How to Track Your Paychecks


The average person spends approximately $526 a month on such personal expenses as housing, food and clothing, according to the Internal Revenue Service. To manage monthly bills, track your paychecks on a spreadsheet and deduct all of your expenses. This visual cash flow can help you identify unnecessary spending so that you can allocate funds for retirement, a special vacation or that new television set you have been wanting.

Things You'll Need

  • Spreadsheet
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Binder
  • Calculator
  • Open a new spreadsheet on your computer or draw one on a piece of paper by labeling the left side as "Date" and the right side as "Amount." Give your spreadsheet a name, such as "Paycheck Log" or "My Paychecks."

  • Enter paycheck dates in separate rows on the "Date" side of your spreadsheet. If you want to lay out the spreadsheet for an entire year, place the remainder of the paycheck dates in subsequent rows. If you use an electronic spreadsheet, you may want to create a separate spreadsheet for each month. Then, track monthly paycheck totals on a single spreadsheet at the beginning or end that provides a snapshot of the entire year.

  • Enter your paycheck amount in the first column beside the appropriate date. Continue writing in your paycheck amount beside each day.

  • Label several columns that show your gross pay, deductions and net pay if you also want to track expenses. Examples of deductions that may automatically come out of your check include federal and local taxes, insurance premiums or possibly tuition reimbursement if your employer pays for schooling. Other columns of deductions you may want to include on your spreadsheet include utilities, groceries, gas and any other recurring bills.

  • Use a calculator to subtract deductions from gross pay so that you can figure how much money you may have left after each pay period. Label the final column as your net pay or ending balance and enter the amount there.

  • Save your spreadsheet if you created it on the computer. Name the file with a title you will remember easily. Also save it on your desktop or in a folder that you can access quickly. If you write your spreadsheet by hand, place the paper in a binder or folder and file it in your home office or a kitchen drawer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use formulas in an Excel spreadsheet to automatically perform repeated functions, such as subtracting deductions from gross pay to automatically calculate the net pay.

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  • Photo Credit One Dollar - variations of Crumpled dollar image by PaulPaladin from
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