In the past weeks, I’ve talked about tracking. Tracking your expenses every day to understand where you’re spending, down to the cent. And tracking individual items so over time you can understand the unit cost of the item, both the regular price as well as the best sale price you can discover.
One tool I’ve discovered to help me in this process is Evernote, an application that “allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.” What exactly does this mean? When I am at Costco, I snapped this shot with my Blackberry:
It immediately loads into Evernote, into my Costco Folder. With Evernote’s character recognition, a search for “chips” will pull this right up. I can also access this information from my Mac, PC, or from any web browser. The saved data is synced up on all systems running the application as well as on the Evernote server. If you wish to jot notes (or don’t have a picture-taking phone) you can do that, either right into the app or via email. Evernote offers an email access so you can send a note using a subject and text, and the note will go to your account. This can be a great system for a family to use to maintain shopping lists or “to do” lists that won’t get lost on bits of paper.
Another way to use Evernote is to clip web sites or blog postings you wish to save. This can be an ongoing way to comparison shop or just to save items of interest for later viewing. Instead of saving the whole web page, you are able to highlight the text of interest and save just that. It then can be read pretty easily at a later time on your computer or iPod/Blackberry. Lastly, web clips saves in Evernote maintain their embedded links, and those links remain embedded when the “print to PDF” is chosen. This to me is one of the coolest, yet underrated features of this application.
The application is free, as is up to 40MB of upload per month. A paid version allows 500MB of monthly transfer for $5 per month. You can burn through the 40MB with pictures (the one above started out as 560K) but notes and web clips tend to be pretty small so long as your web clips choose text only.
Take a look and let me know how Evernote helps you in your frugal efforts.