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Tracking Your Finances

Taking Financial Control is possible when you are armed with the right information and in the case of your finances, you’re the only one who can collect that data. We spend money on a daily basis, sometimes without even thinking about it, so having a tool you can use quickly and easily is ideal. Although there are plenty of software options out there, for the most private and personalized tracking, Google Forms and Sheets is a great option. The following is the setup I recommend using to track your spending and income.

tracking your finances as a server or watier

Income Tracking

Here we will be breaking down the two most common types of income; hourly or salary (stable income) and tipped (variable income). The first and most common type of income for the back of the house and managers is stable income that generally does not vary from check to check. Stable income is great because you can budget every week the same since you will receive the same amount on each check. No fancy spreadsheets or math needed for this one, when you are Creating a Budget all you’ll need to do is input your usual income.

That being said, variable income is easy to track too, it just requires one more step. The spreadsheet found here will get you started on tracking your variable income and can be easily modified to your needs. I prefer to look at the last four paychecks, so if you get paid bi-weekly then that will be information from the past eight weeks. This running average will give you a good estimate of your income that you can input in to your budget. Over time you’ll get an understanding of seasonal fluctuations and how your income varies during the year.

Running Average of Paychecks

running average of paychecks

For anyone that receives tips outside of their check, it’s vital that you log that income as well - it is not free spending money! A simple Cash Tip Tracker like this one will help you with that and it can be customized to your data needs as well.

Spending Tracking

This Spending Tracker is extremely easy to set up, however, using it all the time will be a habit (compulsion) that you’ll need to develop diligently if you expect to have good results. You can add categories or simply leave it as just a description of your purchase and the total cost. The goal here is to track the outflow of your cash, to the penny. The data that flows from this tracker will help you better understand your spending habits and behaviors. With this information you will feel more empowered to take financial control of your life.

written by Alex Navarro