Tracking Blog Income & Expenses with Free Spreadsheet Template
Once upon a time, I worked in the accounting department for a commercial trucking company and stared at mind-numbing spreadsheets all day long. The bad news? I still do this job a couple days each week. The good news? I have actually learned a lot that I now apply to my blog and business.
Namely: How to properly and easily track my blog income & expenses in a simple-to-use and easily customizable spreadsheet. Lucky for you, you don't need to spend time working an accounting job to learn how to do it because you have me!
*Fair Warning* This may not be the most exciting blog post ever because it does talk about bookkeeping and accounting, but it is incredibly useful information that anyone who makes even a dollar off their blog or business needs to know.
Grab some caffeine, inject it in the nearest vein, sit back and read on...
Gone are the days of keeping up with envelopes bursting at the seams with unfiled receipts, scribbled notes on pieces of paper, and printing off every email that has anything to do with money being spent or earned.
Fun Fact: I'm totally paperless.
Before we dive into the "how", let's start with the tools, because you can't build anything without proper tools - even spreadsheets.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
I'm a big fan of keeping things simple, so it might surprise you to know that I don't use any fancy or sophisticated accounting software or receipt tracking. You can use whatever you want, and whatever works for your business, but for me, I use 3 things:
*Gmail *Paypal *Google Drive
That's it, and that's all. For now, at least.
God forbid the day Google craps out on us because we'll all be up crap creek without a paddle, won't we? I've been using (and loving) Gmail since before Wham! broke up, and it is one of the best tools in my toolbox for keeping up with my income & expenses.
But you don't have to use Gmail - any email server will work. The secret is utilizing folders.
I have one ginormous folder in my Gmail inbox for blog receipts. They all get dropped in there and I can refer back to them if I ever need them for any reason. Easy peasy. Nothing to print, nothing to file in a folder in my house.
*Sidenote: I maintain a zero inbox, meaning I rarely have emails that just sit in my inbox. I'll create a separate blog post that shows you how to do that, too. It's breathtaking!
I use Paypal for all of my blog-related expenses, but will be opening a separate checking account very soon since I'm now a legit LLC. But just like the specific email server doesn't matter, neither does the specific account you use. The key here is having a separate account for blog money.
I know a lot of people will gasp and say that you shouldn't use Paypal as your blog account if you are treating your blog like a business, but I think that's a bunch of bull hockey. It's online, I have a Paypal debit card, everybody and their mom accepts Paypal...that has worked just fine for me.
Paypal makes it simple to search for transactions, pull reports for various purposes and time periods, and pull a simple bank statement. Even after I set up my business checking account, I'll still use Paypal for collecting payment for courses, and for paying for things online when I don't feel like digging out my debit card.
I have an obsession with Google Drive. Practically every document, ebook, spreadsheet, or presentation I've ever created or purchased is stored in Google Drive, simply for the fact that I don't want to eat up space on my computer's hard drive, and I like the accessibility. I don't need to be home to get to the things I need.
To track my income & expenses, I specifically use Google Sheets, their version of Excel Spreadsheets.
This is what I'm going to be showing you how to use. Don't freak out - I've made it super easy peasy for you, I promise.
I want to take a quick minute to give you an example of my income & expense tracking workflow, because I think that's as important as an actual tracking system. My workflow goes a little something like this, with slight variations based on the actual transaction:
1 - Receive an email from Paypal that my automatic monthly payment was processed.
2 - Pop over to my spreadsheet to the December tab, scroll down to the "Expenses" section, and enter the information, including vendor, date, and amount.
3 - Go back to my inbox and move the Paypal email to my "blog receipts" folder.
And that's seriously it. I've set up my spreadsheet so that all the proper columns update automatically, and not just on the December tab, but on the tabs for total income & total expense. Cool, right?
USING THE SPREADSHEET
I created a template of the spreadsheet I use, which you can download for FREE by clicking the image above and getting access to our resource library. Save it to your own Google Drive and open it in Sheets in order to customize it to fit your needs.
I thought the best way to show you how to use this spreadsheet, and how to customize it, would be in a video. I'm a visual learner, and for things like spreadsheets, sometimes images just don't serve the greater purpose. If you are having trouble seeing the video embedded below, you can click HERE to watch it on YouTube. Otherwise, just push play on the video below.
*TIP: Open your template and follow along, pausing as needed to make any necessary changes.
So there you have it. Be sure to get your FREE blog income & expense spreadsheet for use in Google Drive. Questions? Just ask!
How do you keep up with your blog income & expenses? I love hearing tips from other bloggers!