It’s been a while since I’ve done a product review and I’m suffering from a bit of brain drain (as indicated by the fact that I COMPLETELY forgot to make a new blog post on Monday), so I thought I would review TripLog which has been by far my favorite way to track mileage for my direct sales business – mostly, because it takes into account my flakey nature. It’s mileage tracking for lazy dummies like me.
You need to track your mileage IN REAL TIME
This an absolute necessity unless you don’t mind losing what is probably one of your biggest business expense write-offs on your taxes. I’ll admit, that I didn’t do it my first year and then my next two years, I just added up all the miles that I assumed I had driven given where my parties had been. Don’t do this. This is not acceptable to the IRS should you be audited. You need to be tracking your miles AS YOU GO.
There’s just one problem with this: I would never remember to do it. I had a little mileage book and everything and did I remember to use it? No. Not ever. Then I tried a tracker on my phone, but like remembering to write my mileage in my book, I never remembered to turn the darn thing on.
So, I went on a quest for an app that was smarter than me.
Logo copyright of BizLog LLC
Autostart tracking for the win!
The main appeal to me about TripLog over other trackers it had a setting where it would turn itself on and start tracking miles whenever you plugged it into a power supply and started driving. No more remembering to turn on the tracker! I’m already in a habit of plugging in my phone on the way to a party since I use GPS to find my way and need the battery power to be decent so I can run credit cards on the phone after the party.
When you unplug your phone, it will ask you if you want to save and when you do it takes you to this handy screen with all of your trips on it.
Now, you’re thinking great, but do I need to record all these from my phone onto something else?
IRS compliant records AUTOMATICALLY
Okay, I’ll confess, I often figure out things about my programs (and products and people) by accident. I didn’t actually pay too much attention to awesome TripLogs recording keeping was until I suddenly got an email telling me what my total mileage had been for the week. What? This is awesome.
In the email was also some files with my total recorded. They were recorded in spreadsheets. Like spreadsheets that were IRS compliant. No more fearing the tax man.
Plus, if you sign up for the mobile + web option, you can look at all of your mileage online.
Double Plus Bonus – Tracking expenses the fly WITH PICTURES
This was my favorite discovery on the app. I tend to stuff my business receipts into whatever purse or bag I’m carrying and hope to remember to 1) save the receipt later; and 2) record the expense, likely much later. You know what happens, of course. The receipts get lost, crumpled or used to take the phone number of a person you will also forget to call and they are gone forever. I’m terrible about this. Like, really, really terrible. DON’T BE ME.
So, imagine my delight when I found the expense tab in the TripLog app. Behold, the Answer to All The Things. I could use the app to immediately record my expenses AND take a picture of the receipt. Now, granted, my relative lack of self-discipline does not always remind me to take the picture and record the expense before shoving the receipt in my bag, but if you are even the slightest bit better than me, this could be a real lifesaver.
And of course, this gets recorded in a spreadsheet too. Booyah.
There is other awesomeness in this app
You can track gas purchases, have reoccurring expenses tracked and likely a bunch of other cool things that I haven’t yet utilized. You can also look at everything in the form of pie charts and bar graphs, which the nerd in me just LOVES.
Cost of TripLog
You can use TripLog for free but if you want the IRS compliant reports you will want to go with a paid account at the cost of $15 a year or $1.50 per month. You can try it out for 30 days free first to see if you like it. I went a step further and got the mobile + web option because I wanted to use the autostart and receipt function I mentioned above. It’s $25 a year or $2.50 a month. In other words, SUPER CHEAP for what you are getting.
If you are interested in trying out TripLog, they gave me a link to share with you: http://trplg.co/56564 , you’ll get a 20% discount!
I’ve now used TripLog for a complete year and with one click report, I had all of my mileage and most of my expenses ready for taxes. It even did my calculations for me. And if I had input it properly to begin with (doh!) would have told me my beginning and ending mileage. I only plug my phone in to track during business travel, but if I did it all the time when driving my car, it could tell me the percentage of use for business versus personal travel.