I could not do nearly the amount of work I do if I did not have a weekly paper organization and planning system.
The Sunday Basket has increased my productivity, reduced our late fees and generally created sanity in our home. If this is the first time you’ve hear of the term “Sunday Basket,” well, that’s because I made it up! You can read all about how the Sunday Basket came to be here.
Read my first post here about what my Sunday routine looks like.
In every house I organize, there are piles of receipts. Do we need them? And if we keep them, how do we organize receipts?
I have a home based business, so at a minimum I need to scan and save any receipt that I claim as a tax deduction.
For a store return, MOST stores can look up your purchase by the credit card you used when you bought it. I am trying to use cash envelopes for my spending and teaching my kids to do the same, so I guess we need to keep the receipts for returns.
Here’s what I am trying to do. Don’t buy anything you think you might return. Of course, this doesn’t work with items that break, but really I rarely return anything.
For us – we toss the receipts in the basket and on Sunday reconcile them to our checkbook and throw them away. We live on the edge like that.
Some families save ALL their receipts. For those families I recommend using these colored boxes. They are sold in a pack of 5. Start with one box and put all your receipts for the month in that ONE box. Then next month pick a different color.
These boxes are big enough to hold paper so you can print out receipts from online purchases and put those in the box as well. You can do this for all 12 months of the year, but I suggest only using 3 boxes. When you get to month 4 empty out the receipts from box 1 and pitch or file them as needed.
Medical / Tax receipts
These I enter on our tax deduction spreadsheet every 2-6 weeks, depending on my mood, time available and how many we have to enter. Then, I put them in our tax files in the basement. If I left this to do until next year, it would take at least a week.
Until this January, I used the same system as I have for my medical / tax receipts, but it is just too much now. I hired an awesome bookkeeper. It is so hard to spend money on a new and growing business, but, honestly, there are so many opportunities I would have had to say no to without my team.
So, here’s how I file business receipts. I put them all in an envelope weekly, mail it to the bookkeeper and start a new envelope. This, in addition to my other bookkeeping, saves me at least 90 minutes each week!
So, what about home business owners who don’t have a bookkeeper? After collecting them for a week in an envelope, seal it up, write the dates on the outside, and put it in your tax files. You can deal with the receipts on your time–and you won’t have a pile to go through all at once. I have a friend who had tried to do this on a monthly basis, but invariably, by the end of the month, she had misplaced or overfilled her envelope, which only made a mess. This way, she has an organized and tidy set of envelopes to deal with in small chunks.
So, what about you? Do you keep receipts?