Saving receipts

In a perfect world we could all go paperless but most of us are not quite there yet.  Most of my clients struggle with paper in one form or another.  Receipts are one of those pieces of paper that seem to collect and migrate all over the house.

There are multiple options for saving receipts and many of them are not so easy to maintain.  I have had many clients who purchased a  “neat receipts” scanner to scan all their receipts.  However, when the scanner is still in the box stuck in a closet it does not do much good.  Why does it stay in the closet?  Because the backlog of receipts and time it takes to get caught up.  If you are going to use this system why not start fresh now? Don’t  try to go a year back and scan everything because that is keeping you from creating a new system.  Just start today.

Another option for saving receipts is a glass jar ,decorative box, ziploc bag or any other appropriate container.  This will work for receipts that are mainly saved for one purpose or one category.  For example, all clothing receipts saved just in case you need to return a recent purchase.  However, a years worth of random receipts would become a bit messy and require a lot of organization later.

One option I really like is a small portable decorative file box without a lid.  I set it up with about 6-8 hanging files in different categories and then just drop the receipts in as I get them.  Create categories that work for you such as tax deductions, office expenses, clothing purchases, internet orders, home improvements, medical etc.

The key with any of these systems is to weed out the receipts every few months so that the system does not get out of control.  For example, once you have worn your new shoes or new dress and know the item will be kept then the receipt is no longer needed.

Of course, the easiest way to control the amount of receipts is to throw any away that are not needed.  You can usually go to your bank account and reconcile most expenses so some receipts really don’t need to be saved at all.

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