Paycheck Chronicles

Saving Receipts Saves Me Money


If this program had a subtitle feature, this post would be subtitled, "So why don't I do it?"

Saving receipts, and having some sort of decent system of organization, can save you a ton of money.  Unfortunately, life is complicated.  Most of us have way more paper than we can handle, and receipts often seem like a good way to get some paper out of your life.

How Saving Receipts Saves Money

The primary way that having receipts saves money is if you need to return something, or if you have a problem with a product that is under warranty.  The tricky thing is that it is really hard to predict what sorts of items you might need to return.  The obvious things, like electronics, are easy.  However, what happens when your "perfect" dress falls apart the first time you wash it?  How about those pots that came with a lifetime warranty?  And I can't tell you how many watches I have gone through - they always claim to have good warranties.  And kids have this crazy habit of outgrowing clothes, sometimes before you've even taken off the tags.

There are a few other ways that having receipts can help save money, such as being proof that you have paid a bill, or giving you the ability to contest a bank error.

Receipt Saving Strategies

So, how can you keep your receipts under control?  I've tried a lot of different methods, and I've found that the details are less important that just having some sort of plan.  One year, I had a small accordion file and I sorted receipts by store name.  The Cs got awfully full with all our commissary receipts.  I've also tried sorting by month.  That method gave a more even distribution across the file but made it a little harder to locate just the right receipt when necessary.  Another year, I just had a box; that was the easiest right until I needed to find a particular receipt.

If you're organized, there are small scanning devices specifically designed for receipts.  You can upload all your receipts to a file on your computer or in the cloud, and then take time when you have it to organized them by date or store.

Lately, I haven't been taking very good care of my receipts, and I have been unable to return some items as a result of my disorganization.  One of my post-PCS resolutions is to implement some sort of receipt collection system.

Do you have a fabulous way of keeping your receipts corralled?  Please share!

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