How to keep records of your supply inventory

It is very important to keep accurate records of what you buy and use in your business; not only for tax purposes, but also in order to know what your items cost to make. It is also a good way to keep track of merchandisers that you order from, and ones that you will want to re-order from.

I use a 3 ring binder with divider pages with tabs.
Where to find:
garage sales, thrift shops, old ones you may have used in school and are still in good condition, your children's old ones, or if all else fails, go purchase some at a discount shop or office supply store

I keep a copy of every invoice that I get. Then I make sections in the binder, and title them accordingly by the company's/vendor name, alphabetically. All invoices get filed into their respective sections.

Two special sections that I use are titled "bead shows" and "misc. sellers".
At bead shows you may not get a formal invoice. You may only recieve a sales slip. I always ask for a receipt and get a business card from the vendor. When I get home, I sort everything I bought, and write it all down on a page, item by item, and staple their business card to the page.

The section titled, "misc. sellers", include any and all purchases that I may have bought from individual sellers on Etsy or E-bay, for example.
Pages are organized with the most current purchased first, by date.
I also price everything, piece by piece. This makes it easier when pricing a finished piece of jewelry. It does take some time to do, but it is the only way to price items accuately.

For instance, if I buy a strand of beads, I will have to count each and all beads, then do some simple math in order to find out the cost of each bead.

When a binder gets too full, I start another one, where I pull out sections of vendors that I no longer use, or have not purchased from much at all.
This is just a basic way to keep records of your supply inventory. Many folks use on-line software, spread sheets, etc. Find whatever works best for you.
How do you keep your records, in your business? I'd love to hear any tips you might want to share!

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I'll admit, I'm terrible at keeping track of my supplies. I have everything organized by sight, so I can just look at my bins and see when something is running low, but it's definitely note a scientific approach. Thanks for the tips!
You're so organized! Way to go!
I bought an inventory software package, but quickly found it's only as good as you are! If I don't update it, it doesn't do me much good! So now I'm looking for a new system. I like the idea of all the invoices in one place with your binder!
Impressive!! I am far behind on keeping tabs of material costs!
Sheryl Hastings said…
Lots of great tips here. I'm in the process of organizing my business records right now. I looking forward to thing running nice and smooth when I'm finished.

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