How to Manage Receipts…especially after Holiday Shopping

Organizing receipts can be quick and easy!

How many of you know someone like the Crazy Target Lady…or are You the Crazy Target Lady? I love her! She’s relentless yet very well prepared.

You need a game plan for managing receipts: you never know when you’ll have to return something and you don’t want to waste valuable time looking for receipts.

Store Receipts

First, you’ll need something to hold your receipts until you can reconcile the charges with your credit card/bank statement. I recommend having two separate containers. Use one to store the receipts while you’re waiting for the charges to appear on your credit card register online (or when you actually review the charges on your statement). The second container will hold the receipts that you need to keep.

Your organizational personality will play a role in determining what type of containers to use. To prevent receipts from falling out of the container, be sure to buy something that closes (I don’t recommend a manila or hanging file folder). For those who have the organizational personality of a “Minnie,” “Patty,” “Dena Martin,” or “Sly,” a nice accordion organizer will make it easy to identify your receipt organizer should you decide to store it away. A “Vicki” likes to have things out where she can see them, so a clear project envelope is a great choice.

Scan Receipts

For important receipts, use a scanner to make a backup copy and to have a clear copy as receipts fade over time. Create a folder on your hard drive where you keep receipts, and save them in folders based on the year the item was purchased.

I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 scanner that I love for so many reasons. It’s small and portable, it can be powered via AC and USB, it scans both sides of the page in one feed, and if you highlight specific words or dates on the receipt that text will become searchable. I use my scanner for both documents and pictures. Utilize a TBS (to be scanned) box where you store items that need to be scanned. Then once a month, scan those items and file them appropriately.

Record Purchases

Identify theft increases around the holidays. Be sure to check your accounts frequently for unauthorized activity. An online program such as Mint is a breeze to setup and gives you one place to review the activity of all your accounts. Whatever tool you use, be sure to check your accounts frequently. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), you must notify your creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you in order to dispute charges.

Be Honest with Your Time

The likelihood of items that you purchase becoming clutter increases if you don’t deal with them immediately. Be sure to factor in enough time to shop, unpack or wrap gifts, and put them away.