I love my cash flow spreadsheet. It’s always there, honest and sometimes pleasantly surprising. As a freelancer, you absolutely have to have one. And since I’m such a great gal, I’ve made a sample one for you to download.
This little guy it a very stripped down version of the two spreadsheets (business and personal) I work with to manage the finances over here. Mine also has dates scripts were turned in so I can make sure the various publishing companies we work with are paying when they are supposed to and so I know what month to put in the payment amount.
In addition to this little wonder, you should also get some kind of accounting software to keep track of all your income and expenses. I use Quickbooks, mainly because I am managing a corporation and QB is the software I’m comfortable with. But any accounting software will work. Make sure you categorize your purchases, give them accounts, enter in and reconcile your credit cards charges, so that when you run reports, it can be easily translated to your spreadsheet.
I like having the two separate, but I know that some software can manage cash flow as well.
What I like about this method, is this document can be completely personalized for your own situation. And as things change over the year (which they always do) it is very easy to edit.
This little guy can be your best friend.