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Get a Grip on Your Green by Tracking Expenses by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 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:money

 

Receipts

 

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.

 

PDA

 

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.

 

Check Register

 

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.

 

Source:

 

(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.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

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What’s Cooking? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

 

 

It’s ironic. Cooking is meant to be the ultimate domestic goddess occupation. Why is it that the aftermath makes my kitchen look like a hovel?

 

I’d lovingly plan, chop, sauté, and present the food attractively. The kids would push it around their plate. “It’s a bit spicy for me” my som would comment “and today I don’t like peppers. Can I have just bread instead?”. My effort would have earned me the sound of ‘scrape scrape scrape’ into the bin, and a kitchen full of dirty pans and chopping boards at the point of the day when I just needed to lie down.apples

 

Then I found it. The cheapest, scruffiest part of my kitchen armory, costing less that a decent saucepan. I love it so much I’d kiss it, if it wasn’t generally full of scalding hot stew. It’s my little secret shortcut – the ‘wife’ I’d love to have. “Come by for dinner tonight” I can now boldly say. These days, I’m not inviting people to watch me sweat in the kitchen, keeping toddlers away from the hot oven by pushing them back with my feet. It’s the working mother’s best friend – the slow cooker!

 

I’ve learned to plan my meals in advance. It saves money and it helps me eat healthier. Most of all it means I can cook on auto-pilot without using any of my scarce spare brain capacity. When I’m up in the morning, I know what’s meant to be for dinner. I can start the ‘Slocker’ (as we affectionately call it) straight away. I’ll put some chopped onions and celery in there with a teaspoon of oil, and leave it on ‘High’ for forty minutes while I go upstairs to dress the kids. I’ll come back, chuck in some tins of tomatoes, tins of beans and a few flavorings. I turn the dial down to Low, and leave it for the whole day. I arrive back home ten hours later to the homely smell of fresh three bean chilli. Pure comfort food.

 

It does take a bit of trial-and-error, it’s true. I wish my model had a timer, because sometimes the food can taste a bit ‘stewed’. In particular, meat needs to be sealed in a frying pan first. However, I’ve discovered something about my kids’ tastes. They just LOVE bland and mushy.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com