It's About Time
Easy system for personal receipts
What do you do with those daily cash and debit/charge receipts that can clutter wallets and purses?
Are you among those who stuff them into a drawer or bag? Or do you just leave them here and there?
Have you ever agonized, searching for a receipt needed to return an item or reconcile a statement?
The good news is that there is an easier way.
If you never have to refer back to receipts and if you don't need them for tax, legal or insurance purposes, you can dispose of them. Be sure to shred any that have account numbers.
If you need to keep them, you need a simple system which provides a "home" for those receipts. It's important to remember only to be as organized as you need to be.
I used to have a shallow accordion file labeled with type of purchase (grocery, gas, clothing, dining out, Sam's Club, Costco, etc.) and filed receipts accordingly. I soon realized that since I rarely had to retrieve a receipt, a simpler system would do. I could simply store by month.
Here is my simple system: I use 12 long (No. 10 business-size) envelopes, labeled from January to December. I fold in the flap of the current month's envelope and lay them with the long open end up in a small long box, such as a shoe box.
Each day, I empty my wallet and drop in the receipts I need to keep. For larger purchases (e.g. clothing), on the envelope I write the date, store and item. Should I need to return or exchange, I can locate the receipt easily.
Other receipts (grocery, gas, etc.), I just insert into the envelope. After six months, I purge/shred those I don't need.
One client asked me how often he should clean out his wallet -- "Once a month?" I replied, "Every night!"
Receipts for major purchases or payments, or those relating to taxes, require a more detailed system such as the Bill Paying System described in an earlier column. Business receipts need to go into a separate business system.
If you don't have a simple system for your personal receipts, now is a good time to set one up, before we get too far into the year.
It will be time well spent, for life is easier organized than disorganized!
See you in two weeks!
For a copy of Ruth's Bill Paying System, send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to Organization Plus, 98-1155 Malualua St., Aiea 96701.
"It's About Time," by Ruth Wong
, owner of Organization Plus, runs the fourth Friday of each month. Contact her at "It's About Time," care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org