Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Keeping up with receipts

I bought a pair of sandals some time ago. They looked very cute but the straps on the top of the foot were very uncomfortable.

I decided to return them and within a minute or two, had retrieved the receipt from FOUR months ago.

I could find the receipt easily because I do 5 specific things to keep my receipts organised and in order.

1. Have a specific place in your wallet just for receipts
I have two sections in my wallet so I keep cash separate from paper. I also always keep the credit card slip on top of the receipt and always add new receipts to the back of that section.

2. Dedicate a regular time to clear out your wallet
You need to decide how regularly to clean it out. If you're out shopping a lot, you may have to do it every day or two. I only go to the shops on the weekend so I clean out my wallet once a week. When I'm on holiday, I do it more regularly because I'm spending every day.

3. Sort into categories
I then make piles of credit card slips and piles of cash receipts and sort in date order. It's quick and easy because of the way I store them in my wallet.

If you sort properly now, it's really quick and easy to update your budget.

4. Enter into your computer, notebook, etc.
Take each pile and update your budget.

I don't use my credit cards as credit cards so I like to be really careful with this step so I know exactly how much money I have left to spend for each category every month.

5. Store simply
Staple each pile together every time you follow this process, and then at the end of the month, place in a labelled envelope.

You can store your envelopes in a shoebox, CD holder, magazine holder, project folder, etc.

At the end of the year, take all the envelopes to your accountant to do your taxes – easy!

How do you deal with your receipts?


Raven said...

I don't have to deal with a lot of receipts since a) I'm a single person household and b) I don't shop that much.

So, I take my receipts out of my wallet soon as I get home and immediately enter them into my budget tracking software, Buddi, (

I take the receipt and decide if it fits into one of three categories: shred, keep for a time, or file.

Shred: receipts for things like groceries and gas. Once I've entered the information into Buddi I don't need the receipt anymore so I immediately shred it. I use my debit or credit card for almost all purchases, so I can always check my accounts online if I need to balance my software or otherwise refer to an expense for which I've shredded the receipt.

Keep for a time: receipts for things like clothes or electronic goods. I keep these receipts for as long as the store's return policy is valid and place them in an envelope taped to the door of my computer armoire (picture here:

File: receipts that I need to honour a warranty get stapled to the warranty papers and filed; the few receipts that I need for tax purposes get filed with that year's folder, etc.

It takes about 5 minutes a day to maintain my financial records and filing system.

Playful Professional said...

I come home every day with 5-10 receipts and do just this. Once I get home I scan them and then put them in a file to be organized. Every Sunday I take time to put them into an accordion file based on category. It makes it much easier to find later.

TexasHomeSchoolMom said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas!!! Receipts have been a challenge for me forever!! I didn't have any idea of how to deal with them, and now I have several!! Thanks for the great tips!!

Sing4joy said...

Organizing: the breakfast of champions.
Reading about organizing: Better than my favorite (clean) romance novel.
Always a pleasure to stop by your corner of the woods!