by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated
A good expense tracking system should be part of every mom’s repertoire, but this is even more important for a work-at-home mom. Not only are you chief financial officer of your household, but you are also adding business expenses into the mix. Here’s a quick look at a few methods to help you get a grasp on your green:
No matter what method you use to track your spending, receipts are a must to claim your business expenses as a tax deduction. You can use your receipts to track your spending at the same time. Keep all your receipts in one spot, and then set a date with yourself to review them at regular intervals. Categorize each receipt based on the transaction type, and then enter the totals into a spreadsheet or financial planning software on your computer.
Calendar or Notebook
Write your expenses down on your calendar each day, or in a small notebook. At the end of the month, tally everything up and categorize it as you see fit. Record the results in a separate notebook or on your computer. A computer will give you a leg up when you are ready to review your budget. You can easily produce graphs and charts to compare your target budget with your actual spending. Plus, there is less risk of losing your work when you back it up.
Most PDAs have an expense tracking program built-in. If yours doesn’t, check the web for free software downloads. Keep your PDA handy to easily record transactions throughout the day. Assign your expenses a category and your monthly budget review will be a snap. Don’t forget to backup often.
If you use a check or debit card often, use your check register as an expense tracking tool. Let your bank do some of the work for you. You’re statements will make it easy to review your monthly spending. Canceled checks will leave a nice paper trail, if you ever need one. Be sure to record everything on the spot, especially debit card transactions. These are more likely to get lost in the mix. Balance your checkbook regularly, and you’ll be good to go.
(2009). What Tax Records to Keep. Retrieved March, 10, 2009, from the Internal Revenue Service Website: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=105111,00.html.