Getting started on the 1st of the year makes December 31st pretty easy to figure total expenditures. Get an accounting program that you can work with, for me it is Quicken as I can tailor it to fit the categories and sub categories I want to track.
Start a spreadsheet to track your loads, dh miles, income per mile, and any other info that you can use to better your business. I like to know how much the load pays for all miles, who gave us the load, the type of load it was (Lift Gate, Hazmat…), and the area of the country the load picks up and delivers. Each year I fine tune my spreadsheet to fit our ever-changing needs.
I also use a spreadsheet to track our days away from home and use our logs as a backup to this, and as always I track our fuel mileage. Create a reminder list for the 1st of each month to download your logs, reconcile all of your accounts, and run a P & L sheet.
Something that has worked well for me over the past few years is to add up how much we spend on repair & maintenance, yearly items (insurance, taxes…) truck washes, laundry, office supplies, truck supplies, estimated taxes, and other odd items and then I divide that number by 12. Each month I enter that amount into quicken with a large note in capitals NOT DONE. As the month marches on if we get the truck washed, laundry amounts, truck supplies, or anything else on my list I deduct that amount from my NOT DONE amount. What is left over goes into savings for when the large amounts are due like our yearly truck insurance. This has helped balance out the higher bills we owe a few times a year such as estimated taxes. While passbook savings does not pay much it is better than nothing.
A large envelope is used to keep the receipts we create until they can be entered into Quicken and then they are scanned and filed away. Each receipt has a unique number that tells me if I used cash, credit card, Comdata, or a debit card. I have found that creating a unique numbering system has saved me much time when I need to go back and look at a receipt on line.
We have found that having a printer/scanner in the truck is a necessity to keep up with scanning our paperwork and copying bills. Our Epson NX330 is wireless and seems to be holding up well to being bounced down the road every day. This printer is a few years old and probably due to the ride of the Cascadia it has lasted longer then any of my other printers.
Will 2017 be the year you become debt free? For us 2017 we will once again fine tune our personal finances to reach the goals we have set. Every dollar will have a name and will be spent conscientiously to reach our goals. Will we suffer… No but we will think twice about blowing our money on something that does not mean something to us.
Personally, I find it rather exhilarating to look at my blank spread sheets wondering how the year will roll out. Remember money never sleeps so we are the guide to have our money work for us.