Controlling expenses is the most important part of any business and freelancing is no different.
When things are going great, freelancers avoid tracking expenses and spend as and when needed but I always preferred to write my expenses. It helps me analyze where I have been spending more and how I can cut on some of those expenses to increase my overall income even in good times.
Recently I moved from AWeber to Sendy for my Investment Blog and one of the reasons was cost associated with AWeber and other similar alternate email services. With 10k subscribers, the monthly cost is $69 for AWeber, and count over 10k and under 25k, it can cost you $149. A big jump in monthly expense for a few months before the subscriber count reaches close to 25k which can justify $149.
I maintain my expense diary each year in Numbers (Excel equivalent of MAC) where each row is a month and each column is the expense head (or source of income like blog, clients, forums).
Monthly Expense and Income Sheet
The above format helps me analyze what I am spending each month as well as what I am spending for each service.
When I am trying to cut my expense, I look for an alternate service that can provide better value at the same price.
The above sheet is much tone-down version but my actual sheet which even contains the name of the contractor who works for me and if I can get a better deal from those who are working more regularly for me.
Similarly, I have income sheet for each of my website, clients and consultation income tracking.
Again the above format helps me identify what is the quantum of income from each of my website, clients and consultation service every month and overall in a year.
Apart from income and expense report, I also keep my investment performance reports as well that I share on my investment blog each month.
Filling Income Expense Data
Adding data to the sheets can be cumbersome and often ignored. Income sheets are often missed and under filled but expense sheet isn’t.
Each month when paying credit card bills and other invoices, I fill up the expense sheet.
The basic idea to add data to income reports to be able to track things that work and those that don’t work and concentrate more on things that work and then rinse and repeat.