Organizing Receipts

Where do you keep your receipts?

Some of us keep way to many receipts.  There are receipts in the car, at the bottom of the purse, in coat pockets, stuffed in drawers, stacked on top of dressers…does this sound like you?  I have a place in my purse that I keep receipts and every day I make it a happen to take the receipts out and put them in a box that is a perfect size to hold receipts.  Then I keep the box in a drawer.

Some like to keep an envelope in their purse or car and stash them there.  I have even seen them kept in a large bowl in the kitchen.  Another option would be to keep an accordion file folder and label the sections by month and file the receipts under the corresponding month.

Which receipts do you keep?

I only keep the ones that I need in case I have to make a return, or use to claim a deduction on my taxes, or keep with the warranty or instruction booklet that came with a product.

One way to keep track of your receipts is to use Scansnap or www.Camscanner.net.  These programs will scan your receipt and file it under the category you specify.  Some businesses will email your receipt to you.

Taxes

Ask your CPA or tax adviser for a list of items that should be kept.  Create a tax folder with an envelope inside marked “receipts”.  Every time you have a receipt that needs to be kept for tax purposes, put it in the receipt envelope.  When tax time comes around next year, all your receipts will be in one place.

Warranties

Always staple the sales receipt to the product manual.  Note the date you mailed the warranty or registration card on the cover of the manual.  Place the manual, receipt and any other information into a sheet protector and put into a notebook.  Ideally, file the manuals alphabetically.

Returns

Create a folder called “Returns”.  For any item purchased that you are not sure if you are keeping, or for items being given as gifts, place the receipt in the “Returns” folder.  Once you are certain the item is being kept, toss the receipt.  Once a quarter, purge the file.

For internet orders, create an electronic file folder called “Internet Orders”.  When order confirmations are emailed to you, drag the file to the “Internet Orders” folder.  Once the item is received and you know you’ll be keeping it, “trash” the electronic order confirmation.  If you have to return the item, you can print the order confirmation, note the date you returned the item for an exchange or credit, and file it in the “Returns” folder mentioned above.