I wanted to share with you all something that I use every single day. This is a very simple trade journal, something I made just for myself and it’s very basic but it accomplishes what I need. That is:
- Log my trades
- Log entry/exit prices
- Log total profit
- Log profit percentage (since my goal is 3% a day)
- Do this a month at a time to track my overall progress
- Log long trades, not shorts
- Track fees, including fees for tools I use like TC2000
- Keep notes on each of my trades
I have seen several other trade journals, some are very complex. I like simple. Some are also very expensive, I like free. And I think this will be useful for most traders out there, especially those just starting out and using brokers like Robinhood or Ustocktrade.
You should always journal and track your trades, good AND bad!
Each trade is a learning opportunity of what you did right and what you did wrong. You will forget if you do not write it down. Also, you should have a profit target since this is a business and you need a quick and easy way to track that. Some traders I know who are very experienced have been doing it on paper for a long time, and that’s fine. But I find the spreadsheet helpful for the math.
I have a profit target of 3% a day (more on that in an upcoming post) and many of the trade journals did not have the profit percentage in there, which is totally weird to me. No matter the dollar amount of money I’m trading with I want to be able to be consistent in my profit percentage. That is the main purpose of the trade log for me, is to keep my eye focused on profit.
I don’t have short selling in this log since I am not doing that at this time. When I get to the point that I am short-selling, I’ll likely add it and put a new version out.
Since this is a business for me, I also want to count the software and services that I am purchasing against my monthly profit. It doesn’t make any sense to spend thousands of dollars on software or training if I can’t reconcile it with my profits, just like a normal business. For me, I want to know my net profit after expenses which includes trade fees and other fees such as software. So to use this spreadsheet for that, simply enter an amount in the fee column and it will total up your fees. To me, my profit before fees doesn’t matter. I only count the chickens that have hatched.
Below is a screenshot of what my trade journal spreadsheet currently looks like:
Here’s how I use the spreadsheet:
- enter the date I bought the stock
- enter the stock ticker symbol
- enter the amount of shares I purchased
- enter my entry price
- input any fees that purchase incurred
- Once I sell the stock, enter my exit date
- enter my exit price
- add any other trade fees I incurred
- enter any notes about my trade
And the spreadsheet does the rest!
For my personal trade log spreadsheet, I have a copy of the trade journal in 12 separate tabs, one for each month. And I have a final tab that just reports on the number in D3 (Net Profit) for each month so I can look on one page at my monthly progress.
Download the trade journal spreadsheet now, and please comment below what you think about it!