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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Keeping Track of Expenses

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am have a life-long sordid love affair with my spreadsheets. I have a spreadsheet for everything! It's about the only way I can stay sane. I had a couple people ask me how I keep track of what I spend on my inventory. The answer is easy - I have a spreadsheet! :)

My eBay spreadsheet has 13 worksheets on it. Here's a shot of my inventory one. It's pretty self-explanatory.

I have a column for the date, where I got it, what it was, how much I paid for it, the date it sold, and how much it sold for. I actually use this for several things, not just for knowing how much I paid for something.
  • Mileage: When I need to add up my mileage for the month, I can tell at a glance what days I went where. I know Goodwill is an 18 mile round trip for me, so every time I bought something at Goodwill, I know I can count 18 miles. 
  • Clearance: When I'm running a steep clearance sale, I can easily see how long I've had an item. I can scroll to the top of my spreadsheet and see what I've had around forever and clearance those items (or even pull them to donate or put in a yard sale).
  • Future Listings: I find the same inventory repeatedly. I have bought 3 Namco handheld Pacman video games, for example. When I'm listing something that I previously sold, I can look at my spreadsheet and see how much it sold for and price the new one accordingly.
  • Making Best Offer Decisions: When I get an offer for something, I can easily use my spreadsheet to see how much I spent for the item. That helps me to make a quick decision about whether I want to accept the offer or not.
  • Commissions: My sister-in-law shops for me. She has my BOLO (Be On the LookOut) list and shops in between her visits back home. She presents me with goods and receipts. I pay her for the purchases. Then I also give her 20% of the profit on anything she brought me. I need to know what I spent in order to properly figure out how much I owe her for the sale.
People make fun of me for my spreadsheets (you know who you are!), but you see... it's not just about my obsessive spreadsheet habit. This one's actually USEFUL. :)


  1. Thanks for this!! I'm still sorting out how I want to use my spreadsheets to track inventory, etc. I'll be adding some of your ideas in here....

  2. I Love spreadsheets too and I really need to get some started for my eBay sales. I dont keep track of anything, but I recently received the SSN# request from PayPal and Im wondering what to do! Eek!

  3. I'm still working on my spreadsheet. I'm not great at the math side of things. I'm still trying to figure out how to get my sales totals to make sense.

    @ Coupon Tipster

  4. love this blog!! thanks so much, I too love spreadsheets but I haven't been keeping up on them as much as I should. This has inspired me to get back to them. Spreadsheets make my life so much easier when I keep up on them.
    I read about a seller that was audited and the agent told her she needs to keep spreadsheets with everything recorded on them, that should have been enough to keep me going, lol.

  5. Ohhh...I am SO SO behind on my record keeping. I need to get busy playing catch up before tax time! This will be the first year I pay taxes on my ebay business, any tips in a future post would be appreciated!

  6. How do I get the headers on each page though?

  7. Teresa, I don't even bother with headers. I just know what each column is. But if you want to put headers, just type them at the top of each column.

  8. That makes since. I've coming off a 7 day store suspension (rushing and not paying attention to category posting) I found out tongiht that Ebay WILL NOT repost my 170 listings. So, its like I have to start all over. That's why I need to do this spreadsheet, at least to now keep track of what I have, what I spend, and what I make. I am so glad to be part of this blog and EBUG.

  9. Question about your spreadsheet column 'what it sells for'. Does that figure include shipping? I can understand why it might not if the customer pays shipping, but what about free shipping? Since eBay is pushing free shipping, it's becoming more frequently used by sellers. It's complicated because I don't offer free shipping on every listing, so I can't count on it being included in the selling price.

  10. This spreadsheet is absolutely for my own records. I often use it if I find an item I've already sold before. I can look back to see how much I sold it for last time. So whether you note the shipping or not is totally up to you. If mine included free shipping, then I do write "f/s 5.45" or however much it was.