How to Manage Your Blog Finances

Once you start earning income from your blog, it’s time to start keeping track of your blog finances. The IRS requires you to report any income above $600 each year, which most people hit pretty fast!

The good thing is that you only need to pay taxes on the blog money you’ve actually received in your bank account (or through PayPal). If a company says you generated a certain amount of money, but they haven’t actually paid it to you, then you don’t need to pay taxes on it (or keep track of that). 

Should You Use Software?

I learned pretty quickly that there is a ton of financial software programs for freelancers on the internet. People who need to track driven miles, multiple clients, and create invoices are well taken care of. Yet, there are precisely zero financial software programs that cater to a blogger’s income. 

But that’s ok! 

I’m going to share with you the way I manage my blog finances without software. The good news is: it’s going to be free!

Accounting Programs

If you really have your heart set on a software program for accounting, then the major players in this game are: 

  • Quickbooks – A paid small business accounting program owned by Intuit, so you can file your taxes quickly through them. paid
  • Freshbooks – A paid account program for freelancers and small businesses.
  • Wave – A free accounting program for all use types

Managing Blog Finances with Google Sheets

I personally use Google Sheets after trying all of the above software programs. It’s easy to manage, straightforward, and best of all: free! 

I can create reports using Google Data Studio if I want to visualize my income the way that some of those programs allow their users to do. You can see some of the graphs I’ve created using data from Sheets in my 2020 and 2019 blog income reports.

To be honest, I was never happy with the standard accounting software’s one-size-fits-all visual graphs anyway! I prefer to make my own. 

So how do I manage my blog income using Google Sheets?

Well, I have a spreadsheet that looks like this :

January 1, 2021$500ShopStyleAffiliate
January 2, 2021$2,000MediavineAds
January 3, 2021$1,000RewardStyleSponsored

At the top, I have my income aggregated by month, company, and category. This helps me see where the bulk of the money is coming from and when. I also have integrated graphs that show me how much of my income comes from each company and graphs which break down my income by category.

Another tab is a spreadsheet dedicated to logging Expenses.

Finally, I have a tab in the spreadsheet called Tax where I add up my income after expenses for each tax quarter and estimate my taxes. If you owe tax as a freelancer, then your blog income is due according to the following fiscal quarters:

  • Q1 (January, February, March) due April 15
  • Q2 (April and May) due June 15
  • Q3 (June, July, August) due September 15
  • Q4 (September, October, November, December) due January 15 of the following year

That’s it!

There is really no need to have complicated income tracking software in my opinion. If you are a freelancer and have multiple clients, I can understand the need for software, but since my blog income is pretty straightforward, I didn’t feel it was necessary for my business.

S-Corps & Payroll

A few years into blogging, I decided to form an S-Corporation in order to save money on self-employment taxes. It is generally recommended to switch to an S-Corp once you’re making over $50,000. At this point, you’ll need to work with a licensed CPA who can assist you in filing the paperwork (unless you want to take on that beast yourself) and advise you on setting up payroll for yourself.

I’ll share my experience with this very soon in this post!

For now, I hope this post helped you understand how to manage blog finances a bit better!

blog finances
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