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Many of you know that Alyssa and I do freelance film work while we travel full-time in our Winnebago. This meant submitting over a dozen 1099’s, plus a nice long spreadsheet of business expenses (plus hounding old clients to remember to send us our 1099). If you’re a freelancer on the road, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We hired a CPA to handle our taxes for us and after handing over all of our documents, he started asking us a million questions about deductions.
“Do you use the RV for business? Did you travel to any of your clients in the RV? Do you have mileage for that? Did you track meals with clients? Since you worked in Alaska and Hawaii, all of your expenses there are deductible. Did you record that on your list of expenses?”
And the list goes on.
That’s when I realized I did a really poor job of keeping track of business expenses. I never considered writing down mileage or deducting travel expenses. It all slipped my mind and resulted in Alyssa combing through credit card statements to give an updated list of expenses to our CPA. This, of course, was all happening around April 14th, because we are super on the ball people.
Moral of the story: Submitting our taxes was intensely stressful and we probably ended up paying way more in taxes than we had to, because we didn’t keep proper records of business expenses.
After shelling out thousands of dollars to the government I decided I wanted to do a couple things better in 2016:
- Keep a better track record of our expenses throughout the year so we can more tax deductions.
- Keep tabs on how much we owe in taxes and make sure we’re setting aside enough money so we don’t find ourselves in another sticky situation next year.
After paying off our taxes I found an app called Hurdlr, or maybe they found me after I continually scoured the Internet for tips on how to afford to pay your taxes as a freelancer.
Hurdlr helps freelancers do exactly these two things that I need help with: keeping track of expenses & estimating what I owe in taxes, which is great because I can’t even begin to know how to calculate what I might owe in taxes. The app is free and I was pumped to download it and give it a try.
Here is my review of the app after having used it for a little over a month.
What the Hurdlr App is supposed to do:
Hurdlr touts itself as the “Mint for entrepreneurs”. If you’ve never used Mint, it’s a well designed and simple to use app that helps you budget the way you’re spending your money.
Hurdlr is supposed to help you keep track of all your expenses, income streams, and tax deductions in real time.
Does it Deliver on Promise?
After using it for a month, it definitely delivers on all of those promises.
The app is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. For example, say you swipe your credit card while getting a cup of coffee for your client. You’ll receive a notification on your app that prompts you to “check this as a business or nonbusiness expense.” This is super helpful and easy to use. All you have to do is connect your business credit card statements to the app, and it will keep track of everything for you.
The Hurdlr App Tracks:
- Anything that can be considered a tax deduction and keeps record of it for you
- Your mileage (if you’re driving for work), so that you can deduct $.54/mile driven (standard IRS business rate)
- Estimated tax estimates and reminders
I don’t know a ton about security, but on Hurdlr’s website it says that all data is 256-bit SSL encrypted and your bank info is never stored. If you want to know what the heck 256-bit SSL actually means, read this forum post.
What I Like Most About Hurdlr:
I love metrics, especially when they show me making money. I like that at a glance I can easily see what our income has been this month, where it came from, and also what our expenses have been.
Also, the app has helped me keep an on-going record of all of our expenses that are tax deductible. For the first time, I feel as though I’m actually doing a decent job of keeping track of these things.
Since Hurdlr is an app, I have it right there on my iPhone at all times. This means no searching for spreadsheets or following paper trails. Everything is (literally) at my fingertips.
What I Dislike About Hurdlr:
Any app that is always running in the background of your phone is going to zap some battery. Over the past seven days Hurdlr has used about 42% of my phone battery (next highest app usage was Facebook at 14%). I would love to see it use less of my phone battery. However, for the time being, I’m willing to sacrifice some battery usage to keep a closer eye on how much I’ll owe in taxes as well as my daily expenses.
Note: I keep it running in the background at all times so it can track my mileage, which is extremely helpful for RVers who travel to clients. Yesterday when we stopped driving for the day, my phone alerted me that the deduction for my drive was $91.42. This saves me so much time and effort and keeps the info neatly stored in the app.
Who is it best for?
The app does a great job of delivering for any on-the-go freelancer or entrepreneur. Since all of my bank accounts are synced up to the app, it auto-tracks my expenses and income (which is nice).
Hurdlr originally was built for Uber and Lyft drivers to easily track their mileage for tax write-offs. Since that was the original function, it’s perfect for any RVer who needs to keep records of miles. Plus, it’s free and as an RVer, I know we would all rather spend our money on adventures than on managing our taxes.
Would I Recommend Hurdlr?
It’s been an incredibly solid app thus far. It hasn’t crashed on me and has delivered on everything promised. If you’re trying to keep closer tabs on tracking expenses for tax deduction purposes, it’s the best app for it.
Disclaimer: The team at Hurdlr sponsored The RV Entrepreneur podcast this month. I told their team I would leave an honest review here on my blog. I wouldn’t be recommending this app if I wasn’t finding it useful.