Are your receipts under control?
They can be such a bother, can’t they? They can create clutter, yet when you need one you need it! Fortunately some receipts are electronic and searchable. But there are still plenty of miscellaneous paper receipts: for groceries, clothing, furniture, home improvements, restaurants, and all kinds of things.
What if you need to make a return or correct a mistake? How do you put your hands on the right one, without a frantic search? A reliable system can save you time, money, anxiety and disappointment. In my experience, having the original receipt makes everything quicker and easier.
Here’s a simple approach:
- Have one place for receipts. I use a small (6x9x2) Plexiglas container from the office supply or Container store. Just stack them up and they will be in date order, last first.
- Put it in a convenient location. The kitchen counter is often best where it can easily be used when you unpack your purchases.
- Put a paper weight on top so they stay put.
- Keep only one month’s receipts in there. When the new month begins, move the stack of receipts to a file marked February, for example. Have a folder for each month. When the same month comes around next year, you can probably throw out most of the old receipts, keeping any that might be important. Exception: If you are doing a project, such as a kitchen remodel, those receipts will be so numerous and important they deserve their own file, and likely multiple files for different categories such as flooring, lighting, contractor, etc., depending on your project.
- Some people scan their receipts. That is great for things such as business expenses, or other important things (as long as your computer is backed up). But it seems like “overkill” and wasted time for most of the everyday receipts we deal with.
- Having your finances on your computer in a program such as Quicken Home & Business can be very helpful, especially in finding old receipts. Download transactions frequently. Then you can put in a keyword and where to look.
It’s a really simple system that has worked well for me for many years. I’ve including a photo of mine. I hope it makes life easier for you, too!