Couple Money

A Challenge with Receipts

store receipts

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Many merchants have gotten tougher with their return policies including the one that sold me the wrong connector recently. They require the original receipt along with the product. Since it was a fairly recent purchase I knew the receipt was somewhere; just not where! Forty-five frantic minutes later I found it along with the realization that I had a problem managing receipts.

Receipts Everywhere

During the search I found at least four places that I store receipts randomly. Some of them go on my computer desk (which contributes to the disorganization there) in a stack to be dealt with later.

Others may be in the bedroom if I happened to unload pockets or packages there. Most are in the dining room where I have a drawer for miscellaneous mailers and other papers. The only logical place is a nice Gmail folder labeled “receipts” for anything I buy online.

Receipt Storage Options

One option is to create a designated space to store non-online receipts and use it. That almost seems too simple. At some points the amount of receipts will become a problem though.

Searching online brought up a lot software solutions that seem too time-intensive. They’re really geared for business use instead of receipts from daily life for groceries and gas. I don’t need to mail in receipts or enter details about them.

The best idea I found was to take pictures of the receipt with your phone and upload them to an online photo directory. Doing this at the point of purchase geotags the photo when using Picasa which is a free Google application.

Keeping Receipts Organized and Under Control

The hybrid solution we implemented was putting all paper receipts in a container on the desk. When tracking spending each week, I’ll go through the receipts. Many will be thrown away once I see the right amount debited on the credit card or checking account. These are the ones for products or services already received and used.

All the others will be scanned and the images stored on the computer. They’ll be sorted by month for easy retrieval if needed. The originals will go in a folder in the filing cabinet. On the rare occasion I need a receipt, it should be easy to find. How do you manage your receipts?

Photo Credit: eiratansey

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