Home-Based Food Business Expense Tracking Form: Free PDF & Google Sheet

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Screenshot of the free Startup Food Business Expense Tracking Spreadsheet: Tab #1

When you first start a home-based food business, keeping accurate track of your expenses from day one is essential and is often the difference between your new business succeeding and failing.

I’ve been running home-based food businesses for over 15 years, and now I pay monthly fees to have access to some pretty robust accounting software. However, when I started I just used spreadsheets to track my business expenses.

I recommend that you do the same with your new business because you need to be investing every penny into things that actually make you money.

You can track your expenses for free until you’re actually making a noteworthy profit.

Why Does A New Small Business Need To Track Expenses Carefully?

A new business is always a challenge and to be brutally honest (which I always promise to be with you), many new businesses will fail.

I don’t tell you that to scare you, and certainly not to discourage you from starting your own home-based food business.

As I’ve told you in a number of the food business articles that I’ve written here on FoodBusinessPros.com, I love being self-employed and I wouldn’t choose another way to live and support my family.

However, I have to tell you that I’ve had friends and consulting clients who have done great damage to their family’s well-being by going into crazy debt in pursuit of their dreams of self-employment.

I don’t want that to happen to you.

I want your new food business to always be a blessing, and never be a nightmare.

To that end, you must be totally honest with yourself and your family about how much money you are putting into your new food venture.

This is very important, so I’m going to restate it; Always be fully honest and fully transparent with yourself and your partners…and your family members are among your partners.

To be honest, you have to know the truth.

To know the truth you need data.

To have data, you need records.

That is why you must track every penny you spend on your new business.

This New Food Business Expense Tracking Sheet

I want to be clear, this isn’t the ideal way to track your expenses but it’s a great way when you are a brand new food business.

There are some amazing paid tools out there, but what those are is a discussion for another day. What you really need to know is that you don’t need to be spending your limited money on expense tracking when you are just starting a new food business.

There will be a time, in the not so distant future, when a more robust expense tracking tool makes sense, but that time is not today. { Click here to signup to hear when that article is available. >>> }

Instead, I spent a few hours making you a basic business expense tracking sheet for your new food business and it will do the basics that you need during your first few months to a year of being self-employed.

I want you to be successful, and to be successful you need to avoid unnecessary expenses. That’s why I created the expense spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

If you have a google account you can get to my new business expense spreadsheet easily and for free.

In the Google Sheet that I created, you’ll find three tabs at the bottom-left of the sheet.

Those three tabs are:

  • Business Expenses
  • Cost of Goods Expenses
  • PDF Tab

Let’s make sure you know what to expect in each tab of this new food business expense tracking form.

The Business Expense Tab

This tab is for tracking the expenses related to just starting and maintaining your new food business.

Screenshot of the free Startup Food Business Expense Tracking Spreadsheet: Tab #1

These are expenses that are not directly required to create the product that you are selling to your clients (those are included in “Cost Of Good Sold” which we’ll talk about next), but are instead expenses only related to the operation of your business.

Some examples of “Business Expenses” for a new home-based food business include:

  • Business Cards
  • Flyers
  • Car Top Advertising
  • Radio Ads
  • Accounting Service
  • Graphic Design
  • Photography Services
  • Required Equipment
  • Subscriptions To Services or Software
  • Phone Service
  • Internet Service
  • Website Design
  • Bulk Email Services
  • and so much more….

Some of these expenses are one-time expenses, and others will be reoccurring costs on either a monthly or annual bases. I included a spot for you to include monthly and annual expenses so you could quickly see those commitments with a scan of your expense data.

Never lose track of your upcoming expenses. A business startup is always unpredictable, and these committed expenses can quickly become a nightmare instead of an empowering tool.

NOTE: I know that this article is about tracking your expenses, but it’s in my base nature to take a second to encourage you to keep your expenses as low as possible while still positioning yourself for success.

There is an old construction/engineering adage (that’s my original background) that says that every project can either be Well Done, Cheap, or Fast.

This concept is often shown as a triangle with each of the three characteristics at one of the corners of the triangle and a dot to show where this particular project falls within the continuum represented by the triangle.

Unless you are independently wealthy, I encourage you to aim for the red dot in the image above: Well Done and Cheap with a little bit of money spent to make it slightly Faster.

Remember, debt is slavery. A little slower is a blessing if it keeps you from going bankrupt like so many new business owners experience.

The Cost Of Goods Sold Tab

Cost of Good Sold is often abbreviated to be COGS, and to start and run a successful food business you have to know your COGS inside and out.

You’d be shocked and sadden (maybe sickened) to know how many restaurants and other food businesses go out of business because they don’t really understand the cost of every menu item.

If you’ve ever watched “Restaurant: Impossible” you probably have a decent idea of how this basic mistake can destroy a business.

I want to be clear, that Recipe Costing isn’t the same as COGS. Recipe Costing is a certain type of COGS, but it’s not the only type of COGS. Every business, food-based or not, has a Cost of Goods Sold.

That includes nearly every home-based food business idea { Click here for the list of Food Business Ideas >>> }. It doesn’t matter if you are a Food Photographer or a Food Blogger…you have a COGS.

It is a Truth (with a capital T) that without knowing the COGS for every item of that your new business offers for sale, you have no idea how to price that item and you have no control over your profit.

Without controlling your profit, you don’t control how much you are going to make per hour. That’s loser move.

COGS are anything that you must buy to provide your product or service to your customer. It’s not the things that make you’re work or marketing easier, it’s the stuff that is essential to creating the good that you are selling to your customer.

The free Google Spreadsheet that I created is just for tracking those essential Cost of Goods Sold.

Screenshot of the free Startup Food Business COGS Tracking Spreadsheet: Tab #2

P.S. If you want a recipe costing spreadsheet, leave a comment below and I’ll get to creating that soon.

The New Food Business PDF Tab

Okay, my goal as your guide to starting a food business is total transparency and honesty. To that end, let me lay it all out here…

I do not think that you should be tracking the expenses of your new food business with a pencil and paper that this free PDF will empowers you to do.

Honestly, using this PDF is a bad idea.

You need a spreadsheet, like those that I made for you above, and that are included in the same Google Sheet with this free PDF.

I really believe that it will take you much more effort to track your new food business expenses with pencil and paper than it will with the Google SpreadSheets that I created (even if you have to learn a few things), but it’s up to you.

You do you.

New Food Business Expense Tracking Printable PDF

How To Get The Free New Food Business Expense Tracking Spreadsheets and Printable PDF?

I put all three resources for your new food businesses into one free Google Sheet and all you have to do to get access to the whole thing is to signup for my email list. { Click here to jump to the signup form. >>> }

When you signup for my email list, you’ll soon recipe a confirmation email. As soon as you confirm your subscription, the Google Sheet will open in a new browser tab.

Once you get to the spreadsheet, follow the instructions below to get your own copy of the Expense Spreadsheet. You won’t be able to edit the master spreadsheet, but once you make your own copy you can use and edit it.

  • Choose “File” from the menu at the top of the spreadsheet.
  • Choose “Make a copy” from the drop-down menu.
  • Decide where you want that copy in your own google drive.
  • Once you click to save, your new copy will open in a new tab.

Feel free to edit it and make it your own. It’s my gift to you.

If you make a mistake and want to start over, just follow the link in the second email again and make yourself a fresh copy. Easy.

But what if you don’t want to be on my email list and hear more from me?

No problem.

Just look at the simple spreadsheet images I’ve shared above and recreate files yourself. Or just signup to hear more from me in my email list and then unsubscribe as soon as you get the Google Sheet.

Regardless, you won’t hurt my feelings.

All of us entrepreneur types tend to be very independent and I won’t judge you for independence.

That said, I know I would have saved years and thousands of dollars worth of mistakes if I’d had a mentor.

I’d love to be that mentor for you as your start your business and start striving for your dreams.

Get The Free New Food Business Expense Tracking Spreadsheet & Printable PDF

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    With over 15 years of experience starting, running, and growing home-based food businesses, Stacey is the #1 home-based food business coach in America. Stacey is the author of the Advantage Meals: By The Numbers Book.

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