Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I don’t get overly complex when it comes to tracking my income. A relatively simple spreadsheet that I can easily add to, update, or make changes to, suffices. In a column along the left-hand side of this spreadsheet, I list out all 12 months of the year (as I break my income into monthly totals). In the columns to the right of this, I begin to list my amounts for various income streams that are noted at the tops of these columns.
Last year I had nine such columns, but the number changes from year to year as I add or delete income streams that may or may not be worthwhile. Currently, this year I’m only at six such columns. My income tracker follows not only employer paid sources of income, but interest on savings, interest on bonds, retirement account earnings (or losses), and similar such items…pretty much anything that could be considered additions to my income.
The accounts payable section to my income tracker is a more recent addition. I found that since we write checks and use a credit card, it’s nice to have a feel of how much money we owe at any given time. And since the checkbook often gets stashed safely away between uses, and the credit card is only used occasionally, we weren’t reviewing them as much as we should to stay on top of cleared checks and credit card activity.
I update each budget as the month progresses, adding in actual expenses in place of estimated ones as I go. While in the past, I’ve tended to do this on an actual ledger book, this recent addition has made the process even easier and has provided me with an accurate snapshot of amounts and up-to-the-minute totals at a glance.