The best advice I can start with is toss receipts. Don’t keep them. You’d think that receipts wouldn’t be a problem in this day and age with all our electronic devices and apps, but alas, they still are.
There are only two exceptions to this advice. The first is if it’s an expense that can be deducted for taxes. If the answer is yes, then save them. Secondly, if you’ve just spent $6,000 for a new roof, you’d probably want to save a receipt like that. Anything else, in my opinion, is fair game to toss.
But don’t worry; I’ll get down to brass tacks. I know you have questions like, what if I need to return something? You raise a good point. I say keep the receipts for a short time in your wallet or purse until you’ve decided. Option number two is to keep it in an electronic format in your email. Most retail stores will email you receipts now. Or thirdly, save it in the shopping bag or box that it shipped in until you are ready to return or keep the item for good. Whatever system you pick, stick to it. Get into the habit of using one method of saving receipts for returns and don’t deviate.
Also start refusing and declining receipts. You can tell the gas station not to print a receipt. You can refuse your receipt at Starbucks. You can tell any store you don’t want the receipt. No one is forcing you to take them, so just don’t accept them in the first place. Thus, your wallet and purse will stay clutter free.
Let’s talk about receipts you get reimbursed for, such as health receipts or business travel receipts. If you need to submit these receipts for reimbursement, have a plan in place to keep them organized and to know which have and have not been submitted. Consider labeling envelopes, folders, or a small travel bag to collect these while you’re on the road. Again, the key is to be consistent with your system, so stick to whatever you set up and remember to keep it simple.
Finally, if you’re saving receipts for a budget, for managing a family member’s estate, or for your business, consider scanning in the receipts to go paperless. Switching over all bills to electronic will also cut down on receipts that pile up from paid bills.
What system, solution, or routine do you follow through with your receipts currently?
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