5 Simple Ways to Conquer Receipts | Giftie Etcetera: 5 Simple Ways to Conquer Receipts

Saturday, January 24, 2015

5 Simple Ways to Conquer Receipts

Receipts are a constant problem in the fight against clutter. 

On one hand, these tiny pieces of paper are important for budgeting, tax preparation, and store returns. 

On the other hand, some are useless and they don't fit in your planner, letter-sized (standard) folders, or boxes in an easy-to-organize way.



There are five simple things that work for me to conquer the receipt piles.

1. Assign Designated Place for Receipts

On the go, I have a special place in my wallet for receipts. It's even labeled.



At home, those receipts go from my wallet to a large Mason jar on my desk for processing.




I've made transferring receipts from my wallet to my jar a routine habit at the end of the work day, but if I forget, I at least do it when I unload groceries, about once a week.

TIP: Associate transferring receipts with something you do anyway. 
For me, I plug in my cell phone and clean out my receipt wallet. I unload groceries and clean out my receipt wallet. Through repetition, those things are so well associated with each other that I do them automatically.

2. Track the Budget

Either download an application (I use Spending Tracker, a free application), create a checkbook register page in your planner, or create a simple Excel spreadsheet to track your spending.

I like Spending Tracker because it is so easy to use. (No, they are not paying me to say this, though I would not say no if they sent me money.)




TIP: Too lazy or overwhelmed to create a checkbook register? Pick up an extra register from your bank and use it to track all income and expenses!

3. Record Spending at Least Once per Week

In my planner, there is a task scheduled to go through receipts at least weekly.

I like to do it on Friday mornings over coffee.





4. Sort the Receipts

As I record, I sort the receipts into three stacks.



*TRASH

Trash gets crumbled into a ball after I enter them in the budget software. Most receipts are trash.

*LONG TERM

Long term receipts are special and you definitely know them when you see them. They are generally receipts that are being saved for a tax deduction (in any amount) or receipts for expensive products, usually over $100, with a lifespan longer than a year (like my refrigerator).

*SHORT TERM

Short term receipts, in my home, are receipts for over $100 (like my weekly Target shopping) and receipts for individual items worth over $10 (like a receipt with a $30 sweater on it).

For some examples of how I decide which receipts to keep, hop over to this You Tube video.

5. File Receipts

I file receipts in a large index card box.




Each month, I empty out the short term receipts from last year and put the new ones behind the current month. 

This method means that I never have a backlog of old receipts from many years in the past.

1 comment:

Lisa Serrano said...

This looks like something I need to do! Your friend from LLBlogs, Lisa