Receipt Management; to keep or toss

They are everywhere. I find them in purses, tucked in shelves, and even shoved in drawers. Like bunnies, they seem to multiply. We get receipts for everything from coffee to clothing purchases. Why is it so hard to get rid of them?

Like most paper items, people don't know what to do with them. Do I need them? What if I want to return something? Can I write it off for taxes.

Lets talk about the different categories of receipts and what you need.

1. Grocery receipts- Most people don't return groceries (a few do)  - toss them

2. Bank receipts for deposits- Its all online now - toss them

3. Major purchases (usually over $500) Keep them in a file

4. Clothing purchases - I usually keep them for about 30 days to make sure the item works out

5. Misc purchases/small appliances- I keep them 30 days to make sure the item works out

Yes, if you are a business owner, then you need to keep a lot of receipts for tax back up if you are taking a write off for a home office. You can either scan them or keep them filed. I keep mine in an accordian file sorted by category.

Other tips for receipt management:

1. Just say no! You don't need receipts for filling up  your car or your starbucks

2. If you travel for work, carry a plastic envelope for all your receipts. At the end of each day, clean out your purse or wallet and put the receipts in the envelope. This way you don't lose them.

3. If you don't have time to process your receipts on a daily basis, have a "to be entered file" to place them in.

4. For home/clothing purchases have a small envelope to place them. If you let the float around, they will get lost or ruined. How much time have you spent in the past arguing with a salesperson about returning an item?

As always, my best advice is LIMIT THE INCOMING!!!

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