I’ve been emailed several times in the last few weeks with the same question – “How do you keep your finances organized?” It’s definitely not a huge secret – I love Excel. But my husband and I both work from home now, so there is a bit more to staying organized than there used to be. Here’s how we keep everything straight.
Excel for the Business
We have several Excel spreadsheets to help us track absolutely everything related to our online income. If the tax man ever comes knocking, hopefully he will absolutely adore us. We’ve streamlined since I first started, so it is easier than ever.
We have one sheet that tracks the income that is 100% ours like the deals closed for Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and our commissions from clients. We have another that tracks my client and co-owned blogs’ deals and all of the associated data. Then we have a third sheet for all of our online expenses. Between these three sheets, every deal, expiration date, and online cost is accounted for and searchable thanks to the Excel interface.
Since we do track every penny and try to keep all of the data we possibly can, the record keeping alone takes at least an hour a day (two or three during our busiest times) just for the online business.
Excel for the Day to Day
Since our lives are not completely online, I also keep an Excel spreadsheet for our daily living expenses. Our budget has a column for our targets and then an additional column where I enter what we’ve actually spent. I use a combination of our credit card statements and bank statements to track everything there to make sure we stay on track.
That spreadsheet also has automated calculations set up to assign any extra income each month to the appropriate savings and investments. I manually transfer the extra money based on what it shows.
Credit Card Statements
Even though every expense is tracked in our budget, we also save the monthly credit card statements and highlight the different expenses based on what is tax deductible.
When we file each year (Mr. BFS literally does our taxes by hand now and then double-checks himself with software), we use those credit card statements and our business spreadsheets to figure out what we can deduct and what categories those deductions would fall into. I highlight the business expenses in yellow to make them easy to find and total. We save the receipts as well for the sake of records, but this highlighting method on the statements is faster for the actual forms.
Overall, by using our spreadsheets and credit card statements, we can track all of our income, all of our expenses, and make plans for our future too.
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!