Organizing receipts will help you in several ways. You may need to return something, do your finances at the end of the month, find out how much you paid for something, use in tax returns etc. By organizing your receipts, instead of throwing them in a drawer, you can save yourself a lot of time if and when you need to find a receipt quickly.
Place a small box or an envelope in an area, such as a desk or kitchen drawer preferably next to where you keep your monthly bills/statements. Put receipts in the box or envelope as soon as you come in.
You can organize receipts by date of purchase or by category (groceries, gas, clothing and accessories, electronics, toys, furniture etc.) or by store names (CubFoods, JC Penney, Best Buy, Target etc.) and then by date within each category or store name.
Use an old magazine for organizing receipts.
If you like to organize by category or store names, divide and allocate pages for different categories or stores. You may need more pages for groceries/grocery stores, gas/gas stations than for electronics or electronic stores. Alphabetize by category or store name if you prefer.
You can get self-adhesive index tabs (that are write-on or with printable inserts) at supermarkets or office supply stores to write/print category/store names and stick them to the edges of the magazine page to create dividers to separate different categories/stores.
The simplest way to organize receipts is by year and then by date (which is what I do).
Staple each day’s receipt(s) on to the pages of the magazine. You should be able to staple up to 4 day’s worth of receipts on a single page by stacking each day’s receipts. Using only one side of the page works better.
This will make it easier to find the receipt at a later date. You have all your receipts neatly organized and it takes only the space of a magazine instead of filling up drawers or leaving them all over the place creating clutter.
Use a different magazine for a new year even if there are pages left in the magazine for the past year. Label the year on the spine of the magazine using a sharpie. Keep current year’s magazine along with that year’s statement/bill binder (explained in the organize bills article) on the bookshelf.
You can contact your tax professional for advice on how long to keep the receipts.
Store receipts that you will need for your tax return (charitable donations, medical receipts, child care expense receipts etc.) in a separate envelope. You can put this envelope in the sleeve/pocket on the inside of front/back cover of the binder where you keep your monthly bills and statements (explained in the organize bills article).
Save receipts that you need to keep long term for warranties of electronics, tools etc. and put them along with their manuals.
Maintain by organizing receipts daily. If you cannot do it daily, empty your receipt box/envelope at least weekly. Don’t let receipts accumulate. It is easy to organize when the amount of receipts to manage is small.
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