As a freelancer or blogger, you need to keep a close eye on how much you’re making and spending. That’s why this guide is all about how to track your income as a freelancer.
Unfortunately, too many people don’t keep a close eye on their money. With 40% of Americans not feeling financially stable, that’s a big deal.
I totally get it. I’ve been working online for years now. I started working online in college, and I had no clue what I was doing when it came to tracking my income. I was terrified of even looking at my bank account, let alone keeping some kind of organization system.
Luckily, I’ll do all the hard work for you in this post so you don’t have to worry about figuring out from scratch how to track your income as a freelancer or blogger.
If you’d rather take this post on the go, listen to the full podcast episode below.
Why Tracking Freelancer Income Is Complicated
First, I need to say a few things about how complicated it is to track your own income as a freelancer. It’s simply not the same as working a “traditional” job.
- You’re responsible for your own taxes
- Your business expenses might be paid from personal accounts
- You have to often fight to get paid
- You’re in charge of keeping track of invoices
- Money comes at random times
- Your income isn’t predictable
I could write a rant about any of those points above, but I think you get the point. Tracking income as a freelancer is no walk in the park. In fact, it’s downright intimidating.
However, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.
Best Expense Tracking Tools for Freelancers
When it comes to keeping track of money, I like to use a few different tools. All of these are free (sort of).
Google Drive – First, I use Google Drive to keep track of my receipts. Whenever I make a purchase for my business, I snap a picture and save it to a folder on my Google Drive. This is super simple, and I can do it on my phone. While I hopefully will never be audited, I have everything tracked just in case.
Google Sheets – I also use Google Sheets to track my income per client, per month. I use the same Sheet to keep track of how much I owe for quarterly taxes and also my expenses. This makes tax season so easy!
PayPal – Finally, I’m a huge fan of PayPal. I use this for all of my invoicing, and it’s the most well-known option amongst both clients/freelancers. Yes, they charge a small fee, but it’s still worth it for the convenience. PayPal also has great expense tracking tools.
How I Use Google Sheets for My Freelancing Income
Now for the fun part. I’m going to show you how I use Google Sheets to track my income as a freelancer and blogger. It’s simpler than you think! I’m not a Google Sheets guru by any means, but you only need to know a few formulas (if any).
I break my Sheets into a few different things:
Under the income portion, I organize it by month and by client/income type. I like to be able to compare how much money each client brings in per month. This makes it easier to anticipate my monthly budget.
Under my expenses, I keep things similarly organized. Again, it’s organized by type. Some expenses are the same month-to-month. Others change. Having them all tracked in a single place makes it easy to know what I’m spending and when.
Finally, I calculate my estimated tax payment right in my Sheet. I do this by multiplying my income by my tax percentage (roughly 15% – 20% since my state has no income tax). Each month, I save that estimated payment in a secure bank account.
If you’d like to use the same system as me (which I recommend), you can download my Sheet by entering your information below! I’ve already filled it out with some sample data to get you started, but feel free to customize it as needed.
For more inspiration, consider also including:
- Payment deadlines
- Personal budget
- Freelancing budget
- Previous tax payments
- Invoice numbers
For me, simple is best! But it’s time to find the solution that’s right for you, no matter what that looks like.
Create Your Own Income Tracking System
I’ve come a long way since I first started working online. It’s embarrassing just how afraid I used to be of my own income and bank account. I definitely liked to live with my head in the sand.
Believe it or not, making the switch wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. Now, I’m so thankful that I know how much money I have coming and going.
Being a freelancer is hard. You’re in charge of all those tricky admin things you don’t have to think about when you’re traditionally employed. Luckily, you’ve totally got this!