Sunday, July 26, 2015

5 Tips To Tracking Your Income Properly

Tracking your income will provide you with an in-depth look at your financials. Overall budgeting and expense tracking are important, but tracking your income properly will give you the figures you need to develop the budget and know how much you can spend.

One of the biggest mistakes when budgeting is tracking your income incorrectly. With so many rules and regulations in place such as overtime wages, hourly or salary, social security, state and federal taxes, it can be quite the challenge to keep track of your income. However, if done properly, tracking your income can become routine and make your financial life a lot less stressful.

Know Your Pay Schedule

One of the first things you need to do to track your income properly, is to know your pay schedule. Too many employees simply work and wait around for their paychecks. What they do not always try to figure out or simply ask for, is what dates the paychecks are cut. This knowledge is important for a couple reasons.

The first reason it is important to know your pay schedule is so that you can know when you have money coming in, so that you can budget for your bills accordingly. For example, you cannot pay all of your bills on the first of the month, if you don’t receive your first paycheck until the fifteenth of the month; unless you already have money in your account. Most credit card companies will allow you to change your “due date” for paying off credit card bills. You should conveniently schedule these to be after your paycheck has already cleared into your account.

Another reason knowing your pay schedule is important to tracking your income, is because of missed payments. Chances are there is either a human representative person and your company that works with a payroll company to get you your paycheck. Unfortunately, humans make errors. If you are not tracking your paychecks you might not notice if your company forgets to pay you.

Understand Gross Versus Net

Another important factor into tracking your income properly, is understanding the difference between gross and net pay. The concept is fairly easy, however it is also easy to always consider your income in the gross terms. It typically is a more exact number which makes it easier to remember. For example a person might earn $50,000 per year or $10.00 per hour. However, it is a lot more challenging to remember that you are actually only making a net pay of $36,555.33 annually or $7.65 per hour.

Understanding this difference and knowing your actual take-home pay will go a long way to tracking your income properly.

Track Your Hours Worked

If you are paid on an hourly basis, it is critical for you to track the amount of hours you’ve worked. Regardless of how nice your manager is, mistakes can be made when calculating your hours worked. It is important for you to know the pay period and the amount of hours you’ve worked in that pay period.

If you don’t track the hours you’ve worked yourself, you are relying on someone else to do it for you. While they may have the best intentions, keeping tabs of your hours worked are not exactly the highest of priorities for them. After all, they are probably tracking their own hours. It is also in your best interest to track your own hours because of overtime wages. Earning one and half your regular rate for hours worked over forty hours in a week is a huge pay bump for you. Knowing the amount of hours you worked in overtime will greatly increase the amount of income you track. It will also help you keep track of overtime pay should any disputes arise with your employer.

Even if you are a salaried employee, it is still in your best interest to at least have a general idea of how many hours you work. This can go a long ways towards providing evidence of why you deserve a raise once your year review rolls around.

Understand Your Deductions

Tracking your income properly also means understanding your deductions. Every single American pays federal income tax, social security, and most states have a state income tax that is automatically deducted. All of these deductions play a role in determining your net pay.

However, you may also have deductions for healthcare insurance and retirement savings accounts if your employer offers it. While the money you earn that goes towards this is technically income, you won’t actually see any of it on your paycheck. It usually is automatically withdrawn, thus decreasing your net pay.

Keep A Hard Copy

Finally, to track your income properly, you should always keep a hard copy of your pay stub and budget. When I say hard copy, I actually mean some form of proof. So in today’s digital world, you can either scan a copy of your pay stub or simply take a picture of it. Storing these on something like Evernote or Google Drive will help you keep track of it all.

You should also have a hard or digital copy of your budget. You may be a smart cookie, but you don’t have the memory capacity of spreadsheet. Keep your income tracked on a spreadsheet or budget workform to give yourself a crystal clear idea of just how much money you are bringing  home.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Putting My Book to Work: Where I'm Published in July 2015 #ParentingMagazineWriting

I like to let you know where I'm published each month not to brag, but to let you know you can also be doing it. To let you know that if you don't quit and you keep going, you will succeed! Check out my #30Submissions30Days challenge here! And of course you can do exactly what I'm doing if you buy my book here on Amazon! This month I had 11 articles in 10 publications and made a total of $345. I would say that's a nice little residual income on pieces I had written months to years ago that still sell from month to month while I have time to focus on writing brand new pieces! Give it a try!

1. After pitching for years to Colorado Parent, they picked up my Slumber Party Dos and Don'ts and I could not be more excited!

2. Okanagan Child is a publication that I had also never been in, so I am so excited to be in their Summer 2015 issue with my Good Grandparent Guide!

3. Boom! published my Good Grandparent Guide as well

4. Texarkana Parent is a new publication for me to be in and they used TWO of my pieces: Lemonade Stand Learning and what I called When Your Child's Pet Dies.

5. Birmingham Parent used Allowance Conundrum.

6. About Families published Surviving the First Year of Motherhood

7. Neapolitan Family used Birthday Traditions

8. Augusta Family published Kids and Activities: Seek Balance

9. Cincinnati Parent used Birthday Traditions

10. Palm Beach Parenting published Bust Indoor Boredom

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