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Creating an Income and Expense Tracking Document

Recording the Expected Dates and Amounts of Expenses
You have several options for how you will handle the Expected Date column in the Expenses section. No matter which option you choose, the most important thing is to apply it consistently. You can use the Expected Date column to note the following:

  • The date each bill is due – This is usually the most informative data for this column.
  • The date you expect to receive each bill – If you pay your bills as soon as they arrive, this might be the most useful date to record.
  • The date you intend to pay each bill – If you don't pay each bill upon receipt but you want to be prompted to pay it a few days before it's due, or if you have some bills you intentionally pay after the due date but within the grace period, such as a mortgage or property taxes, this might be the best option for you. If this date will fall outside the month you're listing the item in, be sure to include the month (not just the day) in this field.
In the Expected Amount column, record the amount you intend to pay. Again, you have several options:
  • The actual amount due – This is simply the amount you're being billed for.
  • More than the amount due – If you pay more than the minimum toward your mortgage or credit cards, you can record an amount larger than what's actually owed for this billing cycle.
  • Less than the amount due – If you're facing a month of more expenses than income, you can use this column to plan which bills will receive partial payment.
In the Actual Date and Actual Amount columns, record the actual figures when they occur.

Seeing the Big Picture
After you've filled in all of your categories and data, total your expected income and expenses and – deep breath – see which is greater. This is your spreadsheet's reason for being, and it's also the most gut-wrenching part of the whole process. As you can see in the spreadsheet, Sue and Joe's expenses were much less than their income in January, but February is going to present a problem....

Congratulations! You've completed a major step toward organizing your finances. Now maintain this spreadsheet as you continue with the rest of the projects in this book, and keep refining it as you move into your increasingly organized future.

But what if you're not the only one manipulating the money in your accounts? Here's your final project for this chapter: learning to cooperate with your joint-account partners.

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Reproduced from Organize Your Personal Finances in No Time, by Debbie Stanley, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit Amazon to order your own copy.

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