Saturday, April 9, 2011

How To Organize Your Receipts

Jennifer Ford Berry's book, "Organize Now" is the first organizational book that I have ever read that deals with organizing your receipts (and trust me, I've read a ton of 'em!). It's like she wrote this book with me in mind, friends! I knew I couldn't be the only hoarder or receipts (being self-employed for many years created this monster in me, BTW). I can barely open my wallet and pay for a coffee without little white slips of paper spilling all over the place. I blame those pesky debit cards. And my lack of organization in this area... which is why I'm following along with Bonnie over at House of Grace as we work through this wonderful organization book together. Go grab your receipts, girlfriends. I'll wait...

You might be thinking that you could just skip over this chapter of the book. Receipts? How important is it to organize receipts? Have you ever had insufficient funds because of something you "forgot" to record in your check register? Have you ever had to return something without the receipt (because you couldn't find it) and had to take less cash back than what was originally paid? Have you missed out on rebates (that's like FREE money, homies) because a receipt got lost in the shuffle or because (gulp) the time limit had expired? Yeah. Me too. Receipts are muy importante. Read on to see what Berry says about this weeks goals:

*Gather all loose receipts and sort them into piles:

-Check card/ATM receipts to be recorded in your checkbook ledger

-Credit card receipts

-Receipts already recorded/ cash receipts

-Tax deductible receipts

-Work related/ reimbursable and rebate receipts

-Gift receipts

-Receipts for major purchases (appliances, furniture, electronics)

*Record the check/ATM card receipts in your checkbook ledger.

*Place your tax-deductible receipts in your tax file for the current year. Take your work-related receipts to work and file an expense report.

*Put rebate receipts in your day planner and place them on your "to-do" list. Most reimbursements have a time limit, so time is of the essence.

*If the gift receipt is for a gift you are giving, put it with the gift. If it is for a gift you received and want to return, put the receipt with the item and put the return on your "to-do" list. Again, time is of the essence here. Most stores have a time limit on returns. If you are keeping the gift, toss the receipt.

*This next goal is dependent on how detailed your record keeping needs to be. If you are creating a budget or tracking your expenses, sort receipts by category, then record then on your computer or in a notebook. Examples could be:

-Food/ groceries





After recording the amounts, toss the receipts. If you aren't tracking your expenses, toss all of these receipts.

*Set up a small accordion file to organize the rest. Label each slot by category or by month. Categories could be:

-Major purchases

-Credit card purchases

-Tax-deductible purchases

-May return (these may be products that you've purchased, but aren't sure if they are going to meet your needs or expectations)

I LOVE her tip on keeping a zippered pouch inside your purse to hold all of your receipts (instead of in your wallet). Like, why didn't I already think about this?!? I'm getting one ASAP. I'm also taking her advice and cleaning out my purse and wallet each week (Fridays sounds good. That way my purse will be all tidy for some weekend shopping! LOL!). Mine currently looks like a garbage receptacle. Just keeping it real...

I don't have much to add this week from my own experience, as organizing receipts will be a new experience for me. Like I said before, most of the time they are either spilling out from my wallet or piled on top of my bathroom counter top after emptying my pockets. Last week I did incorporate a file in my bill organizer for receipts. You can read more about that here. Other than that, I'm going to heed what Berry suggests. Come back next week when we are going to organize our files. I recently upgraded from a 2 drawer cabinet to a 4 drawer cabinet... what can I say? I'm into the filing thing! LOL! See you then!

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