Thursday, March 13, 2008

Out of the Shoebox

The picture above is a small sample of the little pieces of paper that my husband collects. Mostly through work travel and usually internationally.

If you've ever travelled outside of the country then you know that everywhere you go there are little bits of paper that you collect. I'm not sure why but it seems like in other countries there are receipts for everything. So he usually comes home with a suitcase full of crumpled papers. Then he's tired and doesn't feel like dealing with them.

Sure it's not a good system, but I won't judge by calling him lazy or disorganized because I was once there myself. Several years back I was the one that traveled for work and came home with little bits of paper. I always procrastinated organizing them. So of course I always ended up losing or misplacing at least of few.

The problem with little lost papers is that they were usually receipts that I could have been reimbursed for, but not if I can't produce them. I'm sure between us my husband and I have thrown away hundreds of dollars in reimbursable receipts. But instead of fixing the problem we choose not to think about it. We just can't bring them back--so let it go.

But yesterday I found a site that could be the answer to our chaos. Shoeboxed takes all your receipts and scans them into organizable digital files. Sounds so simple I could probably do it myself. Right? Wrong. Scanning takes way too much time and then manipulating the file into something that I could organize--it's just not going to happen. Especially when there is something as simple as Shoeboxed.

It works like this:

  1. Shoeboxed gives you a postage-paid envelope.

  2. You stuff your little pieces of paper inside.

  3. Put the envelope in the mailbox.

  4. Shoeboxed scans your receipts and sends you a file that can be sorted by date, place, amount, etc.

The service costs around $20/month, which seems a little pricey. But if I considered those hundreds of dollars in lost receipts the service is worth it.

Another advantage: After taking a look at a stack of my guy's receipts I noticed many of them are too faded to read. Shoeboxed can't fix this, but getting them scanned promptly means that they won't sit around long enough to fade.

Now to try to convince my guy to go for it. That might be a challenge.

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