How to Track Expenses when Working from Home (Part I)

Work-at-home individuals have several lifestyle advantages over those that have to go into an office. The freedom and flexibility of being at home can give workers the ability to more effectively manage their family and save on commuting costs, eating out for lunch, and other such expenses.

While working from home offers several advantages, there are some additional responsibilities that a typical office worker may not have. One of those responsibilities is keeping track of expenses. Whether you are a direct employee that submits expenses for employer reimbursement or a subcontractor with tax deductible home business expenses, an accurate tracking system is a must.

Here are some helpful tips to keep better track of your expenses:

Start with a Record Book: The first step to really getting organized with your home expenses is using a master record book to make expense entries. These books are available at any office supply store and even Wal-Mart or Target. When a reimburse-able or deductible expense comes in, the first thing to do is write in the log book the date, description of expense, and the amount.

Set Up a Filing System for Receipts: Your receipts need to be organized in a manner that makes them easily retrievable in case you need to review them. In addition, you should always have a hard copy of the receipt in your file cabinet. You can organize these receipts by month, category, or both. In addition, you may also want to scan your receipts into the computer and back them up in with cloud storage in case your files are lost, damaged, or destroyed.

Enter Your Records into a Spreadsheet: After you have safely filed away your receipts, you will want to record the data from your log book into a computerized spreadsheet. If you are good with Excel, you can probably set something like this up on your own. If not, you may need some kind of expense tracking software. Computer entries do not need to be made every day, but it is good practice to do so at least once every couple of weeks.

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