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Strategize Organize LLC
Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 11

Dealing with Receipts: A Daily Dilemma

Background

Receipts are items that come into our lives every day and often in large quantities. They are tricky because often times there are legal issues associated with them.  Identity theft is a real problem and keeping track of one’s personal information is necessary. 
 
The first step to deal with receipts is to educate yourself about receipt retention and receipt disposal.  Schedule time in your planner to think through what you want your personal receipt plan to be.  Your time might be spent meeting with your accountant, researching on the internet, reading books from the library, or a combination of the three.  (Below I have a list of links to resources that discuss these issues).  The important point here is to educate yourself then decide on a set of “rules” for your receipts that match your comfort in terms of protection.  Once you have your rules it will be a lot easier to deal with the receipts because you don’t have to make a decision each time you see a one — “should I keep this”, “should I shred this or recycle it”.  You can simply look at your rules and put the receipt in its appropriate space. 

Possible Appropriate Spaces

Once you have made your rules about receipt retention and disposal you will undoubtedly be left with a series of receipts that you want to keep. Now we are left with the question of what are the appropriate spaces for these receipts?  Here are some possibilities.
  1. Shredding
    Pick a place where you keep receipts that you want to shred.  For some people a specific place in a purse or bag works well. For others, a spot near the shredder is more appropriate.

     
  2. A Yearly Folder
    Some receipts are kept in case an item may need to be returned or are kept for tax purposes. Keeping a folder labeled by year is a great solution for these. Each year, when doing taxes, go through this file and dispose of any of the receipts you know are no longer needed.

     
  3. A Monthly Solution
    If you are a person who wants a more specific or detailed way to organize these receipts, an accordion file labeled by month may be a better solution for you.  When a full year cycle is finished, remove the receipts from the previous year before saving current ones.

Summary

Making your rules, choosing your appropriate spaces, then putting your receipts in these spaces will greatly reduce the paper clutter in your life.

Good Luck,
Susan

LINKS

Possible Receipts to Keep
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/6-reasons-to-keep-receipts…or-not.html
 
Possible Receipts to Shred
http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/financial-tuneup-what-you-need-to-shred/
 
*These links provide a starting point.  Feel free to share other resources on my website. Click here to share. 



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