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Personal FinanceHelp! I Need to Organize My Receipts
Receipts and shoeboxes come in all shapes and sizes. But that doesn't mean you should use one to organize the other. With paper and pen, a label maker and file folders, you can organize your receipts.
Receipts come in all shapes and sizes. There are miniscule gas station receipts and pages of full size documents when you stay at a hotel. In between the two extremes are all shapes and sizes. How do you file these important records of purchases in an easy to review format?
This article will focus on easy steps anyone can take to create an organized system of filing your receipts so that whether you need to find a receipt to return an item or you have to prepare for a tax audit you can easily retrieve your data. The following are the steps to start you on your way to a clutter free receipt stack.
1 – Begin with a legal pad and pen. List all the categories and subcategories you have receipts for. You can do this by reviewing your credit card statements from year end or you can get a generic list of receipt topics from a program like Quicken and modify as you go along.
2 – Next, using a label printer, print each category as a heading on a file folder and each sub category on the front of each folder so you know exactly what is in each file. You may want to use a two-hole punch and prongs to secure each receipt in order.
3 – Begin by going through each receipt and placing on top of each file folder where it will eventually be securely fastened. If you find any receipts that are from a previous year, put those aside as they need to be in another set of files. If you find very small receipts, staple them to a piece of paper for easier filing. If you find receipt that do not fit into a category, don’t try to make it “fit”, create a new file. Once you have sorted your receipts, put them into chronological order beginning from January to December.
4 – Now that you have everything organized, begin to punch holes in the receipts and place into the file folder. Now your receipts are organized!
5 – Place the file folders in a portable file carrier or filing drawer. At the end of the year, remove the files to a less needed location so that you can use prime space for your current files.
Once you have the system in place, maintenance is easy.
By Christina Leon, Staff Writer