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Angela Self's Smart Cookies

These online tools take the headache out of tracking expenses Add to ...

Women in the United States are said to spend an average of 55 minutes a day searching for misplaced stuff.

If you've started at least one sentence today with "I can't find my" or "Have you seen," then it's likely you can relate. We eat up an average of eight minutes a day searching for lost receipts alone, according to financial guru Jean Chatzky. And if we come up short in that search, it likely translates into a loss of money, especially if we subscribe to the cash system and need to return or expense an item.

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Simple online tracking tools seem to be the best answer for this problem. Colleagues of mine use xpenser.com. You may want to give it a try too. You can instantly record and upload expenses through Twitter, e-mail, instant message etc. to your financial software of choice or a free xpenser account. You can even take a picture of your receipt from your cell and e-mail the image with a simple description such as "client lunch with Sam" as a reminder.

A number of mobile apps also let you to do the trick. The app of choice among Apple lovers seems to be iXpenseIt.

If it is true that some of us can spend more than an hour a week looking for lost documentation, then think of all the extra time you'll have. Plus, at the end of every month, you've painlessly tracked, stored and organized your expenses in a central location. Next year, tax time will be a breeze.

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at the new globeinvestor.com .

 

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