Why “Free” Mileage Logs Are Costing You More Than You Think

Last updated: October 24, 2023 

Let’s bust a myth today, folks. When we talk about free mileage logs, what really pops into your mind is this: “Hey, why pay when you can just jot it down?” All you need is a simple notebook and a pen and a DIY spreadsheet.

But, there’s the rub! While it might sound like a sweet deal, settling for a bargain solution can easily backfire when it comes to tracking mileage for business purposes.

Let’s take a closer look at the issue.

manual mileage logs are hard to assemble

The Real Price of DIY Mileage Tracking

First off, remember the good ol’ saying, “Time is money”? Well, every second you spend scribbling in that notebook, or worse, fiddling with Excel mileage log templates, you’re practically throwing coins out the window.

Have you ever calculated how many hours it takes to manually log your monthly trips? Time’s ticking, and it’s not on your side!

Oh, the Mistakes You’ll Make

Human error is a sneaky little gremlin. And when it comes to manual mileage logs, it loves to dance. Maybe you missed jotting down a trip. Or two. Perhaps you miscalculated your totals. Before you know it, tax time rolls around, and you’re pulling your hair out, trying to make heads or tails of your records.

The time spent trying to find the lost notes and remembering trips you made weeks ago will likely add a good few dollars to the cost of assembling your monthly mileage logs.

The Allure of Free Mileage Apps

You might wonder, “What about those nifty free mileage tracker apps?” Surely, they can help me out here, can’t they? Well, before you jump for joy, let’s unravel that a bit.

Many of these free mileage logging apps come with ads. Annoying pop-ups? Check. Limited features? Double-check. Suddenly, “free” doesn’t feel so free anymore. It’s worth taking a look at some of the limitations in free offerings from leading mileage tracker apps:

App NameHow many free logs are included in the free version?
MileIQThe free version automatically logs drives and calculates their value for up to 40 drives per month.
TripLogNo automatic free tracking is available, but Triplog offers a free plan with manual tracking only for 40 trips and expenses on reports.
EverlanceThe free version allows you to automatically track up to 30 trips per month.
HurdlrNo automatic free tracking offered, but users can log 30 trips/month manually.
QuickBooks Self-EmployedNo free tracking offered.
DriversnoteDriversnote is free for up to 15 trips per month.

As you can see, at best, you may get 30-40 trips logged for free on a monthly basis, but with that, you are still in the woods. You probably make 30-40 trips within a single week or so.

What About Data Privacy?

There’s something very important we haven’t talked about yet. These free online mileage logs often come with privacy concerns. Where’s your data stored? Who’s looking at your trips? Is there any support team available if you need to clarify such questions? As usual, if you’re not paying, you might be the product.

Are You Compliant?

Do you even know exactly what data to log to keep your mileage logs compliant with relevant regulations? The IRS typically requires very specific, detailed records if you’re claiming a tax deduction based on vehicle expenses. Would your mileage logs stand up against an IRS-audit?

The Bright Side: Automatic Mileage Trackers

Now, before you think I’m all doom and gloom, let’s talk silver linings. Meet the unsung hero of the driving world: the automatic mileage tracker app. You’re thinking, “Another expense?” But, bear with me.

Set It and Forget It

Imagine never having to write, type, or tally again. These trackers are like having your personal assistant. You drive, they track. Simple as.

Accuracy: Kiss Human Error Goodbye

Precision is the name of the game. Relying on GPS technology and offering retrospective mileage logging, these trackers ensure that mileage deductions and reimbursements are spot-on. It’s like having a guardian angel for your records.

Wrapping it Up: The True Cost of “Free” – and the Solution

So, next time someone chirps about the wonders of free mileage record sheets, take a pause. Free, in this case, comes at a cost – your time, your peace of mind, and possibly even your pocketbook. Sometimes, spending a tad upfront can save you a bundle down the road.

So how can MileageWise cater for your needs? With MileageWise, you can’t only enjoy the benefits of a hassle-free mileage-logger working away silently in the background, but also, you can be sure that the monthly mileage logs you assemble are 100% IRS-compliant.

I wish you safe travels and easy logging.

Download MileageWise’s automatic mileage tracker app from Google Play or the App Store & try it for free for 14 days. No credit card required!

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