Family Budget: Organize Your Receipts
After making any purchase at the grocery store, mall or wherever, where do you put the receipt? Some folks throw the receipt in their purse or stuff it in the actual shopping bag, while others couldn't care less where their receipts end up. If you're ever going to get control of your money, you have to know where it's going, and that includes the little purchases you make each day. And to be completely receipt savvy, you not only to have to hold on to your receipts, you have to keep them organized.
Here's how you can become a receipt-savvy superstar:
- Rack 'em up. Empty that handbag of yours (including the wallet) and see how many receipts you find. At home, check your desk, kitchen counter, or wherever you might leave receipts lying around.
- Note your ATM receipts. Do you have multiple ATM receipts from any ol' bank or convenience store? Do you take out $20 here, $40 there? Check out the withdrawal fees: $2 or $3 each time can add up easily to $30 a month or more.
- Be mindful of little purchases. What about your daily coffee runs, gum purchases and magazines? Those shoes you bought last week on sale? It's easy to lose track of all the spending we do here and there when we don't have a place to reference or review all the proof regularly.
- Get a receipt keeper. In your purse, designate a place in your wallet, or better yet, keep a separate envelope for receipts. And in your home, designate a bin or a folder just for receipts. This will help you find ways where you can cut back (make a point of only going to your bank's ATMs, make coffee at home, etc.). More importantly, keeping your receipts in one place will help you keep track of what's going out of your wallet on a monthly basis.
- Ask for receipts. OK, so it's not totally eco-friendly, but I'm more concerned here about the other kind of paper (Hint: it's green!). If you don't get a receipt, then jot down what you spend, so you can keep track of all the money that trickles out.
- Add 'em all up. How much are we talking today in receipts? You'll want to get into the habit of totaling your receipts weekly.
Get more financial advice from our personal finance expert, Carmen Wong Ulrich!