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Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Sample Dome Day

Yesterday, I mentioned my beloved Dome book. It looks overwhelming at first, but today I'm going to walk you through a day's work in it, step by step. It's so much easier than it looks, I promise!

We'll start with the easiest page - the Detail of Monthly Expenditures Sheet. Here is mine:

The left side of the page is to record your inventory purchases. I try to do this as soon as I get home from thrifting, but more often than not, I'm digging out 4 or 5 receipts from the bottom of my purse and entering a bunch at once. For the new year, I'm going to try really hard to get into the habit of doing this immediately. Waiting is how receipts get lost. Lost receipts are lost deductions.

So in the far left column, you'll write the date. You have a new one of these pages for every month, so you don't even need to write the month. If you shopped on the third, just write a 3 in this column. The next column is to record who you paid. That would just be "Goodwill" or "Yard Sales" or if you bought something from a specific person, write their name here. The next column is for check number. I don't usually pay for things with checks. I just write "PP" for Paypal, a checkmark for checking account, or a $ for cash. This has helped me a few times, but not often. If I don't have a receipt, I can tell at a glance how I paid. If it was a check, I can print the check from my online bank account. If it was Paypal, I can print my transaction details page from them. If it was cash, well, I'm out of luck. The last column is for the amount. That should be pretty self explanatory.

Now let's look at the right side of this page. This is for other expenditures that are NOT inventory. This would be for shipping or insurance that you purchased, boxes, labels, tolls and meals from road trips (not gas, unless you are planning on taking exact expenses for travel, which I don't recommend), eBay fees, sales tax paid to your state, etc... It's the same layout as the left side of the page. Date, who you paid, check number, and amount. But there is one extra column for account number. You'll be getting this number from the page that we're about to discuss. After a week or so of entering data, you won't even need to look up these account numbers anymore. You'll have them memorized.

Now let's look at the other page you'll be using daily.

This one looks more complex, but it's really not. Just take it one line at a time. The left column will be for your daily income received. You're going to take these numbers straight from your Paypal account. These numbers will not match your eBay sales for the day. You're only going to write the money down on the date that the item was actually paid for. The numbers that I have along the far left (outside of the chart) are how many payments I received. I don't know why I write that down. It's useless information, and I probably won't bother keeping track of that next year.

I have added an extra column to my book. My state requires that I separate shipping out from the purchase for sales tax purposes. We don't have to pay sales tax on shipping in Pennsylvania, so I need to keep that amount separate. So my book has four columns in this section: Taxable PA Sales (my own column), All Sales, Shipping, and Total Amount. Down the left, you'll see there's a line for each day of the month.

So each morning, while you're waiting for your coffee to cool, log in to your Paypal account and do a basic search (top center of the screen) for the previous day's date. Once those transactions come up, add up any shipping you paid the previous day and write that on the first page we talked about (in the right column). Find any other expenses you had the previous day and write them in the right column too. Next, you'll need your income numbers, which are on the same screen. If you don't need to separate out your shipping for sales tax purposes, then just add up all your payments received and write them on the second page we discussed. If you have to separate shipping out, then you'll need to actually go into each transaction. I write click on "Details" for each transaction and open it in a new tab. That way there's no annoying back and forth. Open each transaction in a new tab. Then go through and add up the item prices and write them down in the All Sales column. You'll also need to add up the shipping charges and write them down in the Shipping column. If any of them were taxable, then write just the taxable sales amounts in the Taxable PA Sales column (using your own state, obviously).

Let's look at an example from my book.

On December 7th, you can see that I received 5 payments. I had one taxable PA sale. It was $9.75 plus shipping, so I separated out the $9.75 into the Taxable PA Sales column. The next column will be ALL my sales (including that PA sale). All 5 transactions (purchase price only) totalled $78.25. The total shipping for all 5 transactions was $28.24. I received 59 cents sales tax, so I jotted that down real small so I would remember to add that amount in. Then I added up the Total Sales, Total Shipping, and tax received and got a total of $107.08.

If I have any out of the ordinary transactions, I jot them down in the Memo block at the bottom left of this page. This is where I write any refunds that I have to issue, or any shipping refunds I received for labels that I had to void.

I know this sounds like a lot, but once you get the hang of it (after about a week or two of regular entering), you'll be able to do a whole day's entries in 5 minutes or so.

So to recap, each morning, you should be writing down this information from the previous day:
  • all shipping/insurance paid
  • any other expenses paid
  • all payments received (separating out the shipping if your state requires it)
  • any oddball stuff (shipping refunded to you, refunds you issued, etc...)
For now, you aren't going to do anything at all with the right side of this page (the expenditures). You won't have to do anything with that section until the end of the month. We'll be discussing that in a couple days. I've given you enough for one day :)

Other posts in this series:


  1. Thanks for this. Very clear explanation and yet I do have a question. When you record payments from the Paypal transaction page, that's the amount a buyer paid before Paypal takes out their fee, correct? So, then do you list that Paypal fee in the right column on the first page?

  2. I don't do anything with the Paypal fees until the end of the month. That'll be in the "Monthly Reconciliation" post in a couple days.

  3. When you say you're "out of luck" on cash paid for inventory, does that mean you can't use it as a deduction? I buy 99% of my inventory from yard sales, which are always cash transactions (no good thrift stores in my area but 9 months of yard sales).

  4. I do still take it as a deduction, but in the event of an audit, I wouldn't be able to prove i. For yard sales, I just keep a detailed list of the date, what I bought, and how much I paid for it. Given the nature of yard sales, there's not much more you can do for proof of those purchases.

  5. Fantastic! Going to buy me one and stay on top of things this year by golly! Now to find out about monthly recon in your next post. Thanks for all your help Jessica! YOU ROCK!

  6. Jessica ... I'm also a PA resident. How do you record Income in the Dome Book if the item was shipped to a PA resident and Free Shipping was part of the deal? I'm not sure what to do about shipping, since it's included and not a separate fee to the buyer.

  7. Dee, in the first column (pa taxable sales) write the full 19.99. That was the sale price. That's what they were taxed on, so that's what you'll need to submit the tax on.