Saturday, March 10, 2007

Computer tools to help

The last few days I've been trying to get myself organized. As I start out, I'm going to be using Microsoft Money 2006 Deluxe to track my accounts, bills, and budget. I've used previous versions of Money before, but haven't really kept up with it the last few years. This has lead to importing a bunch of data and trying to figure out how to break out purchases to categories. Some things are easier than others, such as seeing that a purchase that came from a gas station is "Gasoline", and purchases made at a restaurant is "Dining Out". This is a lot tougher when you have a $200 purchase from CostCo, where the individual items may be anything from groceries to electronics to jumper cables.

This is where I hope the NeatReceipts Scanalizer is able to help. I just ordered one of these after checking out a bunch of reviews and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. My main goal for this hardware/software solution is to scan in receipts, use the bundled software to automatically itemize the receipt where I can assign a category for each item, and then import the results into Microsoft Money 2006 Deluxe. The NeatReceipts Scanalizer keeps a database of all your purchases as well as a scanned copy of the receipts so you can always go back and see exactly what you bought. It will also itemize sales tax, which since I live in Washington State I'll be able to deduct when it comes around time to file taxes. And as for my wife, she'll be happy that I can get rid of a lot of the physical paperwork laying around my cluttered office, since it can all be scanned in.

Once I've used it, I'll make sure to followup with a review. Especially since most of its marketing is aimed towards people who travel for work and creating expense reports, and that's a feature I won't be using.

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