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Track Your Homestead Spending
How To Set Up A System To Track Your Homestead Spending

If You’re Running Your Homestead As A Business, You Need To Track Your Income And Spending

You can do this any way you want such as envelopes; but nevertheless, you need to set up a system to track your homestead spending for financial freedom.

It really doesn’t matter what you use to track your homestead spending.

Some people use spiral-bound notebooks, or pocket-size memo books.

Some track their homestead’s money on their computers.

Some people use electronic spreadsheets.

Many banks allow you to download your transactions into a number of computer accounting programs, especially if you are running your homestead as a business.

This permits you to place the data into the categories you select.

There are even accounting applications for smart phones.

However you keep track, it greatly helps to get in the habit of obtaining a a receipt for every purchase you make, regardless of whether it’s large or small.

Save all your receipts, keep them in one place, and then go through them once a week or once a month, recording the e xpenditures in whatever manner you’re using.

This way, you won’t have to rely on your memory to know where you spent your money or how much of it you spent.

Your Homestead Works Hard For It’s Money

It’s particularly helpful when keeping track of expenditures made by more than one person in your family.

If you have a credit card, debit card, or checking account, then when you get your monthly statements you can crosscheck to make sure that you haven’t been charged for anything you didn’t buy, and that all your expenditures have been recorded in your homestead tracking system.

This may sound time-consuming, but once you’ve gotten organized, it takes only an hour or so per month.

Part of the education comes from developing your own caategories.

For starters, you might wat to use the categories I’ve listed below.

Of course, not all of these categories will apply to you; just use those that are relevant.

If you’re like me, there will be categories that you, in all your glorious eccentricity, will need to add.

Food

  • Groceries for home
  • Restaurants
  • Takeout meals for home

Home

  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Home and yard maintenance and repair
  • Improvements
  • Household furnishings
  • Household supplies

Transportation

  • Monthly payments
  • Registration
  • Gas
  • maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Parking
  • Tolls
  • Moving violations and parking tickets
  • Car rental
  • Carpooling contributions
  • Uber
  • Bus

Health Care

  • Vitamins and other supplements
  • Massages ad bodywork
  • Exercise (bicycles, gym membership, dance classes, etc.)
  • Dental cleanings
  • Insurance
  • Prescription and other pharmaceutical drugs
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Dental procedures
  • Eye care
  • Other

Utilities

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Cable
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Cell phone
  • Garbage pickup/recycling

Education

  • Books
  • Courses/tuition
  • Workshops
  • Student loans

Personal Grooming

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Cosmetics, toiletries, and other personal care products
  • Dry-cleaning
  • Personal services (hair, nails, waxing, faacials, etc.)

Children

  • Childcare
  • Toys and games
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Activities and outings

Entertainment

  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • DVD rental
  • Theater

Gifts

  • Individuals
  • Organizations for charitable contributions
  • Political causes

Hobbies

  • Tincture making
  • Raising meat animals
  • Soap making

Professional Services

  • Therapist
  • Accountant
  • Lawyer
  • Landscaper
  • Housekeeper

Pets

  • Food
  • Vet bills
  • Cat litter
  • Dog bones and treats
  • Toys

Holidays, Vacations And Travel

Magazine And Newspaper Subscriptions

Taxes

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax
  • Payroll/self-employment taxes

Retirement Plan Contributions

Miscellaneous

Remember that these categories are only suggestions.

The idea is to create a set of spending categories that reflect the uniqueness of your homesteading lifestyle and business from a monetary prespective.

If you buy a lot of clothes, you might want to subdivide the clothes category into clothes you wear at home, clothes for work, and clothes for recreational activities; or into clothing that is necessary and clothing that is unnecessary.

Or, whatever your brilliant mind comes up with in order to give you as much information as you want and need in order to be truly financially literate about tracking your homestead expenses.

Working with and developing your own categories for your expenses takes time and effort in the beginning; but the time you spend doing this will more than pay for itself, even in the short run.

If you smoke, you’ll want to add a category for cigarettes, and you’ll soon see how much this habit is costing you, which might give you added motivation to stop.

If you’re paying interest on a credit card balance, you’ll want to add a category for that interest.

If you’re paying a high interest rate, you’ll soon see how quickly that eats away at your financial security.

At the same time, you’ll see where you can cut back on nonessentials so that you can pay off your debt.

Remember, the idea is to track every expenditure that you or any other family member makes.

Record every purchase, be it a box of paper clips or a new car.

For each expenditure, record the date, the amount, to whom it was paid, and what was purchased.

For cash expenses, you can round off to the nearest dollar.

When you’ve paid with a check, credit card, or debit card, it helps to record the exact amount.

This makes it easy, when you get your monthly statement, to ensure that the bank hasn’t made an error to your detriment.

There are many benefits to tracking all your homestead expenses.

It won’t take long before you start to get a clear picture of where your money is going.

Certain expenses may be fixed, at least for the time being, such as your mortgage or your rent.

Bu others are more easily reduced.

Most likely, you will see areas in which you can cut back almost immediately.

Image by Megan Rexazin

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