Once a month I pore through all my receipts and make sure they were entered into the budgets spreadsheet and the correct amount was charged correctly. I’d rather not have to deal with paper receipts at all, but until I get a photographic memory I probably should keep them for my records. It’s not something I look forward to doing, but it takes maybe 10-20 minutes a month and helps me keep organized and stay within my budget. My husband doesn’t like to keep receipts around at all and he drives me crazy! He’s been getting better about keeping receipts for our budgets but he tends to throw them out as soon as possible.
Keeping receipts and going through them is one of the more tedious and boring tasks of personal finance that I do. It’s not fun but there are reasons I do it.
Keeping receipts for refunds, taxes, insurance
Number one reason to keep your receipts is just in case you need to get a refund on something. It’s always extremely easy to get a refund with a receipt. Without a receipt you’re basically at the whim of each store’s policy. I don’t keep every single receipt though. I usually recycle the restaurant and grocery ones after I make sure they are correct. I do sort out the ones that are material purchases. Things like furniture, gifts, electronics and all I keep for sure. Some I need for tax write-offs and others I need just in case for rental insurance.
Making sure it was charged correctly
This doesn’t seem to happen very often and I haven’t caught one yet that was charged incorrectly! The day I do see a duplicate charge or a higher bill then I’ll be sure to catch it! Card companies will correct these mistakes for you immediately once you let them know. Of course it’s up to you to catch it!
Catching fraudulent charges
Fraud can happen to anyone! It’s happened to me before but since I check my accounts regularly it was taken care of quickly. It’s sometimes hard to know if a transaction is legit or not though. The item description might be pretty vague and you might not know what it is. If i cross check with my receipts though with the dollar amount I can usually figure out what it is. If it is something that I didn’t charge, then I can confidently call up my card company to report it.
Seeing where I spent my money
Making myself go through my receipts really makes me more aware of where my money is going. I really spent $50 at this one place? Maybe I spent too much on eye creme another month. While you’re spending money it’s too easy to lose track of how much money you’re spending. Keeping a budget and tracking it helps me a lot and so does checking my receipts.
I definitely don’t love the idea that receipts waste a lot of paper. I take it if they’re going to print it out anyway (99% of businesses) but try to email or write it down otherwise. After I’m done with them I make sure they are recycled or shredded. Have to love the ones that display your full name and last 4 digits of your number. Checking receipts works for me to keep organized but I’m sure other people have a different system.
Do you check and save your receipts?