even though I didn't physically go anywhere, I've been busy, and ultra productive this past month.

How Much I Spent

This month my rent actually doubled because I decided to stay in the same room I was previously splitting German style, but I did so for two reasons. First off, I've been really comfortable there and it's a great setup. But secondly, I know that since I'm their only guest, and they live there year round, if I left or asked for a discount, the family would finally suffer. So even though I knew that I could have moved into a cheaper place or negotiated a lower rate since I'm now alone, I figured that paying an extra $250 a month wouldn't hurt me too much financially, while it would be helping a local family to a great extent. Also knowing that many locals here on daily wages weren't able to afford food and were going hungry, I donated to a local fund to feed a family for a week during this lockdown along with support from many others in the area. 

Even with the higher rent price since I've mostly been stuck at home unable to travel my expenses this month have been really low. Things in Sri Lanka are really cheap anyways, with my nightly dinner costing 400lkr which is just $2.08. However, since I'm not content eating just rice and curry everyday, I've ordered pizza few times as well as bought a lot of food at the supermarkets which has actually ended up costing me more than if I had just eaten 3 times at a local restaurant. The Sri Lankan Rupee has also dropped in value compared to USD during this recession making everything a bit less for the month as well with my $500 rent, now costing just $466 in dollars even though the price in local currency has stayed the same. 

As of last week however the curfew has mostly lifted and we're now allowed to go outside Monday-Friday from 4am-8pm giving us the entire day to go to shops, eat at restaurants, cafes, and walk on the beach. The only bad news however is that the government has shut down all of the surf shops, and some of the restaurants/cafes are still closed as there aren't enough tourists to keep them open. We're also not allowed to leave our districts so even though it's good for virus containment, it also means we can't travel or really go anywhere. 

Rent: 1 Month, Beachfront Apartment: $466 (3,000lkr per night)
Weekly Room Cleaning: $0 included
SIM Card: 50GB of 4G data: $20.00 (1 month)
Electric/Water/Utilities: $0 (included)
Wifi: $20 (extra 20gb of dedicated wifi)
Dinner: $62.40 (30 x $2 rice and curry)
Groceries: $188.31
Pizza Delivery: $35.63
Cafes & Restaurants: $56
Tuk-Tuks: $3.11 (only one trip this month)
Laundry Service: $0 (self laundry in the sink)
Surfing: $6 (the shops closed after a few days)

I have a few other expenses including business expenses, ad costs, Netflix, giving my parent's $1,000 a month, as well as the the charities I donate to monthly and locally, but I leave those out as the total expenses are just costs of living expenses to make it easy to compare the costs of one city to another. 

Total Expenses for April: $858.94

*Increase from $562.23 last month here in Weligama. 

Homemade Fried Chicken

Dinner with my local friend Fernando

Money Earned This Month

I feel super fortunate that even during this receissionand quarantine that I'm able to continue earning money online, as I know a lot of people are struggling to get through this worldwide lockdown. Although at least in places like the United States a lot of people are actually getting paid to sit home and do nothing right now, and in some cases they're getting paid a lot to do so.

The average unemployment check in America right now is over $4,000 a month combined with the $1,200 stimulus check people are getting is over $5,200. On top of that, since the pandemic many people have negotiated with their landlords to pay reduced rent, since there are no evictions allowed right now, while many have decided just not to pay at all, even if they've received their stimulus checks and/or unemployment insurance.

Meanwhile, although many businesses are at a standstill or failing during this time, a lot of ecommerce stores are thriving right now. Two of my stores have hit record sales for April and are continuing to climb in May, and it's not just me, a lot of friends in dropshipping are crushing it right now. Ecommerce and dropshipping has become the best business model for 2020 which is something I wouldn't have predicted as people should be rationally saving that money to pay rent and for an emergency fund for the upcoming months instead of going on shopping sprees online to buy things.

Income for April: $8,738.29

*decrease from $9,357.02 last month.

Dropship Store #1 - Built with

Dropship Store #2 - Also built with

Other Income Streams

Even though my dropshipping stores are doing great this month, many of my other income streams have taken huge hits or even gone to zero for the month. Amazon has decided to screw all of their partners by reducing payouts for affiliates from 8% all the way down to 1-3% across their stores. They will be screwing their FBA sellers next as my prediction which is why even though in 2017-2018 I recommended selling on Amazon as a great business, in 2020 I would stay far away unless you're prepared to pivot and fight against it.

The good news is with the new updates, I've gotten more new signups for my affiliate income course, than ever as more people want to figure out ways to monetize their blogs, followers and online audience without relying on Amazon Associates. A ton of people have also signed up for the 90 free Shopify trial using my link as well as Anton's Dropshipshipping course as it's been a great time to learn how to start an ecommerce store and finally get into it. I've also taken on two new phone coaching clients for the month, which is a service I offer but don't advertise as I don't have the time to do it normally.

Also with all of my new found time at home, I've managed to create, edit and upload 15 new videos to my Youtube Channel which is a record for me as normally I only publish 3-4 in a month max. That's not only doubled my income from Youtube for the month, but also allowed me to hit a new milestone of 18,000 subscribers! So all in all, even though I made slightly less this month than I did prior, it was still an incredible month and I feel very fortunate to be able to do so even while stuck at home in quarantine.

Youtube Earnings for the month 2X Growth!

Investment Updates

As for all of my investments, index funds and stocks, it's been a really interesting month as if you remember I had lot a lot of money during the start of the recission, but was smart enough to hold on and not sell. I actually ended up buying more index funds and stocks on the way down which I talked about in ILAB Podcast Episode 142 along with my co-host Sam Marks. My only regret was that I didn't buy more during the 30% dip, but I do think we'll have a second wave so I'm still holding onto cash and have auto-buy orders set up for if things do drop again this month overnight. 

That being said, looking at my Vanguard account, over the past few months I had lost over $56,000 in value, but since I had held it and bought more at the bottom, I've actually already regained $30,472 this month alone. I also cashed out of many other holdings and deposited another $72k into the account to hopefully take advantage of the market if it dips again.

Another change I made was even though I really liked being diversified into real estate, with all of the new government policies of letting tenants skip out on paying rent, there's a good chance that we're headed for another 2008 style housing price cash soon. I can't cash out of my real estate holdings as it's locked in for 3-7 years on average, but I have turned off auto-investing and have been able to pull out interest, dividends, and loans that have come through. If you're new to investing, I would suggest you read my How to Start Investing article or watch the video embedded below, as even though I've personally made a lot of money buying and selling individual stocks especially this past month, it's not something I would recomend to most people as it's a gamble. A lot of people are going to end up getting screwed in the next few months if the price of stocks come crashing down again and people don't have 6-12 months of savings in cash like they're supposed to. 

Vanguard Index Funds: Back up $30K!

PeerStreet Withdrawals: $4.6K this month.

Goals and Lessons

I've learned a lot of lessons during this month. First off, I realize that I've become an introvert and am no longer an ESTJ like I used to be. I've actually felt the shift over the past two years as i've matured and gotten older, but today I decided to retake the 16 personalities test and have discovered that I'm much more balanced than I used to be, but have also switched from being an extrovert to being an introvert most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy the company of friends and being social, but most than not being in large crowds now drain me more than it gives me energy. Also since quarantine I've finally been able to spend days at home by myself without needing or stressing about going outside or being around people.

I've even started enjoying working alone at home by myself, instead of at cafes and coffee shops which used to be my go to. Overall, it's actually been a really good month in isolation, being completely alone most days. It's allowed me a lot of time to think, work on myself, and focus on things I've been putting off for a long time. I've finally learned how to hold a beginners handstand, speak a bit more Russian, and have created even more income for myself during these crazy times.

As much I look forward to the world opening back up and being able to travel again, I'm honestly quite happy with the outcome of this past month. As of a few days ago, the quarantine restrictions have been relaxed in my city and even though most things including restaurants and cafes are open again, I'm honestly happy just being at home.

A few years ago I was an ESTJ

Hoping everyone is well this month,

With Love,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Tell me about your month. How did it go income, expenses, and did you discover anything about yourself along the way?

  2. Hey man, looks like you really had a good time in this quarentine! I actually found out I'm not such an introvert as I thought. Was really missing the social interaction.

    P.S - great interview for millennial-revolution.


    1. It's funny how we're all discovering things about ourselves during this time at home!

  3. Hi Johnny,

    This is also a time of testing whether one is suited for FIRE and nomad lifestyle. Minimalist lifestyle is the best as per my perspective.


    1. It's surprising that even during this stay at home quarantine, I'm actually happy i have less stuff, and not more. It's ironic actually as you'd think I'd want to be in a big house full of toys, but it's actually less stressful having nothing and no responsibilities or clutter.

  4. Looks like you picked a great spot to hunker down during the pandemic! You don't talk about PeerStreet very much, but I see you cashed $4K out last month. I know you mentioned you were pulling back from real estate a bit... were you referring to PeerStreet, or have you continued to put money into it? It looks like their recent opportunities are in the 12-14% range. Seems like a decent return. Any feedback you can share?

    1. It's interesting to see deals paying 12-14% as they have all been in the 7-8% range for the past year year. I was tempted to invest as the rates are so good, but I'm also weary of locking into a year long loan during a potential recession and real estate market crash. I've been pulling money out of PeerStreet every month as my loans mature and get paid back, even though otherwise I love them, and have been really happy with them.

      In Invest Like a Boss Episode 142 I talk about how I've been trying to pull out of all of my real estate holdings, but with no success. So far I've only been able to do it with PeerStreet due to the structuring.


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