Receipts Management

claire_de_lunaOctober 5, 2010

I don't feel like I have much to contribute any more, but yesterday I had a ''moment'' that was much easier than I'd anticipated and I thought I'd tell you about it.

While cleaning up around my house, I found some little items I wanted to return, however the receipt was not with it. I looked in seven different places, before I realized I should look in my receipt file and GUESS WHAT?!! It was there, filed in July...which is when I made my purchase! I can make my return now without a hassle and get my money back, instead of adding some useless clutter to my life I then have to make a decision about what to do with. (Yes, the basic part of me wants to be organized, and the other part doesn't realize when I am!) The best part? Once I quit looking for something that wasn't where it used to be, and looked for it where it ''should'' be, I found it in under two minutes.

What I did was buy a hanging file box, with a lid and enough space to hold 12 hanging folders. It lives right by the garage door where I come in with purchases, or go out every day. I labeled the index tabs with the names of each month. Every receipt that comes into the house goes into the front of the file folder for that month. (When a new month starts, the old one goes to the back of the file so the current month is always in front.) I bought two different colors, so while the current month is one color, the next one/last one is the opposite color and won't be confused. This keeps a year's worth of receipts on hand, and when the next month rolls around, it feels perfectly right to let those receipts go. It's also a final review for receipts that may need to be filed with warranty information (if it wasn't originally).

I know it seems simple, but I didn't have anything in place before this that worked very well. This system however, works Very Well! I cannot tell you how many times we've needed to find a receipt and Bingo! There it is...and so easy too! Not only has it made my life easier, my husband has Thanked Me several times for putting it into place. It's so nice when a good idea works for everyone in the household.

Forgive me if I've told you about it before. I thought it was worth mentioning because it's still working for me!

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I used a pocket in my purse for receipts only. I had to abandon that when I downsized my already smallish purse.

Then I went to a system of retaining the receipts in a plastic folder in my car. As soon as I know I need to return an item, I put the item in the car so if I'm in the area I have the item and receipt in the car. Which is a great improvement over forgetting to return, or remembering to return but forgetting the item, or remembering to return and forgetting receipt.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Mustangs, when I see how many receipts accumulate in a month's time, the purse pocket wouldn't work for me either! Like you, I like a small purse. (Which I then put into a market bag when I have to take extra ''things'' along!)

I used to keep some stuff in my car too, but it was always a hassle to go fetch it if I needed to check on something. (Now, I only keep the coupons I might want to use in the plastic folder in the car.) After trying several types of ''systems'' that never quite worked because they weren't simple enough, I happened onto this. Before I worked this out, I was trying to put the receipts in an accordian style folder, but having to find the current month (without my glasses!) was a complete hassle. I realized in order for this to actually WORK, I needed the current file to be in the front All The Time, which is why I loved the hanging file folder.

Since all the receipts are in the house by the back door, I was able to train DH to use it too. Since all you have to do is open the lid and drop it into the file, there's actually no ''filing'' to do as it's simpler than that! I love getting them off the counter, which frankly, had become a receipt clutter magnet. The other thing I like is I no longer have to keep track of a receipt while I wonder where it's floating around. It's no longer in my purse until I need it, which is really nice.

I linked to the box I chose to live on my counter. What I liked about this one particularly is the lid, so I didn't have to see any of the files.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hanging File Box

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 3:25PM
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Excellent idea ... and about as simple as you can get.

Every thing gets filed into the front folder, maintenance is once a month, and most of it gets tossed a year later.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Thanks for making me glad I shared this with you!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 6:47PM
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That's a wonderful idea.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 10:35AM
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That's a great idea. I pay for every thing with a credit card so I put this months receipts in a envelope and when I get the statement and check it I staple it to the back. I write down on the statement if there is a receipt that I need to keep longer and then I toss after one year.

It is always a pleasure when you find something that works for you because some things work for some but not for others. Love all the different ideas people have to stay organized.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 8:58PM
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This is a wonderful system, Claire! Thank you for telling us about it, I too have found that organzing by date works better than by store (which is more tedious) or by type of purchase. Those systems have always been more difficult for me to maintain, so many categories.... by month, however, there are just 12 categories. So simple!

I have also come to appreciate (or rather depend on) the "receipt look-up" capabilities or places like Target and Lowes where the returns desk simply swipes my debit card and scans the item's UPC to track the sale and issue a refund. I also like the little point of sale stickers that places like Macy's put on the UPC bars or tag, which can also look up the transaction. Finally, my new BFF (store-wise that is), which keeps a record of everything on-line.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 9:32AM
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Hi Cup! Long's good to see you posting again. (Or if you have been, maybe it's me who is posting!)

Simpler is best, isn't it? I didn't known about ''receipt look-up'' so I learned something new today. I'm with you completely, I love!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 3:11PM
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