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Lemon iPhone app keeps track of your receipts for free

Receipts are the bane of my existence. I am constantly misplacing ones that I need to file for expense and travel reports, and that hardly seems fair: it's the 21st century, so why do we need to save bits of paper anyway?

Thankfully, you don't. There are a number of applications available for managing receipts digitally, like the excellent Shoeboxedservice. But while Shoeboxed does lots of things and charges a subscription fee, there's a new single-minded tool for scanning and storing receipts. And it's free.

Lemon is an iPhone app that lets you easily scan and manage receipts. That's what it does and all it does -- there are no other features like online notetaking or business card sorting to clutter things up. That helps make this app a real winner.

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To use Lemon, you'll need to sign up for a free online account. After that, just point your iPhone at a receipt, line up the edges with the on-screen guide, and snap a photo. If the receipt is too long to get in a single shot (and most are), then the program guides you to take a series of shots, which it assembles like an accounting panorama. You tag the receipt, such as business or personal, and you're done.

All the details, including the business, total dollar amount, each line item and transaction date are extracted from the receipt. That makes it easy to look up details and even generate financial reports, which Lemon can build and email to you.

The beauty of Lemon is that you've got your iPhone with you whenever you make a purchase anyway, so you can scan receipts on the spot, or soon afterwards, and discard the paper immediately. It just might make me (and you) organized yet.

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